Useless Blogging

March 2, 2007

Productivity501 Review

Filed under: Reviews — steegness @ 1:58 pm

Disclaimer: My primary motivation for writing this post is the ipod they’re offering for reviews (in contest form). That said however, expect honesty, even if you’d not normally expect a review of a website in this space.

Productive Strategies initially crawled across my feedreader as a link from another site I visit for little tips for life. Honestly, which one with was fails me (though it was likely LifeHacker), but a visit proved it worthy for further monitoring.

The post with which I fell in love was this one, detailing a number of free academic lecture podcasts. I dig free things that make me smarter. Since then, the feed has been swimming into my reading net as often as the hits roll in (which, for the interested, is anywhere from once every two weeks to once every day; it’s gone in fits and spurts). While I’d like a little more consistency in the pacing, the main thing the posts have going for them is the fact that they’re (primarily) original content. I qualify that due to fact that most entries come with bibliographical-style references following them, indicating a measure of inspiration from other sources. Still, it helps it stand apart a little better from more well-known sites like LifeHacker, which often cribs nearly word for word from other sites that I already have in my feedreader — including this one.

Then there are the things that don’t necessarily apply to my life in any form whatsoever, but make for good reading. A fine example is this personal anecdote set of tips related to working from a suitcase. For me, never really going to happen, but even without the direct connection, it’s easy to draw out something useful: namely, boiling down what you need to be productive to the bare essentials, especially if you’re on the go.

Most gripes I have with the site are technical in nature. Without categories or tags, finding something specific becomes a burden. Without ‘next’ or ‘last’ links at the bottom of the page, moving chronologically is an exercise in moving through months via the archive links. And no offense to Mark Shead (the site’s author), but his picture just staring out at me on every page — with no link or explanation that he’s the author and I should care about his picture being there — is just creepy.

I’d like to know more about how the 501 sites are intertwined (if they are indeed), I’d like better navigation/discovery tools, and I’d like something that looked less… bleh. But I can’t fault the information provided. It’s presented cleanly and with a minimum of distractions (though that clock image next to the Google ads on the individual post pages comes dangerously close to violating AdSense terms). It will probably never top LifeHacker in my eyes, but the work is pretty quality.

6 Responses to “Productivity501 Review”

  1. ggwfung Says:

    anything to win an ipod! I love comps as well. Found your site through the review.


  2. steegness Says:

    Well, not ANYTHING to win an ipod… but I admit it was the incentive to write a full-on review. Writing is a simple enough process that I didn’t mind the effort involved, especially with the chance for an ipod at the end. 🙂

  3. iPod Contest - Review This Site at Productivity501 Says:

    […] Steegness’ Review […]

  4. Useless Blogging » Productivity501 Updates To Wordpress Says:

    […] I wrote about P501 before, in a review of their services in an attempt for an iPod Shuffle (because I’m a cold materialistic bastard in addition to being a consumer of productivity blogs). I don’t think I’ll ever win, as the target number of reviews was 150, and to date, there are 18. […]

  5. Contest Winner Announced at Productivity501 Says:

    […] Steegness’ Review […]

  6. A Review of Reviews : Productivity501 Says:

    […] Steegness suggested adding easier access to the archives and said my picture looks creepy. I put a link to the archives at the bottom of the page.  I’m getting mixed reviews on whether or not my picture is too creepy. Do any other readers have an opinion about this?  Go ahead and tell me.  I can take it. […]