The Evening Post: Are Videogames About Their Mechanics


Geek Alabama Evening Post

Tonight, I wanted to share this video from the popular YouTube channel PBS Idea Channel.  Tonight, host Mike Rugnetta talks about video games, and if video games improves the mechanics of us people.  So, do we care more about what we do, instead of what happens?  And should the interaction be more important than the message, enjoy the video below!

And for an bonus, enjoy the video from the YouTube channel Extra Credits related to the video above!

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Crowdsourcing Weekends: Kodiak Power Line, Aerial Bold, Adult Wednesday Addams


Geek Alabama Crowdsourcing

This is Crowdsourcing Weekends! This post highlights three different crowdsourcing projects I liked from Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other crowdsourcing websites.

Kodiak Power Line

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The same outdoor designer brand that delivered the Turtle Shell and Big Turtle Shell, are now asking for your help in launching the Kodiak Power Bank Line – the pinnacle of rugged + waterproof portable chargers.  This is not your typical power bank line. The Kodiak Power Bank Line is IP67 – waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof – and ready for anything you can throw at it. The Kodiak Power Bank Collection will give you power in any setting; from the backcountry, sitting on a lift before your next run, to the beach, the Kodiak can handle it all with style and ease.

They love crowdfunding. It gives them a chance to connect with their most ardent users. The early adopters – the same people who are on the first lift of the day. Their kind of people. Late nights into early mornings – The Kodiak is your best friend.  They aren’t a billion dollar company and don’t have to play by those rules. They can leverage the crowd to innovate. Leverage the crowd to bring you stuff you probably want.  They need your support to cover the tooling for the Kodiak Mini 2200 and Kodiak Plus 10000. Crowdfunding gives them the opportunity to grow on their own terms, and also keeps them from having to put on a suit to visit banks.

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As of October 19th, this project has raised around $27,000 of their $30,000 goal. This project only has 25 days left to raise the $30,000 or it might not be funded!  For a pledge of $25, you will get 1x Kodiak Mini 2200 Power Bank and 1x Calamari 3-in-1 Charging Cable.  For a pledge of $50, you will get 1x Kodiak 6000 Power Bank, 1x Calamari 3-in-1 Charging Cable, and 1x Outdoor Tech Trucker Hat.  To learn more and to pledge money, go to: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/outdoor-tech-kodiak-waterproof-portable-power-line

Aerial Bold

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Aerial Bold is the first map and typeface of the earth. The project is literally about “reading” the earth for letterforms, or alphabet shapes, “written” into the topology of buildings, roads, rivers, trees, and lakes. To do this, they will traverse the entire planet’s worth of satellite imagery and develop the tools and methods necessary to map these features hiding in plain sight.  The entire letterform database will be made available as a “usable” dataset for any of your art/design/science/textual projects and selected letterforms will be made into a truetype/opentype font format that can be imported to your favorite word processor.

Aerial Bold is as much about developing new methods of mapping features on the earth’s surface, as it is about generating the first map and typeface of the planet. It is their intention to offer non-domain experts (e.g. artists, designers, citizen scientists, etc.) a set of tools to source their own datasets and inspire people from all backgrounds to explore geographic data. The importance in kickstarting Aerial Bold is to showcase the creative and technical process of “making your own data”.  With your support they will be able to purchase dedicated computing/server space to run their satellite image based alphabet searching algorithm. The funding support will help keep the typeface, the maps, and the alphabet metadata (e.g. geo-coordinates, address, etc) alive in cyberspace for people to download, use, view, and explore.

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As of October 19th, this project has raised around $7,700 of their $10,000 goal. This project only has 25 days left to raise the $10,000 or it will not be funded!  For a pledge of $5, you will get your name “typed” in “Aerial Bold” letterforms (weblink/image).  For a pledge of $35, you will get exclusive access to the dataset before it is opensourced. This means that you will be one of the first to build your own geographic/typographic/dataviz projects with this unique data.  To learn more and to pledge money, go to:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/357538735/aerial-bold-kickstart-the-planetary-search-for-let

Adult Wednesday Addams

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Last Halloween, Melissa Hunter released six episodes of her web series Adult Wednesday Addams. The season received over 1.5 million views and her channel gained 45,000 subscribers. The response was so enthusiastic and overwhelming, Wednesday’s black heart grew three sizes.  The show is exactly what it sounds like — Wednesday is all grown up, living on her own, and dealing with adult life — from finding a job, to going on dates, to seeking vengeance.

The first season she made with a shoestring budget taken out of her savings account and through favors from incredibly talented, generous people in her community.  She can’t afford to fund the next season herself unfortunately, and she wants to pay the talented, busy people behind the scenes for their blood, sweat and tears (mostly blood, in this case).  The money will pay the talented crew for their hard work. It will pay for lights and camera to make it look beautiful. It will pay for production design to give it that Addams feel. It will pay for locations. It will pay for editing. It will pay for sound design. It will pay to bring Wednesday Addams back to life.

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As of October 19th, this project has raised around $10,000 of their $5,000 goal. This project only has 42 days left to raise as much as it can!  For a pledge of $5, Wednesday will make a video for all the contributors vowing never to end their lives, no matter what transgressions occur in the future, plus your name in the credits!  For a pledge of $25, you will get a personalized photo of Wednesday sitting on your grave. It will have your name on it, what you died of and your last words.  To learn more and to pledge money, go to:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/adult-wednesday-addams-season-2

Watch A Video About A Ambulance Driver In The Middle Of The Ebola Outbreak


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This video from the Vimeo channel  is something you need to see!  The video follows an ambulance driver in the city of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital.  This driver transports numerous people with Ebola every day.  And he is afraid he will get Ebola as well.  In the video, you also see the driver returning a person with Ebola home because all of the hospitals are full.  Sadly, the Ebola crisis is getting worse there, and this driver has even sent his own family to another area so they will not get Ebola.  This is an eye opening experience!

Sunday Discussion: 10 Reasons Why The State Of Alabama Is In Deep Trouble


Geek Alabama Discussion

Ah, Alabama.  We care about our Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers, but when it comes to government, we could care about squat.  While the state is successful when it comes to football, we suck it when comes to education, unemployment, roads, the tax code, animal welfare, and much more.  This post could make me the most hated person in the state of Alabama.  And I guess if people consider me the worst person in Alabama, that’s okay with me.  I mean, I have already been rejected from 1,250 jobs, volunteer gigs, intern gigs, and TV shows.  It could only get better!

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So on this post, I am going to give you 10 reasons why the state of Alabama is in deep and serious trouble.  Face it Alabama, the prison system is in turmoil, our constitution is the longest and most outdated in the world, you charge people a sales tax on groceries when mostly every state does not, and our tax code is going to ruin Alabama if it’s not fixed!  Consider this post a lesson to any government if the Tax Party takes over!  Because if the Tea Party takes over any government, the government will be in big trouble!  Just ask the folks in Kansas about how the Tea Party is treating their state!

I am making this post a BuzzFeed style of post.  Because I am going to be quick, and hard hitting.  Sorry if I upset anyone, especially in government, at least my mom was honest when she filled out the disability paperwork.

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1. Alabama’s Unemployment Problems Are Getting Worse

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For two months in a row this Summer, the unemployment rate in Alabama rose.  In fact, Alabama was the only state in America to see the unemployment rate go up!  Things are not better.  Alabama was second to last for job growth in 2013, only Alaska was worse.  And things get only worse, according to this map below from Bloomberg, Alabama’s employment rate is down 4.6 percent from a pre-recession high, that’s the 2nd worst in America.

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So, what does all of this mean?  It means the government down in Montgomery is not doing enough to bring new jobs into Alabama.  Yes, the unemployment rate went down in September, but that was mostly because people have given up looking for work.  In Calhoun County, the September unemployment rate was 6.7%, but in a one year period, the county has seen a decline of 1,620 jobs, that is not good!  Alabama needs to change how jobs are recruited, and fast!

2.  Alabama’s Education Funding Is In Trouble

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Alabama’s schools have gone through a lot!  Schools have seen so much funding cut, some schools are asking the students to bring in toilet paper, yes toilet paper.  Some say the school budgets were too high, but I am here to tell you that the schools are in trouble.  And the budgets have been cut, big time!  According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Alabama has seen the second highest cuts to public education.  Funding has been cut 17.8% since 2008, that’s bad!

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When teachers have to spend money out of their pocket for classroom supplies, we have got a problem.  Most of the cuts to school funding is due to Alabama’s outdated and weird tax structure.  Some schools rely on the profits from high school football games to provide funding for schools.  Alabama has got a problem with public education funding, and it must be fixed!

3.  Alabama’s Prisons Are In Trouble

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Alabama’s prisons are way overcrowded!  The federal guideline for prison capacity is 130%.  In Alabama, the prison capacity is way over 130%, and if nothing is done to lower the prison population, the federal government will come in, and solve the prison overcrowding for Alabama.  Why is the prisons in Alabama overcrowed?  It comes from a variety of factors.  Most of the problems are thanks to the lawmakers in Montgomery.

People in Alabama want to be tough on crime, and lock them up and throw away the key.  But, when you don’t properly fund the prison system, you have a problem.  Some people say take away the comforts in prison and bring back chain gangs, that will not happen.  What it will take you ask?  More funding and shorter sentences.  Funding will never come, but shorter sentences might.  Either way, I think the prison system will be taken over, and Alabama is going to pay for it!

4.  Alabama’s Tax Code Is Stuck In The Early 1900’s

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When the state constitution was written back in the early 1900’s, it was written by large land owners and farmers.  The result today, people who own large tracts of land barely pay any property tax.  And people who own timber or farming plots barely pay anything in taxes.  For homeowners who sit on land, the property tax is really, really low.  If you doubled the property tax in Alabama, we would still have the lowest property taxes in America.

To make up for the extremely low property and income taxes, Alabama has a really regressive sales tax.  Many cities now charge a 10% sales tax, and it’s imposed on mostly everything, from your groceries to your clothing.  With a general fund deficit up to $250 million, you would think the legislature would look at redoing the tax code.  But they are too busy making sure the well off people keeps most of their money.  I have always said if Robin Hood arrived in Alabama, he would be beaten and kicked out of the state.

5.  Alabama Passes Laws That Costs The State To Defend

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The Alabama Legislature has been busy passing certain laws, that has to be defended.  For example, the immigration law passed by the state has been mostly gutted, thanks to the federal government.  But it did not stop the state from spending money to defend the law, but they lost.  At the same time, the state even cut back funding for the state crime labs, and now the state has to spend money from lawsuits because people can’t get a fair and speedy trial.

I have a feeling the legislature will pass more laws that the state will have to eventually defend, and cost money.  Who cares about our schools, we have to make sure we can gut parts of the civil rights act, or make sure we chase out anyone who is not legal in America.  It keeps getting better and better in Alabama.  Hey, we cut back and closed down certain agencies, and use part of that money to defend lawsuits, Alabama is funny sometimes.

6.  Alabama’s Roads Are In Trouble

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The funding for roads and highways are in the toilet.  Many bridges in Alabama are too weak school buses can’t go across.  Many roads in Alabama needs to be widen, but that won’t happen because of lack of funding.  And many roads in Alabama feature bad asphalt, and some cities are so broke they are repaving their roads with tar and gravel.  Yes, some major road networks are being redone with tar and gravel, it makes our state look really bad!

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The state is having to borrow money to repave roads, and the state is hoping the federal laws will change so we can toll the entire interstate system.  There is a website called the US Tolling Coalition, and Alabama is the only state in America that has the DOT, and the major road building association both supporting tolling roads to pay for road upkeep.  Now ask me, who would pay a toll for traveling on freeways, most people would not!

7.  Alabama’s Animal Welfare Is Messed Up

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Alabama has some of the worst animal welfare laws in America.  Alabama recently was in the news for the largest busted dog fighting ring ever found.  Alabama has numerous stray dogs running around, since some governments can’t fund animal control, and animal shelters.  And Alabama has a board that is trying to shut down low-cost spay and neuter clinics across the state, only because vets can’t make big money.

Yep, greed has an impact on the health and impact of animals in Alabama.  While the human beings make big money, so they can have more power, the animals have to suffer.  Alabama has some of the weakest cockfighting laws in America, and some adults actually take their children to chicken or dog fights, that does happen!  Unless Alabama decides to strengthen animal welfare laws, we will continue to be laughed at!

8.  Alabama’s Government Is Corrupt

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Alabama is sadly known for its corruption.  We have watched legislators, mayors, councilmen, commissioners, and even governors get convicted of corruption and go to prison.  When money gets involved, people in power mostly goes to the dark side of the force.  People in power needs all the money they can get, since in Alabama, money equals your power rank.  Plus, there are plenty of back room deals still being made in Montgomery, our people at work!

The legislature has passed laws to try to limit the corruption, but even today, more people in power are being charged with corruption.  To stop the corruption, Alabama needs to impose term limits on the legislature, extremely limit the power of lobbyists, and cut the pay of the legislature, who has one of the highest pay scales of any legislature in America.  Will you see this happen, probably not!

9.  Alabama Would Rather Cut Safety Nets

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Alabama thinks making safety net programs like food stamps and welfare harder to get will make lazy people get off their butts and work, boy are they wrong!  People are getting government assistance because the jobs are not there!  Instead of the legislature working to bring more jobs to Alabama, they would rather require people to work to get SNAP benefits.  Here is something you need to know, Alabama re-instated work requirements to get food stamps.  Sorry mom if you have to start paying for my groceries as well.

Here is another fact to consider.  If Paul Ryan got his away, and transformed all welfare programs into “opportunity grants”, Alabama would screw the funding up big time.  People would starve, suffer, and struggle, because the people in power in Montgomery values people with money more than people without money.  Who cares if poor people starve or are homeless, they have to make sure the well off people gets more well off.

10.  Alabama’s Constitution Needs To Be Re-Written

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Alabama’s budgets are so bad, people wait up to 8 hours for a driver’s license, crime labs takes years to process crime scenes, gas pumps have not been inspected for years, court fees have risen big time for small crimes, and so on.  A lot of this is due to Alabama’s outdated and long constitution.  Yes, the state has tried to re-write articles in the constitution, but the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that unconstitutional.

The only way the economy and education in Alabama will improve is with a new constitution.  But the lawmakers are too busy doing other things, and are afraid the tax code could be altered.  The constitution is so outdated, voters get to vote on amendments in other counties, that should not apply to them.  The only way Alabama improves, is by holding a constitutional convention, but sadly you won’t see that happening anytime soon.

Other bad things about Alabama, the state has the worst economy in the southeast.  The state has one of the worst average credit rankings.  The state has one of the worst qualities of life in America.  Alabama’s economy is the sixth slowest in the U.S.  Alabama is one of the least happiest states in America.  And of course, Alabama has some of the highest income inequality in America.  I could go on and on, but you should know the story already, the state of Alabama is in serious trouble, thanks Tea Party!  As Del Marsh would say on his flyer, vote like your job depends on it, I know how I will be voting!

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I have watched several people around this area leave Alabama in the last few months, I guess it won’t be long now until I am next!  I wanted to end this post with an update on my disability process.  These three pictures below explains what a psychologist said at an appointment.  To sum things up, I don’t think I will be getting approved for disability, and I won’t be finding any jobs in Alabama as well, what does a person do?  Voc Rehab is not an option, since the state has cut that back too.

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The Evening Post: Professional Journey – Nathan Young


Geek Alabama Evening Post

The folks from SlideShare have done something neat.  They are giving everyone who has a LinkedIn account a way to show off your career or professional history.  Below, is my professional journey.  It shows off my experience, education, skills, and ways to contact me.  Enjoy!

And if you want to learn more about me, view my visual resume below!