Like everything else, I want my pop culture delivered to me through the Internet. But the more I talk to my fellow Valley residents, the more I realize that some people are lost when it comes to finding the good stuff online. Luckily, I’m here to help. Here is my personal roadmap to getting my fix on the web. Get your bookmarks ready, here’s where you can find:
Everybody knows about YouTube — which, now that it offers all videos in the rectangular widescreen format instead of the philistine’s square, is greatly improved — but Hulu might be even better. The site compiles high-quality clips and even entire episodes of some shows, which are then easy to stream and share. The best part is that it’s network-approved, so you don’t have to worry that the best clips will be taken down by industry suits before you’ve had a chance to e-mail it to all your coworkers.
If you have a Netflix account, the value keeps getting better. Not only can you stream some TV shows and movies immediately through the site, but Netflix is now making its wares available through the Xbox 360. If you happen to have one of those game consoles, you’re doubly lucky: you don’t have to wait for your discs to come through the mail, and you don’t have to squint to watch your movies on your teeny laptop screen. If you don’t have a Netflix account, there are always less reputable ways to find movies online, but we don’t know anything about those.
If you’re looking for the latest from Los Campesinos! — and who isn’t? — search the Hype Machine, which will point you to any music blogs have embedded free MP3s. Those bloggers may actually be underhanded leakers, so if you feel bad for screwing over the RIAA, head to Amazon’s MP3 downloads, where every day they (legally) offer an album download for 99 cents.
Let’s say you’re bored at work, and you want to read a copy of Charles Kingsley’s 1886 tome The Water Babies. Pop on over to Google Books, and you can enjoy the entire thing. (This only works for non-copyrighted material.) If you want to search inside a copyrighted book for a few key phrases, you can do that — but it’s more fun browsing what’s in the public domain.
Real MTV hasn’t shown a video all the way through since N*Sync went bye bye bye, but the channel hasn’t totally forsaken its killed-the-radio-star history. MTV Music has all your old favorites from the Pet Shop Boys to Fall Out Boy. Now there’s nothing stopping you from watching Rivers Cuomo and the Muppets all day.