“Slap Some of This Powder on your Face, Paula Ryan” and More Media Baloney

I’m in a bad mood lately about mainstream media. Here are some examples:

1. The Appalling video about Paula Ryan giving advice to librarians about how to dress.

A couple of points:

  • The dowdy librarian is nowhere close to my reality, where I see a wide group of well-groomed, smartly dressed and professional looking librarians around me all the time. I would even describe some of them as fashionistas. Of course, calling a fashionista on to complain about the presentation wouldn’t have drawn the same controversy.
  • We do “judge a book by its cover?” Hell right. Paula, you look like a shallow retail clerk with a fear of aging. I’m sure your advertisers appreciate your message about planning appearance, largely because that planning inevitably means buying new clothes, make-up, shampoos, cosmetics and the like.
  • I didn’t see a single man in the video, except for the one in the frock.
  • The comments on the video are even more narrow-minded and disgusting. Not a single one of those folk, Paul Ryan included could handle one day in the shoes of a public librarian.

2. BBC News article on how “Facebook costs business dearly”

A couple of points:

  • I’ve said it before, productivity can be increase a wide number of ways, not just by removing distractions.
  • In Canada, it’s lack of innovation, not effort, that’s costing us in productivity.
  • Want to find the actual survey data? It’s certainly not easily findable on the web. This raises quite a few questions about public accountability and consultancy. How can a group send a press release out that basically accuses the population of sloth, yet not make any smidgeon of their research reasonably findable so the public can defend itself? Shame on Penninsula-UK and worse, shame on the BBC for airing that story. I talked about this in the last episode of Uncontrolled Vocabulary (in case you are wondering, I said “Ooops” to test that I still had voice available, even though I didn’t have audio).
  • I suppose it should not be a surprise that I went to the Penninsula site after seeing the article. I bet that story brought them lots of attention, and maybe even more business.

Remember the Milk — Web 2.0 Task Master

Something interesting to try is “Remember the Milk.”   It is similar to alot of calendar task tools, with some very interesting approaches to keeping you abreast of what needs to be done.

While it has nothing to do with the actual functioning of the site, I really like how the registration screen uses ajax to confirm that your data (eg. email) is valid while you are typing it in, and then gives you a checkmark when it is complete to satisfaction.    That kind of detail to improve user experience is pretty symptomatic of what the rest of the service will be like.

I also see quite a bit of sharing — Google Maps for locations, iCalendar compatibility, Google Gears compatibility so you can continue to get your tasks offline, you can add tasks and receive notices via Twitter and lots more.

There are a wide range of features as well — tagging, shared tasks and so on.   I think its a worthwhile product to try.