Happy Valentine’s Day From SNX Professor

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! This holiday of connections makes me think of all the ways that we stay in touch today. There have been so many changes to social networking through the years which have changed the way relationships work. This infographic from mashable.com shows the development of social networking through the years. 

How has technology changed your relationships for the better? 

 
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Reblogged: The Evolution of Labor Day from http://gigaom.com

Rosie-the-Riveter

With the upcoming Labor Day holiday this Monday, SNX I.T. found the following intriguing article on how technology has changed the meaning of Labor Day for those of us that use technology to work almost 24/7, and hardly ever stop working.

SNX I.T. isn’t the only company out there that offers services available 24/7 (by remote access), with employees that work both on the job, but also from other off-site locations. The evolution of technology and its effects on the modern worker make it hard for some of us to truly not labor on Labor Day, which would require us to put down our smartphones or tablets and not work.

The following article was written by Nancy Nally on http://gigaom.com/2009/09/07/the-evolution-of-labor-day/ and elaborates on this topic:

“The origins of Labor Day, which takes place the first Monday of September in North America, are somewhat uncertain. The holiday originated in Canada, born out of the worker’s rights movement there in the 1870s. By the 1880s, it had spread across the border, and the first organized Labor Day celebration in the U.S. was held in New York City in 1882.

Throughout the 1880s the honoring of Labor Day gradually made its way throughout the U.S., until it became a federal holiday during the administration of President Grover Cleveland in 1894. Rather than being a day of rest for the worker, however, Labor Day was initially a day of activism. Early celebrations relied on parades and festivals centered around union organizations and their workers. Homage was paid to the rights of these workers and their incredible importance in the growing industrial economy of the country.

What is certain is that since then, the world of work has changed dramatically. The American worker is migrating from the factory to service and knowledge work. Union membership is falling. More and more of us work for small businesses, or even ourselves, instead of large corporations.

As the worker evolved, so did Labor Day. It became a day of rest for office workers. Or at least it was until technology took over. Increasingly, as we’ve discussed often here at WWD, technology makes it difficult for workers to get away from their jobs — even on the supposed holiday meant to honor workers. Our BlackBerrys, laptops and other devices mean our work follows us everywhere we go, 24/7. This is doubly true for web workers. And for self-employed web workers, there is another challenge: taking time off means we aren’t making money.

So how do we web workers celebrate such a holiday when it’s increasingly difficult for us to take a holiday from our work? Maybe we need to get back to Labor Day’s original advocacy-focused roots.

Few web workers are members of unions, or of trade groups that advocate for our interests on a larger stage. That’s because, especially for solo workers, it can be easy to feel like there’s no point in speaking up on issues that relate to us, to just be one voice amidst a chorus of organized groups.

But if we don’t speak up for ourselves, who will?

So this Labor Day, even if we web workers aren’t pausing in our work to honor ourselves, maybe we should all add self-advocacy to our task lists. We need to be reminded of how important it is to stand up for our own interests, just like our ancestors did in the 19th century.

What are you doing for Labor Day? Are you working or honoring the holiday?”

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you plan to really rest this Labor Day or not?

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Hey BABY! The world’s first stored-program computer was built 65 years ago and couldn’t fit in your living room…

Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, aka "Baby"
Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, aka “Baby”

Everyone knows that computers have dramatically shrunk in the past 60 years, but it’s become such a normalcy that the common person takes it for granted, and my 1-year old daughter will never know what it was like to carry around a 5 lb. gray hunk of plastic that used to be what passed for a cell phone.

Exactly how much have computers changed in the past 60 years? One great example of what our modern-day computers used to look like is the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, nicknamed “Baby”. Baby, which ran its first program over 65 years ago in Manchester, UK on June 1, 1948, was the world’s first stored-program computer. The program it ran was to determine the highest factor of the number 218, which took almost an hour to compute. It wasn’t meant to be regarded as a full-fledged computer, but rather proof that the concept would work. This proof of concept led to the production of the Manchester Mark 1, which eventually led to the creation of the world’s first commercially available general-purpose computer.

F.C. Williams, who wrote the program, said the following about its first successful run:

“A program was laboriously inserted and the start switch pressed. Immediately the spots on the display tube entered a mad dance. In early trials it was a dance of death… But one day it stopped, and there, shining brightly in the expected place, was the expected answer. It was a moment to remember. This was in June 1948, and nothing was ever the same again.”

Compared to the light-weight tablets and smartphones we carry around today that fit easily in a back-pack or purse, “Baby” was enormous, measuring over 17 feet long and over 7 feet tall. The technology that Baby made possible is exhibited nearly everywhere in modern day life. There are computers hidden away (or embedded) in everything from digital alarm clocks, to toasters, to your house alarm; even the traffic lights you pass under every day on your way to work. Because of the technological advancement made possible because of this huge machine, we use tiny, evolved computers dozens of times a day without even realizing it.

How many computers have you used today, and how would your life be different without them?

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