First of all, I believe it is important to differentiate between a favorite websites and a useful website. On one hand, some websites are great to use on a daily basis; however, I do not necessarily consider them as "favorite." On the other hand, there are several websites I like to visit regularly although their information does not really change. Nevertheless, I appreciate these websites for what they show or they way they show it; most of these websites are related art.

Websites I use on a daily basis to look for a variety of topics or areas:

www.stumbleupon.com

This is my favorite website, however I have to be careful because I can spend too much time navigating without even realizing time passed.

As we all know, 90% of what we can find in the Internet is useless. Stumbleupon searches and filters websites based on the interests of the user. The first thing the user has to do is to create an accoun and select topics of interest (such as art, photography, books, politics, science, environment, etc.). Secondly, stumbleupon will search in the internet for websites related to the different topics. When a website appears the user has the option to "Like," "Dislike" or "stumble." These tools improve the filter of stumbleupon specifically with the preference of each user. If you Like a website it is saved in your favorites; if you Dislike a website stumbleupon will avoid similar websites from that point and on. If you just Stumble a new website will appear. The more the user uses stumbleupon the better the websites will be.

The organization of the webiste is quite simple and very easy to use; all your favorite sites will be saved and categorized under a specific topic. Also, it is easy to share something between users. The only problem I found is the "sharing with facebook" for some reason when you use that tool, the receiver is not able to go to the link. Other than that, I have not had any trouble navigating or finding a particular thing. It is simple, easy and I have always found interesting websites.

www.youtube.com

Who does not like youtube? Youtube is a great site to find and upload videos. In youtube is possible to find almost every video. Many people do not create an account and simply use youtube to watch videos; however, as a user you have access to great tools of organization, such as the playlist option or the subscription to channels. The other great thing about youtube is that it is FREE to use and FREE to upload videos. I think my main problem regarding youtube is the quality, but at the same time it has a logic principle to reduce the quality of the videos (otherwise streaming will take forever). One problem sometimes is that people upload irrelevant videos with relevant names; as established before 90% of what you can find in the internet is useless. However, if you learn how to navigate in youtube and you know what you are looking for, there is a great chance for the user to stay in the 10% of just significant videos. Also, now in youtube it is possible to find movies and other types of long videos, not just 8 minute long videos.

Personally, in terms of quality of a website I prefer www.vimeo.com; however I use youtube more often (maybe because I am used to it).

www.facebook.com

Facebook has become one of the most popular social networks world wide. The main idea of the website is to create a personal page with information per user. Then, the user can connect with friends and share information, pictures and messages. Even though the old facebook was simpler and it was easier to use, the new facebook's organization does reach their main goal and works perfectly fine. Since the principle of facebook is so simple, there is no real complexity to the website. Personally, I find facebook as a great tool to communicate with people I cannot see on a daily basis or that live far away; however, facebook can also become an easy gossiping site and therefore a risk for the user. I believe facebook should be used as a personal site where the user can express freely. Nevertheless, now every user has to look after who is a friend, what pictures have been tagged and check who is no longer in a relationship.

www.igoogle.com

Igoogle is probably the most useful site to begging any type of web search, especially if you have a google account. Igoogle has a certain number of gadgets that the user can pick from to organize their personal website. The most popular gadgets are inbox, weather, youtube, translator and news. However, there are many different gadgets with many different purposes, it is up to the user how to organize it.

Nevertheless, the main tool of the google family is the basic searcher. Whenever I need to look for something over the internet, I use google. Google is great not only to find websites, but also images, maps, books, etc. I think the main problem google has does not have to do with google itself, but it has to do with many useless websites that google finds! As said before, 90% is useless information; thus, sometimes it can take a long while to find one useful site.

www.gmail.com

A part of the Google family is Gmail, an email website. Different to any other email account I have had, Gmail is the most complex but at the same time the simplest! Gmail has a very defined organization and it also provides great tools to organize your own emails. One of my favorite tools is labeling; it allows the user to give several labels to each email, that way is really easy to find and save all your emails. Another great tool Gmail has is its won chat; different to other chatting devices Gmail is simple and quick. You have your contacts and you can chat with them in a small little box at the bottom or in a separate page. In addition to that, it provides to option to talk using camera and video (the quality is pretty good, and different to Skype it does not loose connection often). Another great thing about Gmail is how it displays messages, it saves past emails or conversations you have had with other people, but it does not always show it, only if you want them to appear. Thus, it just opens the very last conversation and it provides access to the older conversations. Finally, but not least, Gmail has a great spam filter! For all these reasons, Gmail has been the best email account I have ever tried.

www.apple.com

This website was created for a particular group of people, those who use apple products. Since I am an apple user, this website provides me with very useful information regarding the apple store. In the apple website I can find everything from new released products to help and questions and discussions. I do not only have a MacBook, but I also own an iPod; therefore, the apple website is providing me with information of interest for two products I use on a daily basis. In the apple website I can find most of the programs I need for my laptop or most of the updates for them (most of the time they are free). On a different area, on the apple website I can also find great news regarding movies, music or even political news. The organization throughout the website is quite simple, is really easy to move around and to look and find.

english.aljazeera.net

I am a very globalized citizen; also, I have friends all over the world. Aljazeera is a very condense and complete source of news. Even though the main focus is on the Middle East, Aljazeera has a pretty vast amount of information from every continent. In addition to the regular written news, Aljazeera has a great pictures, videos, podcast and other sources of information or links to relevant bloggs and special reports. Not only the quality of the news is quite profund, but also all the different videos and the photography are highly professional. Different to other sources of news, Aljazeera is quite neutral or, in any case if it happens to be bios, there is a great analysis and support for the Middle Eastern countries. The only problem I have encountered sometimes is how crude Aljazeera can be; Aljazeera shows the truth without censorship whatsoever, thus some of the images shown are very strong for [my] human eye. However I do appreciate honesty when it comes to news. The organization of the website is quite professional, on the first page all the relevant news of the day appear. In every page the more relevant news appear first including large pictures, then the rest appear with a brief line of explanation and a link to access every different article. Also, there are links to every other continent and to every other area of interest. Is a very complete source of information. (Note that I use the English Aljazeera since I cannot understand Arabic; but Arabic is the original language of the webiste)

www.wikipidea.com

Every time curiosity hits me, Wikipidea has had an answer to my questions. The organization is quite simple and it is very easy to search and find any defined topic. Also it is great because it has many different languages for all the different users. Even though Wikipidea cannot be used as a safe research source, I appreciate the main idea behind it. I think it is a great that any person can contribute with their own knowledge for the knowledge of everyone else. I understand that sometimes this can be risky since any random person can write anything without any strong roots or basis, however, whenever I use Wikipidea I make sure the sources provided are significant. At the same time, since the author has to provide a certain number of links and sources, Wikipidea can be a great tool to find useful websites and books for specific topics. On a different level, I also like the fact of people discussing topics and determining the neutrality of a certain topic. It proves that our society is, somehow, prepared to contribute for the largest great. So, although I cannot fuly trust the source of information, I rather believe that if a person took the time to write six pages of information on a particular topic, he/she probably does know what he/she is talking about.

 

The second group of websites, and those that I consider as "favorites", are mostly of a specific artist. These second group of websites I do not visit on a daily base, however I like them for both content and image. Most of them get updated every month or every other month; the main reason is because these websites only need to get updated if the artist makes something new or if there will be an event in a near future.

 

There are two websites that I particularly enjoy to check often since the information is constantly getting updated. The first one is www.radiohead.com/deadairspace; this is the official website of the band Radiohead (which is one of my favorites). On this website the members of the band writte every now and then in a journal/blogg structure. On the sides of the website there are several links of interest that are always fun to give a look. The band also tells the fans if there are any concerts coming up or if there are any events the band or a member might be attending.

The second website that is also updated often is www.bjork.com; different to the Radiohead website, this website is not controlled or written by Björk herself (however, it is the official website). On this website I get every recent news from the artist Björk; also, they tell the fans of related topics or musicians supported by the artist Björk. Different to the Radiohead website, on the Björk site the user can create an account and receive online updates regarding Björk or similar artists. The organization is pretty good, though I do not particularly like how the website looks. But, it has everything a fan might want to know about the artist; there are links to the different albums and performances, also as every other artist site, there are several links of interest to other artists or websites. Thus, is a very complete site.

Two graffiti artists I very much enjoy are Bansky and Blu. Both of them are street artists, but with very different approaches. On the Bansky website www.bansky.co.uk the user can find a variety of Bansky's creations both outdoors and indoors. Since Bansky has a very strong political and idelogical position, there is no information regarding the artist. I think that the website represents quite well the artist himself (herslef, themselves?), since one of the main things about Bansky is to be unknown. I like how the website is organized, is simply and easy to navigate; also, I like how it looks and the few sentences you can read throughout the site. I believe that if a website has to represent an artist, then the artist can put input in making it as similiar as possible to his/her work, Bansky achieved that.

Blu, however, has a totally different approach to how he presents his work. Blu, different to Bansky has both critizing and not critizing creations. At the same time Blu has a very particular work that uses video and the streets to create a motion cartoon. The Blu website, www.blublu.org, represents Blu perfectly; to begging with, the whole website is meant to be a sketch book. I personally love how the website looks; at the same time, even though there are small things written everywhere in a messy way, it is very easy to navigate and to understand the organization. Different to Bansky, Blu has a different perspective about his work and his connection with his followers; Bansky is a more impersonal type of artist that believes everyone is an artist. Blu gives a more deeper explanation about his work or at least tells a little story about the process and/or the place. Also, Blu gives his followers the chance to suscribe to updates and news about his lates work. Another thing Blu has is a page with several links of interest, where we can find as well find Bansky! Personally, I find both sites quite complete since what matters for these two artists is for people to see their art, not to sell it; I think they both achieve their goal quite well through their websites. On a different level, Bansky and Blu are very different from one another and although theiy both have a similar final goal, they also have other interests and priorities; well, the websites are a great representation, not only of their work, but also of their ideologies and ideas behind the work.

There are many photographers I admire, however these are two websites that I really enjoy to visit often. I found both artists navigating in the internet; one of them is Benjamin Krain (his website is www.benjaminkrain.com), the second one is Erwin Olaf (www.erwinolaf.com). Benjamin Krain is a photojournalist, portraiture, editorial that has recorded significant moments in history for over 10 years. Also, he has documented curious places and activities all over the world as a travel photographer. Since he has been working for so many years and with so many different newspapers and magazines, on the website he shows several projects of a particular relevance. This could be one of the weak sides of the site, because when it comes to taste there would never be a common agreement; thus, something the author might find relevant might not be as relevant for other people. Nevertheless, I found amusing every picture and project I saw on the website. In terms of organization, the website is quite well distributed and is very easy to move around. The website looks really professional as well as the projects done by the artist; thus, it portaits Krain really well. Also, there is something really clever about both sites is that you cannot copy and save the images.

Erwin Olaf is also a very talented photographer, but on a different level compared to Krain. Olaf has been such a recognized and talented worker he caught the attentiono of several famous companies such as Levis and Nintendo; however, Olaf has worked on many individual and separated projects, which have given him great recognition to the actual date; his work is very clever and critices many things of our current lives and world. The website for Olaf is very neat and professional; as soon as the website opens is very easy to guess how serious Olaf is about his work. The organization is quite simple and succesful because every project is distributed under the right label. At the same time, when the user opens a project, there is a browser at the bottom were you can have a small previous of all the pictures. I personally like both websites, they are both complex and very professional. They both portrait the authors and their work accurately; quite great sites.

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