Thursday, December 27, 2007

One from Maria - Bibliochaise


My lovely friend Maria sent this in a link by email....she shares my book lust, and I'm thinking this chair may well be an improvement on this one, what with the fact it's got lots of book space, and it's not possible to just lift it up and wheel it away... you can play by clicking on it to change cushion and wood colours.

I'm liking medium brown, with a pink seat...sadly, I think it's likely to be something CRAZILY expensive!

*sigh*

Getting with the technology

I'm quite liking this - the Scottish Government are trying new things with technology, in this case, paying to put anti drink-driving adverts in billboards in X Box driving games.

Definitely an interesting way to get the message across, and I suppose it also doubles as a type of tourist advert, as it doesn't say anything about the ads being restricted to players in Scotland only?

Either way, it bodes well for a Government to be as comfortable with using different media as this one looks to be! What next....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Trial bias

It was while reading this report about the farcical trial for the Omagh bombings that I realised something worrying.

I've unconsciously started to believe that, if someone's put up for trial, they're almost certainly guilty. Because people only get sent for trial if there's enough evidence to make the prosecutors believe they can get a conviction, right? Maybe it's the result of watching too many police / forensics TV dramas, but I've definitely started to pick up a belief in 'guilt proven by fact of trial, regardless of result'.

So, seeing the many high profile cases coming up on appeal here in Scotland or abroad (Kenny Ritchie (yay, finally free soon!), Luke Mitchell, William Beggs and Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi), I wonder how many of them who were vilified after their trial really were guilty? Or did people just start to think they were guilty as soon as we heard there would be a trial?

Monday, December 17, 2007

The whales are surfacing

An article in The Guardian discusses "Facebook whales", individuals with more than 1000 'friends'.

I personally have currently got 42 friends, all of whom I either know in real life, or know of professionally. I'm polite and add people that ask, if I know them, but if I don't really have any interest in them, I delete them a few weeks later. I can't even begin to imagine how you would try and manage that size of a network (allegedly, humans cope best with a network of between 100-200 individuals), and to be fair, Mr MacLeod does actually admit that he doesn't read the news feed. Which leads me to wonder why he uses the site, if it's not for keeping up with the activities of the people he's interested in? Is he just friend collecting for the show-off element: "I've got SO many more friends than you, I'm so much more worthwhile"?

Anyhoo, I'd definitely like Facebook to develop a way to turn off certain peoples feeds, or certain activity feeds. I don't need to know when a friend has added another friend..or that they've left certain groups (although when they join them it can be handy, but I don't particularly care if they no longer want to be a member of that group, I'm a big enough girl to be able to play on my own). It just clogs up the feed, and the more your network grows, the more clutter you'll get in your feed, as Mr MacLeod has found. A way to cut down what's coming in as a feed would be very handy. Does this sort of option already exist?

On a related point, at a speed networking meeting last week for my professional group, we had a chat about sites like Facebook, Bebo, and even the grandfather of them all, MySpace. Of 5 of us, only 2 had access to these type of sites in work, and those 2 were unsure if it would be officially frowned upon if it were ever to come up formally. And these are meant to be forward thinking, cutting edge legal firms, governmental bodies and universities. Of course, the option is there to try and persuade our employers that we need access to these sites...but in a library context, we were hard pushed to find a good reason why we should have access. "Networking" is a wonderful word, but when you're trying to justify to a fee earner, whose time is charged in minutes, why you should spend your minutes on a site that gives no business return...can you ever win?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Company Law Act implementation

The Government has announced the final timetable for the implementation of the Companies Act 2006.
Good to see they're sticking with the standardised dates for the implementation - makes things a LOT easier to remember!

Fast-fast food

Sheesh, you gotta eat fast at McDonalds these days!
45 minutes to eat, or else you get a hefty fine of £125 from a private company...I wonder where the 40 locations it's brought this company in on are?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A little oopsie

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has apologised nicely for the mistakes they made with the introduction of Beacon, their purchase tracking / advertising software.

They do seem to run the site a bit like awkward teenagers - trying new things out, pushing the boundaries to see what they can get away with...then going all red and embarrassed when things don't work out quite as they planned...

In the UK, they'd probably be an unplanned parent by now...will be interesting to see what sproglets Facebook may spawn!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dolphin bothering

The first man in Scotland to be convicted of recklessly harassing dolphins has been fined £500 for the offence.

I have to confess, this rates highly on my 'what the hell?' radar...and the Scottish courts judgements website is being its usual unhelpful self, so I may never know the details of how he harassed the poor things...obviously he was on a jet ski, but was he using them as ramps?!?!

Wikis in business continuity planning

This post at Information Overlord caught my eye. We've been discussing for a while the best way to incorporate some business continuity planning into the library service: ie, what would happen if one of the two of us (who a lot of the time function as solo librarians, dealing with the issues arising in our own offices with little or no reference to the other) was suddenly unable to work.

Or, even worse, if one of use decided to leave!! *takes moment to lie down and stop hyperventilating at thought of boss ever leaving*

The structure of the company, the core duties of each staff member, the procedures needed for each activity, the suppliers we use, the products we take, the codes we use, who to ask internally for various things, data on the special professional interests of each fee earner...all information essential to getting our jobs done, but if and when one person isn't there, is the other person fully equipped with information to continue without them for any length of time?

So, in order to try and get some of this sorted out before it would ever be needed, we're thinking about perhaps using a wiki as an online staff handbook.

Benefits:
  • Large volume of information / documentation stored without taking up large amounts of physical space.
  • Securable.
  • Easily editable.
  • Always the 'current' version.
  • Restrictions on user access to prevent tampering.
  • Availability off site, essential if staff are unable to access buildings / offices.
  • Would allow new staff to familiarise themselves with basic company / service information before starting role. (although this would cause issues with security, would need to investigate whether parts of wikis are lockable / hideable, or whether it would need to be a separate 'Handbook Lite' version)
Downsides:

  • Without a current Library staff handbook, a lot of time will need to be invested to get the relevant information onto a wiki.
  • It will only be useful if maintained, so staff would need to be committed to maintaining it properly and updating regularly as information changes.
  • Possibility of it being hacked into, and sensitive information accessed.

Hmmm...much to think about, and lots of 'normal' work to be done before attempting this. It's an ongoing problem: so much daily work to do that you never get the time to do the preventative work!

The evils of piping

Bagpiping, that is.

Apparently, they're a threat to the environment, and not just the ears of those subjected to the often-horrifically-bad ones that pipe for the tourists on Princes Street!
Who would have thought that once banned symbols of Scottish pride would help decimate the forests of other nations!

Btw, I can highly recommend the Good Gifts site mentioned in the story, have used them for a few years, and they've always got a good present idea, especially the stocking fillers!
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