Review 2452

I picked this blog because I live geographically close to London and actually lived there for a few years. At first glance this girl appeals to me, the visual appeal is slick and there is a nice animated pic of various pics of her and an aquarium. Also she seems to have a grip on the sort of things people are feeling at the moment. It is winter, last week it was holloween and the whole of the UK is obsessed by fireworks. She also seems to be involved with ‘Flash mobs’ something that I have heard of, and looks great fun.

This is my first review, one of the first things I was looking for was the link to TWR, unfortunately she seems to have decided that TWR should be gathered at the very bottom, with Blogger of all things! Probably one of the only things I can find to criticise this site. One small point might be to add a comments feature or to make it a group blog and let other friends contribute.

This web site seems to be a highly attractive mixture of personal diary and ‘London promotion’ which I find pleasing. Especially as the blog entries seem to denigrate the public services. It is like showing people what it is really like at the same time as advertising what is going on in London and why they should visit. I would agree with this pragmatic effort. London is great but you have to be willing to make the effort to entertain yourself, especially at this time of the year when the weather is terrible.

Trying to place a value on a weblog is a difficult thing. It really depends on what you want to read. Personally I like to read about obscure locations or topics. The writing here is admirable but I think at times she is desperate to find something humorous about her day. There isn’t anything wrong with this, it just wouldn’t attract me because as the saying goes ‘who wants to be a comic, everyone laughs at you’.

The design of the blog is perfect, giving the impression of vitality and energy of London, the fish tank idea is wonderful. There are quite a few extra links to activities in London and other people’s blog. However I would like to know more about the author, maybe that is the drawback of our busy lives and I suspect that being a Londoner she doesn’t want to have an ‘about me’ page but I think it might be useful especially when some of the jokes seems to involve friends and family that I know nothing about.

In conclusion this is an appealing slick blog for this girl and her friends. She does have other things to say apart from observational humour, there are the weekly results of her life drawing class, a nice discussion in May about the ‘Diceman generation’. The blog is regularly updated – another appealing feature. I really find it difficult to find anything else to say about this blog. It is a lot better than my own blog, it probably isn’t the blog that would appeal to me but that shouldn’t take away from the overall mark. In conclusion London is a great place, and Harriet is a great person, so take a visit to both!

In the Aquarium: a londoner’s life

Review 2369

When I first browsed hurriedly through LOVEindifferenceHATE(LiH from now on, for convenience’s sake), what caught my eye was naturally the chinese characters and colorful graphics adorning the top of the blogspot blog. They are beautiful, admittedly, but I was a bit puzzled about the choice of the chinese characters, as they have no obvious relation to the blog title, the blog or the writer.

My habit when reviewing blogs is to first find out any information on the blog about the writer. I find it helpful to have at least a hazy image in mind when I read the entries, so generally my first impressions are garnered from writers’ self-introduction. I have to say that Jessica’s way of doing it, by posting up one of those twenty-questions things(Favorite food? Favorite cartoon character? etc.) – except in her case it’s more like twenty-thousand-questions – did not impress me very much. It somehow presented her as a callow teenager. However, as soon as I started to read her posts I found out how wrong that impression was.

Jessica, as projected on LiH, is a young woman pursuing her dream of being a teacher. She likes children a lot, in a non-mushy way, and is a nurturer. She is also trying to come to terms with and overcome her depression, a breakdown she suffered more than four months ago, and an ugly break-up.

It’s not so much Jessica’s experiences that make LiH such a diamond of a blog; it’s her. Jessica, the person. Her entries are all personal, all heartfelt, all honest, and easy to relate to. It’s a combination of her introspective musings, observative comments and unflinching candour. There are times when, reading through her entries, I feel a surge of admiration. Even when she is dealing with issues painful to her, Jessica manages to offer glimpses of insight and inspiration to the reader, often without seeming to. These ‘painful’ posts are never painful to read; they are seldom self-pitying moans, but rather, genuine portrayals of her current thoughts and emotions. Perhaps the best thing about LiH is that Jessica writes not only when she’s overcome with melancholy, nor only when she’s regained total control of her senses. She writes when she’s caught up by her current sorrow or anger, and she writes when she’s composed and had time to think things through. This way, readers get the whole picture. Although this may not sound like a big deal, it is a point that further enhances the readability of LiH. For one, readers feel involved. For another, they feel like they’re reading about a real person’s real life instead of just a ranting spot.

The design of LiH is fairly typical blogspot: title with graphics right on top, followed by entries in the wide left column and links plus a tagboard in the narrower right column. I find no fault with the layout, though, as I mentioned, I am a little puzzled over the choice of the chinese characters and graphics.

Once in a while, I come accross a blog that touches me to the point of tears. Once in a very long while, a blogger makes me wish that he or she is my friend. LiH and Jessica accomplish those. The only reasons LiH did not get a 5.0 from me are the various annoying run time errors, certain bad links(entries from 07/06/2003 – 07/12/2003) and a smattering of spelling errors. Fix those, and you have a perfect blog.

LOVE indifference HATE

Review 2297

The first thing that I noticed about is that it’s not merely a weblog. The
weblog is the main focus of the site, but there are several other sections (including an
intriguingly named “Experiments” section) in addition the weblog. I was
expecting those sections to be external links, but clicking on them shows that they’re
internal content created by David, the owner of the site.

There are actually 5 authors (including David) listed on the side, but 3 of the others have
blogs of their own, and David seems to be the only active writer. Browsing through
the archives shows that the other authors average about a post a month. However,
David more than makes up for the lack of the other authors posts with his frequent posts.
The other authors also frequently make comments on David’s blog and vice versa.

The writing style of David is easy to read and he has a sense of humour that translates
well into text. The posts are varied and can be anything from news events to David’s
personal life. The posts feels easy to read because of his writing style and that is not
something that many people can do. I genuinely felt compelled to read more due to
the way David structures his entries.

Unfortunately, I could only read up to June 2002, even though the weblog has been
online since May 2001. It appears that David made the transition to Greymatter on
the 22nd of June and clicking on all entries before that resulted in a “404 – File not
found” error. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the archives up to June,
and it’s nice to see that the writing style and humour carries back to the beginning.

The first other thing I clicked on was the Experiments link, and the title does not
disappoint. Inside that section, David describes the internet experiments which he
has conducted. I particularly enjoyed reading the “Chatting up a chic via e-mail”
one, where he posted a tantalizing profile at an online dating site and
compiles the list of replies that he received. These experiments give the
readers a voyeuristic enjoyment in reading the replies. I was also impressed
by David’s sense of responsibility, in that he did not post the results of the
second experiment, which is about a dubious issue (read it on the site).

There is also an Articles section, which is a list of articles David and his friends
has written over the years. These includes pieces as varied as “A few
pointers to seduce women” to a multi-part road trip to Albany write-up, which
was the first clue that David is an Australian (I missed the Aussie Blogs
webring link at the bottom of the main page).

There is also a section called David’s People (D.People). It seems to work
like a agony aunt article in that David replies to readers who write in about
various personal problems. Some of them are funny and some of them are
genuinely helpful, but all of them are interesting to read. The other sections
are the guestbook, links, results of the monthly polls and a gallery – which
wasn’t the personal picture gallery I expected but screenshots of David’s
“The Sims” (a computer game) families.

Regarding the design of the site, I found the clean approach and black
background to be easy on the eyes. I also liked the way the red, blue and
yellow bars seem to have an effect of guiding the eyes down. That
hypnotising effect is probably why I spent so much time reading the main
site. 🙂 However, there is a design decision which I found strange. The
archives of the blog open up in another window and the formatting of the
main site does not carry over into the archives. I have no problems with this
though, since the basic white archive template is easy to read, but it does
detract from the “integrated” feel of the site. Also, this is nitpicking, but the
Main link on the top navigation bar pops up a new window instead of simply
loading it in the current one. I’m not sure if this is a conscious decision, but I
found this to be distracting as I have to close the new window.

In conclusion, I like the site and I feel that it really deserves a 4.5, but the
inaccessible pre June 2002 archives and minor design issues made me
reduce the score to a 4 in compliance with the rating guidelines. I really
recommend that everyone visits this site, as it’s worthy of that at least, to
establish if you like this site enough to read it regularly. Personally, I’ve
already bookmarked the site and will continue to read it daily.StayPuff

Review 2260

It was bound to happen. A weblog, which is supposedly personal and unprofessional by nature, produced for a company entirely by professionals, every word scrutinised so as not to cause offence and to promote the product in the best light, every post researched, planned and approved. I am just waiting for the first celebrity blog run wholly by their PR company. Maybe it’s already happened and I’ve missed it.

I first entered Raging Cow unaware that it was a Dr. Pepper marketing campaign, after the name jumped out at me and made me chuckle [Raging Bull is not my favourite film]. When I found out that it was an advertising campaign I was interested. For the record, I don’t like Dr. Pepper, and Raging Cow, the drink, hasn’t been released in the UK, so I dove back into the site to see how it stood alone- as a weblog. After all, this site will have been planned, designed and written by professionals, [and caused a hell of a lot of controversy] so it ought to be good.

As for the writing, if you like My Trailer Is Bigger Than Your Trailer, you’ll like Raging Cow. It follows a very similar writing style: quirky cow let loose in the world, logs her experiences and unique perspective on what she finds. Some posts are less subtle than others in the “buy our product” campaign. Take week one, for example, “Hey, our milk – it’s for everyone. But it’s just the same old thing, day after day after day. We’re just looking for a little variety. A little pizzazz. A little extra. A little … something …” Hmm, I wonder what that could be?

The design, as you’d expect, is attractive and fun, but took a long time to load. Once it did fully load it fell down where attempts had been made to make it fit in with other blogs out there. The link buttons [to the sites of the bloggers picked to test the product] crammed into the right-hand column didn’t sit well with the rest of the layout’s clean lines and cartoonish images. Aside from that, it’s simple enough to navigate.

There are three reasons to visit Raging Cow. One is to see what all the hype and controversy is about, the second to see what happens when a big company takes on a weblog, and the third is because they did an okay job and it’s a humorous read [if you can get past the obvious plugs for the product every post]. This is the first time I’ve ever said this, but due to those three reasons, this a must-see weblog.Raging Cow