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Ever wonder what our labor market would look like without minimum wages or labor law protections? Take a look at the brave new world of online piecework platforms, like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which allows employers, politely termed “requesters,” to post jobs for a “global, on-demand, 24 x 7 work force.” […]

Low-quality wages may elicit low-quality work. But as Professor Ipeirotis points out, companies can compensate in two different ways, through redundancy (hiring several workers to do the same job and comparing their results) or through use of “gold data” — questions to which employers already know the answer, randomly inserted as a test of worker competence.

One recent academic paper on the future of crowd work, acknowledging sweatshop anxieties, asks, “Can we foresee a future crowd workplace in which we would want our children to participate?” It does not provide a clear answer.

Nancy Folbre: The Unregulated Work of Mechanical Turk - NYTimes.com (via new-aesthetic)

(via new-aesthetic)

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FaceTime Tip: I rarely use the Phone app on my iPhone, but I found a great use for the Favorites feature. When adding a phone number or email address as a Favorite, you can select FaceTime. I’ve added anyone I know with FaceTime (who I’d actually talk to) to Favorites, so now I have one place to see all my FaceTime contacts and start a call with one tap.

FaceTime Tip: I rarely use the Phone app on my iPhone, but I found a great use for the Favorites feature. When adding a phone number or email address as a Favorite, you can select FaceTime. I’ve added anyone I know with FaceTime (who I’d actually talk to) to Favorites, so now I have one place to see all my FaceTime contacts and start a call with one tap.

Filed under lifehacks iphone facetime

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I am not normally a huge fan of dubstep, but after seeing Big Gigantic live this summer I really like them. Something about having a live sax player is just awesome. I made this mashup as part of a bigger mix I made about a month ago, and a lot of people liked it, so I thought I’d share it separately. Enjoy!

Filed under big gigantic rich boy throw some d's remix dubstep mashup

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Calling all teachers: After school programming

While I was in NYC a few weeks ago Nick Pinkston and I made a random pit stop to pick up his backpack, and I ended up meeting Sasha Laundy at Codecademy. I was so excited to learn about this awesome new initiative she’s working on there called After School Programming.

If you’re a teacher or know any teachers who might be interested in this (even if you don’t know how to code yourself), please check it out! It provides an opportunity to students that I think should be core to the education system.

From the Codecademy After School Programming site:

By learning basic programming, kids can have a say in how software shapes their world.

This really resonates with something I remember from Paulo Blikstien mentioned in his presentation about FabLab@School at Open Hardware Summit. He said it would be great if their initiative to improve science and technology education could get more children interested in becoming engineers, but at the bare minimum the students will grow up with a basic knowledge about how things work.

THESE KINDS OF PROJECTS NEEEEEEEEED TO HAPPEN! These programs might not be for all students, but they at least give them the opportunity to know the amazing possibilities that are out there when you know how to build things, whether software, physical products, or the overlap between the two. Thank you so much to the people making these education initiatives happen.

I wish there had been something like this when I was a kid!

Filed under education digital fabrication programming codecademy openhardware

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WP Engine for Wordpress Hosting

When I was in Austin at SXSW I met some guys from WP Engine, which is a WordPress-only hosting company that is optimized for speed and security. I had a pretty cheap shared host at the time, but a few months after SXSW I decided to give them a try for one of my sites since they claimed to be really fast. I was blown away by the speed increase of my site (which seems to be a pretty strong signal for Google ranking). Everyone else Some people I know who have switched have had a similar reaction.

If you host a WordPress site, I highly recommend you check them out. If you use this link, they are giving away 2 months free. Yes, these are affiliate links, but I’m only promoting this site because I legitimately like this company a lot. I could tell they were good guys who really knew their stuff after talking to them for a few minutes in Austin, and they’ve proven it to me with a really solid product.

Filed under hosting wordpress seo