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.

Our Family

Merry Christmas from the Garsides!

Kaylin and Maks wish you a merry Christmas
Kaylin and Maks wish you a merry Christmas

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…

Movies and TV

Blame Hollywood

Dr Manhattan from Watchmen
Who will watch the Watchmen?

The MPAA is continuing to blame Canada for its piracy woes. This despite the fact that Hollywood had a pretty boffo year with movie ticket sales on par with last year’s.

It’s not Canada’s fault, it’s a combination of a diversifying entertainment spend, and Hollywood’s failure to fully embrace technology.


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.


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.