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

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