Review 2528

Upon first arriving at Rambling Along, I was greeted by a highly functional, if somewhat clumsy layout. The eye graphic to the left is both intriguing and aesthetically pleasing, and the monochrome scheme seems to work well. I recommend the author get rid of some of the white space around the title, as it lends to a feeling of unbalance. Likewise, I was somewhat put off by the subtitle, “Musings From A Muddled Mind.” To me, at least, any blog with the word “musing” in the title (or “rambling,” for that matter) has a head start at being cliche. However, one shouldn’t judge a blog by it’s title (or its layout, for that matter,) so I continued with an open mind.

To the right of the page, one can immediately spot the author’s biographical information, which is nice. Unlike some blogs which have no biographical information, or information too vague to make sense of, Rambling Along’s author paints us a quick, concise picture of just who is behind this. He humorously apologizes for any grammatical errors describes himself as “am a 30 year old gay man with a penchant for seeing the “other” side of life.” While it isn’t really stated what this “other side” might entail, it becomes apparent that the author has a blunt, and entertaining. taste for sarcasm.

Kai, the author, has been keeping this blog sparsely since mid-September. The site seems still in it’s infancy, and long gaps between entries are common. Much of this blog written with a kind of adolescent tone that is alternately refreshing and annoying. The entries are often all-out rants, many of which any reader can sympathize with. He railed against parents giving their children funny names, and talks about his experiences with the Catholic church. While some of this is charming, other entries come across as rather mundane, and result to describing daily events with mild and expected editorializing. Some comments he makes sparkle like diamonds in the rough, and when Kai described his mood as “aubergine,” I couldn’t help but grin. This is strictly a blog site, however, and the blog itself is the only content.

In terms of design, this site is quite plain, as is expected for a new site. The large amount of white space at the top of the page in unbalancing, and the photograph above the bio is very poorly scaled (I am unsure if it is of the author or not.) The seemingly monochromatic color scheme could work, and the eye graphic on the left is intriguing, though neither really compliment the sarcastic tone of the blog. The archives are difficult to navigate for such a small site, requiring the user to flip through calendar views and search for days one which the site was updated. I suggest the author switch to a drop-down menu or list of links for site navigation. Overall, the design is legible, but certainly has much room for improvement.

In it’s present state, Rambling Along is a somewhat interesting site that some patient readers may learn to love despite its flaws. This is, one must recognize, a very young site, and the author certainly has potential. Amid the clutter, some gems do sparkle, and with a little more practice on his side, I’m certain Kai’s blog could be a consistently entertaining. I advise the author to keep blogging, reading blogs, and developing his voice. This site is very much in it’s infancy, and smacks of a work in progress. Eventually, Rambling Along could become something enjoyable for mass consumption.Rambling Along

Review 2490

My initial impression of this site was a very good one. The site was very crisp and neat, including three basic colors and a clean, legible font. I immediately thought that this was going to be a great site that a person of any age could enjoy because there was nothing too immature or mature about it. Another thing I noticed was that there were lots of pictures, which are important in enhancing your site and giving the reader a visual manifestation of the story or post. After this great first impression, I decided to dig into the weblog itself to see if this good feeling towards it would last.

The good feeling certainly did last. The posts were all very well thought out. Everything was interesting and fun and the writing was very smart. She talks about everything from cooking to what she thought when she woke up that morning. I was impressed with everything in the blog and the content was very entertaining. She obviously had a purpose in writing this blog, whether it was simply to get her ideas down or to share her experiences with the world, and her voice is strong and, at some times, moving. After reading her first post, I kept seeing her as an actress in a movie but it’s refreshing to know that she is a real woman, going through life just like me and everyone else, and I think it’s important to touch a reader like that.

The design was very easy to manage and I had no trouble navigating her site. She has all of her links on the left side and posts on the right, which is very common but for a good reason. Nothing is too cluttered; everything seems to fit just right. I think the design is great, to match her amazing blog.

To add to the experience, she was many different extras lining the left side of her site. You could find a specific type of entry by choosing a category of post, which I think is very unique and helpful. She also has as “Recommended Reading” section and a “Circle of Friends”! While enjoying her Photo Album, another great find, I noticed she was a nature nut, too. All of these things are great and only add to the experience of her blog.

Overall, I think this was an excellent blog and she shows great skill in writing, as well as photography and web design. I would greatly recommend visiting this site and I think it will only get better.

Switched At Birth

Review 2528

Your first impression of this blog is very good. As soon as it had completely loaded (which took only mere seconds), I was surprised by the design, as it’s a really rather unique design. One minor point though, the ads right at the top are really ugly. But for the rest it looks pretty nice.

Most of the entries are written in a humoristic way, mostly to amuse the reader, but also to prove a certain moral/point. The spelling is pretty good, although the lack of any paragraphs whatsoever may put you off from reading this blog.

However, this shouldn’t stop you from reading this blog. It contains some very entertaining stories that’ll get a guaranteed chuckle out of you.

Like I said before, the design is a very unique one. I’ve never seen it before on any other blogs, so it must be a custom one. The only down-side of the design is the side-bar (right). At certain points it’s a bit crowded, and certain images give it a very amateur look.

All the links seem to work, and the archive links also function correctly. One minor thing; there seems to be a refresh every xx seconds, and this is quite distracting, especially when you’re a really focusing on the entries.Overall, I’d say the design is very nicely done, and some work has obviously been put into it.

In conclusion, I’d like the say this blog is very nicely done, and definitely worth reading. If you need to extend your blogroll, I suggest you add this blog right now. You won’t regret it.Rambling Along

Review 2530

The first thing that hits you about the random thoughts main page is how sleek the design is. I instantly wanted to read more and learn a bit about the site’s author as it is quite a professional looking design. Turns out that it’s just another example of a self-confessed geek trying his hand at new things and being very good at them.

The author’s name is Keith and he started the weblog in its current format in June 2003 but, although it hasn’t been going very long, things have changed a lot in that time. When he started, the writing was immaculate but actual content was a little thin on the ground – now there is an awful lot here to keep most people occupied for quite a while. I’d classify it as a personal blog but there are a great deal of interesting links to be had, as well as a lot of rather cool science related stuff.

One of the most interesting things about the design of random thinks is that Keith appears to have doen it all himself, with no prior knowledge. He has learnt HTML and CSS, tinkered with Type Pad and fiddled with graphics, even taking a course to help. It is a nice site to read if you want to learn about web design from a layman’s point of view as most of his ‘adventures’ have been detailed in the archives. The effect now is a very good one, but I suspect this will change again before long!

As well as the blog, there are some interesting snippets (quote and word of the day), recommendations (books, DVDs and films), wonderful random photos and a large load of links. A thing that strikes me about this site is that it will either teach you something new or take you somewhere else interesting on the web practically every day. Keith works in education but the site doesn’t set out to educate – I think it’s just a sign of someone who loves what he does so much that he likes to talk about it and make it interesting.

I would recommend this site to most people, but especially those with even a passing interest in science. I may even blogroll it for the sheer amount of fantastic links that I encountered when dipping into the archives. I don’t think I’ve sat this long with a new site for quite a while.random thinks

Review 2528

Rambling Along, eh? Funnily enough that is what I myself seem to do an awful lot of the time but, unfortunately for me, not as well as this guy does it. The tag line is ‘musings from a muddled mind’ but the author is not as confused as he might have you believe.

The weblog itself is very well written, I think. The author admits that his grammar is not as good as his spelling, but both are still way above a good many blogs these days. Although it is a personal site, practically every post I read was very funny and so I just had to pop this one in the humour category. The first post was only in September 2003 but after reading the recent Christmas musings, I think I can safely say that this man has enough material in his everyday life to keep this standard going for quite a while!

The design is a clean and simple one provided, I suspect, in the form of a template from the hosts, Blog Drive. The advertising that makes this site free does not detract from the blog itself and the colour-scheme the author has chosen doesn’t detract from the writing either.

This is 100% pure blog with no unnecessary extras. The hosts do seem to provide a couple of nice features though and the tag board is a nice touch, but the archives are awkward to navigate if you are looking for something specific. I didn’t find this to be too much of a problem, however.

Although this site could, at some point in the future, benefit from a re-design, the one thing that makes it very good is already there – the writing. In the author’s own words “think of it as Bridget Jones meets Queer as Folk, only with less sex and more slapstick”. So far I think this description works quite well.Rambling Along