– An Unfortunate Use of Server Space

By Dominique Flemings

ErdoboyI remember my family’s first computer. I was at the tender age of twelve when the big box arrived, bearing the name of a manufacturer long gone extinct and the vibrant logo of Windows 95, which had just been released. Better than the monitor in all its 16-bit glory, or the card games that came prepackaged on the 1.2 gigabyte hard drive, was the fact that, when Dad plugged the back of the computer into a phone jack, the computer became a portal to the world. It was the early Internet, and its then limited store of websites entertained the Flemings for many a night.

Back then, websites of crudely pasted together HTML were acceptable and perhaps even desirable. Anyone with a coding manual from the library could create a website that was as visually appealing as could be. Not so, anymore. In the worlds of Flash, HD graphics, fluid animations, etc., the simple sites of yesteryear seem like childhood drawings compared to Raphael’s The School of Athens. As such, you would think that sites with rudimentary coding and would have been updated or removed entirely to make way for new websites.

You would think. And so I thought, until a friend showed me this blog. Click on it if you dare. It seems so archaic that you can almost smell the digital mothballs. Yet this website has been updated as recently as 2008 (according to the one box keeping track of the New England Patriot’s 2008 game). My interior design self couldn’t decide what to get upset about first. Maybe it was the cheesy Calvin and Hobbes animation that had nothing to do with anything. Perhaps it was the fuzzy header. There’s a slight chance it could be the all-white background that contrasts the off-center text so nicely. But I digress.

Even if you’re not an interior designer, there are other things to thoroughly annoy readers. Clicking the link to the “LIFE in Japan” section brings you to a page with a short description of Erdo’s experience of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, along with a group of words that seem meant to be turned into links later. No “amazing things” that Erdo’s done – just the writing of an eight year old and the substance of one, too. And I certainly don’t think that the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake is in anyway representative of “LIFE in Japan.”

Never fear, however – hit your back button (there is no link to the home page – no, not even that big “”) and marvel at the options of other topics Erdo presents for your viewing. You can choose from his short entry on kites, his trip to Australia or Japanese pizza. There are a few other links tucked into nooks and crannies around the site – pictures, English student misspeaks, pizza reviews, etc. The website content reminds me of one of the pizzas Erdo gave a one star rating: lots of ingredients, and it all tastes awfully.

Asides from the slightly amusing “Crazy English” page and the breathtaking graphical transition between pages, this website doesn’t have much going for it. Nothing pleasing aesthetically, and certainly not anything fulfilling the Erdo’s claim to tell you all about the fantastic things he found and discovered while living in Osaka. There was hope, for a second, for a new and much more modern blog when I spied the link at the top that read “Chicago and Beyond: The New Blog.” But the link was broken.

There may be a reason for all of this digital bunkum. The author of this blog, Ed Fackler (who also goes by Edo and, apparently, Erdo), was a big shot at the old NOVA, as some of you might remember. If he managed NOVA like he manages his site, no wonder why it went belly-up. If the company was in need of creativity solutions to its problems, it certainly did not do itself a favor by turning to the great mind that brought you

There really is no excuse for this digital pile of rubbish. Making an aesthetically pleasing website requires almost no technical skill nowadays, as professionally designed templates abound on sites such as WordPress or other blog hosting websites. Case in point: Japan Blog Review was my first attempt at finally doing something on the net. All I did was sign up, select a template from the many that WordPress offers, and download a picture of a thumb for the reviews. So easy, my dog Fritz could do it.

I can’t help but think of the phrase “You are what you eat,” an aphorism that Erdo, being the connoisseur of pizza, has no doubt heard of. Allow me adapt this saying to this situation: you are what you blog. This blog doesn’t suggest an overly positive image of our friend. For someone who is – was, rather – something of a public figure, you would think Erdo might put more time and effort into something that represents him publicly, but I suppose not. As I’ve never met Erdo before, I am left with the impression that he’s an immature, unprofessional and slightly incompetent individual who I’d never want to employ, much less have run my company. I certainly wouldn’t let him program my website – that’s why I have Fritz.

Seeing the blog reminds me of the feeling I get when I walk into a previously gorgeous room that has been plastered in a sickly green paint and furnished with brown shag carpet. I can’t help but think, “What a waste of space.”

– Dominique F.


~ by Japan Blog Review on August 21, 2010.

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