In some ways finding interesting and entertaining sites on the internet is akin to NASA’a quest to find earth like planets in distant constellations. The term needle in a haystack hardly does the problem justice.

The Internet is awash in junk. Much of it is a digital landfill of decaying binary garbage. Half a billion flies can’t be wrong, eat crap, or at least get a Facebook page. Although I retired my digital screwdriver a few years ago I still get the occasional cry for help, several months ago I received a phone call. ‘Simon can you come over right away my animals are dieing’. While this would make no sense to the masses, I understood the problem immediately. This was her way of explaining that there was a computer problem preventing her from accessing Facebook and playing Farmville, an activity that filled her waking hours every single day!

OK, I have digressed, lets get back to Shire Network News. Around Christmas time I was contacted by Doug Payton. The name at first did not ring any bells, although it did seem somewhat familiar. I had written a rather acerbic article poking fun at the plethora of Computer Guru’s staring into their silicon crystal balls and making tech predictions for 2011. Doug wanted to know if I would permit him to use my material. The mere act of him asking permission elevated him in my eyes. In the digital Wild West the norm is to scrape first, and deal with the consequences later. Fair Use has been replaced by Fair Game. As in, if you publish it, it will be stolen!

My general rule is that as long as the material is not headed for an Aryan White Supremacy group, Al Quada, or some other similar house of ill repute I I am happy to share.

Yesterday I received an email from Doug Payton with a link to his end product. Shire Network News is very much an audio site. Their podcasts are highly satirical and dripping with dry humor. It is nothing short of genius. The entire setup reminded me of the fabulously funny 1970’s BBC TV series ‘Not The Nine O’Clock News’. The ensemble that Doug Peyton has assembled really does deserve radio syndication. Shire Network News maybe just a labor of love right now, but I see some real commercial potential for this band of sharp witted and clearly very intelligent folks.

But, as the TV commercials say, don’t take my word for it, try it risk free in your own home. The really great news is that you don’t need a credit card and the is no Shipping and Handling, For once free does mean free.

Shire Network News can be found at, or you can listen to the last broadcast by using this link.

Great Job Doug Payton, Tom Paine, Brian of London, and everyone else involved. May 2011 be the year of great things for SNN.

Correction: I just received a message from Doug Payton – SNN is really Tom Paine’s baby. He started it, rounded up a slate of contributors, scraped together the items for Blog News and did the hosting duties himself for a long time. Time schedules being what they are, things have morphed a bit, and I’ve gone from segment contributor to, more recently, host. So credit where credit is due.

Simon Barrett

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