Sunday, 7 January 2018

Using Amazon Prime to Help the Homeless

quote [ We’ve all passed by homeless people in the street and wondered if there was anything we could do to help them, but what if helping them was as simple as pulling out our smart phone and punching a few buttons? ]

I really like this idea, although I changed the title from "Hacking Amazon Prime..." to "Using Amazon Prime..." since the word, "hacking," is overuse and miss-used way too often. Also, we could use more positive SE posts.

I like the idea of making the barrier to giving as low as possible. This article almost made me give in and get a damned Prime subscription. Instead, I just keep an extra $20 bill folded up in the back of my wallet for whenever I see someone in need. By pre-designating that money, it makes it easy to give away. If I lived in a big urban area, I'd quickly be broke, but as is, it only happens now and then.

In college, I had a friend who kept fresh fruit and canned goods in his car to give away. Later when he was living without a vehicle in Baltimore, he'd usually carry a few apples or oranges to give.

It's definitely not following the philosophy of Effective Altruism, but it helps assuage my middle class white male privilege guilt.

I just found these on Amazon.'m thinking about buying a set and filling them with non-perishable goods, each one a mini-survival pack with food, soap, socks, gloves, aspirin, etc. I know several SEers have spent some time on the streets. What would you most want to be handed by a random stranger? Or am I being stupid and should just stick to cold, hard cash?

[SFW] [people] [+5]
[by midden@6:33pmGMT]


steele said @ 6:53pm GMT on 7th Jan [Score:1 Underrated]
Before my truck died, when Oy and I were on the road, I kept my container of canned goods underneath his carrier in the passenger seat along with some extra can openers. Wasn't the best solution, but since I was making sure to have extra for others it kept me from forgetting to top off my supplies. :D
midden said[2] @ 7:03pm GMT on 7th Jan [Score:2]
HoZay said[1] @ 7:38pm GMT on 7th Jan [Score:1 Classy Pr0n]
Steele has standards.
lilmookieesquire said @ 7:49pm GMT on 7th Jan
Wasn’t this one “plan b”?
steele said[1] @ 8:21pm GMT on 7th Jan
As much as Musk rubs me the wrong way, one of those Tesla semis would be pretty sweet. ;)
midden said[1] @ 8:01pm GMT on 7th Jan
Seriously, though, do we have any wealthy SEers? And and how many of us actually throw in a few bucks now and then?

I set the search parameters for

(edit: looks like using the "less than" symbol in isolation, or perhaps followed by the dollar sign, cuts off the rest of a comment.)

... less than $7000. A Dodge van with under 100k miles on it should last a long time, plus parts & service are reasonable. I thought the '97 Ram 1500 looked pretty sweet, other than the questionable color choices.
steele said[1] @ 8:16pm GMT on 7th Jan
Unless I can afford an actual Chinook or something, what I'm probably going to go for is an extended Ford cargo van. If I can find one from a fleet in decent shape, all the better. Make the inside cab and outside look like something that belongs in the parking lot of a telecom, a metal divider, and set up the back windows completely blacked out with a mini rv bed/kitchenette setup. A couple of hidden solar panels up top and my laptops and I'm basically good to go.
midden said @ 8:28pm GMT on 7th Jan
I have had two of those extended Ford cargo vans over the years. In my experience, the engines and drive trains hold up well, but after about 100k, all the peripheral stuff craps out, like wiper fluid pumps, window motors, heater, gear shift cables, etc. I'm currently driving a 2005 Dodge with 265k miles on it, and it's been remarkably reliable.

That's only one data point, though. Probably worth researching the Consumer Reports used vehicles data for some real world statistics.
steele said @ 9:43pm GMT on 7th Jan [Score:1 Good]
I can fix that stuff. ;) I've heard multiple things over both brands, but the ford is the look i'm going for in this scenario. We shall see. If it wasn't for my cat i'd probably be backpacking it on a bicycle or train by now. But I love my furry little asshole and he probably keeps me from walking off into the woods and never being seen again.
hellboy said @ 11:19pm GMT on 7th Jan
What did you do with him when you had to go grocery shopping or take a crap? Leave him in the carrier in the truck? I'd be worried about that in a warm place like Florida, or doing it anywhere that a break-in might happen. And did you just avoid restaurants and bars?

Asking because I'm thinking of hitting the road in my Ford van this summer, and I have a schnauzer I need to take very good care of and can't/won't leave behind.
steele said @ 11:43pm GMT on 7th Jan [Score:1 Informative]
I mostly only did food shopping in the evening or at night. That was about the only time I'd ever have to leave him in there besides quick bathroom breaks at rest stops. Unless i was visiting with a friend (where he could stay at their place ) I wasn't visiting restaurants or anything like that. Our time was mostly spent in campgrounds where I would let him run on a tether. Even had him in a kayak once.
hellboy said[1] @ 11:50pm GMT on 7th Jan
Heh. My dog might love a kayak trip, but I'd have to make her wear a lifejacket and keep her tethered, she's not as strong a swimmer as she'd like to think.

(My dog is serving pretty much the same mental health purpose as your cat these days. Well, that and the fact that I'm probably a bit too much of an extravert to be happy alone in the woods for too long.)
steele said @ 12:13am GMT on 8th Jan
I was borrowing that kayak, was totally checking amazon for cat life jackets after that tho.That was in the early days when I was young and naive and thought my journey was going to be easy and profitable. Now, here I am, whoring myself out to y'all. ;)
HoZay said @ 6:20am GMT on 8th Jan [Score:1 Funsightful]
OK, break's over. Back to work.
hellboy said @ 11:20pm GMT on 7th Jan
What would you do for internet access? Park near a hotspot?
steele said @ 11:47pm GMT on 7th Jan [Score:1 Informative]
Nowadays I'd usb tether to my phone using Foxfi. I found a sweet camping spot on a lake about an hour away from jacksonville with a cell tower nearby. Back in the 3g days i used easytetherif I could or hotspots.
hellboy said @ 11:53pm GMT on 7th Jan
Yeah, I was thinking I should just bump up the data plan on my phone as high as I can.
steele said @ 12:07am GMT on 8th Jan
Ah, yeah, I have ten year old sprint unlimited plan i refuse to let go of. It may be worth it to get a cantenna and wifi card for your laptop that takes an external antenna.
lilmookieesquire said @ 7:46pm GMT on 7th Jan
I kind of wish he had a pot donation like a kickstarter.
steele said @ 8:11pm GMT on 7th Jan
People have tried to donate pot but the timing didn't work out. :D
steele said[3] @ 8:11pm GMT on 7th Jan
Lol, I appreciate it, but things are very complicated right now. My grandmother passed away late November leaving me with my 93 yo grandfather to look after. So my wings are basically clipped for the next couple years until we get him into a full care home. And! I've actually been waiting on work now for a few months that would pay for a van, plus the upgrades needed, but the company I'm waiting on is dragging their heels on an accounting software upgrade since mid summer. Fun, fun. In the meantime, I'm hoping to get my VR, electronics, and machine learning skills in order and at least put lowkeysoft on the map enough to become eligible for developer kits that I can't otherwise afford. Figure I'll spend the next two years prepping. And by the time my grandfather is at the top of the waiting list for the home I'll have a decent stealth van, the knowledge from my previous years in the woods, and enough contacts to put some of my more interesting projects into play.

However, if anyone has VR or PC EEG equipment (like emotiv, openbci) they can donate... :D
Taxman said @ 12:17am GMT on 8th Jan [Score:1 Insightful]
Are you morally opposed to seized vehicles?
steele said @ 12:39am GMT on 8th Jan
Not like wholesale against it, only when IT'S ABUSED BY THE CORRUPT ATTACK DOGS OF CAPITALIST PIGS! ;)

Lol, so you're saying check police auctions?
Taxman said @ 2:32am GMT on 8th Jan [Score:3 Interesting]
Personally I'd stick to federal, as opposed to local, police auctions, but maybe I'm biased.

In case anyone listening is concerned, federal law enforcement and their families are forbidden from participating in the purchase of seized/forfeited items. However, encouragement of the public to participate is highly endorsed.

I cannot say you will get anything brand new for 1% of the price. There are entire companies built on following agencies state to state to scoop up what is seized at a fraction of the cost.

What you will find, if you were to say have a few years to look around, are gems that might require you come to pick up the items at locations where it's not worth the time of the "professionals".

foobar said @ 10:19am GMT on 8th Jan
As I understand it, there's a thriving market for moving any vehicle that'll fit on a flatback.
steele said @ 5:46pm GMT on 8th Jan
Awesome! I shall check that out, thank you. Is there an all-encompassing website that covers all the agencies or is it more of a hunt each one down sort of situation? I'm familiar with, but haven't checked there in a while.
Taxman said @ 11:04pm GMT on 8th Jan
I don't believe there is a one stop shop for all federal agencies unfortunately. Treasury, DHS, CBP and others contract the auctions out and the companies have cleaner websites to show what is for sale.

The US Marshals are set to service the Treasury departments auctions here:

The links at the bottom of this page lead to the current individual contracting agencies that handle the majority of seizures across the country. As I said, I suggest going to contractor's sites as they have the money and manpower to create more visually appealing listings.

CWS/URS handles several federal agencies and now that I check, the link is broken on the above site (Some good comes from this type of reality check). The below link is their site:

Robertson Auto Auction is what I was talking about finding some gems from time to time based on location. They do have wrecked vehicles, but they also have perfectly fine vehicles that are just located in hard to reach places. If you had the time you might be able to find some gems.
steele said @ 7:52pm GMT on 9th Jan
Thanks so much. I'll be sure to keep an eye out. Appreciate it!

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