My Media Consumption Diet

So Improbulus tagged me for this social meme a while back but I didn't actually notice. The meme was started by Jeremiah Owyang who is also in the Media 2.0 group along with myself. Anyway from the man himself…

I’m hoping to start this meme, that others will join in and share their media consumption diet, in hopes, that we’ll start to learn how they get information or be entertained. I’ve sort of mixed up mediums, and media types, but after some thought, that’s the best way to organize it.


Improbulus also asks the tricky question about what is media anyway which I may get into later in this post.

Web: I get all my news from the web, mainly I read news via Greatnews my personal RSS reader, anything I miss tends to get come via email links from friends. I am currently subscribed to over 300 feeds you can check them all out here because I sync with Bloglines. Obviously I keep my private RSS feeds to my personal RSS reader. I did consider switching over to Google Reader with its offline ability but what tends to happen is when I'm offline and looking at my RSS feeds I can read through 1000's of items in a couple of hours. Google Reader with Gears only stores about 1000 max and isn't as flexable as GreatNews.

As you can see in my subscriptions I have many different folders.

  • Cubicgarden – feeds related to myself, this includes my personal lifestream.
  • Design – is a mixture of inspirational feeds with design feeds
  • Development – use to be development blogs but this got a little strained with the design and xml development folders
  • Education – feeds related to educational blogging, I use to have lots more in this about 3 years ago
  • Events – this was my way of keeping a track of what was going on socially but this has been replaced with ical feeds in Outlook 2007, soon to be Plaxo 3.0
  • Friends – Feeds from my friends, I'm trying to update this one regularly but I don't add everyone unless I think there blog is useful
  • Fun – Uhhhhh what do you think?
  • Gaming – This isn't just gaming, but ARG and hardware type stuff
  • General News – This is where stuff like Boingboing, Slashdot, Digg, techmem, etc go.
  • Interest – bit of a misc folder, which I hope to move in the future
  • Internet Law – This is where my copyright, DRM, Creative Commons, type feeds go
  • Lifehacks – This is one is useful but I tend to review it once every month
  • Media – This is where all my lost feeds go, in the future I'll start adding Bit Torrent feeds and other media related feeds
  • Podcasts – I'm planning to move all these feeds out of here in the future but the idea was to have all my podcast feeds in one folder. This is simply not practical because many people attach enclosures willy nilly now.
  • SmartComms – This was going to be a mix of mobile phone type stuff and human social networking type feeds.
  • Tracking – This was always going to be a place for temporary feeds like ebay searches and offers, etc
  • Watched projects – These are feeds for projects, startups, etc. This folder is very useful for keeping an eye on projects which I may have forgotten over some time
  • XML development – this is where my xml and semantic web type feeds go, in the future I'll start mixing regular development with this folder

You will notice in my feeds I don't subscribe to feeds from mainstream media including believe it or not the BBC. I tend read BBC news in Twitter right now but don't follow any other except sometimes the Guardian's technology and game blogs.

Another different thing about my media consumption when it comes to news is Particls. Particls is a personal desktop attention engine. Its seriously amazing and changed the way I read my news. I tend to use it at work a lot just to keep an eye on whats going on during the day. Its alerted me to many things which were related. Its also been useful for sending people upto the minute information.Its a couple of steps beyond a RSS reader and I'm honestly very impressed with it. I would like to see it on Linux but I'm going to try virtualising it with VMware or Xen in the near future.

Right backing out of news. I use Firefox for everything except really really dodgy sites. Opera is reserved for those sites because of the ability to turn off Java, Javascript, etc in a second. However I do tend to browse the web with Javascript and Flash turned off using a combination of Flashblock and No-Script extensions. I use Tabs a lot and once in a while will my spare tabs. I don't use startpages because I use load previous tabs. I use a Dell PC laptop for most of my browsing. I never use IE7 unless its for Automatic updates and will unlikely install any other browser except Opera (yeah forget about it Safari).

Communication – I own a cracking little phone, Orange SPV M700. It has everything including Wifi, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS and 3G. I use it a lot for mapping now I have GPS and iGo. I wish I could mount the phone to my scooter so I could use it even more but generally I do walk around new cities with my phone in my hand. Yes its a Windows Mobile 5 phone but honestly I like it. I choose the phone with no keyboard because I own a Bluetooth keyboard and I can type very fast on the on-screen keyboard.

I hate using my phone for making calls but I do mainly using my new Stereo Bluetooth headphones from itech. I don't own a Mpeg3 player, I did in the past but saw earlier on that I could use my phone for music and more often podcasts.

I email a lot and use Thunderbird 2.0 as my main mail client of choice. I have to use Outlook 2003 at work because the BBC uses exchange mail servers. I hate outlook 2003 for email, specially when I've got Outlook 2007 on my laptop. I own a ton of email accounts which I've setup on as my way of dealing with spam. I also own about 3 gmail accounts as backup and one hotpop account for unsecure mails. Yes I've setup the others with SSL and TLS using Thunderbird, so no one can snoop on my mail while on a shared wireless point.

To combat spam, like mentioned before I use multiple accounts with different levels of use. I do have a spam system on the mail server and did have a greylisting system a while ago thanks to Miles and Mark. But generally I find the multiple accounts work well and Thunderbird''s spam filter works enough for me to work on email without too many problems,

I do use instant messenging a lot and use Twitter via IM a lot. I use Pigeon (previously called Gaim) and then connect to 4 different networks (Jabber, AIM, Yahoo, MSN). More and more I'm dropping MSN and would like to drop the others except Jabber. This is becoming easier thanks to Google. I also love the idea of im on the phone but recently its been hard to find a im client for the windows mobile platform which doesn't charge a stupid a mount of money. So in the mid term I'm using tinytwitter a java application with twitter as my substute for mobile im.

I do have email on my phone too but just plain old IMAP and POP. No Push email for me. I do however have a work phone (nokia N80) which really sucks and makes for a bad 3G modem for my laptop.

Music and Podcasts : My phone currently syncs with Winamp and I have 2gig of space to fill up every day. I tend to fill up my phone with new podcasts once a week. I do listen to music, but generally its mixed together already. I simply don't buy music because the music I listen to is so expensive and tends to be hard to find. So instead I use a bit torrent site called to get mixes from the likes of Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, etc. I do download singles too for my own remixes but if I was to take up djing a little more seriously would start buying the tunes from somewhere. What Trancetraffic does which all the online stores miss is have a community of active users who you can see what they have downloaded. So I can see how many people have downloaded a tune or through the seeds, etc how  Also if your in any douht the trancetraffic community upload trance packs and uses the forums. So you can really get a clue about which tunes are hot and which

ones are not.

I do have a Last.FM account which was adopted from audioscobbler before it. I tend to only use it to track what I'm listening to and maybe sometimes for a couple of recommendations but generally Trancetraffic does a better job. I don't use Pandora and only listen to streaming radio statio

ns ckground music. I love and for streaming radio.


I use Azureus for downloading all bit torrent stuff, which will make sense when you check out the TV section.

On the podcast front I use Juice to download all my podcasts. Thankfully juice supports remote opml files, so I point it at the same opml file as my bloglines account. Juice then downloads any enclosures from any of my 300+ feeds. This might sound over kill but it means I never miss any enclosures ever.Both Azureus and Juice are running on a ubuntu desktop machine under my desk, whcih I treat like a home server. I then use Synctoy on my laptop to sync my music and podcasts across to my laptop everyday.

TV : I don't watch tradional tv but I watch lots of TV shows. What does this mean? Well I don't actually turn on the TV and watch whatever is on. I also don't own a PVR or DVR device so don't actually record anything. I don't watch live TV because I have no reason to do so. Yes I download every single TV show I watch.

I use TV RSS in Azureus to do all my bit torrent downloading. Currently I use a combination of, NewTorrents, UKNova and Mininova for all my TV downloading. Some would say my TV viewing is strange at best and are quick to point out the off the schedule nature my activities. Personally being off the schedule is a good thing and this is really on demand. I tend to watch a combination of UK stuff like Doctor Who, Jekyll, etc with American stuff like Lost, Heroes, etc.

The way I actually watch most of the shows is via a 32 inch wide screen TV set and a hacked xbox. The Xbox is running unsigned code by a community project called Xbox Media Centre. The purpose of the hacked xbox running xbox media centre means I can play anything I download on my large screen. In the past I have hooked up my computer to the TV but generally having a computer in the same room as the TV kinda sucks unless you live in a small apartment of course. The xbox isn't exactly beautiful but its small and quiet. It means I can access all the media on my network including podcasts, music, pictures, etc.

I do own a Freeview box (free to air digital tv) and a Ondigital box (same but much older) but they rarely get turned on. And they certainly get no action since the ariel fell down off our roof.

Pictures : So we currently own 2 cameras, not including our mobile phones. One is a Canon 6 megapixal point and shoot (like DLR style) and the other is the Sanyo HD1. Me and Sarah over time have built up quite a few gigabytes of pictures. Every trip or event adds a little more. I tend to store everything and only upload the best ones to

Recently I've been very slack with Flickr because I'm not naming or adding lots of meta-data to my pictures. This also applied to the files on the server. I hope one day to sort out my collections, sets and geodata. Getting that data back on to the server is another question.

Movies : I sometimes watch films in the cinema, sometimes I download the film and watch it while working away doing something else. It really depends on what film and what mood i'm in. For example just recently I watched Sicko in a cinema after deciding to help micheal moore in his efforts to wake up america to the joys of universial health care. I'll maybe go home (i'm on a plane flying between Exeter and London right now) and download it for my friends who maybe won't watch it otherwise. Being July 4th now too, I did promise to go watch Die Hard 4.0 tonight with a friend but we shall see how jet lagged I am. Generally Die Hard would be a film I would normally download.

DVD rentals I use to do via Amazon a long time ago and before that Blockbusters. I've not rented a DVD in about 2-3 years now.

Gaming : My only contract with gaming right now is the 1up Show podcast which is excellent because it focuses on gaming culture instead of doing long boring reviews. I always feel energized after watching it but I can't afford a next generation console, plus. I'm also not interested in the Xbox 360 because it can't play unsigned code – aka no xbmc! The playstation 3 looks good but at 480 pounds much for me plus I don't see where a Blu-Ray or even HD DVD player would fit into my media consumption diet? The Wii is my next choice but I'm not going to order one quite yet, although I have a wiimote for something else already.

Books : I tend to buy quite a few books because I like to lend them to people who maybe don't like to read on screen. For example I bought the Cluetrain Manifesto in book form so I could lend it to my friend Carl. He still has it but hey it was worth it becuase he wouldn't have read it online. I tried to read at night but it doesn't work for me because I fall a sleep quickly and am usually near a machine I can read the RSS off. I also have a hard time reading a book because of the line lengths and size of the text. It just doesn't quite gel with me. So I could easily sit down and read a PDF on my phone quicker that a actual book. I would love to have a real ebook reader but I can't afford such luxuaries, although I was considering using my old tabletpc as one. I'm a odd guy, I don't really read fiction that much any more, I tend to prefer the visual feedback of TV and Film.

Magazines : I only buy magazines .net and wired when I'm getting on a plane where I can't open my laptop till I'm all the way up in the air.

More to come….

Right my turn to tag some people.

Tom Morris, Miles Metcalfe, Duncan Barnes, Black belt jones and Phil Windley

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and