I Tried The Nomad Carabiner for iPhone

Spoiler alert: The construction is bloody awful.

Okay, so I will admit that I gave the Nomad Charging Carabiner a go. After all, it would be so nice to have a charging cable that clips to my Red Oxx CPA Briefcase and not have to worry about whether or not I packed a charging cable for my mobile. And until Earth Day this year, it was working out pretty well. I could just clip it to one of the rings of my bag and I would have a charging cable. It’s the same reason why I have my Bluetooth Master Lock attached to my bag when I was going to 24 Hour Fitness (my current gym doesn’t have lockers with places to put a lock).

Broken Nomad Carabiner

Why I got it

I heard about Nomad through their ChargeKey and have had that product page in my bookmarks for some time. However, when I started noticing that I would leave my charging cables at home on my way to work, I knew I needed to get an on the go solution. I bought both the ChargeKey and this charging carabiner. I knew that given the conditions of some of the tags on my keyring that the ChargeKey wouldn’t last long. My prediction was, of course, right because within a couple of weeks the ChargeKey succeeded at disappointing me. However, the charging carabiner looked like it could last a bit longer. This is probably because while it’s not in use, the cable is somewhat protected by the housing of the Carabiner. Whatever the reason, it became part of my daily carry.

Carabiner no longer

Broken Nomad Carabiner

My Nomad carabiner can’t clip onto my bag anymore. 🙁

But on Earth Day when I went with Josh from the Longmont Green Party to volunteer at the Earth Day celebration in Lyons, I noticed when I tried to clip my charging carabiner back to my bag that the clip part of the carabiner would not snap back to the position it is supposed to be at. The entire reason why I bought this thing and the entire gimmick behind it is gone now. I’m not sure why this happened and it doesn’t appear that any parts are missing from the carabiner. So, I posted about it on their Facebook page:

It has been over two months now and to this date, I have not heard a word back after e-mailing Nomad about my problem, as directed by their Facebook team. I can accept a lot of things with customer service failures. I didn’t complain when their Charge Key stopped working within a couple of weeks because hey, charging cables wear out and even though I would have expected this to have a little longer of a lifespan, I wasn’t going to get mad about it. Surprisingly, even though the cable on their carabiner isn’t as thick as the one they use for their ChargeKey, remarkably the charging function of the carabiner still works. How is it that the cable is so good but the carabiner part is so shoddy?

However, if they tell me to take the conversation to e-mail and then ignore my e-mails for two months, this is unacceptable. I’ve bought things from MBK in Bangkok that hold up better than this carabiner charging cable.

In conclusion

I cannot, in good conscience, recommend that anyone get the Nomad Carabiner. It does work for a little while, and if you’re happy with buying a new one every year or so, this might be the device for you. However, Nomad’s customer support people have not responded to my inquiries. It seems like they will try to move the discussion to e-mail where they can ignore you. I have given up any hope that Nomad will support their products. So now, I am looking for a better solution to add a charging cable to my daily carry.

Michael Hyatt’s Get Noticed Theme Isn’t Internationalized

I bought Michael Hyatt's Get Noticed Theme and the first thing I noticed is that the theme is not internationalized!

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series My Experience With the GetNoticed Theme

So, after running for public office and doing some very important work with the Green Party of Colorado and the Denver Transit Justice Coalition, I’ve decided to recommit myself to blogging. I am rebuilding my professional web design portfolio by cooking up custom designs for VeroniqueBellamy.fr and Vero4RTD.com. I’ve also committed my services to some non-profit groups I interacted with in the course of my political run. However, for this site, I’m choosing to do something different: creating a custom look from a pre-existing theme. I chose Michael Hyatt’s Get Noticed theme and just purchased it today. I downloaded and installed it this morning (this is the theme without any customizations, yet). The first thing I noticed was that the text around the theme wasn’t translating.

Vero.moe: A multilingual blog

My blog is multilingual in French and Esperanto. However, when you switch to either the French or Esperanto version, some of the core navigation elements are in English. This is partly because the theme’s author did not write the theme with internationalization in mind. Right now, I am working to wrap the rogue text in the existing theme in the proper tags. Once this happens, I will create a WordPress .pot file to prepare the theme to be translatable. Then, I will translate the theme into French and Esperanto and provide the updates to Michael Hyatt’s team free of charge.

However, there is a bigger internationalization problem. You see, some of the settings are in standard text boxes but you can’t enter different sets of text for these strings. Since I use the Polylang plugin to make my blog multilingual, there is a panel that allows me to set different settings for these strings. However, this isn’t the most user-friendly way of translating these strings.

The Get Noticed Theme Has Internationalization Problems

So, while the theme has some phrases which are not i18n-friendly, this bit of code reveals another internationalization issue.

You see, the link to “/speaking” is hardcoded into the theme. The theme isn’t even referencing an option which can be modified by the end user. On my blog, that would need to be /en/speaking, /fr/parlant or /eo/parolanta for the English, French and Esperanto versions of that page respectively. There are other issues relating to this theme but I think internationalization is a key issue. This is the first post in my new series, “My Experience With the GetNoticed Theme”. Throughout this series, I will discuss how I’m modifying the theme to create a custom look and feel while retaining the benefits of the parent theme. At the end of the series, I will release a child theme to the GetNoticed Theme with my modifications. Although I am correcting serious functionality issues that should be corrected in some areas, I’ll be improving the theme in other areas.

We Must Resist

My friends,

I feel I must explain the reasons for my #DemExit, as we are seeing a lot of blame being heaped upon our fellow citizens for the “crime” of voting their conscience and choosing a third party. This blame comes whether or not your state went for Hillary. They believe that we are to blame for Trump. And they are wrong.

Many of us warned of this outcome. I know one Hillary supporter who I’ve told time and time again that her nomination would hand the presidency to Trump and she accused me of parroting propaganda. In fact, as we saw in the Podesta e-mails, Trump was seen by the Hillary camp as a “pied piper” candidate. Hillary’s team urged their contacts in the media to promote Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, as they felt that these extreme-right candidates would be easier for Hillary to beat than a more moderate, boring Republican like Jeb Bush. And they were wrong.

So, blaming Green Party voters for Trump’s victory is irrational when you consider who was to blame if Trump won the nomination in the first place. However, blaming third party voters is a nifty strategy when you want to reinforce the two-party system and make sure no new voices can rise to power.

It is the same vicious cycle that allows lackluster politicians and the two parties that run them to thrive. The fear response in this cycle is an understandable manipulation of our basic human responses. They are teaching us to not vote third party. To do this, they blame third parties for their own machinations. We saw as Al Gore refused to hear from legislators who tried to bring up voter suppression in 2000. If we want to make our state better, if we want to make our government better, we have only one thing that we are called to do.

We must resist

I am not talking a fake resistance like Keith Olbermann’s show for GQ Magazine titled “The Resistance”. This is where he shows his descent into Glenn Beck-istan, supporting his favourite warmonger. No, we need something more substantive. I am talking protests in the streets resistance. I am talking changing your voter registration from Democrat or Republican to a party that more accurately reflects your values.

This is crucial because the Democratic party has abandoned the left. They chose a warmonger who drummed up support for a war against Russia. What’s worse is the rationale: it was because her e-mails were leaked. They have left us when they refused to stand with whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. The Democratic Party is no longer the party of the left, it is the party of neoliberalism and centre-right politics. The Democratic Party is where ugly policy ideas get a pretty face.

#DemExit is the moral imperative

We will not get anywhere if we continue to reward bad behaviour. We cannot let the Democratic party get away with nominating more neoliberal candidates. As I see the gubernatorial race start to get legs, I have been checking out the field. I have seen the campaign website for a Democrat that proudly proclaims how he is a centrist. Because that worked so well for Hillary, did it not?

When I was running for the RTD Board, I saw a Democratic party working to support a candidate who was manifestly unfit to serve. A candidate who lied about her record at every chance she got and convinced others to prop up her lies. If they are willing to do this at such a low level, imagine how much worse it gets the higher up the totem pole you go!

With people like Governor Frackenlooper and Judy Lubow using their backward policies to destroy our state, #DemExit is the imperative. I implore every Colorado Democrat to seriously consider a #DemExit. We must use our votes to elect people of conscience to public office and we must think critically about our choices.

Because, as we now know, the Democratic party isn’t thinking critically about their candidates.

In solidarity,

Dr. Véronique Bellamy

My Post-Election Recap

Wow, this was a crazy election we had. A lot of things went down this year, some good and quite a bit bad. I feel a serious need to talk about a number of them, if for no other reason than to process.

Wait, didn’t I run for public office?

Yes, I ran for the RTD Board of Directors and lost. In a three-way race, I got only 20% of the vote. Now, I could blame it on a lot of things. Voter turnout was worse this year than it was last year. In my race alone, only 2/3rds of the people voted that voted in the same race in 2012. Ultimately, I failed and if I seek this office again, I’ll ask for help sooner. I’ll hit the pavement harder to get out the vote.

I know if I worked harder, I would have won. Too many people have told me that they voted for Judy because they actually believed she was pro-FasTracks. However, now is not the time for recrimination. Judy won and we’ll all have to live with the consequences of that.

As for me, I plan to keep my campaign website online. Because Judy removed her campaign website fairly quickly after conning the public, I’m keeping an archived copy of her campaign website online too. Lee Kemp also nuked his campaign website and while I tried to archive his site, it didn’t survive the efforts as well. I paid A Small Orange for a year in advance back in June, but I will be moving my sites sooner given recent outages at ASO. I used to be proud to refer people to A Small Orange but their service has gotten poorer.

The queue of work awaiting me

I have a ton of things to do that I put off once ballots dropped. I am currently working on websites for RCV for Colorado, the Longmont Green Party and a new transit riders’ union. This is in addition to the website designs I’m working on for veroniquebellamy.fr and vero.moe. Next month, I am going to Florida to teach Sunday school classes at Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Simply put, I have a lot on my plate.

… And to top it off, I’m going to start implementing the strategies in Jeff Sanders’ book, the 5 AM Miracle.

Did I also mention that I’m planning to go vegetarian on the first? Or that I am running for the Green Party’s nomination for Governor in the 2018 election? Yeah, shoot me now.

Frankly, I must be mad doing all this stuff. But 2016 was a disappointing year. Not just because I put my heart and soul into a campaign that died, but because I don’t feel that I did enough this year. I was disqualified from a bariatric surgery programme down in Denver and I never got started with the roller derby league. I wasn’t nearly as productive as I wanted to be.

New years are always a way to recommit yourself to your goals, but year-long goals are near impossible to achieve. It is way too difficult to keep focus for that long! This is why I am adopting Jeff’s quarter system, starting my quarters in February.

Why I Cannot and Will Not Support Hillary Clinton

I have made no secret of my disgust for the system that backed Hillary Clinton. The system that ignored the will of the voters in plenty of states such as Arizona, California and New York. The system that was so transparently corrupt, we all but knew that it was rigged before Guccifer released those e-mails to WikiLeaks. I have been saying this, screaming this to the Hillary stans in my life. I am shocked that their rasping, mantra-like reply is “she is not Donald Trump”. I hate to admit it, but they are right.

Hillary Clinton is worse for America than Donald Trump could ever aspire to be. Donald Trump talks about deporting all Muslims from America, Hillary has bombed them abroad. I get it though, we have lower expectations for the orange cheeto. Not to mention that, as former lawyer for Wal-Mart, she has literally served as the devil’s advocate.

We are at a precipice and must step back. Supporting Hillary Clinton will only embolden those right-wing Democrats that see the rightward shift in the party. I often wonder how the two parties back in the mid-20th century shifted after the Civil Rights Act. I wonder how racist Democrats moved across the aisle to be embraced by Republicans, putting old grudges aside. The shift happening today is a slow march that is killing us little by little. We are the proverbial frog in the slowly boiling pot.

A friend of mine, who is a Hillary stan, keeps trying to tell me that my support for Jill Stein is a “vote for Trump”. This ignorant claim ignores the fact that liberals like me have been screaming the problems with Hillary from the start. We tried caucusing and rallying for Bernie Sanders. We pointed out the fact that the polls showed that he would do better against Trump than Hillary could ever hope. We did warn them time and time again that this would happen.

It falls upon us to take this one simple step: vote third party. Sure, we do risk a Trump presidency by doing so, but what we gain is more important. We beat back the corporatists and vulture capitalists in the Democratic party. We beat back the Barry Goldwater Democrats who are still quite centre-right. This is more important now than ever, as this crucial step can help save the Democratic party. What is worse, four years of a Trump presidency that would be hotly contested by liberals or eight years of a Clinton presidency as the so-called “left-wing” party moves more right?

Defiance in the Face of Fear

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The attack on the Pulse night club reminds us all of the problems that beset the United States. Problems of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and islamophobia beset our country and still plague it to this day. It’s not just terrorists like those advocating against the equal rights of transgender people to use the restroom but also terrorists that would attack and kill us just for the crime of existing.

Today, I live my life as authentically as humanly possible. I have a job that I love, I am running for the Regional Transportation District Board of Directors and I am working hard to lose weight so I can make my thirties great. While I am cognizant of the fact that there are some people that take issue with the fact that I exist and may choose to visit violence upon me, I choose to live my life regardless.

One thing I want to address is how everyone claims that Islam was the catalyst for this attack, conveniently forgetting the decades of Christian persecution of LGBT people in this country. Islam may have been a catalyst, but so could the rhetoric of American homophobes and transphobes who talk about their efforts to deny us even the most basic civil liberties as a “war”. They claim that they are oppressed while actually oppressing us. Someone steeped in such dishonest, hateful rhetoric is just as likely to murder innocent LGBT people as a muslim subjected to the same rhetoric.

It is, however, a very convenient way to deny the fact that even today, LGBT people are still treated like second class citizens. We still lack crucial national protections for things like housing, employment and public accommodations. And homophobic and transphobic Christians still work to deny us these basic civil rights. By blaming it on Islam, it is a convenient and subtle way to shift some of the blame for homophobia onto Islam as a whole. Maybe Islam did influence him, but isn’t it just as likely that the likes of Kim Davis or Governor McCrory’s hateful rhetoric and falsely labelling us as “predators” could have inspired such vitriol?

Live without fear. The goal of terrorism and of terrorists is to instill terror, to use violence, to achieve their aims. By showing them that we will stand against them is defiance at its core. So, live without fear and be brilliant.

Love is the Law, Love under Will.

Véronique Bellamy

Playing at a Whole New Level

Honestly, I continually find it surreal that I am running for public office. I mean, I think I’ve made it very clear on my campaign website that I see my last two predecessors (hopefully!) as the scummiest people on the planet. But I find that with my job at PhaseZerφ and the campaign, I am always working and hustling to try to be a big success at both but as a result, I cannot spend much time on the design for both veroniquebellamy.fr and vero.moe.

So, until the election is over, I’m afraid I can’t commit to redesigning my other sites. Thank you for your understanding. 🙂

Dude, Where’s My Campaign Site?

So, I haven’t talked about it much (except on Facebook) but I am running for the RTD Board of Directors position for my District and to this date, I am running unopposed. Next month, I start circulating petitions for ballot access as soon as both (a) the Colorado Secretary of State approves said petition and (b) the date I’m legally allowed to start circulating petitions (which happens to be the 19th of May, pursuant to C.R.S. 1-4-802(1)(d)(I)).

… Which raises the important question, where is my campaign site and more importantly, why should I have one if I’m running unopposed?

Basically, I don’t want my policy positions to be buried and I want to have a platform to continue to communicate issues about RTD and public transit in Longmont (including issues that involve RTD, such as working with TransFort). I want to have a way to communicate with my (future) constituents and engage people so that we can work together to make RTD better.

And for my fellow techies, unlike this site and veroniquebellamy.fr, though, I’m thinking about writing it in either Laravel or Lumen.

A new expansion pack for the Sims 4… why?

The Maxis team loves to waste time on pointless additions to the Sims 4 lineup. In their mission to kill off the Sims once and for all or maybe just a goal of EA to kill off Maxis once and for all. Now that I mention it, when’s the last time you’ve heard anything about SimCity? Back to the Sims 4, instead of trying desperately to salvage the Sims 4 and leverage it’s strengths instead of leaving those glaring weaknesses, a new expansion pack has been announced: The Sims 4: Get Together.

Announced to flop make it’s grand debut in November of this year, The Sims 4 Get Together announces it’s mediocrity: new things that you can do with other Sims, so basically, it’s a stuff pack that also includes a new world, Windenburg. Windenburg is “a European-inspired World with a mix of vibrant, modern architecture and classic buildings and styles. From the charming countryside, to the bustling town square and luxurious island, Windenburg is filled with new things for your Sims to see and do.” which would be interesting if it were an open world. However, the existing worlds in The Sims 4 have been closed worlds, not open worlds. Which is why Midnight Hollow is much more immersive than Windenburg can be.

You know, it is sad that the Sims team is wasting it’s time on these not-expansion packs, adding functionality in patches that should have been added to the base game on day one… which was how many months late anyway? Instead, they are shoving it all into these expansion packs while ignoring what made the base game, let alone the expansion packs, great in the first place. Instead of leveraging the strengths of the Sims 4 and building upon them with the expansion packs, they seem quite comfortable with leaving a legacy of mediocrity… where you have to buy these expansion packs to get the functionality that the base game of the Sims 3 already had.