Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bittersweet Reality

Despite the fact my blog somewhat revolves around me living in an Airstream, I plan to continue this blog even though I am moving to an apartment. Ultimately, the Geek Wagon is a failed dream, but the spirit lives on. It is not just about living in a small confined mobile space. It is about being free to go and do what you want and not being tied down to any place in particular. The idea is great; the reality is that it is impossible.

To travel you have to have money. To have money you have to stay in one place and work. It is the typical time and/or money paradox. I look forward to life in the apartment because it will give me the opportunity to do things I cannot do in the trailer. Obviously it is nice to stretch out a little too. Ultimately, I do intend to create Geek Wagon version 2.0, and like all revisions things will be better the second time around.

Edited to add last pictures of the Geek Wagon. These were taken just a few minutes before I sold it and handed over the title.

The Electoral College

What can I say about the United States electoral college other than it is completely broken. The system we have set up now is most definitely not what the founding fathers had in mind. In fact, it is very opposite what they had in mind.

Currently, it is up to the states to decide who goes to vote in the electoral college, and thats where I would place the blame on why the system is broken. For states that are predominately one political party, like Texas, democratic votes are useless. Hell, republican votes are useless, because no matter what Texas will send 34 people to vote on whoever the republican candidate is.

This is not a fair representation of what the voters are voting for. This is not democracy! Your vote only really counts if you live in the right place. I don't even know what kind of government that is "geodemocracy" maybe? Your vote only matters if you are in the right geographic location.

The states are to blame because it was set up so the states can send whoever they want, but they chose to swing all the way to one side and send people who will vote only on the dominate party in the state. Why not simplify the system and send an accurate representation of how the people in your state voted? For example, if in Texas 91% of the people vote for a republican and 9% vote for a democrat, we should send 31 republican voters and 3 democratic voters. Is that really a difficult concept? Representing the people is what a democracy is all about. Not playing political games and creating rules to swing that game one way or the other. I'm not just picking on Texas here either. The fault lies with all 50 states. Way to go and conform to whats popular, not a single state stands out and does things differently.

As long as the electoral college stays the way it is I will never register to vote. The day my state grows the balls to make a change to accurately represent the will of its population, then I'll vote. I'll be the first in line. I will proudly serve my jury duty when it comes up too because now I have a voice. Until then I choose to be a nonvoter to protest our "geodemocracy."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Debunking the Myths

When I said soon I wasn't kidding. Here is my second paper. As stated in the last post this is an argumentative that argues for the advantages of open source software over proprietary commercial software.

This time I did not loose any points for work cited problems. It was an A+, but for those of you that might actually look up my sources, take them with a grain of salt. Although there is no plagiarism, I'm pretty sure I might have mixed up some sources with what I actually cited. This, of course, is not something that the teacher would catch in grading because I'm sure she does not go and read every source on every students paper. For the ones I got wrong I apologies. I thought about going back and fixing them all, but instead I think it would be more appropriate to share this in its original form.

Soon we'll be doing our third project, which is actually a presentation. For my presentation I will obviously do a PowerPoint presentation (PowerPoint is all that is available in the class room), and instead of a pamphlet I plan to actually pass out a CD with some open source software on it. One of those mini CD's people will think is cool. I'll post the presentation here, and if I can find a place to host it, the iso of the CD.

The Open Source Advantage

The Open Source Advantage is the informative paper I wrote for my English class. Although I made an A, I did loose points for my works cited page. I had some citations in there I didn't use in the paper, and some that were used in the paper but not on the page. Turns out I got confused with my copy and pasting of sources.

Other than my citation confusion, many people told me the paper was good. That gave me the confidence to publish it to the world. Odds are, no one will see it. None the less, it's out there.

I decided to use Google Documents as my medium to share my paper for a couple of reasons. First of all I didn't have to find a place to host my file. I don't have to make up my mind on what format to save it in. Also, Google Documents gives the option to save in any format if anyone should decide to use my paper for any reason. The link is below.

Thanks for anyone who is interested, and feel free to criticize. I'll post my second paper, which argues the advantages of open source over proprietary commercial software, soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Multi-function switch

My last post was about some topics I wanted to go more in depth about in the near future. First things first, a little auto repair.

The blinker in my truck stopped, well, blinking. The hazard lights still worked, so I can only conclude their was something wrong with the switch for the blinkers. I referred to my incredibly useful, yet monstrous, 65MB PDF that tells me all I would ever want to know about my truck. I learned that all of the blinker, hazard, lights, and wipers are all a part of this nifty little multi-function switch. Of course the PDF goes into how to remove it and put a new one back in place, but nothing about the inner workings of the switch. Before I drop $80 on a whole new switch I thought I'd just crack it open and see what makes it tick.

I would appear I was 100% right. Something was wrong with the switch and it was corrosion. South Texas' salt air, humidity, and heat can really wear things out around here. I learned long ago from my Dad you can clean corroded contacts with a pencil eraser, but never put that to the test until this. Now I know it requires a pencil eraser and a little bit of elbow grease.

Unfortunately, no amount of elbow grease seemed to make it work right again. Either I can't clean it well enough, or it's something more than corroded contacts. I'll probably end up purchasing a new multi-function switch.
EDIT: I was 100% wrong. Although the multi-function switch looked corroded, the multimeter test says it's good. I guess I'll go back to my PDF and try to find the cause my my blinker problem. I don't know what it is, but I suspect the little blue box behind the fuse panel that clicks when the blinker is on.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Up and coming in November

This morning I came up with about three different blog post I want to write about. Instead of going into detail on each on right now I thought I would just make a quick note so I don't forget.

First, the Electoral College. It's lame. Lamer than lame. Perhaps the lamest thing in our political system right now. But it wasn't always lame, in fact it was pretty ingenious when it was formed by the constitution over 200 years ago.

Second, I've been in contact with my friend Felix and he's been asking me about trailer life. Read my blog dude. My correspondence with him sparked many areas of trailer life I have not yet put in my blog.

Finally, I recently wrote some English paper's about open source software and I think in the spirit of open source I will release my papers to the public on my blog in a true open source style. I just want to do a tad bit of revising before I do so.