tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
So, a friend who knew Aaron Swartz (actually, it kind of seems like all my friends knew Aaron Swartz, except me) posed a question to me: to what non-profit organizations should she encourage people to donate to in his memory? I wasn't all that familiar with Swartz's work until after his death, unfortunately, but from what I've seen he seemed to have a pretty good understanding of the privileges that allowed him to have the influence that he had in his short life.

Since so many people are hounded to death by the US "justice" system and are sent to jail for no good reason -- nerds just don't tend to care since most of them are poor and are people of color -- my friend and I were both thinking that donating to groups working to change that would be appropriate. I was thinking of the TGI Justice Project first and foremost, since they focus on trans women of color in the prison system. Off the top of my head, I also thought of supporting groups working on legalizing drugs and on legalizing sex work and advocacy for sex workers. I'm less knowledgeable about what groups are most effective (and most representative of the people who need representation most) in those areas. Do you have suggestions, Internets? Post them here!
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Friends,

I'm in need of both some advice, and some help. I'm currently living in downtown San Jose in an apartment that I'm paying $1600/month for. I like my apartment a lot, but the rent is (too damn) high, and I'm in a situation where I have so much medical debt (thanks to being a second-class citizen!) that I have to pay off to the tune of around $2000/month that I have very little money left for any expenses after all that is paid. It's not a sustainable situation, since I keep going over budget.

I'm looking to move to someplace cheaper. I work in downtown Mountain View, and originally, I wanted to move close enough to work to be able to walk. However, I don't think that'll happen within my price range. I could do a little better, price-wise, by moving to Sunnyvale. That's still possible.

Here's my question, though: I'm asking myself, what if I moved to an apartment in the low end of the price ranges that are available, even if it meant I continued to have a 20-30 minute (each way) driving commute, *and* I was in a suburban neighborhood? I moved to downtown San Jose because I thought that living in a car-centric neighborhood (in someplace like Santa Clara, the outer reaches of San Jose, or Campbell) would be despair-inducing. But the truth is that I don't *do* a lot downtown. I spend most of my time at/near work. The main thing I take advantage of downtown is the San Jose library which is great, but I could still go occasionally. And, I'm driving a lot; public transit is nearby me, but not useful enough. So, why not go the whole hog? This would be temporary (6-12 months) and the advantage is that I could pay off my debt faster and not worry quite as much about not running out of money every 2 weeks.

But maybe I'm fooling myself! After all, I hated living in Seaside and Salinas. On the other hand, that was in large part because I had a job I hated, and it was hard to get anywhere fun from there. Here, I can get to San Francisco/East Bay on weekends and even on weekdays with the car. So would it be worth it for me to move to a cheap apartment someplace like Campbell (which does seem to have cheap apartments) if it meant saving $500-$600 a month on rent? I feel like it wouldn't really change my daily routine much; I'd still (likely) be driving to work most days. Oh, and I'd be saving another $110/month on parking.

I could save even more money if I lived in a room in a house, but that's hard to do with two cats and two bunnies. I'd consider it if I knew of a space in a house with cool people, though!

So the advice I'm asking for is: would moving to someplace more suburban and less transit-accessible, but cheaper, be a practical solution to my money problems? Or am I fooling myself and would I hate it every minute? And the help is: if you know of either an apartment or shared housing situation being available, please let me know! Here's what I'm looking for:

absolutely necessary: allows cats and bunnies; 30 minutes or less each way non-rush-hour car commute to downtown Mountain View (turns out this is a pretty big area: between Burlingame and Los Gatos north/south; between Woodside and east San Jose west/east)
strongly preferred: no carpeting; near Caltrain; allows subletting (as I may end up being away for a while for work; that's not for sure, hence why I'm probably going to go ahead and move)

I'm looking to move starting around Nov. 15, but can wait for the right place (I haven't given notice yet). My price range is $1100-$1400 for apartments, under $1200 (depending on circumstances and location) for a room in a house. Also, if you have suggestions for where to look for housing (obviously I'm looking on Craig's List, but it's full of spam as usual), I'd appreciate it. I know I know lots of people who live in this area!
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Folks with animals: thoughts on pet health insurance? I've heard conflicting things ("you must get it" from some people, "it works better to set aside the same amount of money in a savings account" from others).

In particular, it would be cool to hear from people who either had insurance and then had their animal have an expensive medical problem, or had the same thing happen without insurance.

I figure if I adopt an animal, it's my responsibility to take care of it (given what the power balance is in that situation), and not spending a couple thousand dollars in an emergency situation means having more money left to donate to causes that help people.
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Has anyone written anything analyzing what I'll call, for the sake of argument, the self-esteem myth -- that is, the meme that's been going around for a decade or two that the breakdown of society can be blamed on efforts by some nebulous cabal of educators and others who try to promote self-esteem at all costs while undermining quality?

I mean, almost certainly "yes", but I don't know what it is, because I don't know what to search for, so would appreciate any pointers.
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
My phone has been dropped on its head one too many times, and I'm thinking about getting one of those fancy phones what can use the Internet and stuff. Any recommendations? Bonus if it's available through T-Mobile (or can be unlocked). Don't say the i-word.

Backups?

Oct. 17th, 2009 03:42 pm
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Hello interbutts,

Is there a way to back up a Dreamwidth journal automatically, like something similar to what LJ Book does for LiveJournal?

THANKS IN ADVANCE

ETA: LJ Book will in fact do the trick. The one bug I've found is that comments from whoever.livejournal.com will show up with username ext_nnnnn. The developer of LJ book says this is a bug on the Dreamwidth side because that's all the information available from its API.
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Has anyone ever used the auto-response/"vacation message" feature in Gmail?

If so, do you know whether it's smart enough not to send the "I'm on vacation" message to mailing lists?

I'm considering not taking a computer with me on my upcoming trip (eep!), and would like to set up an auto-response if so, but it's something I've never done in my entire life because I've gotten one too many "I'm on vacation" replies through mailing lists I was on, and I don't want to be THAT PERSON.

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tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

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