Review 2656

The first thing that caught my eye was the nifty color scheme. I’m a huge fan of dark backgrounds with light text, but only if it’s easy on the eyes. This one is. This site has a very simple layout that pulls your attention right in to what matters the most, the entry text. The banner really caught my eye and grabbed my attention with the following description:

“Brought to you by your neighborhood misanthropic, buxom, bondage-positive, bipolar, bisexual, skydiving roue.”

I most enjoy sites who’s authors I have much in common with and this sounds like my kind of site! (There is a reason I journal anonymously, folks. I wouldn’t want Granny Gypsy finding all my secrets!) I was interested in diving right in and seeing what the author had in store for me. My excitement doubled when I read the “About Me” page and found the author shares my sign. However, I was mighty disappointed that there is little more information than that.

What is with the bloggers of the world and not giving the reader a first glimpse at who’s journal they’re reading??? I want to know the basics. I want an interesting “100 Things About Me” or some other variation of “this is who I am.” Suggestion: add more information to your “About Me” page. I understand that you want to remain anonymous, but you can give the reader a little insight into who you are AND still maintain your anonymous cover. Plus, you’ll hook a lot more readers.

This journal is raw. It is expressive, understandable, intriguing, and wonderful. I do have to say it is a bit like a car wreck that you can’t look away from. In my first few moments of reading, the author went into a dramatic explanation of her mental afflictions, her desire to cut herself, the experience of getting her nipple pierced and experienced a freak accident while she was instructing sky divers. I’m out of breath just reading this stuff!

The author has a way with words that allows the reader to experience whatever it is she’s going through. The words she uses grip at you and make you understand. On top of it all, she throws in just the right mix of humor. She holds nothing back and lets it all out in an amazing manner. She manipulates her words and forces them to dance to the music she writes. She has control.

Opening this blog is like stepping into another world. A world full of shameless sex, the search for the next surge of adrenaline, and the demons that pursue the writer in her head and in her emotions. The author is disturbed by her own ghosts, animatedly alive, and soul searching deep in her entries. This blog is not for the faint of heart. This blog is adult rated. There are sexually explicit entries and links to other sexually explicit sites. The entries are extensively thought out and served in the manner of a great steak dinner. One is expected to savor and enjoy each word handed to them while anticipating the next course.

Regardless of the “no holds barred” manner of writing, one gets the feeling that the author isn’t quite as self-assured as she may lead you to believe. She is astounded by the positive way some people view her. She seems to be a mixture of so many attributes that the end result is unlike any other person to ever blog, much less exist.

The site design is perfect for the content. The layout pulls attention into the entry text, where it should be. The design doesn’t distract the reader from what they come to this site for, the writing. There aren’t a lot of bells or whistles, but this site doesn’t require any of that. It is enough to simply stand on it’s own good merit.

The author lets you into her world while holding back any identifiable information that may lead to recognition in the “outside” realm of blogging. She is a very private person. She is a very secretive person. Yet she comes to her blog to unload the idiosyncrasies that she feels defines who she is. She’s extraordinary. And yet, she’s just a typical person living a life that she has chosen to morph into something that is alternative in a number of ways. She is the best parts of all different worlds, rolled into one human being. Even the “imperfections” of her mental deficiencies define who she is and how she writes.

Again, this blog isn’t for the faint of heart. You’re going to find adult content in the ways of sex, mental afflictions, and life in general. The author is extremely explicit in her writings. I highly recommend this site for anyone who wants to break out of the little box containing who they are as a person and explore the other options that life has available. I’m not saying that you have to become a skydiver, a bisexual, or a bondage addict, but it is refreshing to realize there is a broader world out there than most of us are accustomed to.

This is one blogger I would love to have over for dinner.

caught in my burble

Review 2658

When I initially had a peek at AWesome, I thought “Oh goody! A computer blog with a more personable edge!” after noting the cute baby picture that’s proudly displayed on the blog. Was I ever wrong. This blog is designed as a sort of how-to for using ActiveWords, a Windows scripting software and that’s pretty much it. Fair enough, says I. The blog’s written by a lady from the Netherlands by the name of Marjolein who seems to have an obsession about Active Words (hence the blog all about using it).

I popped on over to check out her bio. Her 30-second elevator pitch reads as such:

You probably ended up here because you are curious what the AWesome blog is all about. The 30-second elevator pitch on AWesome is that it discusses tips, tricks and undocumented features of the software tool ActiveWords.

And true to form with such blogs, what you see is what you get! For ActiveWords users, this blog would probably be a dream as it’s written in clear, concise, straight forward English which I’d assume would be great for newbies and pros alike. She’s gone so far as to put in images and examples demonstrating the software and how to use it in conjunction with various other tools. Sadly, I can’t review her personal blog (because Marjolein asked for AWesome to be reviewed) but some other information, such as her being a surrogate mother was also listed on her bio and that was a real eye-opener.

The blog itself could use some help in the organisation side of things as it is very messy and the design doesn’t suit the purpose of Marjolein’s writing at all. I found myself getting dizzy trying to access all the entries. It’s quick to load on a 56k connection and the whole layout has been done in a very basic fashion, but that’s about it. Oh, and it’s very yellow. I believe that such a blog calls for a cleaner, more structured interface so that people looking for tutorials and tips would be able to find things and not get a headache from all the yellowness.

All that said however, I believe that this blog is a great beginning as a technical resource on the web!


Review 2658

AWesome. An interesting title. Awesome has reasonably exciting connotations, as words go and it reminds me of “Bill and Ted” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and surfer types (none of which are even remotely connected with this blog by the way). An interesting little capitalisation of the AW was also noted – the plot thickens. I clicked on the link and launched myself in to the weblog. I was first hit by a somewhat gaudy coloured Typepad blog – various shades of orange never seem to work on screen somehow. Technically, it has an About Me page and some photos of the author’s child, though these seemed somewhat out of context as the child (or any other personal content) is barely mentioned in the blog. The ubiquitous links, webrings and other sidebar buttons and boxes are all present and correct too.

Ok, enough drivel. The blog looks ok, but nothing inspiring. It contains what it needs but little more. So moving swiftly on to the content…and swiftly back off the content too if I can help it because I found it INCREDIBLY dull. Now, before I upset the author too much, I say this with one reservation- it probably isn’t dull at all to anyone who is interested in a program called ActiveWords. The AW of the title is suddenly revealed! This program creates shortcuts within windows and is a pseudo programming language from what I can gather. The thing is, I am in rather a difficult position because I am not here to review ActiveWords (which may very well be the fantastic program it is portrayed to be on this blog). I am here to review the weblog itself and I am ashamed to say that, despite the weblog only going back a couple of months, I couldn’t bring myself to read all the archives. They were written in a very “techie” style – which is probably appropriate for a subject such as this, but makes for incredibly difficult reading for someone who is not familiar, interested in or currently making practical use of the subject matter.

The point is that those users of ActiveWords out there will probably find this helpful- there seems to be a lot of good, practical advice which is explained methodically, with pictures and downloads too. Just don’t ask me what any of it means.

The comments also seemed supportive – “great blog, really useful, keep up the good work”, that kind of thing. So for the community of users, I am sure this is a helpful resource. The author also is able to give support over IM and email, which I thought was good of her.

So I am really perplexed how to score this blog with regards to content, as it is one of the most black and white examples I have ever come across. Either people will (presumably) love it and find it useful (i.e. other ActiveWords users) or will find it irrelevant and move swiftly on (i.e. everyone else). So um….3, I guess.

And in case anyone is wondering, no I won’t be downloading ActiveWords and giving it a go myself, at least not today. It seems like rather a lot of unnecessary fannying about, if you ask me.AWesome

Review 2658

My first impressions of the site were not accurate. A picture of a baby and a title that appeared to be a play on words, which I couldn’t fathom. An orange and yellow template, (the colour scheme did nothing for me). A personal web log? No. The site is techie site.

AWesome is a clever title. The site concerns Active Words software. It is authored by Marjolein Hoekstra who has decided to share tricks, tips and undocumented features of the software with us.

The design is straight forward. The top line contains a home page icon, and links to an about me section, and links to the software’s site and a community forum concerning the software. The about me section is informative, contains a mission statement for the web log and contains some random family snaps. There are two side panels, left and right. There are links to previous posts, Active Words software related sites and downloads, a search engine, and a Yahoo messenger online indicator to initiate instant messaging. Navigating the site is easy and all the links are functional. The only draw back for me would be that the page is a little cluttered, but not badly so.

I watched a live demo, Basic ActiveWords Functionality, in order to get a feel for the software. I haven’t used the software nor am I familiar with scripting. However I now understand that the software uses text as commands to… launch programs, open files, open folders, substitute text, navigate to web sites, send e-mail messages, and execute commands. Very nifty.

The main posts contain technical information about using the software and links to other helpful information. The site has been up and running since March 20th 2004 and Marjolein has posted 32 times with different slants on the software. They are categorised into amongst others; ‘tips and tricks’, ‘beginners’, ‘active words website’, ‘weblogs’, ‘promotion’, and ‘blogging tools.’ The posts are very well written and contain screen shots to help the reader understand the process being described. I am a reasonably skilled PC user and found the articles easy to follow.

I tried to download one of the WordBases, but the file extension conflicted with a Real Player wide band content file type. The download worked though.

The target audience for this site would be users of the Active Words software. It appears to be a useful site, which is well written and presented. Marjolein is enthusiastic and committed to her project. I feel it is worth a four out of five.

Review 2627

I clicked on the link to the diary. I was greeted by black and white. Stark. But it served to showcase the bold statement – My Life Is Better Than Yours, a statement that is ripe for a challenge. Oh yeah, I think. Prove it! Already I am intrigued.

I started off with his bio entitled Super Timmy D Boy which gave me some basic information about him plus a spoofy photo of some outrageous body builder’s body with Timmy’s face pasted on top. Cute. In the bio is a FAQ list that includes statements like this: I don’t think your life is better than mine. A. It’s okay to be wrong. That pretty much sums up the super self-confidence that you are about to experience at Timmy’s place.

I began my tour of the entries with the Timmy’s Best link, which is a nice feature in a diary by the way. It’s very handy for the new visitor to your site. Oh my! In no time at all, I am laughing out loud. This guy is hilarious. Raunchy, irreverent, politically incorrect, macho….and hilarious! Here’s a quote from an entry about attending a birthing class with his wife:
….my only goal in taking the class was just to learn how to duck when the wife starts swinging during labor. Pray for me.

I read several entries from the archives that were written in a one line dialog style that were very funny. In the older archives there seemed to be no comment function, but in the latest months there is. He has a fairly large number of commenting readers, which is a good recommendation for his diary in itself.

I cannot find fault with this diary unless you are a person who likes a lot of visual stimulation from your blog browsing. At Timmy’s it’s all Black and White. And in my opinion, it works with his writing style.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, and after reading the rollicking, good natured, if testosterone saturated entries, I am left with the embarrassing possibility that his life actually MAY be better than mine!

My Life is Better than Yours