Category Archives: Technology

Voter-ID Trucks:                          A modest proposal

Face it: Voter suppression, mainly in the form of onerous “VoterID” laws, has been very effective at disenfranchising poor and minority voters. Also: These voter suppression tactics, especially the VoterID laws, are going to get a lot worse. My own state, Missouri, shamefully passed one of these in the 2016 election cycle.

We’ve got to fight back. How?

High-Tech VoterID Trucks!

The concept here is a fleet of high-tech, mobile ID “Compliance” vehicles designed to help people get that valid VoterID card.

The VoterID Truck initiative would develop nationwide expertise in complying with all local, state, and federal VoterID laws. The entire VoterID Truck network would procure and establish records access relationships at the state level to help people obtain birth certificates, marriage certificates, and any other documentation necessary to qualify for the VoterID. And, of course, partner with states to become licensed issuers of those VoterID cards.

These high-tech “VoterID Trucks” can move around neighborhoods, regions, and states to help all citizens fully comply with VoterID laws, and help them feel vested in the process.

VoterID laws are going to get a lot worse. But I think VoterID Trucks can not only help voters comply with ID laws, but in effect turn the “VoterID” concept into a positive and engaging, ongoing voter registration and voter engagement drive.

Please consider this proposal to create a VoterID Truck initiative / project / program. If anyone else is willing to work on it, I am too.

VoterID Trucks. Drive right over voter suppression!

(Footnote: as of the posting of this proposal, the URL’s “” [singlular] and “” [plural] were both still available, in case someone thinks enough of the idea to snag the URL)


Freshly Laundered iPod – is it whiter than white now?

So yeah, boo-hoo. I had a couple beers with the guys Friday evening. The next morning, I get up, throw in a load of laundry, and start cleaning house. A bit later, I realized there was a “Clunk, clunk, clunk” sound coming from the washing machine. Being fairly certain what it was, I tore downstairs, fuming at the front-loader that takes a minute to unlock the door after shutting it off.

When I pulled the iPod out of the soggy pants pocket, it was still running. But it went black a few moments later. Water was gaily sloshing around between the glass front and the display. OOPS! Any hope of salvation required quick action. The unit had to be cracked open, rinsed, and dried. Right away.
Quick – to them Intarwebs! Searching for “iPod 2g take-apart instructions”, I found… a ton of 1G take-aparts. Some 2G and 3G take-apars that don’t actually show or explain how to do it, just show you the guts. It took me almost 10 agonizing minutes to find what I was looking for, and confirm the obvious: I don’t have the right tool anyway.
So I frantically dug in with my fingernails – the closest thing to an iPod cracker I’ve got. Problem is, I managed to get my fingernails between the glass bezel and the plastic mounting ring that’s glued to the back of it and holds it into the case. As a result, the mounting ring stayed stuck in the case on one side and broke at the top and bottom corners as I pried it open. And of course I broke the little rubber seal too.
But the case was finally open, so what did I do? Ran it under more water! Cold filtered water, to be exact. Because there’s one thing worse than water in electronics – that’s soapy water. I rinsed as best I could, shook out as much water as I could, and grabbed the space heater. Setting the iPod up so hot air from the heater blew across the electronics, I hunkered down for the long wait. Those electronics have to be really dry before you power them back up again.
By late morning the next day, I was convinced I had cooked the thing dry. I plugged it in, and… Tada! It started charging. That’s when I noticed the mottled screen. Once it was charged enough to boot, I got a good look: the display itself was fine, but the backlight looked like billlowy white clouds with dark holes blown in them. And I can’t get the glass front to seat into the case just right. That broken mounting ring and rubber seal simply won’t go back the way they were. Reluctantly, I called Apple and set up a repair. Liquid Damage. $150 bucks. Ouch.
But as I’m waiting for my shipping box to arrive, I’m using the iPod. It’s perfectly functional. I even ran a software update on it. And the mottled appearance of the backlight is fading away. Now it’s more a consistent shade of gray except for some brighter spots around the middle. It’s quite readable, and the more even grey areas look a lot like I remember it before the infamous laundering. Will it finish evening out? It seems to be headed that way. Will it lose brightness? Maybe. Is it going to die soon anyway? Maybe.
My shipping box is here now, so I’m faced with the choice: Ship it off for refurbishing (they might just swap it out), or live with my slightly damaged, but fully functional, iPod? I’m pretty sure I achieved near “best case” scenario for recovery: got it out of the washing machine ASAP, cracked it open, rinsed it out, and dried it up real good right away.
So, what do y’all think? Should I pay the $150 for a refurb? Or, should I wait and see, and start saving for a new one instead? The new 8G 3rd gen is $30 more than the repair of my 16G 2nd gen; the 32G 3rd gen is about $100 more. Coughing up just the $150 for the refurb is gonna be painful enough.
What will it be? Ship it and pay, or hold it and play?