Review 2688

There are some new kids on the block and all of you supposed publishing professionals better take notice. They call themselves the IT-Enquirer and they’re here to show you what it really means to be on the razor thin edge of publishing developments.

The design of the site is pretty standard and is easy to navigate. If you enjoy looking at pictures and being greeted with a lot of eye candy, you’re in for a disappointment. Information and opinion is this site’s bottom line. Reading the most recent posts, it’s clear to me that IT-Enquirer aims most of its content to people who are actually in the publishing/professional imaging and design business or at least possess a considerable amount of knowledge in the area.

In IT-Enquirer you can find information pertinent to the industry. This includes interviews with leaders in the business, articles, opinions, analyses, and reviews of new hardware and software. The IT-Enquirer offers a subscription service that provides weekly newsletters via e-mail, access to more content on the site, the ability to participate in polls and make comments on articles, and automatic entries into IT-Enquirer contests.

The man behind the site is an expert in search engine technology, document management, document publishing, web design and development, collaboration and workflow. I’d expect no less from a site that calls itself the “leading source for information on publishing in its broadest sense.”

IT-Enquirer is a good site for anyone who is interested in taking a deeper look into web design, print publishing, prepress, photo processing and graphic design. Although I can’t say that novices or people who are wholly unfamiliar with the topics that the website covers will find it terribly exciting, IT-Enquirer is still worth taking a look at. I give it a 5.IT-Enquirer

Review 2688

IT Enquirer is a site dedicated to Publishing. It offers interviews with the leaders in publishing, reviews on books and software, information on Graphic Design, 3D animation and most everything related to the industry. As the “about” page states, Erik Vlietinck , a Belgian Dr. of Law with 8 years experience writing for European IT-magazines, is the creator of the site. The about section also states that in March 2004, IT-Enquirer migrated to a dynamic database-driven website; therefore, all information published before that date is to be found in the navigation bar. However, there’s an advanced search form that will help your navigation. And you also have the possibility of becoming a member.

The site is nicely colored. White, orange and blue. It has various links on the side bar, including a search form, the about link, a link to terms and definitions used in publishing, and sections with links to older articles and reviews. The sidebar ends with the archives which date back from March 2004.

There’s a top menu which takes you to different links with reviews and information on other subcategories of the publishing realm such as 3D, Graphics and Web Design, to name a few.

The body layout of the home page is divided into two columns: the right side column and the left side column both feature articles with different dates for the months of May-June-July 2004 and the topics vary. I assumed the home page features the highlights and it reminded me of the cover of a magazine or newspaper: take your pick at a glance. Anyhow, I appreciated the introduction before every article, explaining the context and then a link to take you to the article itself. This I found very useful. Also, the terms and definitions section will help all those wanting more knowledge on the subject.

Regarding the sub categories in the top menu, each page features its own articles and links related. There’s also the possibility of commenting and beginning a discussion. I specifically enjoyed the interviews with prominent figures of the field. You can see IT takes its work seriously.

Overall, the site features very complete information on all things publishing and I’m sure it will be a great find to those who work in the field.


Review 2607

Colby and Beyond had immediate eye appeal to me. But then I have a penchant for parchment. I have always found this kind of background easy on the eyes, and was pleased to see it. It’s the best looking Blogspot site I have thus far encountered.

Okay, so it’s pretty…but what’s here? Let’s find out.

As I browse through the posts I realize that this is what I would call a classic blog.
(Or at least what I thought a blog was when I first heard about them)
We have here brief comments about an article and then a link to it. Our author seems to be a very prolific reader and there is no lack of material to draw from to support his political point of view. What commentary he does offer is well written and coherent, but in my opinion, there is not enough of it.

Truth to tell, when I read someone’s blog, my foremost motivation is to find out what the author is thinking about the world. How they see things from their perspective. And the more of that kind of thing there is, the better. When the author takes the time to dig deep and articulate their thoughts, the results can be enlightening. But it is all too easy to spend time taking pot shots or ranting instead. When I read political blogs, (it does not matter the persuasion) I don’t need more slogans and sound bytes. Those are everywhere. Here in the Blogosphere , we actually have the opportunity to persuade. Why not take that opportunity?

I do however give points to this author for a technically well done blog. As I said the writing is clear and the posts well ordered and made interesting by pictures, cartoons and charts. It almost has a magazine-like quality which is not unpleasant.

If I have one design gripe though, it is the incredibly long list of links on the left of the page. I mean sure, give me the link to World Net Daily, not a link to several separate articles on their site! This much volume is overwhelming and tends to make my eyes glaze over. When I want encyclopedic lists on a subject, I’ll go to Google. If you must link, at least give us the cream of the crop.

I am giving this site a 3.5 because I think it is above average in style and presentation. Though it has the potential to be so much more, if we heard more of substance from the author.

Colby and Beyond

Review 2581

Opinionated Jerks opens with what looks like a hand drawn character in a cap and gown. It took me a little bit to notice that he SEEMS to be giving us the finger. (You decide!) The page is a two column layout and fairly uncluttered. Lack of clutter is always a plus in my book. One gets the impression that it will be the opinions that are going to take center stage here.
Opinionated Jerks

Review 2579

‘illofbill’ is presented with a spartan, no-frills layout — few links, a large main text area, and a simple header, complete with a picture of a bawling baby. (Bill himself at a young age, perhaps?) While the simple color scheme is fine — black, white and gray, with maroon trim — I’m honestly not sure I’ve run across a weblog with so few bells and whistles before.

That’s the bad news, if you’re one of those folks who enjoys the ‘extras’ that many blogs offer. The good news, though, is that Bill’s not a bad writer. Most of his posts are fairly lengthy, and reflect Bill’s original views on a particular topic. His most recent post, for instance, is a tongue-in-cheek look at his recent fame as a successful software developer. You won’t find many links to other sites in Bill’s posts, nor ‘quick hit’ thoughts — the entries in ‘illofbill’ are more like mini-essays, generally more thought-provoking and engaging than a typical weblog entry.

Unfortunately, there’s more bad news, which is the infrequency of posts on the site. In the recent post mentioned above, Bill explains that his recent success has kept him busy for the past few weeks. But that post was the first in more than six weeks, and just the sixth in 2004. The archives for ‘illofbill’ go back to November 2002, but the posting schedule has been sporadic, at best, since the summer of last year (including just two posts from July to the end of 2003). With posts coming so few and far between, it’s difficult to imagine that Bill has been able in recent months to attract and retain a dedicated readership.

There’s also little in the site design that would foster a connection to the author, or a sense of community for readers to enjoy. Bill has posted his email address in the short sidebar, but interactive features like comments, trackback, message boards, etc. are conspicuously absent. Likewise, information about the author is lacking, too — I couldn’t find an ‘About Me’ page or post, or any indication of what to expect from the site or the content.

After reading a bit of ‘illofbill’, I wanted to give it high marks. Some of the posts worked for me better than others, but I do like the post style, and the writing was generally quite accessible and interesting. Unfortunately, there’s just not much recent content here, and — based on Bill’s posting patterns over the past few months — little hope that near-daily, or even weekly, entries will soon be forthcoming. This lack of content, in addition to the lack of context created by having no author information or mechanism for readers to react to posts, make ‘illofbill’ tough to get a handle on. I think that Bill has potential as a blogger and as a writer, and that the weblog could be made more engaging with a few simple features, but based on what’s available today, I’m afraid I can’t highly recommend this site. I give ‘illofbill’ a 2 out of 5.illofbill: fear and self loathing in Memphis