An Open Letter to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez
Dear Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez:
First off, I'd like to thank you for the hard work you do as a Congressperson. We may not be always in agreement politically, but I respect the work you do and the office you hold.
I was reading the above article about the situation that members of Congress are in, having to maintain two homes in order to properly do their job. This is something I've actually thought about often,because I've been in a similar situation. For several years I had a temporary gig in Northern Connecticut, but still maintained other work back here in New York City. After working the CT gig for a month, spending 4 hours a day commuting on top of the 8 to 10 hours a day working was getting to be too much for me. Since the gig was open to renewals, I didn't know when things were going to end. So I found some temporary Connecticut housing in a SRO which I rented on top of my Astoria, Queens apartment. I understand something of the costs of maintaining two households as well as a longer than average commute and the costs that entails both financially and personally.
I have to question your discussion is when you say it's difficult to maintain 2 households on your $174,000 salary. The average New York City salary is about $75,000 a year, so you were making $100,000 more than your average constituent. In my head, I've always justified congressional salaries because of the added expenders Congresspeople have with housing and commuting.
I got to thinking about the numbers. An average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in the Washington, DC is just under $3,000. If you figure another $500 a month for maintenance and utilities on the apartment and $1000/mo to fly back and forth from NYC, you're still collecting $120,000 a year, $45,000 a year more than your average constituent.
In my younger days, like you, I was a service worker. I couldn't imagine how I'd react if somebody at one of my tables was complaining to me that they had trouble making ends meet on a salary that was twice what I was making. I imagine I'd feel this person who is out of touch with people in the lower and middle class of society.
Again I respect who you are, I respect what you do, but I wish you'd think of the large number of people you represent who aren't earning what you're earning in times where inflation is running amuck and it's harder each day for the average New Yorker to make ends meet. I don't like using the word "privilege" but this is what it feels like.
Thank you again for your service.
Attending the Backdrop Live virtual conference today and tomorrow
Backdrop is a fork of Drupal 7 with a number of the features built-in to D8 and 9, put retaining D7's framework. This gives an option for sites running a Drupal 7 that don't have the budget what time do the large migration to Drupal 9. Generally speaking modules and themes port over quickly and the data model is pretty much the same. Functionality such as configuration management layouts, and mobile first HTML elements are available straight out of the box. Oh no I'm not a huge fan of forks in general, this is a strong option for folks who are concerned about the end-of-life of Drupal seven but aren't in.a position to move to Drupal 9.
I’ve been doing either work from home or hybrid as an independent contractor building websites with Drupal since at least 2008. I tend to be more efficient in hybrid working situations, heading into the office for meetings, strategy sessions, collaboration and the like but working from home on development tasks, head down and getting things done. I tend to have better equipment at home, a faster connection, more storage and a 2nd machine (for things link transcoding video) so I can be more efficient. Since I'm an independent contractor, working from home on my own equipment is one of those things that helped establish myself as a contractor and not an employee in the IRS’s eyes.
Prior to the pandemic I would've been one of the people who felt that more folks should be working from home. When I walked around offices I noticed large percentage of employees whose job never required them to leave their desk and do all the work in front of the computer. I never thought about the soft skills you need in order to work remotely. Also, there is a "if I don't work today, I don't eat next week" fear that independent contractors have that employees don't.
The biggest problem I’ve seen has been in communication. Unless you establish an SLA for returning calls and emails, people naturally ignore them to get what they consider to be their "real job” done. In an office setting, if somebody didn't answer an email, you find a way to run into them just to say, "hey Joe can you get me that thing". This leads me to believe, that unless you have strong policies, a manager who is actively checking in on their remote employees, and probably a slack like chat system, more things are getting dropped remotely than they were when people worked in the office.
I also realize that we're hitting one of those points like in 2000 or 2001. Between the end of Y2K and the .com bubble bursting, there were a lot of very talented people on the street looking for work. The transition from “we’re in the money” to “brother, can you spare some bites” happened quickly. It's wise in these situation to show flexibility and willingness to work within a company’s wishes. Also, I find once you start at a place, build your reputation and have people know the type of rockstar worker you are you can always renegotiate things like work from home, if it's really important to you.
For health reasons, I'm thinking about how I can have a more organized lifestyle. As I've hit middle age, the notion of sleep and eat when I get to it isn't working like it used to. I need to find ways to eat at regular intervals, sleep at the same time of the day every day for at least six hours, and find more time for exercise or walking.
The current regimen of doing some work on the overnight, sleeping a couple hours, waking up in the morning to do more work during the day, and taking a short nap before the overnight when I work some more is working less and less. I'm often tired and not in a great mood. The notion that I'm only off the hours that the Internet is closed needs to change. Seven day weeks with 12+ hour days without vacations is no longer sustainable. Since I've removed a large amount of soda from my diet last year, I'm taking less caffeine. My homemade iced tea isn't a strong as Coca-Cola. Which is good for me on one level but my "super power" of being able to go extended periods of time with little or no sleep it's fading away.
On the plus side, my diet has improved greatly over the last few years. More home-cooked meals ,more veggies, less junk. I'm not perfect I never will be but I've taken steps to improve this part of my health.
Thinking about Pwning a Soda Machine.
A local Popeye's has one of those Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. It was a little unusual because it didn't have a touchscreen, instead you join their WiFi network, scan the QR code with your phone which sent you over to a website where are you made your selections which filled the cup. Found it interesting for a couple reasons, although smartphones are popular, I'm surprised that they've gained such ubiquity that they become the default way for a person to fill their drink. Also I'm surprised, that people would willingly be joining Popeye's internal Wi-Fi network in order to get their soda filled.
It was interesting to see people young and old trying to dope about how to fill their cups. The advantage of the freestyle machine with the touchscreen is that there was very little learning curve push your cup against the thing that said ice, put your cup under the spout, select the flavor you want and poof you had soda. No joining networks, no scanning barcodes, you need to little if any tech-support. Here they had to be an employee that stood there showing people how to use it and filling soda for people who didn't have phones or were technical neophytes. It's funny although QR codes seem simple, I've heard them referred to as the herpes of technology. I'm not sure that's exactly the case but I think that there are people who are intimidated by them and don't get exactly how they work. When you consider that the customer facing soda machines were installed because it's cheaper to allow a customer to refill their soda several times than it is to pay an employee to fill sodas, we've taken a step backwards and I don't suspect it'll improve with user education.
As always I wonder how easily this could be abused. Imagine joining the Wi-Fi net work, sitting at the opposite end of the restaurant and just screwing with the machine. Causing the machine to run with no one in front of it so soda is spilling all over the floor, we're changing somebody's flavor as they're filling their cup. Also, I presume like most other Internet of Things devices the webserver is running on the soda machine so I wonder about the potential exploits and what one could do if they pwned a soda machine
Thoughts on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: Season 1
Just finished watching season one of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. This is the first thing that I've seen that feels like TOS since The Next Generation. The Roddenberry-esque sense of optimism combined with exploration was a treat to watch. I have a few thoughts that I'll hide behind a spoiler tag.
When you know a character well you can't put them into believable jeopardy in a prequel, so I tend not to enjoy them as much. I felt going into this thinking no matter what happens to: Pike, Spock, Uhura, Chapel, M'Benga, and a number of other characters, I knew where their characters had to wind up. This expectation was immediately subverted with the portrayal of Christine Chapel, who has a refreshingly smart yet playful personality that we never saw in TOS. I no longer feel at all the characters need to be left in the place that Gene Roddenberry pick them up do use a 1966.
I have to admit for a short time, I thought possibly Pike could avoid the chair. I mean since 1966 we knew Pike's fate. It was certainly foreshadowed plenty throughout the season, but if we could change Christine's character, why couldn't we alter Pike's fate? Of course, the Ghost of Christmas Future, in the form of his future self, showed us why that was impossible
I've been using dictation on my Mac more and more, saving my carpal tunnel ridden hands for coding. I was writing something about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and I found it funny that no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get dictation to understand "M'Begna", it always translated it as "my banker".
I was in the store today and it's like we learned nothing The line so close the people could physically touch each other. I understand that variants of Covid aren't as severe as they were when I had it and that we have treatments now which we didn't have two years ago, but maintaining distance was something I was hoping for when this thing ended. I don't care if it's Covid, the Flu, or a Cold, I don't want your germs and maintaining a reasonable distance in line is the least we can do to keep people healthy.
BREAKING: Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled that absentee ballot drop boxes may be placed only in election offices. The court did not address whether anyone other than the voter can return his or her own ballot by mail. https://t.co/SQVUYFKMrE— The Associated Press (@AP) July 8, 2022
I'm of such mixed opinions here. I support making it easier for a person to vote, but I'm a technologist who spends a good deal of time thinking of man-in-the-middle attacks, I can easily see how drop boxes can be abused to intercept, change or discard votes