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What’s Your Favorite Go-To Downtime Site?

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One of the dirty little secrets of the Internet is that a great deal of the browsing and clicking and reading and interacting are done at the office, on the boss' dime. And when you've hit that post-lunch lull and you'd like nothing better than for your desk to auto-magically transform into a luxuriant cot, scanning around your favorite sites can usually tide you over to when the mid-afternoon caffeine buzz kicks in with attitude.

Of course, there's no end to diversions online. But interestingly, there are relatively few sites that constantly update. As in, hit refresh and see something different appear. That's likely why social news sites such as Digg and Reddit have become popular, as you can watch a diverse array of stories getting voted onto the front page and take part in the community-powered action.

One of the indications that my personal viewing habits had entered the "2.0" era was when I started browsing around Reddit instead of refreshing Drudge Report during idle moments. While I disagree with Drudge's political slant, it was and remains a great place to find a strange and often striking block of up-to-the-minute news links. However, Reddit's clean design, interesting selection of stories, and social news features (I maintain that there's very few things online more satisfying than voting down someone you disagree with) make it a compelling downtime attraction.

For breaking news junkies, Google News is an easy choice, and one of the best places to search for information about a story or issue that may have been covered over the last few days. Getting confirmation on breaking news is usually best served by looking out for what's usually a red bar running across mainstream media news sites like CNN.com and ABCNews.com. And for those with a taste for the truly tasteless and sophomoric, Fark is a standby, with specially crafted news headers like "New Jersey is all 'whoever smelt it, dealt it.' New York is all 'whoever denied it, supplied it.'"

Checking RSS feeds is a great and efficient way to quickly check up on what's going on in the subject areas you're interested in. I've recently made a significant shift away from RSSFwd.com — a nifty little service that sends RSS feeds directly to your e-mail account — to Bloglines, a more traditional RSS reader. Bloglines is great because the functionality is simple and the interface very clean.

Finally, one of the biggest time spenders/wasters of them all should not be overlooked. One of the keys for social networking juggernaut MySpace is that people have an innate desire to express themselves and connect with one another. As social networking tools and companies grow more sophisticated and savvy, niche and themed social networks are developing that are geared toward older (read = above 21) audiences.

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  • Person

    This article is bollocks. Complete bollocks.

  • Rodent

    The author is no Rick Romero, that’s for sure.

  • I don’t know who Rick Romero is so that is for sure. It’s been a long time since a piece of mine received a negative comment — bracing!

  • That’ll teach you to ever write again, Sir Berlin. I know you can’t take harsh criticism like that.

    You’ve pretty much hit on all my main go-to sites, although I no longer pay any attention to Drudge. I’d also add that I come to BC more frequently than just about anywhere. Even when I’m not seeing an article that catches my eye, you can be sure there is an interesting comment that just got posted.

  • Marc Cicero

    He didn’t even mention the beauty, the sheer poetic elegance that is UltraF……..CARRIER LOST……

  • Mr. Brewster, thanks for the kind words (smiles)! Yes, I’d place BC in my “active” rather than idle moments sites because of my involvement behind the scenes, but you’re absolutely right — it’s a lot of fun to surf around the site, check out where the comments are heating up, and I always end up learning something interesting.

  • Well, nice to see you writing Eric B.

    Google news is a big one for me, and of course BC. Both are open in tabs whenever I am online.

    Blue and his news are a must check twice a day, more than just gaming to be found there.

    When I’m feelingplayful and want to get my geek on.

    And a very important, but not well known spot, for insight into the machinations of the spinmeisters is found here

    Of course, YouTube is always a hoot, lots of way interesting and plenty of silly things, can be found there.

  • D’oh: There was an html error in the first of your above posts that caused it to be marked as potential spam by the new Comments management tool that Señor Winn has just installed on the site.

    I’ve fixed the error and told the system that you aren’t a spammer so things should be fine now.

  • Thanks, Christopher, I had found it the second after I did it, and fixed it as well. But too late.

    Much appreciated, and I’ll be more careful, now that I’m finally linking things properly…well, mostly.