Good Job, Brain!

This past Christmas at dinner we pulled our crackers and, after sorting through the little prizes and crowning ourselves with paper crowns, we started reading our jokes and trivia. The jokes went down as well as you’d expect, “What did the fish say when it swam into a wall?” “DAMN!” but I lapped up the trivia. This is because I love facts. I love little bits of information that colour our fantastic world. Most of the trivia at the dinner table I already knew the answers to, my friends were all suitably impressed. I admitted that I love trivia and that one of my favourite things is to listen to a podcast called Good Job, Brain!. It is awesome.

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The podcast is hosted by a colourful pub trivia team who’s specialities cover a vast array of topics. Each episode opens with a quick Pop Quiz for the hosts with a random Trivial Pursuit card – this is what hooked me initially. I felt clever when I knew the answer for one of the questions when the team didn’t. (For once my History of Art Degree came in handy!) After this each host has their own little segment based around the theme of the episode. This could be a little quiz, historical tale or scientific factoid. If you have the least bit of an inquisitive mind, then you should pick an episode related to a topic you like and enjoy!

My favourite thing to do is to listen to the podcast on the tube. However the gang on Good Job, Brain don’t take themselves too seriously. The jokes and laughs between Karen, Colin, Dana and Chris have me laughing on crowded tube trains at rush hour. I don’t mind though, I’m having a laugh and learning – what’s not to love?

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Graze

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There are worse things to be done than trying to eat healthy. For me it’s trying to get more fibre, fruit and grains into my diet. When Graze was recommended to me by a friend, (Complete with coupon code) I couldn’t say no!

At the time of writing I have received three boxes. I have enjoyed each and every one of them, which includes the twelve different snacks I have sampled so far. Graze is helping me personally to eat lots of things I rarely touch, particularly grains, nuts and seeds. Usually I grab a bag of crisps or a bar of chocolate when I get a pang of hunger in my stomach. Graze is opening up my eyes to a whole variety of healthy alternatives I could be snacking on that are actually beneficial instead of artificial.

The entire Graze experience is seamless and endearing. Friends and coworkers have exclaimed at the beautiful and personal presentation of the boxes and included leaflets that bare my name. The website makes it easy to order boxes and adjust their frequency – including a feature to miss out on your box for a week or so while you’re on holidays. The rating system follows the example of every other part of Graze, it is simple and easy. You can rate foods up or down and can even make sure certain foods never make it into your box whether it be because you are allergic to a product or because you can’t stand the taste of dried cherries.

Graze has opened up my eyes to an entire world of tasty, healthy snacking. My only gripe is my apartment letter box is too thin for the box to fit through, but that one is on me. Graze is my weekly treat of healthy eating that is gently pushing me to snack healthier every day.

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Awesome but NSFW: Oglaf

After Johnny Wander, Oglaf is my favourite webcomic. However before you read any further I must warn you that this comic is full of all sorts of things are generally considered not safe for work. If you are offended by those sorts of things, then please do not read any further. However if you don’t mind the ocassional boob, full frontal male nudity and hilarious jokes – then I must implore you to read on past the jump.

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Very Mary Kate

The Awesome Geek is a creature of the internet and loves all kinds of web content out there. Web video is a very deep lake of moving pictures, it can be quite hit and miss with five rubbish videos for every decent one. However when web video gets it right, the results are phenomenal. Very Mary Kate is a perfect example of a top class web show that is worth your attention. Every other internet video producer should sit up and take note because Elaine Caroll the writer, producer, creator and performer of Very Mary Kate is doing everything right.

Each episode of very Mary Kate clocks in at in or around one minute. The internet is filled with hyper mega ADD people who need their attention grabbed, held and then quickly released. Very Mark Kate is snappy, witty and hilarious. The average user decides if they want to watch a video on the internet within the first ten seconds. By the time you’re ten seconds into an episode of Very Mary Kate you’re nearly halfway there, so it’s easy to see it out to the end.

The show is brilliantly written. Carroll is no stranger to producing video for the web and her scripts are all gold. Very Mary Kate is a fictional biography of the daily goings on in the skinny, whiney, shallow world of Mary-Kate Olsen. Carroll pushes one half of the power house Olsen twins to her stereotypical limits, and hilarity ensues. Each episode is filled with great stingers and one liners that easily fit into 140 characters along with a bit.ly link that have allowed Very Mary Kate to spread like the viral gold that it is.

The show is simple and professional. It is edited very well and something an awesome geek would recommend all his friends to watch. Embedded above are the first two episodes. Very Mary Kate updates every Monday and Thursday.

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This week on Awesome Geek I am going to blog about 5 different websites and applications that I use in my daily routine – and firmly believe everyone else should too, especially the geeks who are awesome out there.

And so we come to the final post of this week of websites and applications. I’m going to finish with tumblr. Tumblr is a blogging website that I have been spending a lot of time on recently for one main reason – it’s fun. I think of it as blogging lite. The simple interface and general aura of the website gives off this sense of whimsy and simplicity. I really enjoying writing my 300-500 word posts over here at Awesome Geek but sometimes you just want to make a random statement and post a picture. Tumblr is the perfect place to do it. The website is more along the journal keeping side of blogging.

Tumblr can be a very personal a private experience, with a commenting system not being a native or standard feature. However that is not to say that there is no community populating the site. It operates on a similar basis as twitter, with the ability to follow and be followed. The homepage of your tumblr, or dashboard as it is known, collects the stream of posts from your followers. What makes tumblr interesting is it’s use of reblogging. Reblogging does what it says on the tin. A user is capable of clicking a button on any other user’s post and publishing that to their own tumblog with a little comment of their own along with it if they so wish.

Thus tumblr creates a landscape of users who spend time hearting and reblogging others posts and so a very positive and community environment is created. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t skeptical at first myself; I couldn’t get my head around the system, but after a few follows and reblogs I’m entirely enamored with the experience. It won’t replace conventional blogging for me personally but for those looking for a simpler experience with great community, then tumblr is definitely worth a visit.

Tumblr Comics via Ryan Selvy

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Dropbox

This week on Awesome Geek I am going to blog about 5 different websites and applications that I use in my daily routine – and firmly believe everyone else should too, especially the geeks who are awesome out there.

Dropbox could save my life and it could save yours. It is 13 days to my first final exam of my college degree at the time of writing. Being the tech person that I am, I take all my college notes on my laptop. As well as this I am in the final stages of my final year dissertation. Tomorrow my laptop’s hard drive could fail. It could just clunk and become a corrupted mess of nothingness. It would be a shock and a horror, but thanks to Dropbox, my college career would not be jepordised in the slightest because I use Dropbox.

Dropbox is online storage and backup with a difference. I have a folder on my computer named “Dropbox” which syncs everything in it with an online backup. All my college work has always been stored on this folder since I was introduced to the website and it really gives me peace of mind to know that my important work is safe and sound.

We all know someone who has had a hard drive or computer fail on them, so there’s plenty or warning to back up your especially important files at least. External hard drives are all well and good but I adore Dropbox for the simplicity and reliability it offers – easy as dragging and dropping. The Awesome Geek always backs up, and should definitely check out Dropbox if they are serious about their data being safe. Basic Dropbox is free with 2G of storage with the option to upgrade to 50G and 100G at $9.99 and $19.99 respectively.

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Desktop Client:✓ (After a fashion, it’s a regular folder on your machine)
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Crunchyroll

This week on Awesome Geek I am going to blog about 5 different websites and applications that I use in my daily routine – and firmly believe everyone else should too, especially the geeks who are awesome out there.

Now I won’t lie, I haven’t had a huge amount of experience with Crunchyroll, what I know primarily is that the website is a great place to watch anime online without being illegal – which is brilliant in my opinion. Recently I’ve returned to the website (I had an old account I never used), in order to re-watch The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The first season of one of my favourite shows was recently brought to the website’s library so I jumped at the chance to watch it in good quality with good subtitles.

Let me first get the cons out of the way. The Library isn’t huge, but it is substantial enough that you will definitely find something to enjoy but I wouldn’t rely on it to find your must watch show. In order to watch the higher quality video you have to become a premium member – which means spending some money. Becoming a premium member will also rid your video of advertisements. The ads are a sore spot for me. I don’t mind ads in exchange for good quality content, but when the same 30 second commercial is run constantly it gets a bit annoying.

Finally I have a major gripe, one that really gets on my nerves. I was hearing rumbles on various blogs and twitter that “Durarara!” was an show many people were addicted to/enjoying so I looked it up on Crunchyroll on the off chance they had it in their library. To my surprise and excitement, they did – so I clicked on episode 1 of the series to see if I too would become a follower of this show. Instead I was faced with a banner saying that this content isn’t available in my region. I assume this is because I’m in Europe – I am also assuming the main audience for this website is American and therefore catered to that audience. However I would never become a premium member if I was not guaranteed access to all of the shows regardless of where I was in the world.

I see I’ve spent the last 300 words or so complaining about this website. So why would an Awesome Geek even darken the door of Crunchyrolll? I say because wherever you can find a way of supporting a content creator, you should go for. Crunchyroll is not without its faults, but it is doing something very right for an industry that has a substantial audience outside of Japan that don’t want to wait for months and years after a premiere of an anime to watch it for themselves. Crunchyroll can make that a reality, so it is definitely something to have a look at.

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Desktop Client: ✗ (It is available via Boxee)
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