I'm a former teacher, a student, a programmer and a computer geek. I like teaching, learning, programming and geeking out.
- This American Life (from PRI) - it will change your life! Every week Ira Glass and his team chooses a theme and brings you great stories on that theme. They are smart, funny, moving and informative. I'm absolutely in love with this show.
- The Moth - people sharing their true stories during live events organized by a non-profit organization "dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling" (called The Moth). Those stories are usually both funny and insightful.
- The Truth - "movies for your ears". Short radio plays, written and produced exclusively for the audio format, using modern audio techniques. Some of them really great.
- Snap Judgement (from NPR) - it has a format quite similar to that of "This American Life". I feel however that its quality is not as consistent. Nevertheless, some stories presented on the show are truly remarkable.
- Radiolab (from WNYC) - it features stories as good as those in This American Life, but all of them about science. They will blow your mind and leave you with a sense of wonder. Some of the finest episodes include "Famous Tumors" (watch out for the piece about Henrietta Lacks, whose cells are grown in laboratories all over the world), Lucy (about a chimpanzee raised as a human) and "Where Am I?" (how our mind keeps track of our bodies).
- The Infinite Monkey Cage (from BBC) - science / comedy show (quite a unique combination). "Witty, irreverent look at the world according to science with physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince". Funny AND informative.
- Intelligence Squared (US) - Oxford Style debates with top tier thinkers. Every episode features a question and two panels arguing for and against. Extremely captivating.
- 99% Invisible (from Radiotopia) - The format is quite similar to This American Life or Radio Lab, but the episode are shorter and dedicated to exploring city architecture and design. My favorite episodes include Episode 76: The Modern Moloch" (how streets were taken away from pedestrians to make room for cars) and "Episode 127: The Sound of Sports" (about sound design in TV broadcasts of sport events).
- Fresh Air (from NPR) - a show that excel in amazing interviews with people including writers, musicians, actors, directors, scientists, journalists and others. Terry Gross who hosts the program since 1975 is one of the best interviewers out there.
- Here & Now (from NPR) - daily portion of news and commentary regarding political, cultural and social issues of the day.
- Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! (from NPR) - a fake game show with live audience, featuring a panel of comedians (and a celebrity guest) answering questions about recent news stories. Funny and warm, but not very informative ;)
- Security Now! (from TWiT) - in dept exploration of computer security, that often turns into general discussion about fundamentals of computer technology. If you want to know how present day technology really works, you need to listen to those past episodes:
- This Week In Tech (from TWiT) - a weekly panel of experts discussing and commenting recent news from the field of technology.
- The Tech Guy (from TWiT) - nationally syndicated call-in radio talk show. Leo Laporte ("The Tech Guy") explains technology to the general public, helping people with their computer issues, giving them shopping advice, and generally being a nice guy. You don't need to be a geek to listen and learn from the show :)
- Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews (from BBC) - lively discussions of current movie releases (with occasional epic rants).
- Savage Lovecast - Dan Savage is a nationally syndicated sex-advice columnist, book author, and a regular "This American Life" contributor (yay!). The show mainly consists of him providing sex, love and relationship advice to his listeners. I like him, but I know some people will take offense to some things he says. You may want to check out his YouTube channel first, just to make sure his style agrees with your sensibility.
- Triangulation (from TWiT) - Leo Laporte (of the TWiT / Tech TV / Tech Guy fame) interviews great technologists, entrepreneurs, inventors and authors. He gives his interviewees a lot of space to really share their insights.
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2. TV Shows
- The Daily Show - fake news show from Comedy Central, providing better news commentary than most "real" shows.
- South Park - I like it's-funny-because-it's-true type of humor, provided both by The Daily Show and South Park. Everybody knows South Park, so there is nothing more for me to add.
- Queer As Folk - TV series that was revolutionary in it's time (2000-2005), as a first show centered around people from the LGBT community, showing them in a way nobody dared before.
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(books doesn't really qualify, since there is no single book I'm "addicted to". Nevertheless here come couple of books that made the biggest impact on me recently)
- "On Intelligence" by Jeff Hawkins - Jeff Hawkins (best know as the founder of Palm Computing) proposes his unified theory of the brain, based on a "memory-prediction framework". Interesting insight into a possible mechanism (or shall I say "an algorithm"?) behind inner workings of the brain (or at least a possible mechanism behind inner workings of the neocortex). Challenging but fun.
- "The Ancestor's Tale" and other Richard Dawkin’s books on evolution - it may sound weird, but evolution is really exciting to me. It's a process (or shall I say "an algorithm"?) that's as simple and elegant as possible and at the same time so powerful it created the world as we know it. It's easy to grasp the basics of evolution, but then you can spend the rest of your life thinking about consequences of the simple rules. It's great to have Dawkins to facilitate the thinking.
- "The Descent of Woman", "The Scars of Evolution" and "The Descent of the Child" by Elaine Morgan - more books on evolution. I don't feel qualified to judge whether Morgan's "aquatic ape" hypothesis really makes sense. I like her books, because their force you to think, constantly questioning conventional ways of thinking about evolutionary processes.
Famous IT people
- "Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary" by Linus Torvalds & David Diamond - an (auto)biography of Linus Torvalds, the men behind the development of the Linux kernel. The book is light and funny, but at the same time succeeds in showing (and maybe even explaining) a great passion for programing.
- "iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Along the Way" by Steve Wozniak and Gina Smith - Steve Wozniak is the brilliant inverter of the personal computer, one of the sweetest and humbles people out there, and a well known practical joker. Read about his quest for the perfect design, about his jokes and about the computer industry at its beginnings. I think the book is more interesting than the Steve Jobs biography.
- "Free as in Freedom" by Sam Williams - Richard Stallman, the man behind the Free Software movement, is a legend. This GPL-licensed biography doesn't shy from showing his flaws (like his legendary stubbornness), but even if you believe Stallman's ideas are too hard-line you have to respect his devotion to the idea of freedom and his ability to notice its new frontiers.
- Other people I should definitely read up on include Alan Turing, Grace Hopper and Augusta Ada King...
- "Gang Leader for a Day. A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets" by Sudhir Venkatesh - it's a true story of a sociology student, who decides to visit a notorious housing project in Chicago, as part of his research on urban poverty... and finds himself coming back over and over again for the next 7 years, getting to know "the neighborhood dealers, crackheads, squatters, prostitutes, pimps, activists, cops, organizers, and officials", befriending J.T. - the leader of a local drug gang. The stories told are exciting, touching and thought-provoking.
- "Don't Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle" by Daniel Everett - to be honest, this book is not very well written. But the subject matter is so fascinating it's still worth it. Pirahã is an isolated tribe living in the Amazonian jungle. Everett's account of Pirahã language seems to counter everything we thought we knew about human language.
- "Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal" by Eric Schlosser - it's not just a book about food. Schlosser uses the fast food industry, with its impact on environment, work conditions, animal rights, health and epidemiological issues to illustrate more universal points (or at least that's how I read the book). At one point it had a great role in evolution of my political beliefs.
- "Daemon" and "Freedom™" by Daniel Suarez - it's a technothriller about a computer daemon. The amazing thing about this book is that it reads like a far fetched science fiction, but at the same time all the technology described in the book is here already, ready to be used!
- "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling - you know Harry Potter. It's magical. I was always about Harry's age when the books were coming out.
- The "Millenium" Trilogy by Stieg Larsson - great characters, captivating story... you probably have read it already.
- Summerhill School: A New View of Childhood by A. S. Neill - Sumerhill is a free school, a democratic community where all lessons are optional. It functions in this fashion since 1921. The book will challenge most of your preconceptions about the way we should think about education.
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(I know. Movies doesn't qualify either. I'll try to be brief...)
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- Udacity - free online university-level courses. I'm currently taking two courses (physics and statistics) and I'm finding it's a great way to learn. The irony is it requires much more participation on the part of the student than traditional university courses. Consequently I feel that I learn at a much faster pace. You should try it.
Other similar sites include edX, Coursera, Khan Academy, Code Academy, Treehouse and Code School.
- TED Talks - hundreds of fascinating presentations on different subjects (science, technology, art, global issues and more). Try this, if you haven't done so already. You will be amazed by the quality of those talks.
- StackExchange - a network of specialized Questions&Answers sites. Ask your question and receive helpful tips from other users. Help others and build your reputation. Stack Overflow, a Q&A sites for questions regarding programming is the most well know of the sites, but there are plenty more, including sites dedicated to bicycles, parenting and math.
- Gmail, Google Drive, Google Reader - ok, so I'm totally dependent on Google. Ups. But it's all really useful stuff.
- Prezi - the creators of Prezi completely reinvented presentation software. It's not linear and doesn't use slides. It's based on Zooming User Interface instead, and can be used to tightly couple content to the way it's presented. And it's incredibly easy to use.
- Stereo Mood and Radio Queer - two websites that provide me with a background music while I'm working.
- XKCD - "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language."
- The Oatmeal - crazy, funny and full of (random) knowledge.
- Stuff No One Told Me - a little corny, but often very true.
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- Lastpass - a password manager that allows you to use secure passwords (i.e. password that are crazy long and different for every site) without much hassle, and does this in a secure manner (the master encryption key never leaves your computer).
- Spinrite - if your hard drive is broken there is a great chance Spinrite will be able to fix it.
- Ubuntu - a Linux distribution that's easy and fun to install and use. Try it if you fell you are ready to replace your old operating system.
As a bonus: I've always used Ubuntu on a local network server at work, but some time ago I started using Zentyal, which is also based on Ubuntu and greatly simplifies the task.
- Python - my favorite programming language. It's logical and easy to learn. If you want to learn programming start with Python.
I'm also a fan of creating server-side software for the web with Python, using the Django framework.
- Sublime Text - it's the best text editor for coding (and other stuff) ever created! It got all the useful features, while still remaining extreamly simple.
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- Kefir Robico - it's the best food item in existence. Period.
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This site was hand-coded using the Sublime Text editor. It uses the Bootstrap css framework. The icons used are licensed under a Creative Commons (by-nd) license and were created by Jan Kovařík of glyphicons.com (with exception of Filmweb ans StackOverflow icons - they were created by me and you can use them however you want). The fonts used are called "Nixie One" and "Ledger" and are hosted on Google Web Fonts. This fonts combination was inspired by an article from designshack.net. The photo of a fox was licensed via iStockPhoto and was originally created by Eric Isselée of lifeonwhite.com.
The site was initially created around 2005. The current version went live on July 15th, 2012.