Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mental Jog

Lucia Lai has been blogging since Sept 2003 and is still dedicated enough to blog practically every day. That is a big plus in my books. She blogs about socio-political and current issues and although her English isn't very good, she gets the message (and her opinions) across well enough.

However, the blog layout is where Lucia loses points. It's a Blogspot blog which has been customised, hence the garish header which might have looked all right except that the background contains the words 'Mental Jog' multiple times, in bright blue font. Plus there's some coding on the left (tr>).

This is a 3 column layout, each of which contains images and colourful fonts, creating a busy, confusing atmosphere. Google ads after every post. The images in the post are mostly small, but they are sometimes placed on the left, sometimes the middle, and sometimes the right, making the whole column look haphazard. The multitude of colours only makes things worse.

There's just too much going on and it distracts from the main content. Lucia, I think people will come to your site just to read what you have to say. Get rid of the distracting bits (like your ICQ and Gmail address which you can place in text format, the ads, the site counter images, etc) and your blog will improve tremendously. After all, your blog is of a serious nature, and it deserves to have a layout that's less cluttered and distracting, not one that looks like it was created by a teenager.

My rating: 4/10

Anjali Speaks

Anjali has done some creative work on her blog. It's a Blogspot blog but not one of the usual templates. It's really attractive, especially the header.

However, the number of pictures is mind boggling, and slows down the loading of the page. All those thumbnails of books, movies, singers and yummy men on the right - are they really necessary? The posts also contain photos and pictures, although most are thankfully small.

For some reason though, the images don't really look too much. On another blog they may look cluttered and a waste of space but here they actually add to the overall 'atmosphere'. My suggestion would be to just remove the 'yum yum 2004' to reduce loading time.

Anjali's English is really good and she writes well, mostly about her personal life. I liked the post about Boon Cit, that was hilarious! Too bad she doesn't blog more regularly as I think the posts are quite entertaining and she has a wicked sense of humour.

Not much personal info about the blogger, in fact none at all - as in, there's no blogger profile in the left or right columns. I know what she reads, listens to, watches and the kind of men she likes, but apart from that, nothing. I wouldn't know her if I passed her on the street and that's a shame cos I'd like to congratulate her on a good blog.

My rating: 8/10


Carboncopy has been blogging since July 2004 - a pretty long time in terms of blogging. He just got his own domain too. Congratulations on that :)

This is a Wordpress-powered blog, with grey and white as the only colours except for the occasional red font and image. Pretty dull look, but it seems to be ideal for this blog since it's a serious one. Mostly political posts, which never really attract my attention.

I only read the posts on the main page and didn't feel any urge to read older posts since the content isn't interesting to me. However, those who are keen on reading his politicial/other opinions may find this blog worth bookmarking.

I did notice that other content categories included Heart Matters, Apple and Technology, etc, but honestly the style of writing isn't great. The English is so-so.

The blogger seems to have his own opinions, but they just don't seem to be coming across (to me) very well. Still, I appreciate that he has taken the time to write about serious issues instead of creating just another personal blog.

My rating: 5/10

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ang Anino Ni Abaniko

Durian coffee. That's the first time I've ever heard of such a thing. And I found it in this blog by a blogger in the Philippines(!). Tell me Abaniko, does it taste good? I can't imagine the taste! (I'm not a durian fan by the way).

Ang Anino Ni Abaniko (The Shadow of Abaniko) is mostly grey, with dark red (for post headers and links), and orange (in the header) being the only colours to break the monotony. I noticed that the header seemed out of alignment with the middle and right columns. But since one of his posts said it's been fixed, I thought it could be a Firefox problem. Checked in IE and sure enough, the header looks fine.

Abaniko blogs pretty regularly, mostly about his personal life. Only two posts in the main page had photos, which is all right with me. If you write well, like Abaniko does, you don't need a multitude of photos and pictures to capture your readers' attention.

He's got a pretty long blogroll in the right column but since the main content is longer, it doesn't do any damage. In fact the entire right column is neat, without unnecessary ads/buttons/banners. The five small buttons on the bottom, under links, actually add colour to the column so they're pretty welcome.

My rating: 8/10

The Zebra

The Zebra is not your basic Blogspot or Wordpress powered blog. Some creativity has obviously gone into its creation. The background is black but in no way is it dull. Shades of orange and a splash of lime green on the bottom liven things up.

There is a somewhat evil yet cute looking creature next to the title, some sort of anime character perhaps? The sub header says "I eat you". Just looking at the header makes me smile.

Another character on the left, holding a sword and covered in blood. Hmm, something tells me The Zebra is into gory cartoons.

The posts are a bit hard to read as the font is small and I had to focus hard. If that wasn't bad enough, conversations are posted in an even smaller font. And that's a shame because the posts are really interesting and worth reading. Good English to boot. Too bad I lost interest after a few posts because my eyes started to hurt.

There was no information about the blogger in the side column besides the fact that he's discovered the wonders of ready made sauces and is currently reading 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith.

From the posts I deduced that he's in Perth. And the fact that a security guard wished him Gong Hei Fatt Choy reveals he's Chinese. Beyond that I know nothing about the Zebra except that he writes well and I would really enjoy reading his blog more if he made it easier on the eyes.

For now, the rating is 6/10.

Just My Thoughts

Reviewed by Davious, the Apprentice Blog Critic

This blog reveals the life of Jo, a self-proclaimed silly girl who holds on to past relationships and believes in fairy tales. Hopefully, she won't see this review as just a fairy tale.

Anyway it's the 1 top header, 1 content and 1 sidebar format on this blogspot site.

The posts are sometimes short and sweet, and sometimes long ... and still sweet. The English is so so, and she comes across as an innocent girl through her posts.

The sidebar is short and neat, but it does not say anything much about her. Maybe she's keeping a low profile.

Overall rating: 3/10

Beautiful Newsmakers

Reviewed by Davious the Apprentice Blog Reviewer

Beautiful Newsmakers is a sight to behold for those who enjoy the physical attributes of the fairer sex. Hyperdx, the author of this site, places images of hot and sexy ladies who have made headlines in the mass media with their looks, smarts and everything in between. Thus the title Beautiful Newsmaker is apt.

Anyway, this Blogspot powered site uses the 1+2 format, 1 header, 1 content column and 1 sidebar.

The content includes photos and a post about each featured artiste, and details such as how she began her career. I'm not sure if the information is copied and pasted or Hyperdx actually searches the web to get the information and writes it in his own way.

Anyway, above every post, there is a Flickr of Asian-Flickrbabes. The photos used are in a potrait format and are uniform throughout the site, which is good. But too many pics killeth the bandwidth.

The sidebar, I consider it very clean. Links to Hyperdx's previous posts and archives, recent comments and the profile is easily accessible. And there is even a search form, good job. The Get Google Adsense didn't interrupt the flow of reading the side bar. On the header, just below the title, are Google Ads which look very weird there in my opinion.

Hyperdx, tell me, what is that underneath the footer?

All in all, this site is recommended only to those who loves the fairer sex's physical attributes.

Overall rating: 6/10

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Missing posts

Some of my posts are missing. Blogger must have stuffed up. A couple of reviews are gone, plus my post about my hiatus.

Damn it.

Anyway I am still on hiatus, and will be back in full force next week or so. In the meantime, people, enjoy Valentine's Day, make love, not war, and spread some peace around.

And for God's sake, let the cartoon furore die down. Don't let the mob mentality take over in Malaysia!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Victor's Edge

At least, that's what I think the title of this blog is. It's a bit hard to tell since the entire header says:
Victor's Edge
Nothing Seems to Matter Anymore Around Here
When You Don't See It Coming

See why I'm confused? Then there's an image of orangutans in a boxing ring. One's been knocked out.

On the right column is an image of a newspaper reader being punched in the face. The profile tells me Victor is from Singapore. There's profanity everywhere, including in the disclaimer which tells us, among other things, to "Read at your own risk... Discretion among children required".

I don't like blogs where profanity is used loosely. Swearing at anything and everything does not make you cool. Victor rants and raves about some locksmith, even going so far as to post his phone number online, inviting readers to harrass him, and dedicates two posts to him, complete with every swear word under the sun. Just goes to show how mature this blogger is. He also rants and raves about fortune tellers, TNA Wrestling and this and that. Such an angry young man.

I liked the template, but I didn't like the content at all.

My rating: 2/10

Digital Memory

Everyone welcome the newest reviewer for this site: Athena the Blog Reviewer. She joins Davious the Apprentice Blog Critic in helping me with the reviews.

This is her first review:

Probably another one of those blogs which blogs heavily about IT and software, was the first thing I thought when I saw the title of this blog. I assumed wrong as I was greeted by a very plain white background with a not very well photoshop-ed Chinese New Year banner.

A two column blog, the side bar is clean, short and concise. Very few links which makes the blog easy to navigate. This blog looks good in both Firefox and IE, so no problems there.

Wilson (that's his name) writes in average English with grammatical errors here and there. His blog, which is generally about every day mundane life, is filled with photos. Nothing anonymous about him as almost all the photos show his face.

One thing I found odd was the captions that came along with the photos. Take for example his birthday post where there's a photo of two chicken drumsticks - the blogger actually took the time to caption the photo: two chicken drumsticks. I'm sure most of his readers are aware that they are two chicken drumsticks. He really didn't need to do that. Likewise with the other posts.

Wilson claims he has poor memory in one of his earlier posts, that may explain why most of his posts are overloaded with photos. Well, it's a little too many for my liking. It takes awhile for the page to load, as a result making the reader wait. Photos can be reduced in size and linked to the actual size or he could put up only the very 'interesting' ones and make a collage out of it.

Content is so-so. Nothing much to brag about. If the blogger has more time, he should try sprucing up his blog to make it look nicer.

Athena's rating: 5/10