I have a neodymium finger implant and a NFC implant in each hand. Several of my friends in Orlando and the Valley have similar setups.
We have integrated our implants with cell phones, vending machines, motorcycles, doors, cars, laptops... even candy dispensers. There were ~200 of us three years ago. Now we are well into the thousands and growing rapidly as we empower other crazy people with our ideas.
It is a bit like having tiny superpowers. Keep an eye on this space because it might be a part of your life sooner than you think.
Do your finger and hand implants trigger airport metal detectors? I'm not sure how sensitive those machines are, but typically they let through people with a bit of metal on them (e.g. wallets with several RFID-enabled cards).
Perhaps the neodymium magnet would trigger a response. Is that a popular implant?
Decided to start over in the bay area last year with my wife. Our housing criteria was: central to everything (I have locations of interest all over the bay), Within walking distance of my job (Downtown Palo Alto), 1 bedroom, low rent (under $2k/mo), 100Mb+ internet, and the ability to move in right away. Everyone told me that was impossible.
EPA however met all that criteria perfectly. Landed on a Friday, picked out an apartment over the weekend, and had the keys on Monday. Unlike many areas in the bay, demand is fairly low in EPA and there are available apartments everywhere.
Despite being a perfect fit for my needs, never did I realize what kind of judgement I would get from so many people for living here. I get a shocked expression almost every time I mention I live in EPA. Some people even get angry. "Why would you drag your wife to place like that?!?!". Many people I know when shopping for apartments themselves openly say there is no way they could ever live somewhere so "unsafe" and just consider my wife and I to be "lucky" or "living dangerously". The very idea that a white couple with a tech job income would -choose- to live in EPA blows peoples minds. I used to just tell people I live in Palo Alto to avoid the judgement, but now I happily claim it and discuss the misconceptions. My wife and I are pretty happy with all our ideals met. We won at housing by ignoring meaningless stigma and will be squatting here for a while. Might even buy a house while the market is still 1/4. Property value here is sure to soar once people realize the "murder capitol" age is distant history.
The stigma from past history is incredibly present, but the _reality_ is this is one of the safest feeling places I have ever lived. (And I have lived a lot of places)
I lived in Baltimore for a year and a half. Oddly enough, the part of Baltimore I lived in was far safer than, say, Williamsburg where knife attacks and drug-related violence were still commonplace into the late 2000s (and possibly later).
Baltimore's problem isn't the poor blacks. It never was. (Yes, there are some in the drug trade, just as there are some low-income whites in it.) I feel sorry for them, because they've been abandoned by the economy (deindustrialization) and the politicians, and they almost never do any harm to others. Its problem is the whites in the suburbs ("the county") who've basically abandoned the city, going in for July 4th and New Years and an occasional trip to the Aquarium but otherwise avoid never deign to live there (and, therefore, don't pay taxes and leave the city poor despite being in one of the wealthiest states in the country).
I worked in Baltimore at the end of the 1980s, not far from Penn Station. The Monday Sun usually had a handful of murders to report from the weekend, and there was a shooting (not fatal) across the street from our office one day. The reputation for violence may be out of date now, but it was well earned.
Baltimore's disciplined voting habits have given it disproportionate power in the state government. The late William Donald Schaefer appeared to regard Maryland as a life support system for Baltimore, not just when he was mayor but when he was governor. I doubt it will do as well under Hogan who is a) Republican, and b) from Prince Georges County as it did under O'Malley.
But yes, there are perfectly fine parts of Baltimore.
I think part of Baltimore's problem is that the great areas are very close to some not so great areas. You can have houses that have gained 100% in value and walk a couple blocks in the wrong direction and be in a bad area.
Baltimore is also plagued by The Wire. More people than I can count have tried to wax philosophical about Baltimore's problems despite having never stepped a foot there.
Baltimore is actually in the midst of becoming more hipster. There was a reverse flight of poor people to areas in the county when they demolished the high-rise projects and replaced them with single family homes. There are areas downtown that feel more young professional and vibrant with upscale bars and breweries.
EPA has been a dump long before the 1950s, when this article begins its history. When Stanford opened for business, alcohol was prohibited in a one mile radius. Right outside that mile was Whiskey Gulch, where EPA began and high crime rates with it.
The stigma thing is sadly true of people. The place I live - a college town in IL, is in a really cool little neighborhood. 20 years ago it was solidly "the ghetto". 15 years ago the residents got sick of it and started organizing community efforts to make it a nice place. 10 years ago, the city got involved and started helping residents through policing, community and "historical districting". The people who had caused problems - prostitutes/pimps, drug dealers, gangers, started working elsewhere, and the "bad" areas contracted on themselves. A lot of folks in that lifestyle started living well instead, the rest retreated.
5 years ago I got my house for 1/2 of what the same house in other parts of town would cost. People thought I was crazy despite how much the area had changed for the better. These days the area is undergoing some gentrification, and it's sad seeing families move out to be replaced by graduate students - I like a neighborhood where there are children playing, and families hanging out. Heck, someone broke into my house once, shortly after I moved in, and the fact that there were families at home meant the cops were called and caught them in the act, rather than now, where I suspect an afternoon break-in would go unnoticed since no one is around.
But despite all of that - people still say "wow, it must be scarey living over there. You have good job, upgrade out to the booneys, is being close to downtown really worth the risk?". I just laugh. And consider buying the next house up for sale to rent to grad students.
Opinions change slowly, as you have found. It's part of human nature. Expect this attitude to extend into the foreseeable future, unfortunately. People like to parrot what they've heard in the past, so that tired trope will not die soon.
Btw, the same things have been said about Oakland for many years. I try to tell people that the (bad) crime in Oakland is very much contained in bad areas, and most of Oakland is not bad, even downtown.
Glad you found a place that you're happy with. Congrats!
When I was 18 I had already dropped out of college, was homeless and in pretty poor shape. I had to live "fake it till you make it". None of my clients needed to know I was programming their web applications from a library computer at a college campus that I only was able to use by logging in with random strangers student ID numbers.
I worked my ass off to build software enginnering experience taking on challenges for little to no pay. That alone didnt keep me fed all the time while I was learning to market myself (and gaining more skills to market).
I did everything from working many day-labor jobs (manpower, laborready, etc), factory work, tractor sales, retail, telemarketing, street preforming, teaching old people to use the internet, etc.
It was a long road but over time I began to get the occasional programming gig for clients in way over their heads with money to burn. Allowed me to build confidence, income, and vital experience. I made sure I earned my keep and got referrals.
So far I have started 5 companies, worked for/with countless others, tackled hundreds of fun projects, learned a lot of tough/valuable lessons, and built a network of incredible people. I am now working as a software engineer at an amazing startup and I love my job.
TLDR If someone like me can make it, anyone can. Just gotta work for it and learn how to leverage the resources around you.
Also... ignore the people saying you can't make it without a degree. Many of my friends employed at major tech firms don't have anything but hard earned experience. No one worth working for has degrees as a manditory prereq. Obtaining a degree or two may well be the easier/sane path for most, but certainly not the only one. My path was at least debt free and came with experience I would not trade for anything.
Feel free email me (google for it) or hit me up via http://hashbang.sh . Lot of very successful mentors there that love helping people like you.
Having spent a couple years being homeless off and on, this resonates with me.
During my homeless days I had a laptop for a while. I would do web programming for various online clients on it, and when that got stolen I would work from a local college forging student ids to use library computers.
I made enough for fast food dollar menus, and to keep a little bit of gas in a somewhat-running car I bought for $100.
The bare minimum to keep myself distracted and fed was all I did even though so much more was possible. I told myself I liked the freedom, but in truth I was just too scared and had too low of self esteem to take on a more comfortable lifestyle.
Even when I found a home I picked a ghetto camper in the woods, and took only enough gigs to pay bills. I would make a couple grand on a programming/consulting contract, live on it till it ran out, then take on a new gig.
It took a lot of the right people investing in me over and over, and being patient, before I started to decide that I deserved more, that I wanted more. That it was worth working hard for.
It takes more than just teaching marketable skills to get someone off the streets. It takes them seeing themselves as worthy to do more with their lives. At the end of the day, they have to make that choice to change, and triggering that is going to be different for everyone.
I am sure teaching this man to code was huge for his self-worth, but there are a lot of deeper emotional issues why he is there that are probably going to take a lot of time and patience to uncover one step at a time.
"The bare minimum to keep myself distracted and fed was all I did even though so much more was possible. I told myself I liked the freedom, but in truth I was just too scared and had too low of self esteem to take on a more comfortable lifestyle." I don't know whether i fit this description. But it just did resonate with me. Am not homeless but still live at my moms house (27yrs old). Never really held down a real job (9-5) for all i can rememeber. Been moving from web app after web app hoping i could build/stumble upon something that can improve my livelihood but zero and it feels like am really running out of time.
You've already touched on some aspects like the fact that it's different for everyone, took the right people investing in you over and over, being patient, etc... but I'd like to hear more if you have any other thoughts. I do a lot of work with people in near-homeless situations, and I feel very helpless and frustrated when I encounter individuals that want help, but for some reason lack the internal drive to help themselves long-term when it's possible for them to do so. If you have any other thoughts about what people could have done to help you while you were in that phase, I'd like to hear more from your perspective. It's very rare that you run into a person who has been there and overcome it enough to talk about it.
It is a very long story. but I am an open book and happy to answer anything. I spent a couple years doing public speaking about my experiences and am always happy to find ways to leverage them in ways that might directly or indirectly help others.
I suppose I could throw some random thoughts out there.
I think in general what people did that helped the most, was accept me for who I was without coddling me. Showing me respect, not pity. I hated pity. I thought my balance in my life was fine, and if it got in the way of something I really wanted to do, I would make adjustments. I really valued people that would invite me places they would invite anyone else and let me pull my own weight and make my own mind up each time even if I have said no 20 times prior. Just being invited to social outings even when I had no intention of going, boosted my perceived social value each time.
As people gained my trust, they were able to challenge me on the things I said I wanted out of life, and what present aspects of my lifestyle were incompatible.
I think for me my own pride became my fuel, and a series of "challenge accepted" moments. I could never turn down a well formed challenge or someone telling me I _can't_ do something.
Smaller challenges like "holding a retail job" grew to bigger ones like "CTO", "Senior Software Engineer", "Technical Director" and eventually things I once said would never be possible like "having a healthy relationship" and "Getting married". Once the "small" challenges met success I have ever since been on a journey to find out where my ceiling is. Doing things I thought I could never do has become an addiction now, and not a whole lot scares me anymore.
I also was really stubborn/prideful and not good at accepting help, ever. Still am to a point, but getting better. Sometimes people had to help me in creative ways where I could not stop them easily. There are a number of times where I think people proved they cared about me more than I presently cared about myself, and that gave me the desire to up my own game.
Anyway. I am sure I could go on forever but this is already probably going to be a TLDR anyway.
I am happy to answer any questions here or via email/hangout etc. :)
Thank you so much for responding. I don't have any more specific questions - just looking for exactly that. Hearing that from your perspective - especially the thing about not wanting to feel pitied - it'll be easier to recognize that in someone else and respond accordingly now.
I have been programming since I was 10. I finished high school at 14, entered a semester of college at 16 I then dropped out promptly (with straight A's) because I found the material to be boring and inaccurate. One teacher was seriously telling students there was no reasonable need for a computer to ever have 64mb of ram. (Perhaps I might of made a different choice had I chosen something besides a rural community college).
In any event I was disillusioned with the whole college experience and started taking on quite a bit of contract work, and over the next decade started/participated in 5 startups. I intentionally chose challenging projects at the edge of my comfort zone to gain experience and build real-world problem solving skills. During this time I built a wide network of connections which gave me the ability to do contract work for several well known companies and exposure to a wide range of technologies and problems.
Since documenting some of these experiences on my resume/linkedin in detail a few years ago, I have never had a problem getting salaried jobs or contracts making more than most of my degree-holding peers and getting frequent new job opportunities to consider.
I have also been a hiring manager more than once, and have always interviewed people based on their ability to solve real world problems with an actual editor and access to google. I tend to gravitate towards companies that test new applicants this way as well. Companies that dismiss me based on my lack of formal education, I dismiss as well. Companies that judge on paper instead of skill probably lack the diverse workforce I wish to be a part of.
As an added story, I have a friend that applied for Google without a degree. He was denied. He actually contacted them back asking why he was dismissed so quickly. He was told it was because he lacked a degree. The end. He had the balls to push back insisting he is capable of doing the job and has plenty of experience. The recruiter relented and pushed him up to the next stages... and he got the job.
You don't need a degree, but be prepared to network a lot, have a healthy amount of confidence, and be willing to push back against dismissive recruiters. I won't say which path is better, because that depends on the individual... but I can say skipping college to focus on real-world experience was one of the best personal choices I ever made.