The Net Nerd’s Profiles

You’ve seen “The Trouble with Tribbles” a dozen times, and Letterman just doesn’t seem as funny now that you know he’ll be raising a human being , try: http://www.accesslearning.com/

Ok, so these sites aren’t technically on the AU webpages, but I did find the links within the halls of AU, so there! Let’s face it, as students we tend to watch a lot of TV, and not all of it educational (and no, Trailer Park Boys does not count as sociological documentary). With Survivor, Friends and all the other shows coming out with new episodes it’s easy to forego studying and park yourself in front of the TV. Although there’s nothing wrong with unwinding once in a while, we all get that post couch-potato guilt and then try to make up for it with a marathon study session.

Accesslearning.com can remedy that. This website is for the Learning and Skills Television of Alberta Ltd. Corporation, and it’s basically a link page to Access, CLT (Canadian Learning Television), Book TV, and Court TV. There are also links to services such as The Learning Annex and Telecourse Listings. From the home page I clicked onto the Access link. The Access TV page has tons of info on their programming and services. I have to admit, I don’t watch Access very often, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how many different programs they offer. And like their “about” page says, “Many of the programs, including all the dramas, are connected to formal courses of study offered by the province’s post-secondary institutions and to the formal objectives of Alberta Learning,” so you can watch TV guilt free! The same applies to the other channels you can find on this site. Now you can watch Smallville on Access instead of WB, and feel just a little smarter!

The best service offered by accesslearning.com is the telecourse listing. This listing shows what program corresponds with the course you’re taking. For example, after clicking on the link to the telecourse listing, you search for a show by clicking what school you go to, then browse through what programs are on and what course they relate to. Granted, not all courses will have a corresponding TV show, but you still can find something interesting to watch. The listings also go well into 2004, so get out that calendar!

Accesslearning.com is a great resource for us TV addicted students, and for anybody just a little tired of the usual mind numbing programming offered by the major Networks.

Neat Stuff: This site also has an online video catalog for educators in Alberta. And for all those budding Tarantino’s out there, you can find information on their production facilities. The Access site also has a kid’s site, and contests. This site was extremely easy to navigate, and no pop-ups or annoying banner ads (I almost missed the little marketing devils).

Not so Neat Stuff: Do you have cable? How about Bell? Oops! Sorry, better check listings on the CBC.

Rating: *****/5 I love TV, and I love this site. I didn’t realize how many programs these stations offered. Finally an excuse to watch TV: “We have to watch this.. it’s for my course”.

Love a good conspiracy theory? Find out the truth at http://www.thesmokinggun.com

Yes, aliens have landed, there was another gunman on the grassy knoll, Cobain didn’t shoot himself, Marilyn was poisoned, and Survivor is fixed (well at least the last one:.Jenna?). No, I don’t have a hat made out of tinfoil, I don’t hand out pamphlets about the end of world, and I don’t have my radio tuned to Art Bell every weekend (well not always), but I do love a good conspiracy theory, which leads us to the Smoking Gun.

This website is not dedicated to conspiracy theories or rants about the government, it is dedicated to the truth. The truth is something we conspiracy theorists are always seeking but rarely find. The Smoking Gun gets all of its information from the great American loophole, The Freedom of Information Act, and they claim that everything presented is 100% authentic.
This website has a team of researchers looking for that little nugget of information that everyone else forgot. Each week they have a featured document. For example this week, they reported on the New York Post report on the win the Sox had on the Yankees. Unfortunately, the Post was wrong since the Yankees beat out the Red Sox in the 11th inning. To find other past features, click on archives. I chose to read “Arnold’s Secret “?Pumping Iron’ deals.” They give us the story complete with the scanned documents related to this story. Most of what thesmokinggun.com reports on, comes complete with the legal documents to read.

Although a lot of the articles pertain to celebrities, many are the weird and wonderful tales of everyday folk. Articles such as “Get Wed or Get Whacked” and “Phone Sex Etiquette by the Book,” are found within celebrity exposes such as “Jerry Garcia, A Dead Man’s Touch of Green” and “David Duchovny’s Ticket to Ride.” You can also sign up for e-mail updates on their features, and you can check out the mugshots of the famous and not so famous. From Paul Reubens to Darryl Strawberry and everyone in-between you’ll find the mugshots that shocked the world (Hugh Grant) or the ones that no one’s ever seen (Alexei Yagudin).

The Smoking Gun is a unique website, in that is has lots of celebrity gossip and it’s all based on authentic documents! They have a vast number of archives, all the documents to back them up and the site is void of all advertising. Tabloid without the lies, the Smoking Gun won’t be getting any lawsuits.

Neat Stuff: I’m in heaven this week. Not one but two websites that are very well organized and absolutely no ads! A cool feature of this website is the backstage area. They have compiled the tour riders (backstage demands) of 134 different artists. What does Blink 182 need all that Polaroid film for?

Not So Neat Stuff: The only drawback of this site can be the smug sense of satisfaction you get after visiting it. Although these celebrities may have the fame and fortune, we common folk are still better than they are.

Rating *****/5: Must be the extra marshmallows in me Lucky Charms. I don’t know if it’s because of a good mood, or just that this week I’ve found the rarity of two excellent sites. http://www.thesmokinggun.com gets five stars. To find out why, go visit it.

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