Geeks track trends so we don't have to
TECHNOLOGY is to Digital Slobs what mother's milk is to 6-day-old babies. We crave it instinctively. We're helpless without it. And we're blissfully ignorant about what's going on under the hood.
Usually that's a good thing -- but not always.
Last week the keyless-entry remote to my car went on the blink, causing me to stand in the parking garage helplessly punching its "unlock" icon over and over. Suddenly, my car became the same kind of monolithic, impenetrable mystery that perplexed Neanderthals at the beginning of "2001: A Space Odyssey."
Eventually, I realized I could just stick the actual key I've never used into the door lock I've never actually touched -- this is what Mom calls common sense and the guy from AAA called "using the manual override." I was only 45 minutes late for work -- I said I had a dental appointment.
The point is, even if you would never stoop to enter geekdom, it's good to have the names of people who own corner lots there on the tip of your tongue, or on your Rolodex, or in your RSS aggregator. If you don't know what an "aggregator" is, then call whatshisname in the IT department. Richard, Ryan ... I'm sure it starts with an "R." I'm sure he's there. He's always there. It's not like he has a life.
But you should also check out these tech-related online shows. Slobs can learn a lot just through osmosis -- without geeks like these, I'm pretty sure I'd still be huddled next to my car in the fetal position:
Geek News Central (audio):
Typical husband and dad Todd Cochrane has an atypical aptitude for tech info, producing a highly informative twice-weekly show from his home right here in Hawaii, usually by threading the needle in-between his children's nap times. The Author of "Podcasting: The Do-It-Yourself Guide" walks listeners through tech-news highlights, and offers some tasty cream-of-the-Web-crop tidbits that make the Digital Age go down much easier. His Web site also offers organized, click-as-you-listen links (geeknewscentral.com)
Cranky Geeks (video):
Host and PC Magazine columnist John C. Dvorak leads a panel of ill-tempered yet lovable tech curmudgeons who both hate change and can't stand things the way they are. The decidedly un-Gex X Dvorak looks exactly like Statler, one-half of the balcony-heckling duo that gave Kermit the Frog so much grief on "The Muppet Show." Watch as they expertly wail against online 3D mapping, identity theft and corporate attempts at posting viral videos on YouTube. An elite squad of Cranky Geeks may be the only thing between us and the so-called Net Neutrality bill -- trust me, we want Cranks on that wall, we NEED Cranks on that wall (crankygeeks.com)
Buzz Out Loud (audio):
"CNet's podcast of indeterminate length" answers the age-old question: What would Regis & Kelly sound like if their producers read Engadget, Slashdot and ars technica Web sites? You can stir the chemistry with a stick as tech heads Tom, Molly and Veronica deliver very palatable, humorous commentary on the day's tech news. Listen to them promote "Spectacle Fest," a phantom electronics expo similar in authenticity to "Festivus," Frank Costanza's Christmas substitute on "Seinfeld." They also cover allegedly real stuff like HD-DVDs, the Vista operating system and your right to privacy (cnet.com)