Saturday, July 05, 2014

Serious About Soaps

Thanks to Synchronofile, a local media archive, I've been reviewing TV detergent commercials en masse, one after the other:  Wisk, Biz, Fab, Duz, Cheer, Exact (early tablet), Tide, Ad, Lestoil, Rinso, Salvo (also tablet)... some of these brands didn't make it to 2014, others are still household names.

Sometimes a fragment of the sponsored soap opera is included for context:  The Guilding Light; Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Death Valley...

Post WW2 was all about a baby boom, with guys off to the office, gals staying home to master a new life style based on Madison Avenue hyped appliances and new food stuffs.

Washing machines, dish washers, televisions... these appliances hardly get any expensive TV advertising today as they're taken for granted.

I'm not being sarcastic-critical about the need to master new lifestyles, complete with gadgets.  Today it's the smartphone.

Going forward, my idea of a positive show genre is a mix of soap opera / melodrama and reality TV, mixed with adventures in making the world work (est influence).

Watch your favorite world development team trundle around in a bizmo, caravaning to camps, tackling problems in a DIY engineeringly sophisticated way.  Thanks to the web, watching is not just passive, and it's not just money you can send, but advice, paid-for items for inventory.

Announcer voice (1950s tone, for nostalgia purposes):
"Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Johnson of Boise, Idaho for this high volume electric pump, and to Joe and Marge Buxton of Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the solar steam generator from Infinia, used together in today's episode."
Yes, the "nuclear family" itself feels pretty retro by now.  I'm a "love makes a family" guy myself, though Dawn Wicca and I did pretty well at being nuclear.  '

The surrounding society has convenient APIs set up for families in that mold.  Even in 2014, multi-spouse "molecular families" are still a nightmare for social engineers (e.g. database schema designers).

A first step towards matching reality is allowing dependents to show up in more than one household, as divorced parents, some with new spouses, share parenting.  Guardianship is not necessarily the job of biological parents either, and many databases need to show an "authorized guardian" to pick up junior after class (could be an older sibling, could be a neighbor).

In helping Quakers to sort out such multicultural / anthropological complexities on a small scale, in schematic form, I help to come up with more robust, more general purpose APIs.