Review 2402

The great thing about user submitted categories is that I have a little bit more of a clue when someone submits their site. Post-nuclear Art was submitted as a Photography blog, so I knew I was in for a nice change of pace with this photoblog.

On the front page we have numerous posts with pictures and some text about the photos. These captions are nice as they set the mood for the pictures. If you click on the picture you are taken to a directory of more pictures (more on this later). The pictures range from people to buildings to items and well you get the idea. Everything maybe photographed.

The nice part about some photoblogs is they tell a story. Be it the growth of a child, or just a specific set of things. Unfortunately this site did not seem to tell a story, and was merely just a place for the owner to show off some of his work.

The best part of the site has to be the galleries at the top of the page. Some of these are standard pictures, others have been photoshoped to combine images, and others just have some tweaks with them. My personal favorite was the post nuclear art section. Absolutely amazing pictures. The nice part about these galleries is the owner actually uses a script so you can go through all the images by clicking a previous or next link.

The downside to this site is that almost all of the current picture galleries (on the front page) take you to an open directory. This is bad for a lot of reasons which I won’t get into. I did not like having to click each image link to see it, without having a description. After 10 posts of having to do this I started to get annoyed. You have the script for your other galleries; why not use it for these? Also I know the author is familiar with Photoshop and they have a nice export gallery feature he could use.

While surfing through the archives, the earlier posts did not have any pictures in them and instead were actual posts. Granted they were about photography and the like, but they were still a nice touch. The owner needs to check his archive links because I found a lot of dead links. This was rather disappointing as I was curious as to what else the site had.

A very nice touch to the site is the images under the “What” section of the site. I found this to be a nice set of pictures, most of which told a small story. At first I thought they were going to be just small articles he had written for the site, but was pleased when I found pictures to go along with the stories.

Overall we have a photoblog that seems to be there to show off the owners work. I wish there was an about section so I could learn more about the person behind the camera as I think that would help bring the readers closer to the artist. Fixing the problems with the open directories is a must do, even if it is just from a security point of view. If you want to see some very interesting images, and are looking for another photoblog then you should check this site out.
Post-nuclear Art

Review 2275

Negatively is not the way I like to start reviews, but first impressions really leave a taste, whether or good or bad, in your mouth and it isn’t easy to get rid of that taste. Carlos’ about section gave me a headache when looking at it. His self description was wonderful, but the font just about did me in. The font is something that was probably a neat idea at the time, but to leave something in that font isn’t something I’d really be in favor of.

The layout is a popular one – main weblog on one side, column down one side with all the necessary links and addendums. The light gray text on a black background is a bit hard to read, and the dark blue links aren’t much easier to make out either.

I did like the different sections Carlos decided to fill the sidebar with topics like “procrastination” featuring his “directory of distractions” (which is a great name for the other links he checks out) and “diversion” (which lists recent events he’s attended). He uses multi-syllabic words to describe the things that can easily be done with four or five letters. Hey, it’s something different and I like it.

Alas, this is not The Font Review or The Layout Review, so on to the weblog.

The posts here are what I would call “different”. That’s an extremely vague description and I realize that, so I’ll do my best to elaborate.

Readers are often treated to several posts a day. They’re short and usually pertain to something other than the author’s life. Sometimes a post will be just a quote, a brief bit of poetry, and when we’re lucky, Carlos will drop an opinion or a thought into his posts. When this happens, his words are very well chosen and written.

What I ran in to the most at Mysterium were commentaries about current events or other obscure links Carlos had found somewhere on the Internet, and deemed them worth sharing with his readers. I followed several of the links, and learned something new from each of them. His posts educate you. Now while that may or may not be his goal, that’s exactly what happened.

In a small commentary about a piece of email spam he’d received promoting “getting paid for your opinions”, Carlos mentions that “if being opinionated were the road to wealth, I’d be my own Fortune 500 corporation by now”. More of his opinions would have been a great addition to this weblog. The ones he does share, as I’ve said before, are thought provoking and insightful, just very few in number.


Review 2238

The Adult category has always been, in the past, used for sites with a large number of profanities and/or sexual content. However, the owner of Piscean Waters, has chosen to list his weblog as an Adult blog because it is written by an adult and is intended for adults. With that said, we move onto the review.

When i first entered the site I was greeted with a lot of different things. We have an intro page that gives us some insight into the blog itself. We have 2 columns, each with their own content (one for navigation, the other for links to other parts of his site and other sites). We are also met with a different icon for our mouse. Instead of the arrow that we typically use, we have a little fish following the arrow. It fits being that this site is called Piscean Waters. There is also a reason for the fish which is explained on the page. But there is more. We have a randomly generate quote on the page, as well as some images at the top that you don’t know why they are there until you read the text that is displayed when you hold the cursor over them. So that is all in the first minute of reading the weblog.

Lets move onto the design of the site. As stated before we have a 3 column layout. The entries are listed under a section called Blog Index and you must view them individually. Unfortunately I could not find a next or previous button on the individual entries. This wouldn’t be a big deal, if I was actually able to right-click on the page. The author has decided to disable right-click so I was unable to open each entry into its own window. Along with that, there are buttons for different things outside of the site which I was not too happy to have clicked on. The main one asking “What would you do with $10,000” only to be spammed with 5 different pop up windows. Please give me warning on this.

But as I have stated in the past, this is the Weblog review, and not the Design review. So onto the weblog. The author of this blog is truly gifted. He is able to write with such detail it is amazing. It is almost as if the author is really a professional writer. Every post was written well, good spelling, and just came alive off of the screen. I was able to picture everything as if I was reading a good book. This is something I enjoyed.

The problem with comparing it to a book however is that it doesn’t flow like a book. Some entries relate, while others do not. This is after all a personal weblog and deals with what is going on with the author at this point in time. So with each entry I was wanting more because of the ability, and then to move on, was somewhat of a hard thing to do.

There are many other sections to this site that are not related to the blog itself. He gives us his thoughts on being Piscean, which is another good read, and also some philosophy that he has learned. Along with that we have music and comics which give us even more detail as to who the author is. There is a page entitled “Ghostly” which is basically his about me page. I find it rather amusing to call an about me page Ghostly for some reason. Finally, I was most impressed with his Magic The Gathering section. Not because he is an adult playing the CCG, and not because I used to spend all my money on that same game, but because it is something unique to this blog. Not too many people post about MTG, and for that, I am glad the author did.

The author stated in the intro page that he is an adult dealing with adult problems. That is why it is considered an Adult blog. By all measurements out there, this statement is very true. I would not expect a teenager to be able to read and understand everything that is going on, nor the motivation behind certain things. I wouldn’t even expect an adult to be able to do the same either.

I must give this site some credit though. It is definitely the first site that I have reviewed that I could not sit down and read it and review it in one day. This weblog has had time and effort put into it. Which is something you, the reader, must put into it as well in order to get something out of it.

I have to give this site a 3.5 because the design deteriorates the blog itself. While it is an original design, there is too much going on, and too limiting to what I can do. The blog itself is worth a 4.0 and if you have the time and the energy to sit down and read, then you must go visit Piscean Waters.
Piscean Waters

Review 2205

The title, The Rusty Scalpel of Atropos, had me expecting cutting writing and a dark, sinister design, but delivered a standard Blogger template with no external links. With a weblog like this, that consists of only the writing, that writing really needs to be something special…

I found one or two posts that were well worth reading. “Be seeing you” was one very recent post that I even considered brave, and made me want to read on to find more like it. However, after reading back through the archives, most posts were just personal accounts, opinions or lists, often of things that annoyed the author.

I would have preferred a layout that reflected the title more, or even allowed us to understand the title in more depth than the brief side description gives us: “Some may think I’m bitter. Or unfulfilled perhaps. I don’t care, I’ve got my rusty scalpel.” [I think I need to watch out!]. I am aware of how difficult it is to customise templates or code your own, but I think that it would be worth personalising the layout in some way, as at the moment it does nothing for those few posts that shine.

One of the first things I noticed was that the archives are arranged under the titles “week 1, week 2” etc. I liked this as it made me want to go right back to week one and see how the site had begun. If the whole site could be given this attention to detail and made that little bit different to everything else out there, it would be more enjoyable to visit.

Due to the lack of content, this website just doesn’t feel complete to me. For anyone who is prepared to spend time searching the archives for those higher than average posts then it would be worth a visit. As it stands now, it just doesn’t have that something extra to pull you back. The Rusty Scalpel Of Atropos