Oklahoma says hoodies aren’t ok.

Brendan Spaar says no to hoodies


Everyone wants to live and work in a safe environment. If you go into a bank these days it’s not uncommon to see signs saying to remove hats or sunglasses that could disguise your face. These are things that we’ve grown accustomed to and pretty much don’t give a second thought. Well, a state senator in Oklahoma wants to take it one step further.

Oklahoma already has a law that bans people from hiding their identity by wearing clothing that covers their faces, including hooded sweatshirts, during the commission of a crime. Republican state senator Don Barrington has proposed an amendment to that bill to make it illegal to hide your identity in public for the rest of the people too.

If the proposed change passes, you will no longer be allowed to wear anything that might hide your face. This could include sunglasses, hooded shirts or jackets and some hats. This has many people concerned about being stopped or harassed for wearing something that might be questionable. The weather in Oklahoma can get wet and cold so wearing a hoodie is not an uncommon sight for residents of the state.

There are a few exceptions to the ban. It wouldn’t apply to people dressing up for Halloween, masquerade parties or parades. Anyone required to cover their faces because of religious beliefs would also be exempt. It also allows  people who have to cover their faces for safety or medical purposes, or for protection from the weather to be exempt.

If you get caught with a fashion offense the fine would be $500. Reaction from some residents and attorneys is less than positive. Will this make Oklahoma a safer place? It seems doubtful that this alone would curb a rise in crime. Enforcement will be interesting and Brendan Spaar would love to be in court to watch the first case go to trial.

Your toilet flushes but can it Tweet?


Getting laid off from a tech job, or any job, is hard to deal with. You have to try to find a new job and also keep busy waiting to get that all important interview. Sometimes you’ll do just about anything to keep busy. Brendan Spaar thinks this guy has come up with a most creative way to keep himself busy and show off his skills at the same time.

Thomas Ruecker was recently laid off from his technology job in Finland. He responded to a tweet for help from a former co-worker wanting info on “smart” toilets and sinks that measure the water usage and other usage info. Being a guy that loves a challenge and using his background in electrical engineering and technology, Ruecker got to work trying make something that would do the job.

Using  miscellaneous parts he salvaged from other things, he did a Macgyver and came up with a device that tracks water usage as well as tweets with each flush. This device is a creative technical effort using a servo motor , a resistor used to control a device, and  a plastic arm using zip tie cut to length. Styrofoam acts as the float in the tank. A BeagleBone Black, an open-source board with an ARM-based processor running Linux, was another component. He wrote the code for the device, and enabled it to use IPv6 and MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport).

This isn’t the only innovative idea to keep him busy. He has plans to build moisture and temperature sensors to monitor his chili plants, and is working on connecting other things in his home, including his coffee maker. Who needs a Smart House that can be an expensive thing to have? All you really need is the time and ability to think outside the box. Brendan Spaar hopes Reucker will find a new job soon. The ability to be creative and use technology in new ways is something that an employer should find invaluable.

It’s true- Selling yourself is the hardest sell of all!

It pays to advertise when you're looking for a job.

A recent UK college grad was facing the same problem that many people in the US have. He had applied for  over 300 jobs and  sent out resumes with no luck in landing a job. It seemed that having excellent grades in college wasn’t enough to make this guy stand out. So he decide to expand his search using social media and a subway station in hopes that someone would give him a chance.

Brendan Spaar remembers the job hunt all too well. The hardest thing to do is make it through the automated screening process and talk to a real person. There are so many people looking for work that have experience as well as a degree and are willing to take entry level jobs just to have a paycheck. This means that employers can hire someone with education and experience for about the same money as what a college grad with little work experience might cost them.

By using Twitter to spread the word of his job hunt, Alfred Ajani posted a picture of himself in a suit holding a sign with the most important facts about himself. He was in a subway station during rush hour hoping that someone would take notice. It seems to have worked because he has had an interview and there are several other promising leads. His degree in marketing might help him market himself right into a job. Just goes to show that it does pay to advertise.

Do you really want to “friend” the CIA?

The CIA goes social with their own Twitter & Facebook accounts.
Washington, DC

It seems like the CIA now has more friends than you’d expect since it decided to join Facebook & Twitter. Their reasoning is that making their own presence in the social media world will help prevent imposters from making a bogus site. In less than nine hours, the CIA had attracted 268,000 followers on Twitter.  And its first tweet, “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet”, was retweeted as many as 170,000 times.

CIA also joined Facebook and had more than 7,300 likes by the end of the day. “We are the Nation’s first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go,” it said on its Facebook page. There are probably quite a few people that can agree with that statement. It must be odd to be the ones with people following them when they’re used to following people. Brendan Spaar wonders if the CIA is a friend you really want.

Having a social media presence can be fun & a great way to keep in touch but it can also have a dark side. Former friends &  romantic partners or anyone else can use the internet to let the world know how they feel about you & why. No matter if it’s a bunch of crazy stuff or not… it’s still out there for the world to see.  The CIA might find out that having their presence on social media might not be the great idea they thought it would be. Now they will be at the mercy of the online world just like everyone else. Already some followers have asked for help finding their lost passwords & tweeted links to articles about the CIA’s interrogation tactics.

It has been reported that a group from the agency looks at public tweets and statuses from users overseas & that group scans up to 5 million posts a day. Brendan Spaar wonders who was “lucky” enough to get the job of being the person/people responsible for the CIA Twitter & Facebook posts. Is it a real person or a will they use a drone? It’ll be interesting to see what sort of pictures they’ll post on their wall & what things might be tweeted.