I’ve finally found the motivation to compile a list of my favorite websites! These following pages are very cool™ because they either look super nice, offer great content or do both. And they don’t feature the current trends that make the web worse: Offensive advertising, affiliate-based opinion making, obsessive user tracking. Let’s get started.Read more…
What’s great nowadays is that you can basically run your computer as a thin client and do a lot of work and entertainment entirely web-based. You’ve probably already been doing it for a while with emails, documents (Google Drive or Office Web), music, games and more. Why not extend those use cases to more complex areas like graphics editing and music creation? Some tools are surprisingly feature-rich and performant. Here are some examples:
- Gravit Designer (aka Corel Vector), a design app for vector-based illustrations and more
- Pixlr, a Photoshop-like editor
- Tridiv, a 3D editor that outputs 3D models as HTML and CSS
- Audiotool, basically a complete DAW in your browser
- smallpdf.com, a nice tool set for a lot of PDF actions (merging, splitting etc.)
Once again: All those tools are web-based which means they are easily accessible from anywhere while the results are stored in the cloud (but can also be downloaded and/or rendered for offline use). Most of them can be used for free as well and are based on Open Source code.
Of course there are downsides, too. Businesses and privacy-savvy people might criticize the idea of storing their data “cloud-first” and not every computer and browser might handle all the features and bigger data assets. Also, in some situations you cannot access the web at all.
If you know or find a cool web app yourself, please let me know!
You’ve surely seen them already, popping up in your newsfeeds or – even more prominently – in social networks.
I’m talking about the trend of “Top 10 Lists” that promise to enhance your life, your way of working, your way of being creative and more by shoving supposedly useful information in the shape of easy-to-follow tips down your throat. You can quite easily identify them by their clickbait-y (and of course SEO-compliant) titles:
- Top 10 reasons you should move to Germany
- 10 ways Germany is different from the U
- 8 tips for studying smarter
- 10 things your band is doing wrong online
- Top 10 tips for being a music producer
- The 10 greatest synthesizers of all time
- Top 20 Cool Songs With ‘Hot’ Titles
- 15 Common Mistakes Startups Should Avoid
Anyway, here are my (totally subjective) reasons why those lists are utter nonsense.
1. Those articles rely on sciolism.
Most of those articles aren’t only poorly written but their source of “knowledge” is mostly the experience and/or phantasy of the author alone. That’s not bad per se but since they’re usually strongly suggesting ways how to live your life, putting in some proof, references and context isn’t too much to ask for.
2. They don’t respect individual preferences or different kinds of societies.
Usually those lists will tell you what’s right based on the (closed-minded) opinion of their authors. They never think about people as individuals who have different needs, backgrounds, tastes and possibilities – but that’s what people are and that’s what’s great about them. The list authors shouldn’t try to diminish that by imposing their beliefs on everyone else.
3. They always claim to deliver superlatives and they are over-dramatizing.
You would never click those lists if they didn’t insist in their own importance and relevance to human kind. However it is mostly impossible, stupid or at least useless to look for the best, the greatest, the most useful and successful things – because people are different and should strive for different things, too (imho).
4. They always (have to) come up with a handy number of tips/paragraphs.
You’ll mostly find “Top 10” or “Top 5” lists because those numbers seem easy to digest and pretty to look at. That also means people have to come up with exactly that amount of tips, of course. So it’s not surprising that the tips further down the list are usually of poor quality/usefulness.
5. They’re sometimes image slideshows that are horrible to click through.
People want to make money and for some “articles” all you do is click through an image slideshow – that’s not only easier to create for the author (due to less text) but it also enables the site to show more ads to more readers and analyse their behavior according to their clicks. For you that means waiting time and less useful information.
6. They are not covering any interesting topic to begin with.
Just don’t waste your time reading top 10 lists about how to improve your life or your diet or your creativity. If you really want to improve those things, there are better and more profound ways (just doing things, reading serious literature about it or being inspired by completely different aspects of life, for example). Those lists might give you some inspiration but are designed to be easily consumable without getting too attached or involved with any serious change. I like to call them the “TV of the internet”.
So much for my feedback! Since this post is exactly one of the lists I described and dismantled above, I committed some of the same mistakes I mentioned here. I hope this trend vanishes very soon though.