My Lime Addiction

No, not the fruit, the scooter company. If you’re in a larger American city (LA, Austin, Dallas, etc) you’ve already seen the bright green electric scooters littering your walkways. Here’s a quick video used as a tutorial to teach new users how to properly park your scooter at the end of a ride.

Hey, can I park it here? No? What about here? Yeah!

Lime started a pilot program in Calgary on the second week of July. The city gave them the latitude to have these devices out on the streets for people to use and to charge same people 30 cents a minute for the opportunity.

So these scooters have pretty good batteries and will last almost a full day but they eventually require recharging. Enter the Juicers!

I’ve signed up as a ‘Juicer’, a contracted employee of Lime that is tasked with gathering, charging and ‘serving’ a number of Lime scooters each day. I was provided with a couple of chargers to use in my activities and will charge an empty scooter to full in about six hours. Then I find a location out on the street to serve, or drop off, the scooter. For that sequence of activities (harvest, charge, serve) i receive a payment of $5.25 CDN for each scooter charged.

Why? Why am I doing this? What is the possible reasoning behind someone who is doing fine financially wanting to run around being a ‘Juicer’? In the rain, tonight, I asked myself that question a couple of times.

It’s tough to explain but people who actually know me will probably understand: it’s about the quest rewards! I’ve always been a big fan of Role Playing Games (RPGs) going all the way back to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Sitting around a table, rolling dice that are desperately trying to kill me and killing the (dragon, kobold colony, Orc infestation) before receiving a reward for all my hard work. +5 Vorpal Sword!

I like the small work/small reward of the ‘Gig’ economy. I like that I can make an extra $10.50 per night doing about 30 minutes (max!) combined of work. Pays for my morning coffee addiction!

The other question I get asked all the time is how much electricity am I paying for to charge these scooters? I asked one of the electronic engineers in my lab for a suggestion as to how much electricity is consumed and his suggestion was about 8 cents per scooter per night. I haven’t gotten my first full electricity bill to confirm this yet but I don’t have any reason to think it’s much more than that.

I’m going to continue doing this until they take the scooters off the road in November. I might still be interested in continuing in the spring but who knows? As long as I continue to get that mini-rush of quest complete, I’ll probably continue the activity indefinitely. I’ll update if that changes.

Shut Yer Pi-Hole!

No seriously, get it shut.

Reading through Reddit the other day, I discovered a very cool piece of software called Pi-hole that acts as DNS for your home network to black hole all DNS requests for known advertiser and/or privacy-destroying domains.

I installed it last weekend on a Raspberry Pi I had laying around the house, made a few changes to my internal network (more on that later) and then hardwired the Pi to my router.

Continue reading “Shut Yer Pi-Hole!”

CES 2019

I’ve been absolute shite about keeping this up to date but I’ve got an update that I think needs sharing somewhere off the ‘social’ media’.

I’m headed to Vegas tomorrow for CES. This will be my third year attending but this year is a little different: I’ve joined the Canadian Delegation to represent SAIT (and Alberta/Canada) at the show on behalf of Applied Research. Myself and Emerson Burns (see our Bios here) will be at the show and at the Canadian Pavillion manning a booth for a bit of time. I’ve embedded a map below in case anyone might be interested. Blue pin, top left is where we’ll be for a couple days during the show.

The combination of fear and exhilaration is astounding; something that I’ve seen innate value in for the past two years finally becoming something we might use as a vehicle into more potential projects.

I hope I don’t fuck this up, I hope that we can derive some real value out of this and that it turns into something we contribute to on an annual basis. I hope this is something that I can build off of and develop new streams of potential project partners, close to home and abroad.

Don’t expect a ‘Facebook dump’ of selfies and activities while we’re away; I think my boss wants to hedge a bit and see how this trade mission goes before announcing our participation to stakeholders that might look down their nose at two ARIS employees being sent to Nevada simply because of the location without considering the value of the mission. Though when the weekend starts and the pressure has lessened you might get a couple of photos posted of Emerson and I blowing off some steam.

We’ll see.

Zuckerberg And a Bold Faced Lie

Think it’s super important for people to watch this and think about how far we’ve come in 9 years. Watch and remember. Maybe it’s time to re-think how much you’re sharing on the “Social Network”.

Remember: if you’re not paying for a service, you’re the product.  More after the video.

When Facebook opened to the public, as opposed to just Harvard students, I signed up almost immediately and thought it was neat. Here’s my first post from July 7, 2007:

How exactly should I feel about jumping on this fucking bandwagon? Ashamed? Oh, most assuredly.Engaged? No, I’ve coded a better web interface in my sleep. I awoke with a hard-on it was so good. Feeling a sense of security? Umm… no. Now any knob who once knew me, knew of me or simply knows my name can peer into whatever detail I choose to leave on this site. Retarded. Ummm yeah. I’m done. I’m on facebook. Yay.

Only slightly prophetic, no?

One day soon, I’m going to swap over all my “social networking” to this site where I have a bit more control. Oh, I hold no illusions; anyone that’s actually interested in my content on the Internet can download it and use it as they see fit but have control over what I share with the world here instead of thinking I have some modicum of privacy. The illusion that most social networking enthusiasts work under is that they have privacy. Seeing my FB data dump shows me how much I’ve shared over eleven years and that’s making me move more here, under my control.

I think more people should look to control the content that’s about them floating around on the net. Maybe I’m starting to get a bit paranoid but I want my thoughts, pictures, status updates to be mine and not sold to a company that will attempt to make money from me without me getting equal value in return.

How to make the most of the Steam Controller: a comprehensive guide | PC Gamer

More often than not, I like using this space for storing links I might be interested in for future reference. It helps if I think the occasional visitor might also be interested.

Sly bought me a Steam Link and Controller for Xmas and I haven’t really gotten into messing around with it yet. There’s so many configuration options that it boggles the mind and can easily confuse the neophyte, such as myself. This guide does a good job of guiding you through most of the options available and setting up a very basic control scheme for most games.

I’m pretty big on alternate modes of control: I have a Logitech G27 Wheel and Pedals for my Farming Simulator fix and a SAITEK (Now Logitech) X-56 HOTAS setup for Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen.

G920 Image Copyright Logitech.com
Logitech G920 Wheel. Image Copyright Logitech.com

I eventually bought the wheel because controlling a tractor or other piece of wheeled machinery felt really bad with the M&K. There’s very few things I can’t stand more than having to tap a key repeatedly to get a vehicle to follow a simple arc. With the wheel, I just have to give it a turn and the tractor follows the exact arc I’m looking for. It really added to the realism of the sim and I enjoyed that.

The HOTAS was a different story: I’ve been pledged to Star Citizen for a few years now and it’s only back in October when I felt a need to dive into the Alpha and fly around a bit. Now THAT felt like crap. I left it but felt a need to do some space flying so bought Elite: Dangerous during a Steam Sale. I felt the same way about the Mouse and Keyboard control scheme for E:D so I did a bit of research and purchased the HOTAS.

X56 H.O.T.A.S. Image Copyright Logitech.com
The SAITEK (Now Logitech) X-56 Rhino HOTAS. Image Copyright Logitech.com

Both of these decisions have been good ones, if a bit costly.  Neither of the controllers are cheap but I’ve definitely gotten value out of the wheel (purchased in October of 2015 and had hundreds of hours put on it) but I can’t imagine playing these games without them.

So back to my new control mechanism. When used in conjunction with the Steam Link, you can sit in front of your big screen TV and enjoy some gaming with a decent controller. Now, it would take a great deal of effort on someone’s part to get me to admit that the control that is achieved with a mouse and keyboard is matched by that of a controller.  Maybe I’m old (school) but I’m still of the mind that if you’d like to shoot a baddie in the head, you need the fine control offered by a mouse. I’m going to give this a go with a couple of games directly on my computer first to get the hang of it but then who knows? Maybe I’ll be gaming from the comfort of my couch while enjoying a fine level of control and will have to eat some crow?

If you’re a PC gamer on the fence about buying a Steam Controller, give the article below a read and see if it would fill a niche in your controller arsenal.

Source: How to make the most of the Steam Controller: a comprehensive guide | PC Gamer

How Gamers Killed Ultima Online’s Virtual Ecology  – YouTube

I’ve been playing MMO’s since Everquest (EQ) but I never got into Ultima Online (UO). It had a huge following and lasted a very long time.

This video talks to Richard Garriot about how they anticipated their players interacting with the world and how they had to create sharding or instancing in order to keep the ecology working on each shard.

Apparently, humans enter an ecology and kill everything they possibly can, regardless of if there are rewards or resources that can be gained. Who would have thought it?

Short, interesting watch for those of us into MMOs.

New Blackjack Strategy Trainer – Now Mobile Friendly!

I’ve posted about BlackJack Basic Strategy before but I wanted to share a tool that really helps those that are interested learn basic strategy. This link goes direct to a mobile friendly web app that can help you learn BS because it has a strategy trainer built right in. It will correct mistakes and allow you to learn by doing.

Give it a try!

This is an updated mobile friendly version of our blackjack trainer. It’s a free game that teaches basic strategy and warns if you make any mistakes

Source: New Blackjack Strategy Trainer – Now Mobile Friendly!