Eish!!: SA Blog Awards 2009 - Best Science and Technology Blog Review

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SA Blog Awards 2009 - Best Science and Technology Blog Review

It's that time of the year again. The SA Blog Award's voting process is in full swing and you have until the 1st April to exercise your democratic right to make the ego of a blogger that much bigger. As usual to assist you in making your decision, Eish!! will be reviewing the finalists in selected categories.

Best Science and Technology Blog
[Blogs primarily focused on Science, Technology, Computers or the Internet]

  • dchetty.co.za : Relaunched in November 2008 and needing 'to start at the very bottom of the pile,' D Chetty is producing masses of content primarily technology focused but not even close to being able to be truly pigeon-holed as a technology blog. I have full respect for a guy who is able to churn out content on such diverse topics, not afraid to express an opinion or two along the way. The site design is impressive and you can see that he is a blog reader himself and has borrowed design hits from various sources. If I had to find something to criticise it would be the lack of a masthead. Some type of branding would be a good way to create an identity in a space he is clearly beginning to make his mark
  • startupafrica.com : It's all in the name. 'StartUpAfrica is a blog dedicated to entrepreneurship in Africa with a particular focus on technology entrepreneurship.' Ismail Dhorat uses this blog as a vehicle to disseminate information, thoughts, useful information and tools a startup can use to get from the birth of an idea, to market and ultimately to success. He also uses it as a way to highlight African startups in the ICT industry. I particularly liked the 'Submit Startup' button on the top menu, where startups can submit their details for review. The layout is simple and business-like, not a great fan of maroon personally but the quality of the content more than compensates for this.
  • matthewbuckland.com : Last year's best business blog, written by someone who was a SA Blog Awards judge in 2007, one would expect this blog to be a strong contender in this category this year. The thing is, when Matthew Buckland speaks, people listen. When the the GM of Publishing & Social Media at 24.com, the former GM of Mail & Guardian Online, the co-founder amatomu.com and Thought Leader (pause for breath here) writes it's always something worth reading. I enjoy reading the tech. stories and innovations written and reviewd in a comprehensive, but not overly wordy manner. The design is unexciting yet functional and the Presentation links are worth the visit on their own if you have any interest in web and technology trends.
  • bandwidthblog.com : Not much has changed since last years review of Charl Norman's tech blog. Now is the a good or bad thing? I guess if you are the reviewer it's not so good. If you are wanting to get the low down on what is important in the Web 2.0 scene both international and local then this is a great thing, this is still the place to go. The simple design keeps your focus on what is really important, the content.





  • imod.co.za : Also in the running for SA Blog of the Year and last year's winner in this category Chris Mill's 'Cape Town blog' has become one of SA's premier blogs. Unlike the previous blog reviewed the design and content has continually morphed over the past year and once again I would find it difficult to have to categorise this as a tech. blog, in fact the Blog of the Year award seems way more of a fit as Chris shares his internet and technology finds and prowess just as readily as he does pieces of his personal life's experiences. I've always enjoyed Chris's various design templates for iMod, they are always simple and functional.
  • pauljacobson.org : Probably best described as a personal blog about tech, Web and Digital Media lawyer Paul Jacobson uses this blog as an outlet for his interest in gadgets and other 'cool stuff.' This web offering probably epitomises what a blog should be. Information shared by enthusiasts with just enough knowledge and passion to make for great reading. This blog has a great design, great content and sufficient local focus to be added to my regular read list.
  • systemshock.co.za : I have to admit systemshock.co.za is a new site to me. For someone who regularly trawls the SA blogosphere and has a particular interest in technology this surprises me. That said anyone interested in hardware and particularly gaming will eat this blog up for breakfast .. and then come back for more for lunch. The site design is something I can only aspire to. It presents it's mass of information in a way that is easy to take in, and I must give special menu for the neat sliding menu at the top. Shiny and smooth! I have to,however give a 'grrr' to the lack of any 'About' page. A pet hate of mine, as I always like to find out more about the source of the information I am reading, and give kudos in these reviews.
  • handytechtips.blogspot.com : This blog appears to be a bit of a wildcard. Again, like the previous blog, written by a seemingly anonymous blogger (no biography or about page) this site template when compared to the other finalists has a distinctive web 1.0 feel to it. But let's push that to the side for a moment and look at the content. Of all the finalists this one offers the most content that the average Joe ... er ... Barber can use. Tips on how to use internet services to save money, get free games etc from a South African perspective is going to have huge appeal to the non-internet elite.
  • skepticdetective.wordpress.com : I write this review with a certain amount of trepidation. After doing my usual scan through a finalist's latest page or three worth of posts, and reading a short (they are always short) biography, I am usually able to get a feel for what the author(s) are trying to achieve, the tools and knowledge they bring to the blog and the overall objective for them publishing what they do. After going through this sequence this time I felt like I missed something. Firstly, the reason for their nomination is clearly based on science, not technology ... I think. The lack of background information of the author (another grr) or blog means I have to assume the sceptism them applies to everything ... I think. The simple design makes for easy navigation and neat albeit uninspiring presentation, which is a pity as although the I struggled with the overall data package, the individual postings made for extremely interesting reading.
  • samsungblog.co.za : This is the place to go for all things Samsung ... from a South African perspective. Trawling through site for the first time its was not immediately obvious to me if this was an official Samsung property. Obviously scrolling to the bottom of the page confirmed this to be the case, but then I found myself asking a) if this ambiguity was done so on purpose and b) if so (or not) is this a good thing. Perhaps a more obvious branding would give it more 'officialness?' I also noticed that this was created by Cerebra, a bunch I have immense respect for, and this unfortunately meant I suddenly expected more. More of what? I have no idea, just more! The design is functional, if not stimulating and has all the necessary components in all the right places, although I would like to see the 'downloads and manuals' placed in a more visible spot, I found it's positioning and conservative typeface easy to overlook.
My prediction :
Vote here

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I think the real fight is in the Podcast section!

Most of the categories have a fairly clear winner.

Thanks for the great comments. I absolutely agree about the mast head, I have tried a few variations, but my design skills are not up to scratch to come with an ID on my own.

Appreciate the honesty!

@Digital Edge - I don't completely agree bro, I think the power lies with who the actual blog runner is and I certainly don't think there are too many clear cut winners. That said, I do agree with you about the podcast category, let's just say that I'm glad I'm not competing in that one :)

@Eish - How you doing bud? Thanks so much for the mention. I must agree, it's difficult to classify iMod and of course, the SA Blog of the Year would be amazing, but damn mate, that's a tough category!

Anyway, respect back to you. Keep well and chat to you soon, hopefully =)

Ooh great reviews! Definitely makes the voting a lot easier!

@thedigitaledge : I'm intrigued to know who your clear winners are! Come back soon the podcast category will be reviewed shortly ... good luck
@dchetty : Good luck with the mast head, I feel your pain. Thanks for the comment.
@chrism : Thanks for comments. Hoping to make it to the awards ceremony.
@islandchic : Glad to be of service, pop back, there's more to come

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Ann

http://externallaptop.net

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Ann

http://externallaptop.net

Nice post. I would also nominate sciencecanada.blogspot.com. They publish really good stories and articles and seem like a trustworthy source o information. I enjoy reading their blog. Thanks fo rthe reviews.

Take care, Jay

Hi there, Thanks for the honest criticism! The science and sceptical blogging community in South Africa is quite small and we tend to get an echo-chamber effect going. It's great to read a new opinion. I will take your criticism to heart and improve my blog immediately!
SD

@SkepticDetective : Hey, I call them like I see them ;-) I know I always enjoy criticism myself, and well I need it! Good luck with the awards and keep blogging

I appreciate your post, thanks for sharing the post, i would like to hear more about this in future

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