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prior listings

Please note: Our format changed as of 10/18/07 – see the front page and full archives for more recent listings. Thanks.

  • swanarts 7/31/02 
    Description: art and design works presentation (Flash)
    Comments: Flash without being flashy.  Today's pick is a simple presentation of Kozlowski's art and design works.  It's the simplicity of the design and interface that I really like – clean!  The "art" section contains 9 pieces, mostly "*acryl on carton" but there's also acrylics done on plywood and (get this) cigarette packages, plus one oil painting on canvas – great stuff in my opinion.  The "design" section shows skateboard designs plus some web work.  All in all, Kozlowski's simple design on a white background works perfectly in presenting his unique, colorful artworks – very nice...
  • 7/22/02 
    Description: I have much to learn.
    Comments: Today's pick is one of those sites I've been aware of for a long time – visited now and then, always enjoyed it, but never picked it.  Why?  I dunno.  It's a great website and belongs with the best of the cool – it's about time!  The site launched back in October, 1997 (coincidently, the same month that coolstop was born).  The tongue-in-cheek copyright date (8/11/74) is actually the birthday of Paul Ford, the site's creator.  Paul's a writer (a very good one, in my opinion, though "I have much to learn" as well), which is no surprise considering he was raised by creative parents who both wrote poetry.  "You know how that goes."  Sense of humor?  If you really wanna know Paul, "My Busy Day" should do the trick – it'll give you an idea as to how he thinks – most amusing.  It's not only funny amusement, though – there's excellent literary content here – stories and narrative from "Career Development: An Artist" to "The Naked Woman Across the Street" to "The Subway Diary" to "The Insurance Agent", Paul's writing is sometimes humorous, sometimes making serious points, always thought-provoking.  There's also creative content contributed by others, either written by them or submitted in response to such calls as "Please Send Me Your Favorite Poem."  What we have here is what I think of as a well-designed, organized literary repository.  There's a number of different ways to get to the content – in my book, this site exemplifies good usability.  There's a bonus, too – links – oodles of links with commentary.  Though "cool" is an ambiguous word, calling today's pick a great website is right on the mark...
  • infinite wheel 7/18/02 
    Description: home of the Dub Selector (Flash)
    Comments: When you throw the the little guy around the interface, the little character activates sounds he encounters in his path to add to the already cool Reggae mix you've got going from your interaction with the "spots."  His grin and the little callout that says "Throw Me" is most inviting – use your mouse as the little guy runs around and it gets better and better.  Lonita, the cheery personality behind Saturday's pick (7/13/02), let me know about this site a few days ago.  "It's got all these nifty noise making things on it, including this one with flowers that plays a different note for each petal on the big flower."  I liked that "nifty noise making thing" as much as I liked "Spot" and yes, Lonita, the flowers do seem a little "shouty" when you mouseover them.  Those are just 2 of the 6 choices on the "Dub Selector."

    Lonita and I communicated this morning about today's pick.  She found a link to the site on a friend's "Livejournal" and I really appreciate her letting me know about.  While we were talking (via IM), she mentioned the "One Love" piece on the selector.  "I thought the one with the floating hearts was a bit odd.  The noises are too loud for something with cute little (albeit unhappy and alien-looking) hearts in it."  I had looked at that "Dub" earlier, but hadn't noticed the expressions on the hearts' faces – they did seem unhappy but as soon as you mouseover a heart (producing a unique sound), the expression changes, as if it's smiling that you chose it.  Another choice on the Dub Selector (which is actually #7, though it doesn't say so) links to a new piece called "Little Axe" – that one is offsite, done in conjunction with a music site – it's even more elaborate than the other Dubs... very nice.

    As an aside, I appreciate that the music site will let you listen to the whole album it's selling for free, or download some of the songs in .mp3 format.  I noticed recently that one of my heroes, Neil Young, is doing something similar at his website.  While we watch the record industry treating its customers like criminals, it's refreshing to see some artists realizing that they can share their music freely without being so concerned about whether we buy the music or not – they realize that if it's good music, we will buy it.  But I digress and my verbosity runneth over – this review isn't about the music biz.

    Anyway – there's other animations and amusements to be found at today's pick plus a link to "Metal Baby" – another stand-alone site with even more fun from Jim, the talented guy behind all this stuff – do check this one out, 'cause it's a really fun site!  And thanks Lonita – I owe ya one...
  • 7/13/02 
    Description: a goddess of disturbed tranquility
    Comments: There's currently over 1,800 sites listed in the portal cool zone.  One of them is plaid – not just plaid – "this is real tartan."  And why would someone chose such a flavor for their website?  "Because she felt like it."  Let's hear it for individualism as we meet Lonita who's proud of her birth place and has "gone plaid" to honor it.  As an aside, I realize now that Sydney is not necessarily in Australia – this one's in Nova Scotia, Canada. and "is always 'home' no matter where you're living."  I discovered Lonita's personal site after getting an email from her asking if coolstop has an RSS feed (that's what the orange "XML" button is about) and I'm guessing that she's reading this review in her news aggregator this morning.  She didn't mention her site in the email, but I'm always on the prowl for cool personal sites and checked out the domain in her email address.  As Dave would say – "Bing!"  What I discovered was a unique personal site with plenty of interesting content and, more important than that, personality...
  • formocean 7/5/02 
    Description: dedicated to perception of forms (Flash)
    Comments: Today's pick deals with "perceptions of forms" and does something interesting right at the outset.  There's this test, you see, that you've gotta pass before Alex will let you enter the gates to his little part of the "ocean" and if you fail, you're stuck (unless, of course, you care to try again) – it's "back to the rest of the ocean" with you – well, sort of.  When that form of a different variety appears after you fail the perception test, there in Alex's frameset, you really are stuck – the frame is non-scrollable and if you use the form to find other islands in the ocean, you will get stuck.  Not only do some consider it naughty (or at least, a little devilish) to frame other websites within your own, but scripts, in general, aren't going to allow access across domains.  So, here's Joe, early this morning, testing several (previously proven reliable) scripts to break coolstop out of Alex's frames, but his PHP and my JavaScript and Perl refuse to shake hands.  Like I said, interesting, and I'll admit I was having fun with all of this earlier this morning – I have to commend Alex for this most unique approach to entering a site – it certainly engaged me.  After I was done obsessing, it dawned on me that passing Alex's test is much easier than it first appears and I was on my way to the good stuff (forever, if I don't delete his nifty cookie).  I like the ocean metaphor – "streams, waves, and drops" are the "properties" of the site's content, or should I say, its organization.  The "fiction" stream deals with illusion – there's two interesting waves, each containing only one drop.  The meat of the content can be found in the "forms" stream – 16 waves, many with multiple drops – confusing?  Not really – I like the way everything fits into the scheme.  But more than that, I like the visuals – a lot – it's the drops you're looking for!  There's another great stream called "friends" where "interacting with forms in their own manner, friends of forms originate remarkable streams and waves" – but if I understand the metaphor, its actually remarkable waves and drops that the friends have added to the mix.  One of the 2 waves has 12 tasty drops in it... mmmmmmm.  Now that I'm metaphor'd out, it cya – I'll let you go now... ;~)
  • Ekosystem 7/3/02 
    Description: about non hiphop graffiti including huge database of streets/trains pictures from all over the globe plus interviews and wallpapers
    Comments: Today's pick is primarily a graffiti site, but v3ga and eko, the two people behind the site, make it clear that they're not promoting public vandalism or anything like that.  There's a small disclaimer in French which, roughly translated, states that "degradations and deteriorations... without preliminary authorization, on the frontages, vehicles, public highways or 'urban furniture'... are reprehensible."  In English, above that disclaimer, it says "Remember: painting insanities on trains is bad AND illegal."  Nevertheless, they bring you a large collection of photos of "graffiti, street art, propaganda, trains, stickers, [and] posters" from a number of global spots including New York City, Barcelona, Paris, and Italy.  Like v3ga and eko, I've got to say that I agree that vandalism and unauthorized "tagging" is wrong while, at the same time, I do appreciate viewing graffiti – it is art, real art at a grassroots level and not to be ignored.  And so it goes.  This is v3.00 of the site and I personally like its presentation.  In IE, the art is presented in popup chromeless windows and reusing a single window instead of multiple popups is a nice touch – the window is resized on the fly in IE, adjusting to the size of each photo.  In NS6, closing the popup each time works better.  With either browser, though, all of the content is viewable.  Flash is also used in some sections and there's some excellent effects used in presenting the works.  Don't miss the "bonus" section on the main page – there's some excellent wallpapers, interviews (if you can read French) and a section where users comment on their favorites – plus an excellent list of graffiti-related links.  Though I'm not sure what v3ga means by "non hiphop graffiti" in the site's description, I will say I like what I see here...
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