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Archive for the 'The Web' Category

Better Drinking Through Technology

Friday, November 16th, 2007

The design is awful, but I love the concept at (If the person who runs this happens to read this, why don’t you hire me?) I used it with some friends after a party left them with several odd leftover liquors, and we had a grand time with some interesting cocktails.

Using Webtender’s “In My Bar” app, you click off everything you have, and it tells you what you can create. I just picked out a few random ingredients, and got results such as Doug’s Modified Cement Mixer, Dr. Raspberry, and the Green Widow.

Dr. Raspberry is Chambord with Dr. Pepper over ice. As I tend to pour Chambord into lots of things–ice cream, champagne, bad white wine–and am a big DP fan, I’m pretty likely to try this one.

The below is not on that website, but I think it appropriate to share here:

Hello Kitty Martini

3 oz strawberry vodka
1/2 oz gin
1 1/2 oz peach schnapps

Shake, pour into a martini glass, and garnish with a strawberry.


Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Social Networking has spread like the plague…and that’s sort of the point.

They are addictive, viral beasts, these websites. I was recently roped into FaceBook. I’m also on Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, and countless similar websites I can’t even remember. I’ll ignore them until someone adds me as a friend or sends me a message. Then I wake up and realize I’ve been browsing around for longer then I’d like to admit and remember I could actually do something like go outside during my free time. Seriously, the non-work time I have to myself is limited, why would I spend a second of it on MySpace?

Well, I actually have reconnected with old friends, some friends do have amusing profiles or even put up useful info like events, etc…. I get it. I’ve been sucked in like all the rest.

MySpace especially drives me crazy, though. I understand that it is fun to have the control to create something of your own with relative ease. But given the opportunity, countless seem to go for anything that blinks, clashes, or is visually painful in some way. It’s back to personal websites ca. 1997 or so.

MySpace screenshot

I mean, come on! (This one belongs to a woman claiming to be 35 years old, it’s not even a teenager’s.)

Ok, each to their own. I realize I’m saying this while I blog away on a Hello Kitty site. Who am I to talk?

What I really find interesting is the amazing marketing bonanza. The profile above has buttons for T.G.I. Fridays, eBay, and Wal-mart, among others. These are not ads but images the user herself has added. Thousands of start-ups these days are trying to think up more ways to exploit this potential, and I say go for it.

Millions of people use MySpace, advertisers love it. There are banner ads on every profile, or Google AdWords tied into - as far as I can tell - terms/phrases used on the profile you’re logged into. This is seriously brilliant. That’s not even including the ads on the homepage. Its background even sports the latest movie releases.

FaceBook is a little more subtle, one ad per page. I’m sure they make plenty of dough off that, especially since they opened things up to the general public. Friendster has an average of 2 ads a page, as does LinkedIn. But this is not shocking, the whole web is like that, we understand it and are used to it, just like network tv.

Hey, as I wrote above, go for it. I mind the ads less than what people willingly put on their pages. And I kind of can’t wait to see what they’ll try next.

Hm, what can I put on my MyFriendsterBookSpace profile next?


Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

I’ll try to have some sort of theme for each post, seeing as I do not have an overall theme for this blog. I’m likely to range from semi-serious to silly, for the record.

Let’s start with blogging itself! As a web designer, I think the whole blogging phenomenon is pretty interesting. I also find it rather intriguing as a sometime-writer.

Why blog? There are many possible reasons to start a blog. It’s a way to self-publish for one, with basically no one to answer to but whoever your readers happen to be. This applies to professional writers and the inexperienced alike. It’s true of a lot of the web in general, and you get the good with the bad.

Promotion is another reason to blog. Weblogs can promote businesses, books, political campaigns…the list goes on. A lot of websites are adding blogs because it is the “thing to do” these days, and that can often be a mistake (see my comments below about keeping an audience).

Some blogs may seem pointless to anyone other than the author, but even then the person posting gets—hopefully—some satisfaction from the writing of it.

In general, people just have something to say, and they want others to read it.

Who’s reading? To get read by many people from the start, a blogger has to be associated with a known entity (for example, the many NY Times bloggers—check out “The Pour,” a wine blog). Otherwise, you must have a theme or writing style that will draw an audience, keep it interesting, and keep it coming! So many potentially great blogs die when the blogger stops posting regularly.

As I mention above, there is no theme for this blog as a whole. That pretty much destroys my chances of building a loyal readership other than friends and family, but I’m ok with that. Perhaps a theme will come through as I go on (and on and on), but for now I’ll likely be all over the place. If I really wanted to get read, I’d need some sort of gimmick.

Those are my thoughts for now on blogs! I wish all of you serious bloggers out there much luck.

  • Other blogs I read include the TravelJen Blog (travels of a friend of mine), Brownstoner (Brooklyn real estate), The Chowhound Digest (food), and the Lil Spill (the life of Coyote Ugly Saloon founder Liliana Lovell, a client).
  • An archived blog (ie. no longer updated) of interest is the Julie/Julia Project. It’s a crazy cooking journey and a classic blog-to-book story. I got to watch from beginning to end and even sample some of the results. It’s what happens when someone has a great idea, is a great writer, and sticks to it at all costs!