Recent notes

Mon 2019-09-23 06:51

In my younger years I remember reading in cyberpunk fiction about the concept of technoshock: a state where technology advances faster than the average person can incorporate it into their lives, causing a sort of psycho-social backlash effect. I figure we're about five minutes from that point because even technologies that are commonplace are apparently beyond the ability of some people to master. Case in point:

For the last six months or so, a woman who likely has a similar name to my own has been using an old Gmail address of mine to do such things as create accounts on clothing retailers' websites and buy plane tickets. Far beyond a one-time mistake, this person has used the wrong email address many, many times, and continues to do so on a regular basis. Setting aside that clearly many websites still don't do email confirmations for new accounts, I guess she should consider herself lucky that I am the recipient of this mistake. My personal code of ethics prevents me from resetting the passwords on her accounts, locking her out, potentially accessing her saved payment and address information, stealing her identity, or in the most recent case - claiming or cancelling her airline boarding pass. The only thing I've done thus far is unsubscribe my own address from those website mailing lists. You'd think by this point she'd start to wonder why she doesn't get the sales announcements, order confirmations, or airline notifications, and realize she had been using the wrong email address all this time. But you'd be wrong.

For another case, there is the gentleman in Charlotte, NC who is apparently confused about his own phone number and for the last few months has been giving out one of my private numbers to apparently every single person he ever meets (based on the volume of calls and texts I get looking for 'Mont'). My cellphone's caller block list now contains nearly a hundred 704 and 980 numbers belonging to people trying insistently and at all hours of the night to reach this fellow. To the point that I now set my phone to Do Not Disturb before going to bed, as it's the only way to prevent waking up to a midnight caller looking for this other person. When I have answered - knowing the call isn't for me - the callers have usually hung up immediately. If the call rolls to voicemail I often receive a succinct, cryptic message like "tryin' to gitcha, holla back quick." I won't conject as to the business 'Mont' engages in, but he certainly keeps odd hours and markets his contact information prolifically. I've considered using a call filter app to forward all calls received on that number from area codes 704 and 980 to 404-893-7000. Seems like there would be potential there for karmic lulz.

But really, phone numbers and email addresses are decades-old technologies, and some people apparently have a problem navigating them successfully. That doesn't bode well for these same folks in the fast-paced, AI-centric, automated, app-driven, technocratic future we're hurtling towards. These people probably already feel like their grasp of the technology upon which they rely is tenious at best. How are they going to feel in another 5-10 years when they (and probably most other people) will no longer have any idea how practically anything works?

Technoshock... incoming.

Wed 2019-08-28 00:12

Have you ever been in a discussion with someone, where they're telling you how to do something and you feel like they're kind of talking to you like you're an idiot. So you draft a lengthy email with screenshots and descriptive text explaining to them that you've tried doing what they said, and as you can see in the screenshots it isn't working. You click Send and recline in your chair with a sense of smug satisfaction at your own vindication that you are not the idiot - they are.

And then... you happen to look at your sent mail and notice in the very screenshot you took that one thing you've been missing and which was there all along but you failed to notice. That one thing that solves your problem. And then the revelation pours over you like a bucket of ice water... you are an idiot. And you just made a complete ass of yourself.

Have you ever had that happen to you? I have. Just now.

Sat 2019-08-24 23:26

Class B motorhomes are nimble and easy to drive, but one of the challenges with Class B's compared with the larger C and A rigs is the much reduced storage space. In particular, there is generally little to no exterior storage. Our Class B has an exterior box for storing the sewer hose (thank goodness), conveniently located under the driver side running board. But beyond that, there are no exterior storage compartments for things like sewer fittings, hoses, electrical cables, etc. And since the roof is covered with solar panels, there's no room for storage up there (and without a built in ladder it wouldn't be very convenient even if there were). So that means a lot of our interior storage space has been eaten up with things that in our previous rig would have gone in an exterior compartment.

Enter the Stowaway2 Max, a hitch-mounted cargo box with 16 cubic feet of space. It's got a locking, weather-resistant lid and the hitch mount is a two-piece unit with a swing away platform for the box. That lets me move the cargo box enough not to interfere with opening the rear doors (though sadly, not enough to let me swing the passenger-side rear door fully to the side locking position). We ordered our Stowaway2 Max last Sunday, it shipped the next day (via FedEx at no additional charge) and arrived on Thursday.

I had a chance this morning to get it installed on the Lula. I was really impressed with the overall construction, and the installation instructions were clear and easy to follow. The whole project took about 90 minutes (in the blazing Las Vegas sun) from unbox to light check. And a lot of that time was spent reading the instructions, and unboxing and unwrapping the carefully packed components. The actual installation took maybe 30 minutes. The only caveats I found would be:

  1. It's a two-person job. The box isn't terribly heavy but it's big and unwieldy. It also requires some careful positioning to line up bolt holes on the box and platform.
  2. Bring your big wrenches. There are some large (1 1/8") hinge bolts to tighten and the little adjustable wrench in the kitchen drawer isn't going to do it. I had to go to the BBT (the Big Boy Toolbox I keep in storage) and get out my large box wrenches and a large Crescent wrench. Everything else was 3/8" or 9/16" and standard sockets did the job.

The electrical was all pre-wired and the only thing I had to hook up was the lighted license plate holder (that's also the only part of the install that required drilling). The included straight-4 connector required an adapter for my 7-round tow outlet, but I knew that in advance and ordered one with the box. Connections were as simple as plugging in the adapter and zip tying the cable to keep it from dangling free.

All said and done, I'm pretty darn happy with the cargo box. It was a little pricey, but it's solidly built and I think it's worth the money. I'm definitely loving all the interior space that box has now freed up. I was able to fit our three utility tubs (one each for electrical components, water hoses and connections, and sewer fittings), two bags of Lynx levelers and a chock block, our 25 foot 30A extension cord, and two large camp chairs all inside the cargo box - with room to spare. The free space inside is great, but it will also be a lot easier doing setup and breakdown with everything in one easy-to-access location. I'm stoked thinking about our next weekender when the weather gets a little cooler.

Stowaway2 Max installed

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