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YouTube is a great way to spend 8 hours you suddenly realize have gone by when you get into 40 minute rants about ancient aliens, because its algorithms for suggesting content can be questionable, to say the least. Not everything that's popular is really all that informative or educational, and you may find your regular subscriptions just aren't keeping up with your increased content consumption habits of late. So, we thought we'd point out five channels we really enjoy that, at the very least, genuinely do seek to inform their viewers, and in some cases, actually tech them new skills. And we just think it's a good thing to give shoutouts to some of our favorite creators right now, as we enter a time of economic uncertainty.
This isn't the kind of thing we'd normally post on Android Police, but we aren't in "normal" times right now. Many of you are likely at home with your family and loved ones (and if you're by yourself, that's OK too!), and while the extra together time has its perks, you're going to run short on things to entertain and otherwise distract you soon enough.
Learning to cook: Check out Adam Ragusea
There are a lot of really, really amazing cooking channels on YouTube. Alton Brown, Bon Appetit, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Food Wishes, NYT Cooking, and America's Test Kitchen. But as someone who's been cooking since I could be trusted to make my own cheddar cheese omelettes, the food personality I've connected with most strongly, probably ever, is Adam Ragusea.
Adam has a professional history in radio and journalism, but his foray into cooking has brought the best of those skills to bear: a strong, clear narrative and a penchant for double, triple, quadruple-checking his facts. He brings serious scientific backing to his recipes and techniques, but does so in a way that, if you don't care about that science, you don't need to! His methods are simple, his recipes highly approachable, and his genuine enthusiasm and no-nonsense humor endlessly endearing. I've made several of his recipes, and they're great. Adam isn't out to turn you into a Michelin chef or a world-class barbecue pitmaster: he's out to help you make a decent meal for you and your family with a reasonable amount of work and time.
His entire catalog is great, but I know a ton of people are probably looking to get into bread and homemade pizza right now, and he has excellent videos on both.
DIY car repairs: ChrisFix is a good primer
Admittedly, some of his videos are a little longer than they need to be, and some are just a little... unnecessary. But ChrisFix is one of the very, very few YouTubers doing well-documented, approachable automotive repair content that applies to a wide audience (versus specific makes and models). Just look at his most popular videos and you'll see him tackling subjects that are pretty common: oil changes, heater core replacements, tie rods, jump starting, tire patching, and brake bleeding.
The thing with cars, of course, is that every car is a little (or sometimes, a lot) different. Not every repair tutorial will apply to you, but ChrisFix can give you an idea of what's involved in terms of parts and complexity for many jobs. He explains methods clearly (if sometimes with more fluff than I'd like) and his videos provide a clear view of what he's doing to the car, versus merely narrating a bunch of wide shot timelapses.
Home repair: This Old House is still a thing
This Old House was one of my favorite shows to watch when I was a kid, even if I am one of the least handy adults on the planet. But if you're concerned about the cost of hiring professionals in the coming year, or your ability to access them for repairs, This Old House has almost endless videos documenting everything from toilet installation, to drywall repair, to clearing a clogged drain.
While I don't plan on doing any of the things these guys document, there's a reason This Old House has stuck around for decades: they're real experts giving real, practical advice on common (and sometimes uncommon) home repairs.
Retro PC and gaming tech: Lazy Game Reviews
LGR has been and remains one of my favorite YouTube channels of all time. Clint is a smart, funny, and engaging host whose wide array of technological interests make his channel surprisingly diverse in terms of content produced, while still retaining a sort of Greatest Hits roster of video subtypes: retro PCs, retro games, electronics thrifting, and weird old gadgets. LGR reviews some new games from time to time, but that's pretty rare anymore.
He's also got some instructive content, including one of my favorite videos: how to pick a retro gaming PC.
But he's also got great stuff like building a 486 DOS PC from the ground up, a machine that's appeared in multiple LGR videos since. If you like retro gaming, old computers, or are thinking about getting into the big wide world of retro PC builds, Clint's channel is an outstanding resource for figuring out where you might want to start.
Weird, but incredible: Primitive Technology
Primitive Technology is a channel that's gone viral several times over the years, most famously for a video in which the host builds an entire tiled roof hut from scratch. And I mean really from scratch. While much of what you see isn't often practically reproducible for your average person, it's just jaw-on-the-floor levels of impressive to watch what this person is capable of. And I guarantee you'll learn something, even if it may just be more of a "huh, so that's how people did that" versus a practical skill you'll be able to apply in real life.
His video documenting the construction of a bow and arrows is equally amazing, and I've probably watched in four or five times. Each time, I am just as blown away as the first.
If you have your own suggestions, drop them in the comments! I imagine we're all looking for new things to watch right now, and there are thousands of lesser-known YouTube channels out there making great content who deserve bigger audiences.