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For The H*ll Of It

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 mac.com 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.

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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.

 

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Peace and Jellybeans

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.

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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.

 

I am strangely drawn

I am strangely drawn to the deep orange lettering on the pleasant green background here at Random Scatter. I like that the entries take up most of the width of the page. It’s book-like. No clutter, few links. I settle in for a read.

It says something for this blog that I didn’t feel compelled to find out something about who was writing, as I usually am wont to do. The style of the page is welcoming and calm, so I just started reading.

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Random Scatter is a good title for this journal. The author proses about any number of random subjects, from politics to music awards ceremonies on TV and other social issues. I have read other blogs from authors who use their page as a way to clear out the cobwebs before they start the day. This author is of that ilk I think. We don’t get much mention of his personal life, but we do get a lot of his opinion of the state of the political world.

By his own admission, his blog is a collection of “curmudgeonly rants”. I would concur. He seems to post irregularly as there are large gaps in time between posts. But this is not a problem because of the nature of the entries. Several of the posts are full of criticisms of public figures and the decisions they are making. The criticisms are of stock variety in my opinion and I read nothing novel here. And after about the 10th entry, they began to be a bit predictable. This became even more disappointing to me when I dug into his profile in one of the links provided, and found out that he has an impressive resume’, being a writer for corporations, and has authored two web based, on line novels. From someone with such credentials, I would expect more.

But, I don’t think he takes the blog all that seriously himself, which is cool, it’s HIS blog after all! The following quote describes his outlook:

“What the hey. It’s only a weblog, right? They’re a dime a dozen in the digital age. And it’s a heck of a good way to wake up the brain on a damp June morning… ”

As mentioned before, he has a website link that tells us more about himself and works just fine, but the only way I was able to access the Archives was from the information provided on TWR newsboard. This won’t help the regular visitor much.

Overall I was underwhelmed by this weblog. It is like so many others I have read that take pot shots at public figures. Ho Hum. But I did run across a jewel or two. This being one of them: Wednesday , November 05, 2003 “Why a Weblog Anyway?”

It’s a disturbing story, told as a cautionary tale. But it also contains some valid points about getting published. More of this kind of writing, would have made for a much more enjoyable read.

Random Scatter

Random Scatter is a rather appropriate title for the vast majority of weblogs, but none more so than this weblog. The posting consistency is random, and it is scattered, but then that isn?t necessarily a bad thing. Over-posting when there is very little of interest to say is a far worse crime in my opinion, and no one could accuse this blogger of such a crime. My first impressions on arriving at the site however were less complementary – its yet another generic blogger template, which has been altered so that the design itself has been thrown out at the right hand margin.

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These are fairly small things in the great scheme of things, and can be easily overlooked if the writing itself it good. With no about me page to indulge in I headed for the archives – always my first port of call when reviewing a weblog. Only I was to find there were none, the heading was there – in the right hand column, but there were no actual archives. So I scanned down to the bottom of the only available page I had to hand and began to read. Quite quickly I realised that the lack of archives was not in error, but was intentionally done. I did find the archives in the end, but only via a little creativity with links!

This blog has been in existence since September 2003 as far as I can see, but the posting is, as the title itself suggests, rather scattered and random. The author clearly only makes an entry when they have something to say – a real attribute. Visitors to ?Random Scatter? would do well to look beyond the design and the lack of obvious archive links . This person writes well. Maybe every post didn?t hold my undying attention, but the vast majority did. There are so few posts that it won?t take the reader long, in fact the index page of this blog showcases the blog in its entirety anyway – but what you will find will be written well, be descriptive and , in the main, very interesting to read.

The design as I said is a generic blogger template, one of the old designs it seems as well. Its made worse by a couple of errors which throw the design out at the right hand margin. The colour scheme isn?t particular offensive, and it is readable.

It may be random and scattered, but this is as worthwhile a contribution to the blogosphere as any other weblog I have come across recently. Its largely well written and interesting to read, and what the design lacks in individuality is nicely made up by the personality of its owner shining through in every word. Maybe its not a weblog I would refer to on a daily basis, after all the posting consistency alone wouldn?t warrant such visits, but it is one I would refer to now and again to see what the author has to say. A thoroughly attractive 3.5

Whapak!

When I first entered this blog, I was greeted with a very crisp and clean looking page. At the very top, was a photo of a lady sitting in an arm chair. This really set the page off with a nice touch. Once I was finished with the basics of looking over the page, I began to look for a bit of info about the author so I could get a feel of what the posts were about.
As it turns out, the author (Rozette), is a 14 year old high school student. She is also a web designer, a guitarist/vocalist, etc. Rozette seems to have many talents.

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At this point, I began to read the entries. The entries were basically based on Rozette’s everyday life. There are a couple of posts where she will give her opinion on different subjects such as political issues etc. Some of the writing in her entries is not in English , so I really couldn’t understand a majority of them.

When I got through with Rozette’s main page, I really didn’t get much out of it. What I mean by that is, it just didn’t interest me in the least. At that point, I started going through her archives, hoping that maybe I could find better reading. I was very disappointed. Since the author has various talents as I mentioned above, I assumed there would be more to her entries. Rozette has talked about trips she had been on and even posted photos, which were very nice, I might add. But in my opinion, the photos were the only things that made the blog stand out, (so to speak). A good majority of the entries just appeared to be “ramblings”, and nothing more.

The blog consists of a two column layout, with several links on the right hand side. There are also a few of the links that don’t seem to be working. The only thing I really enjoyed about this blog are the photos. Maybe in time, Rozette will make some changes to her blog, but for right now,it is not a blog I recommend reading if you are looking for an interesting or entertaining read.