intraspace: the review lounge

Saturday, December 22, 2007

favourite websites of 2007

i use mozilla firefox, and under 'bookmarks' i have a folder called 'daily'. every day i go to that folder and click on 'open all in tabs'. every day begins that way - with a bowl of porridge and viewing my 'dailies' before work at my desk.

at the moment i have 20 websites on that list that i flick through. i thought i'd give a bit of an end of year round up on my 20 daily sites.

the best ones in my opinion stuff is the best news portal in new zealand. it contains the combined resources of the fairfax media newspapers. this year, stuff had a redesign and after a few days getting used to new navigation it all started working great. even though the information has its basis in newspaper material, the website is well thought out and presented. i guess my favourite bit would be the daily cartoons - especially the work of moreau, which i saw for the first time this year. he is easily my favourite nz newspaper cartoonist. another good innovation by stuff was introducing a whole stable of blogs on all sorts of subjects. i only wish i had had time to read more of them.

drawn! this is an illustration blog based in canada. i can't even remember where i first came across this one, but it is really brilliant and has been constantly growing in popularity. i'm not an illustrator per se, but they serve up a great range of stuff that is visually inspiring. they also update very frequently which means that a daily visit is rewarded. the online music networking phenomenon. i've already written about his one, so i won't go into too much detail. suffice to say that it continues to fascinate me and as of today i'm 4 songs away from hitting the 15,000 songs played mark. you can visit my page here.

dark roasted blend aesthetically, dark roasted blend is butt-ugly. but the content is fascinating. the writers trawl the internet looking for weird and wonderful material and presenting it daily based on a theme. mostly the material is visual - and in 2007 i've seen some crazy stuff on there.

stereogum this provides the bulk of my music reading. it has a north american hipster angle which can get a little bit tiring but all up i enjoy reading it and benefiting from free music downloads and staying up to date with what's happening in the world of indie music (as stereogum sees it).

boingboing subtitled 'a directory of wonderful things', boingboing (as i said in my other blog) would be the blog i'd choose if i could only read one blog. it is widely recognised as being a masterful example of blogging. the writers present an eclectic range of material on all manner of subjects and somehow 85% of it manages to be interesting.

ffffound! this is the newest addition to my daily website family. it is still in its beta form. it works by its users tagging images on the internet that they like. if more than a certain number of users tag a certain image, that image is displayed on the front page. the beta is closed, so i don't know how you become a member but it seems like the current members have pretty good taste. my only worry is that that will change, and the quality of the material will drop, when the site goes public and anyone can register. for a while, there was a bit of a spate of 'arty' pictures of girls with not much on, but that seems to have disappeared again - which is a good thing - i'd hate to see the site become one-dimensional. all up the images served up are an inspirational collage of excellent design, photography, illustration and ephemera.

yahoo! mail where would i be without this one? i know there is competition from hotmail and gmail, but i've been using yahoo! for my email for years now, and it keeps evolving in the best way. this year they added unlimited storage and a very good interface. their work has kept me satisfied with using yahoo! as my main personal email program.

the good ones

conscientious a photo blog by jm colberg in which he makes posts about his favourite contemporary photographers. i don't know enough about contemporary photography to know how useful his selection is, but i use it as a way of looking at contemporary photography and hopefully staying a little bit up to date about what is happening.

better propaganda this is a rather good music marketing website. the reason i use it is to get free legal downloads from some pretty interesting artists, and i have discovered new material this way. i visit the new releases page every day but it looks like it only updates once a week. this year they introduced a new downloading interface that is supposedly an enhancement. truth be told it gives them another opportunity to display advertising and makes downloading a lot more of a hassle - i wish they had left it as it was. still a good resource though.

crave the cnet gadget blog. i read the american one - apparently there is a uk one as well (and an asia one too i think) and i've often wondered whether maybe i should read the uk one. but all up, it a good way to keep up to date on new gadgets and techie news.

ilovetypography i guess this is a fairly specialist blog, written for (as the name suggests) lovers of typography. it started this year and is run by john d boardley, an englishman in japan. the site is beautifully presented and has fascinating articles on type. the articles are fairly long and i have to confess to never having read one right through (not john's fault, just time constraints). but i intend to read a lot of this site over the next couple of weeks while i'm on holiday.

the others (maybe getting cut from the 'dailies' in 08) blog i love my lomo lca camera, i love the photos it takes. it has lived up to all my expectations (except for the fact that it just stopped working - shutter jamming). and so it was a no-brainer to frequent the official lomo blog. when i first started getting into the lomo i read a lot of criticism about how the lomo society markets what should have remained an aficionado's camera or (for some people) a camera relegated to a soviet trash pile. and since reading the blog i too have started to get impatient with the lomo society and its vast number of adherents. reading the blog you see a vast amount of photography taken by people using lomos and other odd cameras and the overwhelming feeling is that most of it is really bad photography dressed up with x-processing, expired film, lomo vignetting and light leaks. most of it is rubbish but because it has odd colours the lomo society holds it up as a great example of lomo photography. i'm really starting to rebel against this idea, because i don't want anything to stand in the way of my love for my lca and the idea that really beautiful and great photos can be taken on it. the lomography blog is going to get cut from my dailies.

damn interesting when i first discovered this blog, it truly lived up to its name. and it continues to specialise in mostly fascinating articles about all kinds of odd and obscure things. just make sure you don't visit the comments section. people are alarming anti-social and often not terribly smart in that area. there is also an endless supply of pop-atheistic commentary, and often embarrassing creationist rebuttal. and all in all i've lost my taste for the site. i'm cutting this from my dailies and maybe adding it to my email feeds list instead.

give away of the day this 'blog' got off to an exciting start. the premise being that everyday the site would give away a piece of commercial software available for that day only for free. users were abuzz with what free software might be offered. and for a while i downloaded quite a bit - including two or three utilities that i use very regularly (of special mention, glary utilities and fusiondesk - the second one has changed the way i work). but then it all started to get a bit samey and it quickly became apparent that no famous pieces of software were going to be offered, and that freeware alternatives were often better. i'm torn about what to do with this site - i'm worried about cutting it because what if i miss something really good? (so the hype still hasn't completely worn off).

ephemera this is a blog about the world of ephemera collecting - like collecting old sears catalogues and things like that - in effect the art of collecting stuff that other people throw away. initially i was intrigued about this. but i feel like the interest is waning - i guess looking at this blog everyday has made ephemera less quirky to me and therefore less interesting. a good blog though for ephemera collectors.

pulp of the day every day this blog displays a pulp fiction paperback bookcover. i'm really interested in the retro artwork on these covers and it is a pretty interesting blog to look at. they also run a daily caption competition where readers make up alternative captions for the covers. but only two or three readers participate so that gets a bit boring (i don't participate). like the ephemera blog, the novelty of this one is starting to wear out a bit.

horse latitudes a music blog based in the uk. really cool layout and the uk angle is nice. principally i added this to my dailies because it is jonathan's favourite music blog, so i figured if it was good enough for jonathan... in the time i've been looking at it it hasn't captured me too much but it can stay for now.

i guess i'm floating another music blog. this one tantalisingly offers tracks for download but so far hasn't offered anything i wanted to download. probably not a keeper for me.

book by its cover the premise of this blog is very cool - it shows samples from small press and home produced art books - usually hand-drawn stuff. it's quite interesting, and can stay for now.

so that's the round up - feel free to disagree and mention your own favourite sites in the comments - all two of you.

on the headphones: 'crumble' by calexico, from the album 'feast of wire'.

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