The Evolution of Labor Day

Power-PlantThe 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. Read More about The Evolution of Labor Day

TAB Welcomes: Dave Greenbaum

TAB Welcomes:  Dave Greenbaum

TAB Welcomes: Dave Greenbaum

As a new writer here, let me give you the File ? Get Info on me.

For my day job, I own a computer repair business here in Lawrence, Kansas. Drawing on my support background, I focus on practical technology from the user perspective; If I can’t find it useful, I’m not that interested in it. My passion is helping people with technology. I’ve worked in corporate IT and academic computing before settling on residential and small office computer support. I’m also heavily involved in our User Group.

My experience with Apple goes back to Apple IIe days; the first Mac I used was a MacPlus, and owned was a IIvx. Ever since then I’ve been a Mac fan. I even met my spouse through the Lawrence Apple Users’ Group and we’ve been married 10 years this June. Read More about TAB Welcomes: Dave Greenbaum

Casio’s Camera Creates Some Cool Videos

Most of today’s digital cameras can do more than just capture basic snapshots. But few — if any — can do what Casio’s (s casio) EX-FS10 can: Shoot continuous images in high-speed burst mode and record slow-motion videos.

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The EX-FS10 is slim, even by compact camera standards: It measures just more than 0.6 inches thick. You can, literally, slip it into a pocket unnoticed. Its small size makes its high-speed shooting features even more remarkable; these capabilities are typically found on much larger cameras, like digital SLRs.

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So, What Do You Do?

During the rest of the year, my life is filled mostly with other technology workers and freelancers who easily understand what I do for a living. However, the holidays can be a different story when I’m faced with people who know little about what it means to be a web worker.

14 Ho Ho Holiday iPhone Apps

I’m a holiday junkie. I watch all the Christmas specials (including a copy of PeeWee’ Christmas Special which I have on VHS. It’s the only reason I still have a VCR), I make hot chocolate, I bake, I go absolutely insane. My insanity now extends to my iPhone, which has recently experienced a rash of holiday apps. Here’s a list of fourteen that I feel stand out somewhat from the growing crowd. They go well with eggnog and gingerbread.

North Pole ($2.99)

I’m not really sure why this app is named North Pole. I was expecting a compass type app, but in fact, this one give you Christmas-themed bobble heads. You can choose from Rudolph, Frosty, or Santa Claus, and the motion sensitive head-shifting action is accompanied by popular Christmas tracks, which you can select in the app’s settings screen.

Holiday Mistletoe (Free)

Any excuse to steal some holiday smooches. There’s about a thousand mistletoe apps out there (Don’t believe me? Search for yourself), but this one has the benefit of being free. It also features motion sensitive animation that simulates 3D space, and real jingling sounds, so your kissee will hear you coming and have a chance to escape.
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Holiday Stress? Google Wants to Help

xmas_ribbon_finalIt may be a terrible pun, but it is a useful micro-site from the people at Google. The site (and the pun) is “Appy Holidays,” and the aim is to help you manage your hectic holiday schedule.

In the tradition of Fashion Your Firefox, and iPhone Your Life, Appy Holidays collects a selection of Google Apps under a consolidated theme, in this case “manag[ing] the holiday hustle and bustle”.

The Google services featured on the web site include Calendar, Docs, Picasa, and the recently released Gmail-integrated video chat. In fact, the services listed and their suggested uses does present a nice way of getting all of your holiday ducks in a row. Most useful are probably Calendar and Docs, especially if you’re already using these services professionally.

I’m awful at keeping track of deadlines without a planner or calendar, and I already use Google Calendar to keep track of appointments, so it makes sense to add a new calendar devoted exclusively to making sure I don’t miss any of those holiday parties I’ve committed to, or, at the micro-management level, reminding me that the turkey needs to go in by 10:00 if it’s going to be ready when company comes.

Appy Holidays also suggests using Docs for shopping list management, and for labelling and writing holiday letters. They’ve even prepared a special selection of templates so that most of the work is already done for you. If you’re like me, you might also want to keep tabs on your holiday budget using a Docs spreadsheet, since otherwise January might be a very long, scant month indeed. Leftover turkey can only feed you for so long.

Ecardlets: Greeting Cards for Your iPhone

If you’re like me, sending holiday cards is one of those “necessary evils” of the holidays. A new service,, hopes to make the process a little easier — at least for your friends with iPhones. is a San Francisco, CA startup founded by ex-Microsoft and ex-Googlers, and has just launched its initial public beta of the first-ever ecard platform designed specifically for the iPhone. The unique three-dimensional greeting cards take advantage of the iPhone touch screen by allowing recipients to open and flip the cards with just a flick of the finger.

I tried out the service today by sending myself a few cards. The service couldn’t be any easier to use. Simply design your card and hit “send.” The service sends a text message to your AT&T iPhone recipient which includes a link to your card. Then simply swipe your finger to open the card and read the enclosed message.

There are plenty of stock cards ready to send (there’s even a “Congratulations on your new iPhone” card), but the service will become a lot more interesting as more people begin uploading their own card designs. The site offers a Photoshop (PSD) template that you can download to make your own ecardlet that others can then send. Right now you have to email your designs to but the site is working on a system to enable user-generated ecardlets.

So spice up your greeting cards this holiday season and send your iPhone-toting friends something different. is, at least for now, completely free to use…so send to your hearts content.

Poladroid Adds 1940’s Flare to Your Modern Snaps

Macs are definitely not all-work and no-play machines, and this fact is made even more evident via a nifty little application called Poladroid. With holidays coming up, nostalgia will most likely be at an all-time high and Poladroid helps you inject some into your modern pictures in a very slick way.

Not content to just provide a Photoshop (or PhotoBooth) filter, the makers of Poladroid came up with a way to electronically “develop” your photos into Polaroid-like snaps, complete with the ability to shake the film while you wait!
Simply drag an existing photo onto the application, sit back and watch the results appear – slowly – right before your eyes. The process is done when the red mark appears and you’ll find a full-size JPEG, complete with oversized white border, in your “Pictures” folder ready to add to your online or in-print collection. You can save a copy of the photo during any stage in the “developing” process by right-clicking on the film and choosing “I want a sample now”. But there is one catch…you only get to process ten photos per application launch as that was the limitation in the original Polaroid film cartridges.

I have made the full size before and after images available, but the actual source photo was much larger. Poladroid auto-crops the images, so make sure you are working with what you want your end result to be. For those that make holiday DVDs through iMovie, you could save a photo at various points during the developing process to make for a very nice transition element or just use the resultant image to mark special moments on a timeline.
If you are inclined to share outside your normal circles, Poladroid has its own Flickr group and encourages you to add your own “new nostalgia” to the mix. If you are more of a DIY-type person, right click on the Poladroid application itself, “Show Package Contents”, and drill down into “Contents/MacOS/stuff” to find a Polaroid-style frame you can use in your own creations.
Poladroid is free, and available for download and is a great example of the fun one can have with REALBasic.

CBS buying CNET

Cbs_logoCnet_logo_2In a surprise announcement today CBS is buying CNET in a deal expected to close in Q3 of this year.  CNET is the giant tech news empire that also includes ZDNET so I’ll bet buddy Matt Miller is wondering what this will mean to his blog.  We are a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog and now I wonder what we’ll have to do for ratings week?

(via CNET (of course))

Open Thread: What Are Your Holiday Break Plans?

Gone are the days when we were in school and got two or more weeks off at holiday time to celebrate and recuperate. Some companies shut down for an entire week or more around Christmas — and their employees probably feel pretty lucky. If you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur or just really busy at your job, you may not be able to take off more than a day or two.

But everyone needs some downtime and a chance to reconnect with family and friends. Taking at least a couple days off at the end of the year can help you feel refreshed and ready for the next one.

What are your plans for taking time off over the holidays? And what are you going to do with that downtime?

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