An Open Letter to London Topic

Editor’s note – This post refers to the long defunct website “London Topic”, which was a hyper local news site, pitched on the TV Show Dragon’s Den.

The site has been out of commission since mid 2011.  This site ranks high on a search for “London Topic”, because it’s one of the few articles written about the site.  Whenever the Dragon’s Den episode airs again I get a little bump of traffic.

If you enjoy this post, check out more of my Web Design posts.

London Topic, a local website dedicated to news in and around London Ontario was recently on The Dragon’s Den. Site owner Ross McDermott wanted to take the concept nationally, and had a pretty ludicrous pitch.

Most alarming was how they dismissed Robert Herjavec’s opinions that the site was poorly designed…the site looks like it was designed in about 1999, and hasn’t really been touched since then. In fact a quick view of the source shows tired old table based design and an HTML 4.01 transitional doctype which all died around 2000.  A far cry from the “fantastic” design that McDermott claimed it was.

The idea is sound, the content is good, but the execution is poor.  Just a common news site would be really easy to replicate, but building a community around it would be the way to make it stick.  Not just comments, but also social tagging, the ability to crowdsource editorial significance, put an emphasis on mobile versions for Blackberry and iPhone users, and really Web 2.0 this mother.

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The best game of 2008

The Games of 2008
The Games of 2008

I’ll be doing some “Best of” lists over the holidays as I do every year when I look back on the year that was, best comic, best website, best gadget, and best movie are still to come, but this one is an absolute no-brainer.  The best game for 2008 in my opinion totally ran away with it.

Let’s look at a few stats.

  • It’s the only game that I’ve played OVER 80 hours on.
  • It’s the only game that I continued to play regularly 10 months later
  • It’s the only game that I’ve bought for both systems
  • It’s the only game that had totally game-changing downloadable content.

The game of the year is…

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Why eBay sucks

Why oh WHY is eBay’s traffic plummeting? According to a recent report in Alley Insider, eBay’s traffic is down by more than 10% in unique users, and 33% in page views year over year. The reasons are many, competition, higher prices, and a focus on “big stores” rather than individual users.

I think it might be simpler than that.

By and large, selling on eBay is a pain in the @@$$. Buying on eBay is now more expensive in most cases than walking into a store! This wasn’t always the case folks. Sit back and hear a tale of yore.

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My updated list for November 2009

Comics, every kid's best friend
Comics, every kid

I’m getting ruthless with my comics buying.  I’m not really enjoying comics a whole ton right now.  There are a few (very few) bright spots, but by and large the industry itself is kind of leaving me cold.

What AM I really enjoying?  I’d say there’s a half dozen titles.

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PS3 vs Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 Gamercard, vs the PSN portable ID
The Xbox 360 Gamercard, vs the PSN portable ID

I picked up a PS3 a few weeks ago, and I’ve been playing quite a bit of PS3 since then, but I recently installed the New Xbox Experience on my 360, and I have to say that…ummm, wow.

The PS3 is a beautiful piece of hardware, but the 360 is a much better experience overall.

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I shall call it mini-behemoth

And I shall call!
And I shall call!

Almost a year ago Ryan and I built the Behemoth.  It’s fully assembled (except for the darned doors which I just can’t seem to manage to build), so last weekend I decided to build a unit for Kaylin.   It’s not nearly as big, just one 24′ wide by 8′ tall unit.  This one’s built with 3/4″ maple ply-wood ($66.00 a sheet) instead of 3/4″ MDF ($33.00 a sheet).

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New host

If you’re reading this post, then you’re reading it on Radical Hive’s new host…  I’ve moved Radical Hive over to DreamHost where I am hosting a lot of other sites, and hope to one day move All New Comics over to as well. This new host is much faster, and I’m now trying out WordPress … Read more

How did games become my new movies?

The best games from the beginning of 2008
The best games from the beginning of 2008

I don’t know when it happened exactly, but at some point in the last 5 years, I stopped being a huge movie nut, and transferred some of that love over to video games.  I used to read Premiere magazine, and Entertainment Weekly.  I would surf Film Threat, and Cinematical, Rotten Tomatoes was a weekly pilgramige, and I always knew what new releases were out on video.  My DVD collection was huge, and always growing.

Then a strange thing happened.  About 3 years ago I kind of stopped buying DVD’s.  You can almost see a line in my collection that looks like a growth line in a tree.  Tons of DVD’s, then nothing.

A similar thing happened with my surf habits.  I now visit Gamespot, Giant Bomb, Joystiq, PS3 Fanboy and Xbox 360 Fanboy on a daily basis.

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