Who am I supposed to vote for?

I have no idea, but I’d like to. Let’s make a website that asks you bunch of questions about issues that are currently under debate in your area. Answer yea or nay, and the program begins grouping you with other people who answer similarly. The more questions you answer, the more you can see how many people feel the same as you do, where they differ, and so on.

If you want, you can choose to reveal your identity (name, age, race, occupation, neighbourhood, race, religious affiliation, political affiliation… as much or as little as you want to share). Then the program can match you up in even more detail. Politicians will find it in their interest to reveal their identities so that people can see the name of the person they align with, and maybe decide to vote for them.


This is a win for voters and for politicians

The advantage to voters – they can see what politicians are on their side, rather than just hoping that the guy for their usual party is going to do the right things this time around.

The advantage to politicians – they can see whether people actually agree with them, or if they need to change their minds.

Issues should be user submitted but strongly curated and moderated, to stay on topic and avoid flaming.

Use Cases

It would be super interesting to pass around a tablet with the website on it at PTA meetings, town halls, out front of voting places for last minute sanity checks, at public debates, in grade 10 social studies classes, and so on.

Show me money

Here some ways to monetize it, some better than others.

  •  The usual ad banner at the bottom of the page
  •  Make people pay to add their identities
  •  Make politicians pay to add their identities
  •  Sell it to municipalities, tailored for their location, charge for the license, then for moderation/curation.
  •  Just a tip jar
  •  Make it an app and p2p (I have no idea if this is possible but cool if it is).


For my capstone project at college, we’re working with a local municipality on a website to help voters get informed about local issues. The idea I’ve just sketched out was what I originally wanted the project to be, but our sponsors and my team had a slightly different vision, so I’ve had to compromise a bit. What we’re going to end up with is more of a reddit/wiki about local politics. It should be interesting and super useful, but I’m still sad that my original vision won’t come to fruition, at least not this year.

So the idea is available for anyone who wants to take it and run with it. I hope they do, because I actually do want to know what’s going on in my community, and I don’t really know how to find out without actually volunteering for a local party to get into the action. There is certainly value in doing that, but I’m not ready to make that time commitment – I’d rather just be able to read about the candidates, get a name, vote for them, and know when to lean on them for action.

I was born to be a Recreation Vehicle Service Technician. Possibly.

Some nice rando on the internet lent me his log in for www.careercruising.com, so I could find out what I ought to be when I grow up. The results are in:


1. Agricultural Engineer
2. Civil Engineer
3. Mechanical Engineering Tech
4. Petroleum Engineer
5. Computer Hardware Engineer
6. Chemical Engineer
7. Civil Engineering Tech
8. Mechanical Engineer
9. Aerospace Engineer
10. Biomedical Engineer
11. Demolition Expert
12. Farm Equipment Technician
13. Race Car Technician
14. Computer Scientist
15. Heavy Equipment Technician
16. Nuclear Engineer
17. Diesel Technician
18. Automotive Service Technician
19. Motorcycle Mechanic
20. Heating, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration Tech
21. Aircraft Mechanic
22. Commercial Diver
23. Wildlife Technician
24. Millwright
25. Sprinkler System Installer
26. Ironworker
27. Pipefitter
28. Small Engine Mechanic
29. Engineering Tech
30. Mining Engineer
31. Steamfitter
32. Heavy Equipment Operator
33. Electronics Engineer
34. Elevator Installer and Repairer
35. Stationary Engineer
36. Industrial Machinery Mechanic
37. Explosives Specialist
38. Electrical Engineer
39. Recreation Vehicle Service Technician
40. Materials / Metallurgical Engineer


Funny how life changes, I took a bunch of those quizzes in high school, and it was all like “pilot”, “journalist”, “editor”.

Format a list using XML and Python

I made a nice gallery full of photographs of all the books currently on my bookshelf. In the next few months I’ll be getting rid of all of them, and it will be tough to let go of some. So this is for the memories.

By the way, I finally figured out the lightbox gallery that I was moaning about in a previous post, many months ago. I’m using it to display the pictures all nice and fancy. But there are almost a hundred of them, and that makes for some tedious html and xml coding. Fortunately, with all the education I’ve recently acquired, it was a little easier. I used a PHP script to grab the filenames of the pictures, thumbnail versions, author name and title of the books out of an xml file and spit it out in html.

The tough part was the xml file. The finished product was over a thousand lines long and I’m not typing that crap.

First, put all the thumbnails in one folder with names like booktitle-t.jpg. The large versions go in another folder with names like booktitle.jpg. Go like this…

…from the command line to get lists of all the file names.

Then use this quick python script to add the xml tags.

so that gets you this:

Awesome.  Add lines for the thumbnails, author and title as well.

Which gets you this:

Then just add the Author and Title fields by hand, unless you have a better idea. Run it like so:

I suppose there’s a proper way to write to a text file from within the script, but I never got around to looking that up.



Justifying a trip to Australia via Cochlear Implants and programming


Being Deaf


I use a cochlear implant to help me hear. The thing is amazing, and it’s changed my life. Like, it’s the difference between being a shut-in with no life and being happy, well adjusted contributing citizen. But I always like to understand the devices I use in my life, tweaking and modifying them to suit me. I’d like a phone application to control it, or use it to receive phone calls, or whatever. Make the implant itself the size of the loonie, like the magnet part currently is, and control it only remotely. In this way it could be more seamless and waterproof.





I’m almost done my diploma in Computer Systems Technology. It’s a practical, hands-on course where you get tons of programming experience, like probably more than the average software engineering graduate gets. Last year we had a pretty amazing teacher for Java – a rather hard headed individual who was tough to get along with, however, he demanded more out of us than most teachers do, and got what he asked for. I think everyone who passed the course came away with an actual understanding of Java.

This year he’s teaching us Android programming. You can imagine how stoked I am. After this I’ll be able to build the interface for exactly the program that I want to control my CI.




Moving to Australia


The company that makes my CI is located in Brisbane, Australia. I’m going to be moving there in about 6 months. I’ll  have a diploma in computer programming, 6 years of being a CI user, and the ability, unlike many deaf people, to communicate clearly in English my needs and ideas for improving the equipment, and I’ll be in the city looking for a job.

Am I not the exact person that Cochlear is looking for? I think so. My mission now is to let them know.


For  CI company that makes my CI, which is based in Australia, in Brisbane where I’m moving to anyway, to hire me to make remote controls applications for their equipment. Everything kind of… works.

So, I’ll do the online application and all that. But this is going out to the internet, in hopes of finding the engineer, now working at Cochlear in Brisbane, who might be able to make room in his budget for one more engineer who has something special to offer.