I thought it might be nice to take some time to commend some personal websites that I enjoy. I put categories on them for the sake of simplicity. This is just an off-the-top-of-my-head list, and I omitted, either deliberately or unintentionally, a lot of really great sites, even ones that I read enthusiastically every day. But I figured it might be worthwhile to go and point out some of the stuff I like. My Other Stuff page also randomly suggests 3 personal websites from a longer list, if you want to find some new and interesting sites.
Have to go with holovaty.com and Ftrain. Both use homebrew publishing systems. Adrian’s focus is user experience, smoothing out things like searching and leaving comments. Paul’s focus is using Perl to clone the human brain. With apologies to all the good folks doing work around RSS and all the other XML techie shit, I think these guys doing more to push the state of personal publishing than anybody except the Trotts. Most importantly, both use their technology in the service of very, very good writing.
Honorable Mentions:Jason Levine, for migrating from Manila to Movable Type, and sharing the tools to do so with others. And Hit-or-Miss, not just for his publishing system, but because Matt is a Tivo ninja.
Best Aesthetic Design
Fleeing Rabbit and What Do I Know. With its slight nod to Heather, Fleeing Rabbit has just the right balance of minimalism with content, and that precious ability (which I lack) to just shut the hell up. What Do I Know does the "I understand typography" look better than anyone else out there, making me wish I would remember to read the site more often.
Honorable Mentions:Little Yellow Different, of course. Swoon-worthy in his own way, the only reason I omit Ernie is because I don’t want him to always feel like he has to be the joke monkey. And Fussy, which I only omit because I only recently became aware of her site, and what if she’s not funny all the time and it looks like I’m lying?
Links.net. After running into Justin a few times this year, I finally got back to reading his site, as the better part of a decade had passed since I last read it regularly. This guy is still ahead of his time.
Tigerbunny and Muxway. Tigerbunny’s food and science links leave my stomach and my brain hungry. And Muxway’s sheer onslaught of great links is formidable, only lessened by a lack of context. Honorable Mention:Dangerous Meta. How he has the time, I’ll never know.
Anil Dash. Yeah, me. Clearly not very improved in humility, but my writing’s been getting better. Not to mention a lot longer. And the Daily Links over on that sidebar that nobody reads are the most fun part of the site. Much better than the "ha-ha, lookit this funny meme" linking I was occasionally prone to in the past.
Best site that isn’t a Weblog
They’re always bunched in with weblogs, for reasons I don’t fully understand. But they’re still probably my favorite magazine on the web: The Morning News. Still a bit honkified in that NPR way, but the course correction that brought lots of women on board helped a lot.
Kottke. More attention, effort, and just plain craft goes into Jason’s writing than almost anyone out there on the web. And in reward he gets a ton of grief. I’ve been doing this for a little more than 3 years, and I only recently came to understand how hard it is to pare down a good piece of writing to the length of his posts. Honorable Mention: For the same reason as Jason, sheer subtle attention to craft, Rebecca’s Pocket.
Best Site You’re Not Reading
This is a tough one, as it changes daily for me. Right now, I’d say Somebody Dial 911, Snarkout and Cheesedip. Every time I mention these sites and someone says, "I don’t know that site" I’m astonished. Too good to miss. Hopefully I’m wrong and you already know about ’em.