Review 3427

I never know what to expect when the title of a weblog is the author’s name. I had a lot of time to think about what I would be reading while I waited for the site to load. I couldn’t figure out what was taking so long until I realized that the author has included every single post (since July 2007) on the main page of this BlogSpot-hosted blog. Ouch. Then, to add to my frustration, I tried to right-click a few links to open them in other Firefox tabs, except right-clicking is disabled on this site. What?

Once I was thoroughly frustrated with the functionality and navigation system of the blog, I figured it was as good of a time as any to start reading, hoping the posts would make me forget using a few of my favorite curse words in the process of just trying to dig around the site. It’s design is a standard Blogger template, without much in the addition of anything personalized.

First, I read about Freddy Macha, the author and namesake of the weblog. He’s posted a brief bio in the header of the site: “I am a musician and writer born on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, north Tanzania. I have lived and travelled widely in East Africa, Europe, Latin America, Canada and USA; subsequently, I am multi-lingual. I love life, art, people, food, health and fitness.” This autobiographical information at least gave me a little bit on what to expect from the entries at hand – basically, a little bit of everything.

The blog is only a few months old and only contains a total of 28 posts. Most of the posts are dotted with photos of what Freddy Macha experiences on a daily basis. He writes about his personal experiences in his role as an entertainer and shares many tales involving soccer teams and matches. He also touches a lot on different African history in each of his posts that pertain to current day event. The blog is written with a personal flair, giving Freddy the chance to write in a conversational manner.

I found myself getting lost in a few of the posts, sometimes needing to go back and reread sentences here and there to get the actual gist of what was written. I don’t know if that’s because the translation between Freddy’s multiple languages doesn’t come across clearly or if it’s because I just never really found a personal attachment or reason to continue reading this blog.NULL

Review 3436

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2007 was to read two books a month. It’s October and I’ve read seven books. I think I fell behind a bit. The author of “Beyond the Cover” is up to 113 books that Crystal, the author, has read so far this year, and managed to post a review about each of them in this book review blog.

The first thing I saw when I arrived to this site was a eight option menu at the top of the screen that I dove right into. I need to know more about weblog writers before I start in with reading each post. I can’t decide if it’s morbid curiosity, or just a valid attempt at making some sort of connection with the author. Crystal provides the standard “about” section, and includes some great additions like book recommendations sorted alphabetically by title, a list of her favorite authors, and a helpful explanation to her rating system.

Aesthetically, this is a very appropriate design-choice for the blog’s focus. It’s a three-column layout, with images of books at the top of each side column. Aside from each book review, there’s a lot of extra information in the sidebars. Recent comments, archives by categories, a site search, and what’s becoming the popular additional of Google AdSense ads can be found while scrolling up and down the page. The author also provides several accommodating ways to sort through her reviews – by rating, by author, and by genre. The layout is somehow formatted incorrectly on a few of the different menu links, but it seems to be nothing more than a slight CSS error and easily fixable.

Crystal’s book reviews are why the blog exists and she’s been very consistent posting the reviews since March 2007, according to the archives. She keeps her reviews short and to the point, unlike my review of her weblog, and doesn’t do anything at all in the way of spoiling the book for future readers. She’s even received comments on the authors of some of the books she’s reviewed.

My biggest complaint, if you can even call it that, is the lack of inconvenience to read review after review. After reading one review, readers have to navigate back to a menu of different reviews instead of just going to the previous or next one.

Overall, this blog does what it has set out to do. I enjoyed reading the reviews, because Crystal got right to the point of each one. Anyone that’s looking for a new author to start reading or a new genre to explore will find this site both useful and enjoyable.


Review 3435

Well, that’s useless.

Allegedly, this site gives you codes so you can obtain presale access to Ticketmaster listed shows. Not wanting to see any of the acts listed on the first several pages, I find this site useless. In a world where places like StubHub and scalping agencies get all the best tickets first, I doubt that even with this password tool the seats you’ll get are anything other than just in the building.

I also found it interesting that there isn’t a real “about us” page here, and that each entry offers you a StubHub link so you can sell unwanted tickets. Hmmm. Wonder if there is a connection.

I have no way to test the site out, I have no idea if these passwords actually work. I do think it is funny that someone was so genius as to set up the password “VANHALEN” for Van Halen tickets (I would have set the password up as HasBeen, personally…)

I did find the categories section helpful, listed out by band name and how many entries there are for them, you can find out codes for your favorite group or show. Makes using this site a lot easier if you actually are going to search for passwords.

As a user out in the world, I’m sure if you, dear reader, are going to find this site helpful, but if you do, drop us a line and let us know if you got sweet seats of Eucker Seats. I’d like to know.

And, by the way, just for the record, you’re better off joining a fan club of a band to get the band’s access code. Guster and Barenaked Ladies both have great presale options, and I’ve never gotten worse than third row seats for my favorite bands when they tour, through the fan club. NULL

Review 3436

Beyond the Cover presented me with an interesting thought. Was this just a new way to say “You can’t judge a book by its cover?” Yes, yes it was. Again, this is a site with an easy premise and I would be confused if the site was anything other than something about books.

The design of the site is pretty tight. I love the fact that it is an original site. The author has cool drop down menus in the header and then gives the reader something at the end of the page. The site is a standard three column layout and uses the three columns like you would expect.

Being that this is a blog about books, more specifically book reviews, I expected the author to be well written which she is. I do have a problem with her reviews and some other posts in that she doesn’t have the entire post on the main page. You have to “read more” in order to read the entire review. Sure you don’t always want to read an entire review, but it is just something I do not like.

The other gripe I have is the archive system. The author has pretty much every archive system other than by month. We can find reviews by author, genre, rating, and series. If it wasn’t for a “previous entries” link at the bottom of each page, this could be a nightmare.

Overall this site does what it says it does, and does it well. I cannot fault a site that achieves its goal. Because this site won’t be good for all readers, I give it a 4 out of 5.NULL

Review 3435

There are some sites that you know exactly what they are before you get to them. Ticketmaster Presale Passwords and News is pretty straight forward and if it was anything but that I would be surprised.

So one thing that drives me crazy is when a blog is littered with advertisements and it prevents you from accessing the meat of the site. This site doesn’t do that and actually places the ads where they should be. Major props for that.

The content of the site is just what you expect it to be. Presale passwords for different concerts. Now I don’t go to concerts all that often, but the few times I have, I used a presale password to get better tickets. I had to listen to a radio station at specific times in order to get that password which was a pain. Now they are all right in one place.

This blog does one thing and does it well. There isn’t much content, but then again, I didn’t expect there to be. Is this one that you should read every day? Probably not. But if you are excited about a concert this is a blog you should definitely check out.NULL