Relax on Tech Patio with Klaus

Technology and gadgetry used to represent the realm of geeks, but as it turns out, being geeky is increasingly mainstream. Whether or not you’re technologically inclined, there’s a good chance that you’re lusting after a new smartphone, a new computer, or a new camera. We all want one, two, or all three.

There are innumerable sites on the Internet that cater to this market and one such website happens to serve as the subject of today’s review. We’re taking a quick look at TechPatio, a tech blog run by John Chow dot Com reader Klaus. He only has a first name and no last name, kind of like Prince or Madonna. 😉

What Is Tech Patio?

According to the about page, Klaus envisions Tech Patio as a “decent and respectable blog where people will feel at ease, at home – like on their own patio.” He aims to “write articles that most tech interested people will find interesting and hopefully educational.”

This doesn’t really separate it from the masses of other technology websites, but it’s good to see that Klaus does put a little of his personality forward. For instance, while it is a tech blog, the site focuses mostly on Apple-related products. He does deviate from this, but that is a prominent theme.

Klaus mentions two other things in his about page that I feel are worth noting, if only for his upfront honesty. First, he says that he will have ads, not because he needs to make a living, but because he wants to see what kind of money he can make from the blog. Second, he lets us know that English isn’t his first language.

A Look at the Content

I was going to cut Klaus a little slack, because English isn’t his first language, but I have to say that the writing is generally quite good. It’s definitely better than some native English speakers that I know.

The shorter news pieces don’t offer much other than a brief news snippet, but slightly longer reviews can certainly come in handy for people shopping for new technology. Klaus didn’t write it (Emily did), but the Samsung Epic 4G review article is a good example of this.

In discussing the hot new smartphone on the Sprint 4G network, Emily acknowledges the Samsung Galaxy S platform as its base and says that the “Epic possesses the best keyboard” with keys that are “nicely spaced” and “have a good clickiness to them.”

She goes on to discuss the user interface, camera quality, multimedia functionality, and overall performance. My one major suggestion would be to use real photographs of the product, since you already have it in front of you, rather than use the stock press pictures that the PR people give you.

General Layout Feedback

Tech Patio makes use of the popular Thesis WordPress theme platform, so you may already be familiar with some of its elements. Even so, there are at least a couple of things worth mentioning.

You can see in the first screenshot in this review that Klaus has embedded a series of social media icons along the left side of the screen. These are “docked” so they follow you as you scroll through a page. They’re not intrusive and they could serve well to encourage readers to share.

I also like Klaus is providing two options for comment subscription. You can get email notification only if someone responds to your particular comment or you can be notified of every new comment on the post. The top commentator widget, complete with avatars, is a nice touch too. I’d only suggest limiting the text length so that a single person doesn’t wrap onto a second line.

Relaxing on the Deck with Tech

Tech Patio doesn’t really stand out as a premier tech blog, but it wouldn’t be completely fair to compare it to the much larger sites with much larger budgets. As an enthusiast blog, it’s definitely better than most.

The general layout is a little cluttered, but that’s to be expected in the tech blog realm. Updates are frequent enough and the content is generally well-written. If you’re looking for more on tech, it wouldn’t hurt to give Tech Patio a second look.