Review 2372

I have to admit, my stomach sank when The Daily Post first loaded in my browser. It appeared as though I had been sent to review an entire weblog community with the likes of LiveJournal or Xanga. Instead, I quickly discovered The Daily Post to be made up of a handful of webloggers aiming to create an ‘international flavour’ to their site. Other than that unique facet, there was nothing particularly stunning about the site itself – a pretty standard looking template-design divided into the weblog, a photoblog, and ‘bits and bobs’ which is the English (and, as usual, more eloquent) equivalent of ‘miscellaneous’.

The setup of the weblog is still something of a mystery to me. While the front page lists seven members, I could only find three of the members’ entries readily available on the site. And those entries were combined into one weblog with no apparent way to view each user’s comments separately. This was a little frustrating since the members’ all employ different uses for their weblogs. Some are extremely political, while others are simply thoughts and comments on their current life situation. In addition to this hodgepodge of entries, some unidentified entity posts news briefs throughout the weblog. Having such diverse elements all piled into one category makes for a considerably choppy read. One minute I was hearing about the users promotion at work and the next minute I’m being spoon fed another user’s views on feminism. Each is fine in it’s own rite, but to try and combine these elements into one is illogical. The writings in the weblog – no matter what the subject material – do appear to be well-thought out and well-articulated. However, I feel like their writings have done nothing to further their goal of an international theme. It is no more international than any other group of weblogs that have members from various countries. After reading through the entries on the main site, I did find links to “members’ weblogs” on the members page. Upon discovering these links to members’ weblogs, I couldn’t help but wonder what I had been reading for the last 10 minutes on the main page if not the members’ weblogs. Upon visiting these sites I found an even more diverse selection of weblogs with no underlying theme. I will say that one member’s site was closer to achieving the goal of weblogging from an international perspective more than any other. She spoke, quite well, on the excitement and nervousness of traveling to a foreign country and growing up in the process. This site was definitely the highlight of my time spent sifting through The Daily Post. Another interesting feature outside the weblogs was their Alpha Bio system. They claim to have pioneered this technique in which the members use each letter of the alphabet to describe something about themselves. I found this to be a very clever twist on an old idea and a point of pride for the site.

As far as the design of The Daily Post, it’s very straight-forward and easy to navigate. The template is a familiar one, coming from Movable Type. I did find their variety of content to be appealing. I spent at least an hour maneuvering through the various aspects of the site with little repetition. Navigating the site was not bad, but there were enough small flaws in the link hierarchy to make it frustrating at times. I expected the site’s main logo to take me back to the main page every time, but it took me to various pages depending on where I was at the time. Also, the inability to separate each individual user’s contributions was very frustrating.

I would like to point out an unintended aspect of this weblog site that I found to be the most intriguing. I was able to observe the birth, movement, and growth of this weblog community via the brief background information and the various admin. posts. Perhaps my fascination by this was underscored by my relatively little experience in reviewing weblogs, but I found this site to be a perfectly documented example of how the weblog organism evolves over time. They originally had been hosted by a different, larger weblog community and, eventually, broke off and created their own domain. On that same note, it was fun to see that this community isn’t done growing. In their quest for an international community, they are now offering free web hosting and other perks to join the ranks. It will be interesting to watch this site grow and (hopefully) flourish into a larger, more international community.

Overall, I simply wasn’t that impressed with this site. Perhaps some of my disappointment was due to the initial promise of an ‘international flavour’ which was not fulfilled. More likely, though, my disappointment came from the lack of each user’s separate identity dramatized by the over-abundance of different weblog themes. If they decided to combine all the users’ entries, some sort of congruousness among entries would have helped lock the reader’s interest in the site. While I simply couldn’t maintain much interest in this site, I haven’t given up on it. It is apparent that this community will continue to grow and evolve as more members sign on. I can only hope that it eventually grows and evolves into the weblog community it purports to be!The Daily Post

Review 2312

My first review, and it’s of a site belonging to a fellow reviewer. No pressure, right?

My initial impression of ODAAT – One Day at a Time was good. Very good. The layout is crisp, fresh, uncluttered and clean. I didn’t have any particular expectation of what lay ahead, here, but I must say I really enjoyed what I did find.

I started out reading about the author in the ‘me, me, me’ section. I like the fact that it was quite open and honest. The author is now in Alcoholics Anonymous after having battled with alcohol since the age of 16. I, myself, had the same problem, and I felt an instant connection to the author because of this. Also, the author lives in England, which I found to be quite interesting.

This blog has been in existence for just over a year, and having gone back to the very first posts, I was pleasantly surprised to find they are of the same high-quality writing as the newest posts. The topics covered range from one end of the spectrum to the other. Some are rather personal, some funny, some political – all just as interesting and well laid out as the other. What I found especially nice, is how the author seems to speak to only you. It’s not phrased as if he is speaking to a large audience. I get the feeling that he would say the same things, in the same manner, if he were sitting across from me at a coffee shop. I found that this style of writing helped me to really feel as though I were getting to know him, and not just reading about him.

As I mentioned, the design of this site is crisp. It’s not at all a cluttered mess as some blogs can be, and I was easily able to navigate my way around. The font is quite legible, and the colours are rather pleasing and easy to look at for a long period of time.

I enjoyed perusing the pictures section. I was quite interested in seeing pictures of Bristol, as I once had a friend who originated from there. It’s a lovely looking place. We’re treated to an adorable picture of guinea pigs, and to some wonderful pictures of his sisters wedding. I’m going to have to check back often for pictures of the author’s tattoo to be posted, as he mentioned on February 3rd, he would do once it was healed.

I found the added features of the ‘My Books’ and ‘My Albums’ to be a really nice touch. The author obviously has a knack for giving reviews, and extends it to his personal reading and listening interests. There’s also the option of skinning the site, which I admittedly played around with quite a bit. The frog skin is absolutely adorable, and there’s even a [Finding] Nemo skin, which made my day.

All in all, I have to say that this blog was a very enjoyable review. I’m more than pleased to have lucked out with this site, as it was an absolute pleasure to poke around in. In fact, I loved this site to much I’ll be adding it to my own blogroll, so I can stop in on a daily basis. Anyone who enjoys a good read about varying subjects by a personable fellow would enjoy this blog.

ODAAT- one day at a time

Review 2516

Before I even clicked on the link to do this review, I was worried. Any blog that obviously promotes or preaches anything is always a bit much to deal with. ChristWeb is a Christian blog, but also deals with political issues as well as random personal thoughts. I will tell you it is very very difficult for someone with strong convictions on things like race, religion, language or sexual preference, it is hard to read the entire thing with a completely open mind.

Regardless of my opinion on the ideas being written, the writing itself is fantastic. The authour is obviously intelligent and does put a fair amount of effort into his writing, as well as research as he often has several things to back up his points. There is no real audience intended, but I think mainly people with the same ideas are following – as comment boards aren’t overflowing with arguments.

ChristWeb’s red and black layout is catchy, but not distracting from the content. The links all work, most to blogs the reader himself enjoys. There are many posts relating to a King Of Blogs contest, which I was unable to figure out, but congratulations on winning all the same.

Overall, the site was well written, and had some very interesting views on things. A lot of people will enjoy reading this, but again I give my warning. Strong opinions on things may be faced with a complete 180. If you can’t read another view point without getting pretty angry, some posts are not going to be for you.ChristWeb

Review 2499

‘blame the extended gestation.…’ seemed a rather curious title for a blog, and not one that gave any real clue to the content that was to greet me. As a reviewer one is tempted to groan when a blogspot url leads to yet another genetic blogger template, we just see so many of the same repeatedly. That said I moved on in search of an about me section, there wasn’t one. These aren’t essential to any blog, but they help to give a reader a little background information on the person behind the words. I then headed off in search of that crucial first post hoping that there might be so interesting background information there, again there was none to speak of.

The interesting thing for me was that on first observation of the site I didn’t think it would attract me the way it did. But some people manage to make the dullest things sound interesting, and more often than not Jim manages this here. His posts are often short, to the point and with no word wasted. But this is a definite advantage bearing in mind the subject matters he tends to cover – you can learn a lot about this author with just a few postings, especially his political affiliations and so on. The content in summary is a lot like the title – short and quirky!

There isn’t a great deal I can say about the site design, it is in fact a generic blogger template, which are frequently seen and not very individual. I’m not a great fan of light text color on dark backgrounds, but this one is clear enough and easy to read, so no harm done. All the links work, even the archives thankfully (it is quite often the case with blogspot that archives are neglected leaving broken links).

Amazon advertisements in the left hand column show what the author is currently reading or listening to, and some interesting links to other sites can be found further down.

I was pleasantly surprised by some of the content here, which certainly managed to exceed my earlier expectations. I’m not sure that it would be a blog I would visit on a regular basis, but it would manage to be an interesting diversion every once in a while. Not bad at all – 3

Blame the extended Gestation

Review 2494

“I’m going to America” is a fairly unique blog in so far as it has a point to it. The author even hopes that it will be helpful to someone, though “Helpful Blogs” isn’t a concept I am particularly familiar with. Certainly my own blog isn’t very helpful. Self indulgent, certainly. Helpful, no. Anyway, I digress. The point of this blog is to document the experiences of the author who is emigrating from Dublin, Ireland to New York City. This would make interesting blogging material in its own right, but the author is in addition to this, a sound technician for films.

So, there are two great aspects to the blog to start off with. Also, the overall design is really well done. The site is easily accessible with an intro page (including bio) and a FAQ page about the whole emigrating thing. These both provided me with exactly the information I wanted before I started diving in to the archives. It is an MT blog, so is technically sound and there are a few nice additions in the sidebars too- a “poll” feature which is used extensively throughout the blog, (though when the results are posted up in the entries it is not always clear what the poll was about in the first place). Also there are movie reviews and photo montages of various events.

The entries are categorised, but I found the best way of reading it was to start way back at the beginning of the archives. Because this blog tells more of a story, I found it made more sense to do things this way and start at the beginning. There are just enough blog entries written before the emigration to New York for the reader to get a feel for the author, his life in Dublin and to build up some suspense for the big move itself. There is a goodbye party which is extensively blogged about and in October 2003, it all finally happens. I couldn’t help feeling a little anticipation myself when I got to this point of the blog. The rest of the blog (to date) mainly deals with settling in to New York, trying to find work and other various domestic arrangements.

The work aspect of the blog is equally appealing though. The author seems pretty good at his job- the first few posts do provide a couple of definitions for the more technical words he uses, though these are not kept up throughout the blog and can make some of the posts a bit overwhelming. Anyway, he is obviously good enough to have mixed with a few stars, (though he still gets star struck quite a bit, which is nice.) One of the most fascinating posts of the whole blog though is this one, which describes in great detail the work he does on a 24 hour film making project.

At the moment there is enough content in the blog to get through it all in one sitting (give yourself an hour or so). One or two of the posts about the parties he goes to I found a bit dull and long winded, but generally the entries are all well written and witty. I am definitely gonna keep checking back to see whether things work out for Anthony in New York. Whether the blog maintains its appeal once things settle down a bit more remains to be seen, (Anthony can seem like a reluctant blogger at times) but for now, it’s enthralling stuff.
I’m Going to America