Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Facebook ad fun!

For entertainment, I sat and graded the ads I was getting for 15 mins again, refreshing them to see what would come up to replace what I'd marked as 'irrelevant'.

The results, from their headlines:
Rachel Ray diet (twice), 1,000,000 people can't be wrong (Pink Patch ad, this one is particularly repetitive, 8 times out of 12 this replaced an ad I'd removed by rating it irrelevant!), the Pink Patch diet (same as the other one, but different format...this company must have an impressive advertising budget), Floristry courses at Bournville College, the GI patch (yet another diet offer!), free Samsung Tocco, Poor history credit card (multiple), Call worldwide for a month (some sort of phone plan), free PS3 with T-Mobile, Home in Cyprus and Greece, Instant payday loan, free Samsung Soul, Jobs in Oxfordshire (twice), Want a PS3 for £10.92? (auction site ad), The best of Dagenham, A few drinks tonight? (don't know what this advertised, had website link but I didn't go), birthday flowers, Bad credit history is ok, Non fault accident? (Ohhh, I could 'claim today with Jim and Jane'!), Teeth whitening gel sale, Portugal, Sapin, Tenerife (travel company), Are you owed £2,000? (mis-sold loan payment insurance), Ibiza people meet (Ibiza social network).

So, what I've worked out from this is that Facebooks ignores any feedback on the ads it displays for you, and they're mainly in a few distinct categories:

  • Weightloss / diet / cosmetic
  • Mobile phone offers
  • Loan / credit offers
  • Poorly targeted location-specific ads (Dagenham, Bournville, Oxfordshire, Ibiza)

It's like being constantly subjected to mini-spam emails, lurking in the edge of your vision! I suppose it's the price you pay to have a free service, but I wonder if they'll ever offer a ad-free version, for a small fee?

And I still think Facebook's trying to tell me something,in a not-so-subtle way....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Random library and book bits


A collection of some of the pretty / fun library related stuff I've bookmarked over the past few weeks...

Furniture and decorative bits, made out of those pesky, un-recyclable books:

Source











Elephant / bus / snail shaped bookshelves for kids rooms...funky!
















Some fabulous, (and some insane) shelving / bookcase ideas here. My favourite is this one, the arrangement in the top right makes it look like a tree full of books:















And finally, a way to reuse all those Metro papers that keep appearing in the corner of rooms.... roll them into twine, and make them into rugs!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rating Facebook ads

Have you noticed the little 'thumbs up' and 'thumbs down' icons underneath those ads that appear (in new-look Facebook) along the right hand side of your screen?
Facebook allows you to rate these adverts, as shown in the text of the popup displayed below:


Tell us what you think

Why didn't you like this ad?

Choose reason:
Misleading
Offensive
Pornographic
Uninteresting
Irrelevant
Repetitive
Other

Thanks for your feedback. Over time, this information helps us deliver more relevant ads to our users.
I have been studiously grading the adverts I get over the past few days, marking almost all of them as either 'uninteresting' or 'irrelevant', and actually, the amount of ads I'm now seeing for 'miracle diets' (wow, there's an incredible range of insane diets out there!) , debt management companies, 'free' stuff, ways to live like a celebrity, fundraising as a mother (why that one for me? I don't have kids, unless I've got really impressive amnesia), local foods in Birmingham, floristry courses at Bournville College, ways to fix bad credit ratings, credit card offers, accident compensation claims companies, and teeth whitening gels seems to be dropping off slightly.

But only slightly. I'm still seeing the same ads that I've graded as either 'uninteresting' or 'irrelevant' reappearing in the ad area. So what exactly are Facebook doing with my feedback?

Oh, wait, I've just noticed...now I have an advert for an "all natural loss product"...with no thumbs to rate it. I think Facebook has made a decision for me on what I really find irrelevant and uninteresting....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Facebook privacy and other such fun

I was allowed out last week (yes, entirely unsupervised! Well, apart from Lorna...) to attend a free Society for Computers and Law event on "Facebook and Social Networking Sites: Cyber-Stalking Paradise 2.0" Yes, I'm a sad geek, but hey, t'was free!

The presentation was by Professor Lilian Edwards, who was an entertaining and informative speaker. The lack of inbuilt privacy in Facebook wasn't new to me (I'd been in and fiddled with the settings to 'lock down' my profile only to approved friends, and block some people from finding me almost as soon as joining last September), but the discussion of why the site is so 'open' was something I'd not really thought about before.

Facebook was set up to be open, to allow social groups comprised of school years with school issued email addresses to network, and act as an online yearbook. Which was fine when those were the only people using the system, but when it was opened up to general use, there wasn't a real understanding of what people were using. There's no general awareness that the site is designed to share information, not to keep it secure. When a student at Oxford was caught by University staff in photos taking part in a banned after-exam flouring, was it her fault, or were her expectations of her privacy on the site just uninformed? Is she responsible for hunting down the information on how to make her profile more secure, or should Facebook be making this information more prominent? Currently, finding out who can see what about you is not particularly easy or straightforward, and can be difficult to understand. How wide a network is "friends of friends"? Ok, it's obviously wider than "friends only", but how far does "friends of friends" extend?

And who has ultimate control of what happens to images of you - you, or your friends? Anyone can upload a photo of you to Facebook, and tag you. The tag will only take you to the profile if you're linked already, otherwise it's just plain text. But if it's an active tag, everyone can see those photos, which might not always show you in the best light. You do have the option to remove the tags linking you to photos if you find them inappropriate, but that means you have to be able to log in to Facebook at the time, and remove them. Also, there is apparently a way to prevent yourself being tagged in photos at all (I didn't know this, and haven't been in to my settings to have a look yet), but this just means you'll never be notified that photos of you are uploaded, not that it stops them being uploaded. If only we all could rely on the good judgement of our friends, knowing that they'd not upload pictures that could reflect badly on ourselves...but if it doesn't work for the Royal Family, what hope do we plebs have?

And the amount of sensitive information people share on there, yeek!! I've seen home phone numbers, mobile phone numbers, home addresses, workplace, work and personal email addresses, primary and secondary school information....one day, when my other crimes are discovered, maybe I'll steal someone elses identity...

And finally, here's a link to an article listing 13 reasons Facebook will lock or delete your profile...be good!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Book Preservation Awareness Workshop

Once again, another SLLG members event has been organised, this time we're sorting out our poor, abused books:

 The National Library of Scotland have agreed to host and deliver a Book Preservation Awareness Workshop for SLLG members.  This half-day session takes a pro-active approach to preservation and the training will be provided by a qualified conservator.  The workshop will cover the causes of deterioration and the basic first aid treatments to apply once the root cause of the damage has been identified.

Topics for the Book Preservation Awareness Workshop:

1.         Prevention is better than cure
2.         Basic repair methods to include tip-ins and tears
3.         Four-flap enclosure
4.         Proper use of Clarkson Book Cradles
5.         Book handling
6.         Books on shelves
7.         Taking a book from a shelf
8.         Hygroscopic nature of books
9.         Photocopying
10.         Damage to collections e.g. paper clips, post-its, rubber bands etc
11.         Food and drink
12.         Regular book cleaning programme


The workshop will take place on the morning of Thursday 9th October, at the National Library on George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.  Places for the event will be limited to a maximum of 12 people, and be issued on a first-come first-served basis.  The cost for the half-day workshop is £25 for SLLG Members and will include tea / coffee.  Please contact Sandra Turkington on sandra.turkingtonATscotland.gsi.gov.uk to book your place.

Ah'm booked on, yessiree!
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