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Happy Labor Day

6 September 2010 Leave a comment

Today is Labor Day. A day to celebrate the hard work and brow sweat that goes into making our country what it is. It would appear that there are people out there that don’t get this.

This holiday originated as a conciliatory act on the part of the US Federal government. The Pullman Strike was put down by 12,000 Federal troops acting on the orders of President Grover Cleveland resulting in the death of 13 and the injury of 57. Cleveland made reconciliation with organized labor a priority in the aftermath of the event, especially after the constitutionality of the act was called into question.

Organized labor is a topic near and dear to my heart. My grandfather spent the better part of his adult life working on behalf of the working man as an organizer for UFCW. He even met my grandmother on a picket line. For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard about the good that unions do. While I realize that unions have something of a bad rep, especially in light of demands from UAW and the fallout from that in Detroit, but their time has not passed by a long shot.

If you enjoy 8 hour workdays/40 hour work weeks, in a safe environment, with health benefits and paid time off, you can almost certainly thank a labor union for that. If you don’t have that, you might be in an industry ripe for organization.

What most people don’t realize is that minimum wage, even after its recent hike, is not a living wage. Now, more than ever, workers need an advocate. Events in my own backyard remind me of this fact on an almost daily basis.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

The Problem of Facebook

16 May 2010 1 comment

I don’t think it can be ignored any longer: Facebook has serious privacy issues and Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t really care. Gizmodo has a list of the “Top Reasons You Should Quit Facebook” and another list of “More Reasons You Should Still Quit Facebook” and all of them are exceedingly valid.

My beef with Facebook is threefold.

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Categories: Topical

The Perils of Vendor Lock-In

6 May 2010 2 comments

“If you can’t open it, you don’t own it.”
-The Maker’s Bill of Rights

It seems to me that the iPad is a Demonstrably Bad™ product, and probably not for the reasons that you think it is.

The iPad has managed to generate a lot of hype. Deservedly so. It is a device quite unlike anything else that’s been produced to date. A slate tablet with a multi-touch interface and accelerometers. It might even be killing netbook sales at this point. While more evolutionary than revolutionary, it certainly is an interesting piece of technology.

Having played with a store demo model, I found myself impressed with the quality of the screen and the considerable heft that such a seemingly thin device had. It felt pretty solid, but I’d still invest in a case if I were to purchase one because the aluminum back feels awfully slippery and early reports on the web seem to indicate that it’s not quite as robust as the iPhone and iPod touch have proven to be. However, I will be setting aside all criticisms of the device itself. While I have used the device and found it to be well constructed, it was too heavy and awkward for me to use in the manner that I felt made most sense for a device of that nature. I can see its appeal, but it’s definitely not for me.

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Categories: Topical