Thursday, March 26, 2009

What my daughter is watching: Old School Seasame Street

Old School Seasame Street: While they may not "meet the needs of today's pre-school child" today's preschool child should still be familiar with the funk.

Rant: Specialization

Cartoon Network is going to start making "reality" shows. I enjoy Cartoon Network's shows, and if I think to myself, "Gosh, I want to watch a cartoon" chances are I'll look at Cartoon Network. It covers its niche well, from kids shows to the highly lauded and successful Adult Swim and late night Anime. But no, not good enough for them to be a highly successful Cartoon showing network. Variety reports that Cartoon Network is producing 4 reality shows out of the 13 new shows on their new slate and partnering with the NBA to produce a short form segment.
The NBA tie-in is likely a response to Disney XD's much-publicized partnership with ESPN. Disney XD is seeking to wrest the 6-11 boys demo from Cartoon, but it faces an uphill battle. Cartoon's focus on boys over the past year has earned it further dominance over its target aud, traditionally the most lucrative kid demographic for advertisers. The presentation was filled with thinly veiled refs to "the kind of sanitized shows you see from the competition," as more than one exec put it.
Seriously? you're feeling threatened by Disney XD's tie-in? they're trying to wrest the demo from you!!! The fact that they are doing better in comparison to you does not mean they are better at what you're doing than you are. In an attempt to capture the all too exciting boys 6-11 demo these two seem to be in a Red Queen (you should read this book) race to nowhere.

Understandably with the Ad Model falling on its face and viewership falling in general, it is logical that networks might feel insecure. But from an evolutionary perspective, once an organism has demonstrated a characteristic that makes it thrive, it passes on its successful traits to offspring. The reason for Offspring is then to further test that trait, to proliferate a successful adaptation. Cartoon Network should not be watering down its brand with non-cartoon knock offs of other shows.
Turner Broadcasting should be utilizing the lessons it could learn from Cartoon Network's success and expand into additional niche markets. Something else happens when a trait is ignored and no offspring are created: the trait disappears from the gene pool. In the frenzy to gain the broadest audience, they may sacrifice what made the original worth while, that it was a highly successful specialist.

If they have enough talent to create new programming in a different style for kids, they should be making a new network that would serve as a generalist: TBS Kids, TBA, TNBA; or add more kids programming to the CW. Frankly put, Cartoon Network should not be Turner's generalist unless the reality shows are animated.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day

So, today is celebrating Ada Lovelace through the wonders of blogging check out for details.

Basically, the point is to talk about a woman in technology. Girls are often shown the same role models over and over, but Ada Lovelace, possibly the world's first computer programmer, is one that many girls don't hear about until they log in to or some other random fact humor site as adults. I'll throw my mother into the mix, as many young girls have mothers in technology, and witnessing my own mother's work certainly affected my opinion of women in sciences and technology far more than something I saw on television.

Dr. Elizabeth K. Burns - Urban Geographer

Dr. Burns ran a lab called the Center for Advanced Transportation Systems Research in the 1990s, she used Global Information Systems (GIS) at a time when she often had to explain what that, and what Global Positioning Systems (GPS) were to her colleagues. She had been studying the growth of cities and sociological trends and how they can be modeled using computer systems since the 1970s, and achieved the most national attention for her work on the differences between the transportation usage patterns of men and women, and on improving traffic congestion in cities. That said, she also did work with counties in Arizona trying to figure out where their water systems actually were, and a significant amount of mapping in for the city of Phoenix when they wanted to secure their own systems.

It's always amazed me that things as strait-forward as civic water systems weren't as thoroughly documented as I assumed, growing up in a computerized world. Or, the ramifications of school bus routes on kids bicycling to school. She was working in computing and applying it to Urban Geography.

She is currently retired and working on a mass market novel about her studies and experiences.

I think what my mother has accomplished is amazing, and blew my mind completely for a good 16 years of my life ("my mom is a professor, she runs a lab with a bunch of computers"- says 6-12 year old me). Her accomplishments actually affect the choices that civic planners make, and the development of cities in the future (we can hope).

It is important to remember when searching out women in technology as role models to note that for many girls, the female role model that they see working in technology is not famous, that woman is also coming home every day and tucking them into bed.

I'm definitely going to be looking at the blogs today to see which women in technology other bloggers picked, because, it seems to me it's an early time to be picking out the heroines of the Information Age. It's a huge world out there and literally every field is being impacted by people implimenting and making use of new technology that has ramified into every facet of society.

That said, I'd love to see a movie about Ada Lovelace and Babbage's early computer, and I can't wait to read my mom's book.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Beatrix Destroys Tokyo

For her first birthday Beatrix got to emulate one of her heroines, Godzilla.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's time for Dora to explore... the mall.

Mattel is adding a new iteration to their juggernaut Dora the Explorer franchise, Adorable tomboy moppet Dora:

Is going to be marketed to the Tween set in this new guise:Frankly Mattel's efforts to "Soothe Mothers and Ally Fears" leave me a little cynical:

“The doll really taps into a tween’s love of fashion and empowers girls to influence and change the ‘lives’ of Dora and her friends,” explains Ms. Sirard. “The instant gratification that girls receive as they change Dora online and watch as the doll magically transforms right before their eyes is groundbreaking in today’s toy market. What’s more, parents can feel comfortable knowing that Dora’s online world provides a safe and wholesome play experience for their children.” -from this article

Must Dora grow up and stop exploring to reach the Tweens? really? we all know that girls automatically stop enjoying butterflies, adventure and the outdoors as soon as they're old enough to reach the kitchen counter.

But what do we expect from the Dora franchise, Diego does far more of the heavy lifting than Dora did in earlier seasons, and there are many examples of off-message Dora the Explorer toys that somewhat diminish the aspirational messages of the original concept. How many interior design sets does she need? What's wrong with binoculars and a compass? I don't even mind if they're pink.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Movies I Love

Dot and the Kangaroo

I can barely handle how much I loved this movie as a kid. I would watch it every time it was on (channel 45 on Sunday afternoon like once a year, we didn't even have a VCR at the time). On watching as an adult, the Kangaroo is condescending, but it could be worse.

I'm currently trying to amass the entire Dot and the ____ set for my daughter, I only have three so far because they aren't currently in print, at least on amazon.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Target Women

I just love Sarah Haskins, I have yet to figure out how this is pertinent to this study, but I assure you, I will and then I will elocute it. Until then, enjoy.