Review 2589

For The H*ll Of It. Why did I review this site? For the hell of it. Why should you read this site? For the hell of it. This was the idea I had going into this weblog.

I was presented with a nice 3 column layout that looked very clean. I was immediately impressed with the good use of colors and the fact that it looked good on my browser of choice, Safari. Glancing longer at the site I realized it was a url and it should look good in Safari. Then I read that the site doesn’t look good in IE, which is a bad thing since most readers use IE.

Onto the content. I was impressed with the diversity of the posts. Talking about software and personal stuff, and doing a good job with keeping me entertained for the first page. Yes I said first page.

The archives were not clearly labeled at all. There is a calendar which we all know I hate to use, then there is a standard browse by date, and finally a browse by category. Not bad having all of those options, it just is too bad that they were not all together.

So onto the archives I go, and I see that the site has posts dating back to 1998! This is insane. Of course there is a big time jump from that year to the next: the next set is 2001. Why not, lets see what was going on back in 1998. A click of the link and a messed up page. I thought maybe it was just for that year (since it was rather odd) so I tried 2001. Nope same problem. And the problem persisted through out all the archives by date links.

That leaves me with one choice: browse by category. Now some people find this option a nice touch. They can find specific posts quickly. Others, like me, do not like this because we cannot see any growth and that sort of thing overall. But I tried to go through all the posts by category and it just wasn’t the same. No sense of time, no sense of the past, just posts.

So just for the hell of it (pun intended), I decided to try and look at the page in IE and guess what, the site doesn’t load properly. No wonder so many reviewers complained about not being able to read the site.

Overall this site could have scored a much better score. But the archive problems, and the fact that the site doesn’t load for IE bring it down. Even though there are a fair number of posts with just code, I would think that the average person could enjoy this site. I hope the author decides to fix his layout so that he stops alienating readers just because he is on a mac. I am too, but I welcome any and all readers. For The H*ll Of It

Review 2597

I was drawn by the title. No idea what it meant but it got my attention. I’m a succour for honest pure things and peace and jellybeans both fit the bill.

My first impressions on reaching the site were good. The design is effective and eye catching. Water droplets on a leaf and a lot of green – nice stuff. The black text on yellow makes for easy reading. The design incorporates links to the main site areas, blog, about, writing and photos into the banner. This is cool and allows you to navigate around the site from wherever you are on it.

There is a simple photograph of Laura, the blogger, and a short about me section, which is extended elsewhere, in the left side panel. Further down the panel are several lists. Current stuff Laura is reading, watching, listening to and eating. A to do list for the summer holidays and links to other blogs and cool stuff plus the perfunctory archives and a link to archives from a previous incarnation of the site.

Aside from the extended about me section there are two other sections aside form the main blog. Some photos of Laura and her family and a writing section with one of her poems and some useful writing links. Laura wants to be a published writer and will use this space to show her published works. I was gonna use ‘if’ but she seems to be a pretty determined young woman.

In her own words from the previous incarnation ‘This is NOT a free sample!’…”in this web log, I will document my course as a struggling writer and impoverished student. I will speak my mind about life, God, music, literature, movies, government, current events, whatever… and I hope that some will speak back. I like opinions, I like discussion. I hate to hear my own echo in a quiet room.” I like that last sentence very much.

Her posts are pretty personal and cover her life with hubby, Jim, and their struggle in Toledo, Ohio. She is reasonably open and honest about their life together and also throws in some interesting trivia and thoughts on life outside their marriage. We also get to hear her struggle through school and her literary aspirations. Her writing style is straightforward and easy and pleasant to read. She researches a lot and provides useful links, which work!

There is a comments facility and this is extensively used by angie who I guess is a friend and provides Laura with daily affirmation and support. There is a good feel to this on-line “relationship”.

In its current form the site has been running since January 2004. Laura posts every other day or so and her posts are varied and interesting. The previous incarnation had a life from August to December 2003 so I guess she is coming up to a year as a blogger.

There is a feel good factor to Laura’s web log which raises it above how I’d feel on the content alone and the design is excellent – we find out Laura’s hubby is a web designer! Therefore I’d give this a 3.5 out of 5.
Peace and Jellybeans

Review 2552

Finding the Joy is a lovely blog. The whole concept of the blog is lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Beautiful too. Very beautiful. It’s one of those blogs where you know you cannot possibly find anything offensive and in truth, you don’t. I dare anyone to look at this blog and not feel anything but peace and fuzzy warmness.

Just in case you can’t already tell, I loved Finding the Joy.

Elizabeth Joy (she’s worked her name into the title of the blog, I love that!) comes across as a very down-to-earth, sensible and very humane human being. Upon reading her personal ‘about me‘ information, I discovered that she started off as many blogger and journallers do the world over – a ranter. Apparently it was horrible, but I am so glad she changed her outlook because the results of her efforts are stunning. If she was planning on a rebellion against the cynicism of the world’s bloggers, then she has succeeded ten times over.

The look of the blog is what captured my attention the most. It’s so pretty. The colours are all pastel, not “girly” but definitely feminine and it really adds to the sense of comfort that one gets (or at least I get) while reading. Pink is supposed to be a calming colour so the psychologists and other head doctors say, so I suppose I can attest to the fact that it works.

The layout of the blog is pretty standard, but I cannot complain too much as Elizabeth has embelished it with an individual and pretty flair with good coding and colour choices for her menus. It all works very well together. Elizabeth is also one of those crazy cat people so the blog does have a few pictures of her pets littered around the place.

Every post I read was charming, with a thoughtful quote to begin with, and a gorgeous (or funny, in the case of this entry) picture to end with in the more recent entries. Every post is of a personal nature (naturally, because it’s a personal blog) and I felt especially fortunate to find this entry which is, as she describes within the post itself, a “Nail. Hit. Head” moment. Blogs are very angsty these days, which is why reading Finding the Joy really is such a joy. It was nice to read the entries which detailed the initial change in direction the blog had taken after Elizabeth went through some tough times.

And finally even with the death of her father last year, Elizabeth still manages to find something positive in every small thing, whether happy, sad or indifferent. I honestly think there should be more blogs out there with this outlook on life – that life is what you make of it and to enjoy it. Finding the Joy gave me hope.Finding The Joy

Review 2527

When I finally arrived on the blog after navigating through a splash page and a rather annoying pop up requiring the reader to answer ‘qui’ or ‘non’ to the question “Would you like to vote for my site at DNW TOP 100?” my first impression was simply that the design comprised of an awful lot of shocking pink – some might say a little too much to be pleasing. But personal preferences regarding colour scheme aside the site on first impressions is bright, colourful and reasonably well laid on. I mean, personally I do not like this template layout – individual scrolling in all three columns. But these are factors I will touch on later in the review.

A small bio resides in the left hand column, which actually succeeds in providing very little information about the author at all. So I ventured off in search of the archives – first snag – where are the archives exactly? Not where I would expect them to be that’s for sure. Most sites tend to place there archives on an easily accessible archive page – or link to the them in one of the navigational columns. Not ‘In her own write’, here they are accessed by scanning down to the bottom of the middle column. That was annoying, archives in my mind should be located where they can be seen – not every reader would think to scan right down to the bottom of the centre column.

The weblog has been in existence since October 2003, and is made up of entirely personal postings about the author’s life. I’m getting the impression early on we are dealing with a fairly young person, and to be honest it is to this group this blog will largely appeal. It’s events as they happen, not life changing or thought provoking. Clearly its operated as some sort of public diary – which is fine for those readers who want to read about the life and endeavours of a young person.

The design as I mentioned earlier is, well colourful. Clearly the author is fond of the colour pink, and likes it as shocking as it comes. The template layout isn’t appealing for me, but again this is entirely personal preference – I’m not keen on having to scroll slightly down the browser to show the weblog area, and then having to scroll in each column to read what is in there. That sort of design works OK if, and only if the template fits on the screen entirely – which in this case it doesn’t. The archives were located in the centre column, not where I had expected them to be and I, for one, believe this needs re-evaluating.

On the whole ’In her own write’ isn’t all bad , it’s a fair enough contribution to this world we call blog – the design is individual and colourful, and the content although personal will no doubt appeal to those of a similar age, or in the same social circle. It isn’t a blog I would frequent on a regular basis. Adjustments to layout, less of the animated gifs in the weblog area and this site is likely to have some potential for the future – but as yet it looks and reads like just another teen blog.In her own write

Review 2572

As a UK citizen I was a little dubious about attempting to review a weblog which called itself “The Patriot Blog”, it seems to me that such a title is aiming for a purely US centric audience. – and obviously being neither an American or patriotic in my own land I believed I was not the right person to review to this site. That said, I did, and these are my observations. On arrival at the site the reader is presented with a very plain simple two column layout – there is nothing remarkable here on first site, yet nothing offensive in terms of design or color scheme. I believe the site had been designed with a 800 x 600 screen resolution in mind because there was a minor problem with layout which I will touch on later.

There was no clearly defined ‘site bio’, although I do suppose to a certain extent that the subject matter is intrinsically linked to the blog name – that said it is always nice to have a little background information on the author, or in this case authors because as I delve deeper into the archives I discover there are more than one. There are a few interesting links at the very top of the index page – quotes from people’s comments on the Patriot Blog, links to the archive page, and numerous others of potential interest to the reader.

The blog, or so it seems by the archive page has only been in existence since the beginning of January, and that is finally where I find my introduction to both the site and it’s authors.

“The words of this website will be written by three of the most esteemed gentlemen around. The daily posters will be yours truly, Grant Anderson and the more blunt of the three of us, Mr. Mills [Ymmit]. We will be harsh on those who dont meet the “Patriot Blog” standards! Every week we will be joined by James P. Hohmann for the week in review on FRIDAYS… “

With that in mind I continued reading. The content of this site is largely made up of rants about various subjects – be it depth of patriotism or vegetarians. The entries vary tremendously in quality, and are strong on opinion but not necessarily objectivity. So, yes, we have another opinion blog full of upfront viewpoints which take no prisoners – which is fair enough, there are bound to be some readers out there who will find this mode of writing entertaining – possibly just Americans from a similar chain of thought as themselves. It did little for me, but then the site isn’t intended to appeal to an English vegetarian now is it? 😉

The design as I said is plain and unlike some of it’s content not particularly offensive. The small problem I mentioned earlier with regards to layout was this – although the site frame itself seems to adapt to browser size, the left hand column seems fixed in size. Now this isn’t necessarily a problem, but aesthetically it leaves a large gap on larger screen resolutions making the text appear very fixed to the left hand side of the column. The site is easy enough to navigate, although some method of moving from one individual entry to the next would really benefit a reader like myself – moving through the month archives is simple enough. Again I picked up on a problem here, albeit it a fairly minor one – the right hand calendar menu continues putting a link to previous months even when no entries are present.

The site overall is as I had initially expected – tailored towards an entirely American audience who share a similar chain of thought to themselves. Entries vary tremendously in quality, and as yet there isn’t a great deal to read, but content to date is mostly ‘opinion’ and rants. Standing aside from my personal preferences I see this blog having limited appeal – certainly to Americans, probably to those who share a similar chain of thought. That said, even a blog whose opinion I don’t share can hold appeal, but this failed to grasp my attention for too long. An adequate contribution to the world of the web.Patriot Blog