“Nemo & the Babe Go On a Surfin’ Safari”
Beth Lock, our “Babe in Boyland,” gets the credit (or blame) for this one. Months ago she urged me to tune in to Shadoe Stevens’ Internet radio extravaganza at http://www.rhythmradio.com. After a few false starts with browser plugins, I was rockin’ and rollin’ here in my cactus-corner of an office.
I mentioned to Beth that the graphics-heavy pages on the Rhythm Radio site took forever to load, making me wish for a simple text-only way to access the music. No such luck. She agreed, and we began a conversation on the merits and demerits of worthwhile web sites which by cumbersome design discouraged us from visiting them more than once.
Taking the bait, I moved to a broader playing field. (Watch those metaphors, Nemo!)
Every week I receive web site recommendations from friends and family. I keep an expanding folder on my desktop full of these URLs, but I rarely give myself the hour or two necessary to check them out. My day of reckoning finally arrived last week.
I systematically went to every link in my friends and family URL folder, a total of 80 – 100 web sites (there were some duplicates and inaccuracies). I vowed not to stop until I had compiled a “best of” list, which will serve as a prototype for what to recommend here in the Nemo Memo.
My criteria are:
Nemo’s computer: PowerMac 7200/120/64 @28.8 via AOL.
Beth’s computer: iBook SE, 64MB RAM doubled, apple 56K internal modem with a 50000 bps (average) connection speed on a dial up ISP account.
Here, in no special order, are my initial Top Twenty URLs, with a brief Nemo comment on the content and my evaluation, followed by the Babe’s pithy opinions in italics. We welcome your rebuttals and recommendations for the next round.
1. MacCreator http://www.maccreator.com, Eolake Stobblehouse’s lively mix of information on the world of Macintosh computers and the people who inhabit it. Text-heavy, but worth reading.
Can’t review this site fairly. I’ve been published here, and Eolake is a personal friend. 🙂
2. Bottom Line Secrets http://www.bottomlinesecrets.com, an expanding encyclopedia of up to date expert suggestions on how to optimize practical aspects of life. Hundreds of useful links.
Arrgghhh!!!! A pop-up window! This site reminds me of a combination of consumer reports, readers digest, and people magazine. Good for the vacuous and insipid.
3. Mac Night Owl http://www.macnightowl.com, Gene Steinberg’s “Complete Mac Support Site,” full of his irrepressible facts and opinions. Make sure you follow “the rest of the story” links in the news archives.
Not a bad self-promotional site. He offers enough free advice to gain credibility, a little news, a little review. If I lived in his area I might consider contracting with him for his services.
4. Mac Opinion http://www.macopinion.com, with great columns and links to favorite online Macintosh publications. Well-formatted articles.
A site I don’t have to load to give an opinion on. Some of the
best writers on the net. Clear, concise, controversial, intelligent,
always fun. Macopinion, because of my personal preferences, gets a huge thumbs up. One of the things that impresses me as much as the writing is their clean page. Their comment section at the end of the articles could use some work. They don’t link the threads. Very annoying.
5. Digital River http://www.digitalriver.com, a well-crafted e-commercial e-marketing business site. Intriguing use of home page image map links.
This is a personal observation, but I really dislike sites that have a “pop-up” page with info before the site actually loads. So already I’m colored against it. It doesn’t work well in Netscape for me. Probably developed on MSIE and assumed that because it’s serving a PC world, that’s good enough.
6. Deal Mac http://www.dealmac.com, with bargains and hot discussion areas. Creative use of basic site design.
I didn’t even have to load this site. I’ve visited dealmac frequently. In my opinion, one of the best, if not the best, resources on the Mac web for great deals and obscure parts. I’ve got a buddy who frequents the help boards there. They are factual and practical. Dealmac gets an A+ rating from me, hands down.
7. Scan Tips http://www.scantips.com, Wayne Fulton’s online book of basic and intermediate scanning info. Great utilization of 640×480 pixel page size.
Another site I’d probably never bumped into without this query. Beautiful flower at the top of the page. If I were interested in scanning, I might find some value in this site. I didn’t take time to check out the content. As websites go, this one is decent in meeting my criteria…loads fast without a lot of junky graphics.
8. Care2 http://www.care2.com for green environment-friendly links and online greeting cards. Clever use of colors to make the text-only pages visually engaging.
Nice site for folks who are interested in “saving the planet.” I suppose there’s some value here for people who want to spend their money responsibly, although I didn’t take a lot of time with it to find if they’re selling products made by slave labor in China. I’m suspicious, to a certain degree, of anyone trying to make a buck off sympathy. But I’ll check it out further just to find out.
9. Ditto http://www.ditto.com, terrific inventory of pictures to download from the web. Exceedingly easy to navigate.
I entered a rather obscure reference from my personal favorites and it came right up. This is one of those sites where I could get lost following links. I really appreciate fast loading and fast searching in a site. This one seems good. I’ll be back for more.
10. Idiot Books http://www.idiotbooks.com, a personal Nemo favorite for locating beginner-level books from major publishers. More sites should be this straightforward.
Clean, fast, efficient. I love sites that load fast and are easy to navigate. Versatile with a lot to offer besides books.
11. iBook User http://www.ibook-user.com, a portal for everything iBook. Long home page, worth scrolling and perusing.
Another Mac site. Probably good content. Seems, on scrolling thru, to have all the current information on iBooks. I’ve bookmarked it in case I get in trouble with mine.
12. MicroFrontier http://www.microfrontier.com, the publisher of ColorIt! and other user-friendly digital imaging software. Sensible three-column frame design.
Good solid sales site. Not products I’m interested in, but nothing wrong with it at all.
13. Masters of Photography http://www.masters-of-photography.com, with access to images of the world’s greatest photographers. Simple and effective presentation.
Nice mediocre site. I read the FAQ, still didn’t understand why the guy put so much effort into gathering these images in once place. Good resource for it though.
14. Dance the Night Away http://www.always-safe.com/dance.html, weird and funny, and worth the wait to load. Cute use of digital online instant music.
ewwww….java….ewwwww. I hate it when people forward these kinds of things to me! (It’s STILL loading!!!!!) OK, I read the top of the site, there may be some valuable information here, also something heartwarming….but, ewwwww… ..java……I have to wait ten minutes to find out? Buzz…thanks for playing! Next! (Just so you know, I didn’t wait for the site to fully load. And that dancing baby annoys the hell out of me!)
15. Mac OS Rumors http://www.macosrumors.com, with the latest Macintosh rumors and secrets, news and views. I like the upper-left corner link frame.
Sorry, won’t go there. Don’t want to give them the satisfaction of my “click”. I don’t see the value of rumors sites, though it’s been debated mightily over the past few months on various sites. As the net is vast and broad, I don’t have to go there if I don’t want, and I don’t want.
16. Panic http://www.panic.com, for Audion, “Macintosh Software that Rocks.” Load the images first, then follow the image links.
Panic was one of the first freeware/shareware sites I ever visited. I love their products. I even had the opportunity to meet Cabel Sasser at MacWorld last January. Cabel rocks the room! Nice guy, decent software developer. They don’t make crap. I love the way they have their home page is set up, like a desktop window.
17. iMac Today http://www.imactoday.com, dedicated to the mighty iMac. Links in the left column frame are the front door to tons of information.
What, another iMac site? Well gawllleee! Sorry, not something i’d regularly visit, but probably helpful to iMac owners. Didn’t spend a lot of time here.
18. Netscape People Finder Reverse Lookup http://home.netscape.com/netcenter/whitereverse.html, to locate people by their phone number, street address, and email address. Thank you, Netscape!
Well, John, I found you through your phone number, but not your address or email address. I’m not in there at all. 🙂 I suppose these types of places are helpful tools for some folks, but unless one registers (or someone else registers someone) they are not all that useful. I won’t go into “invasion of privacy” issues because there is so little privacy left these days it seems a moot point. My feeling is better just to live your life as if you have nothing to hide.
19. MacResQ http://www.macresq.com, the “Leading Independent Macintosh Reseller and Service Center,” for service, sales, and support. Fast and easy to navigate.
Loads fast, good navigation, clean and easy to use. I’m pretty sure i’ve bought from these guys before. Pricing is competitive. Good place to find older systems to back up still viable older macs in office environments. (I’ve been hunting for a good beige G-3 desktop to augment my 7200 at work, and these guys have good deals!) You have to know what you’re buying though. There’s no reference pages i could find.
20. Britannica http://www.britannica.com, and encyclopedia and tons more. Outstanding search service.
Due to the vast amount of information this site loads fairly slow, but worth waiting for. The advanced search engine works well, and is extremely versatile, but again search time is slow…about one minute per average query. Navigation is straightforward, easy to figure out.
I’ll be doing a follow-up Nemo Memo on your responses to this first list, plus a subsequent “best of” list of URLs gleaned from different sources. Stay tuned, and keep in touch. My thanks to “Babe” Beth Lock.