×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

How American Homeless Stay Wired

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the works-best-in-san-francisco dept.

The Internet 287

theodp writes "San Franciscan Charles Pitts has accounts on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. He runs a Yahoo forum, reads news online and keeps in touch with friends via email. Nothing unusual, right? Except Pitts has been homeless for two years and manages this digital lifestyle from his residence under a highway bridge. Thanks to cheap computers, free Internet access and sheer determination, the WSJ reports that being homeless isn't stopping some from staying wired. 'You don't need a TV. You don't need a radio. You don't even need a newspaper,' says Pitts. 'But you need the Internet.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

287 comments

And yet (3, Funny)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153535)

they can't seem to find a job.

Re:And yet (1)

the_bean42 (415720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153569)

Of course, they are too busy (go)ogling porn

Re:And yet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154049)

>As our way of thanking you for your positive contributions to Slashdot, you are eligible to disable advertising.

It's funny because:
- The vast majority of my "contributions" are anonymous troll posts.
- I had ads disabled to begin with. Eat it, capitalists!

Re:And yet (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153599)

Been there, done that. Except that I had jobs while I was homeless. I got my fix from internet cafes and, better yet, university libraries -- for free. Uni internet library computers often run windows so they can be "tricked" into installing small programs using inconsistent enforcement of restrictions.

More tips for the homeless: Trader Joe's [thecorsaironline.com] is a popular place for gourmet dumpster diving. University cafeterias also throw away things like packaged sushi when it hits the expiration date. Chinese food is the best to eat out of a trash can because the containers are often in tact and the abundant MSG preserves the food well. I love remembering Panda express' customers gasp in horror when I walked in and started fishing food containers out of their bins. It's also a good reminder of how much in America goes to waste. Go for the heavy ones ;)

Re:And yet (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153827)

You, good sir, are my hero. Had the good old homeless life for a couple weeks last October (thank God I'm out in California, so the weather didn't kill me). Food isn't too bad, as you can ask to do little cleaning jobs for shops in exchange for food and the like, but Internet was killer out here because you're expected to be registered at the university to use their computers, or at the library, and they want a permanent address for that sort. I don't know how long you did it, but my hat's off to you, getting through that and back to a normal life is a pain if you don't have friends you can crash with and shower at every so often.

Re:And yet (5, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153973)

It's easy to shower without friends or crash-pads. Go to the local university or junior college because you get get into the locker room and shower without hassle. The phenomenon described in this discussion is actually widespread, in fact, the JC I was showering at(a popular one in Los Angeles) was known for people sleeping in its locker rooms and even classrooms after lights-out. This was back around 2005 when the economy was decent.

Before I thought of that, I would rub my body down with body wash (while wearing boardshorts) and find an apartment complex with a pool or jacuzzi, then I'd get in and bathe in them! Scrubbing with fingernails exfoliates skin and the bromine keeps you clean while the body wash keeps you fresh, though just the bromine will suffice if you scrub with your fingernails.

Just make sure you have more than one towl and do a drying rotation. In locker rooms I've seen bums showering who didn't even have a towel, and they used half a roll of paper towels from the dispenser to dry their body off! xD

Re:And yet (5, Funny)

sodul (833177) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154227)

I've seen bums showering who didn't even have a towel

But that's the most important thing to have !!! I means there is a whole series of books about how important it is to have a towel.

Re:And yet (2, Interesting)

ManyCowsMoo (843714) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154579)

As a certain towel would say: Don't forget to bring a towel!

Re:And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154747)

... and the award for totally incomprehensibly ruined joke goes to

Re:And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153869)

Been there, done that. Except that I had jobs while I was homeless. I got my fix from internet cafes and, better yet, university libraries -- for free. Uni internet library computers often run windows so they can be "tricked" into installing small programs using inconsistent enforcement of restrictions.

I hate to tell you this... that's not technically a job..

Re:And yet (5, Informative)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154217)

It's also a good reminder of how much in America goes to waste.

3,304 pounds of food per second. 263,013,699 pounds of food every day. 1.5 tons of food per year for every person in America. [endhunger.org]

A couple of decades ago, Harry Chapin said something like "In a country where we produce enough food to feed the entire planet 6 times over, it's unthinkable that anybody shouldn't have enough to eat". Not much has changed in the interim.

Re:And yet (3, Informative)

slashtivus (1162793) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154533)

Doing the math on those numbers, they don't even agree with each other.

1) 365days * 24hours * 60minutes * 60seconds = 31,536,000 seconds. Multiply by 3304 pounds per second = 104,194,944,000 pounds per year.
2) 263,013,699 pounds * 365 = 96,000,000,135 pounds per year. (Well, that's close... but wait...)
3) Since you used pounds, I will assume the short ton (the smallest 'ton' available) = 2,000 pounds * 1.5... So, 3000 pounds per person * 306 million persons in America = 918,000,000,000 pounds per year. Oops.

I'll admit that the smallest number equates to about 313 pounds per person per year for each American (less than 1 pound a day), bad numbers like that make me a bit suspicious of their methodology.

Re:And yet (2, Informative)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154629)

Yeah, OK, I'll admit I snagged them direct. The 3304/second I'm quite confident in. It's a USDA number that's been floating around for some time and I have read the actual study somewhere in the deep dark past. I guess I'll have to go find it again.

Sorry for not double checking the numbers before I posted them ...

Re:And yet (2, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154907)


bad numbers like that make me a bit suspicious of their methodology.

You should be more suspicious of your assumptions. The actual quote is:

That turns out to be about nearly 1.5 tons of food per year for every man, woman, and child in the United States who faces hunger.

The problems are really more ones of logistics than the actual food. Sure, we produce too much food and much of it goes to waste. But getting the food to the right people at the right time is the hard part.

Re:And yet (0)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154745)

It might be worthwhile pointing out that the reason you can produce so much food is because you don't have the "hey let's redistribute everything!" mentality.

Besides which, with the abundance of soup kitchens and charity groups out there, I find it difficult to believe than anyone has to go dumpster diving for food. People who do so usually have some mental issues, and wish to avoid the social interactions which are involved with seeking charity.

Re:And yet (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154765)

Harry Chapin was a lame folk singer. Who gives a flying fuck what he said? I'm really tired of preachy musicians who know little more than the next guy, but get to speak more loudly because of unrelated fame. cf. Bono, Sting, everyone from the 60s, etc.

Re:And yet (2, Informative)

Merc248 (1026032) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154769)

If you live in Seattle, Essential Bakery in Fremont is prime for dumpster diving as well.

(I'm not homeless, but I'm a college student, and the bread is usually VERY fresh. I promise. :D)

Re:And yet (4, Interesting)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153685)

It sounds like he is not interested in finding a job. Someone capable of coordinating their life that well is probably employable. For some reason he dose not want to work.

Re:And yet (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153751)

For some people(who often have jobs or keep some responsibility), being homeless is about freedom. I'd just exited a bad relationship with the woman I lived and then left another place to live because the management didn't fix shit (my pet peeve was that the jacuzzi was always cold, damn them).

I finally got fed up and lived out of my car for a summer. I had more spending cash since I was employed, and I even went to school while living out of the car. Not worrying about a place to live is about having one less thing to worry about and more disposable money to save or spend.

Of course, that lifestyle is a very lonely one, so I see why the man has adopted the internet as his support system. He may not be a shiftless bum - sometimes, people who've had enough just say "fuck it". And it's very liberating. But I don't recommend living that lifestyle long-term.

Re:And yet (4, Funny)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154115)

This remembers me of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, when Arthur decided to go mad.

"I will go mad!" he announced.

"Good idea," said Ford Prefect, clambering down from the rock on which he had been sitting.

Arthur's brain somersaulted. His jaw did press-ups.

"I went mad for a while," said Ford, "did me no end of good."

Re:And yet (5, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154181)

I am all about individual freedom and I am last person in the world who would be in favor of anyone interfering with you living out of your car if that is what you desire to do in anyway beyond why I am about to say here. Consider this just friendly advice for a third party who's lack of personal affiliation with you might afford them some objectivity. Do not consider it in away a condemnation of your life style or an attempt to deny you it if it actually brings you happiness.

That said you, admitted that its a lonely life style. You also apparently value your comfort as you cited the jacuzzi not being functional as a reason for leaving your apartment. You also apparently have some desire for the social pattern of cohabitation with a member of the opposite sex most others do.

Not worrying about a place to live is about having one less thing to worry about...

That is a very odd statement on its face. Most people have a pretty basic need for someplace to call home and when they don't have that there is little else they can think about until they do. That is one of the things that keeps so many people homeless. They are so preoccupied with being homeless and needing some place to call home they can't attend to the activities that would elevate them economically so that they could get a home.

Obvious you were quite functional during that period. I just wonder if you were not experiencing some other medical condition that radically altered your socialization when you decided to get up a live out of your car for a time. You might want to see a medical professional before you do that again. If they tell you that your perfectly healthly and you feel like you want do it, then I would say go for it man! If they think something might be wrong then you might consider that for a time. I might not tell them you are planing to go live out of your car, something that radical might bias them as it has me. Since this about you and not the bias of others there no reason to tip hand.

Re:And yet (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154473)

Humans were nomadic for much longer than they were "housed". Maybe living lighter is not quite the catastrophe it is made out to be?

Re:And yet (4, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154555)

He's right, it's important to have stability. Living the bum lifestyle, especially without a support system, will cause one to regress into the animalistic survival instinct and become paranoid.

Existing conditions, if any, will be exacerbated by the instability. Drugs or Alcohol make it worse. Any person who's seen homeless people talking to themselves on the street realizes that. That's why I made it a point to mention that I didn't do it for very long - I decided that enough was enough when I began to talk to myself and urinate in public. My job and my life were not worth tossing out like that, and now I live a comfortable life in a place with a functional jacuzzi ;)

Re:And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153769)

For some reason he does not want to work.

You must be joking.

Re:And yet (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153835)

For some reason he dose not want to work.

Internet connection, doesn't want to work, according to TFA some of them can't read or write : how about a job as a Slashdot editor?

Re:And yet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153987)

A lot of "employable" people can't find jobs, no matter how long/hard they try.

Re:And yet (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153697)

I am not sure you realize how bad the "human resources" movement people are at finding talent that doesn't fit into a distinct mould. There are tons of good people out there who have true talent who can't get jobs because they don't strictly fit into some H.R. drone can't easily label them or because H.R. is playing games with H1-Bs or whatnot.

People like Charlie Pitts deserve chances. Not every homeless guy is the "bum" stereotype we see so much in our media, and many have genuine talents and can contribute a lot. It's just that we don't manage our available talents well in the US at all right now.

Re:And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153915)

I have been out of work for almost a year now, and I have a degree in Physics, some grad school, and have been working and developing various soft computing methods for years. So just because someone can't find a job, it's not because they aren't trying. I've been applying every day, for at least 1 job a day through Craigslist, Monster.com, Dice.com, and have not been able to find work... It's tough out there.

Re:And yet (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154295)

Tried looking outside of your preferred line of work? Tried going to a retail chain and asking for an application? Maybe there isn't a lot of demand for physicists out there. Hint: don't tell them you're a physicist.

In all seriousness, just because you've dedicated a whole lot of time and effort to learning an obscure skill or some obscure knowledge does not magically make that skill or knowledge useful. Disagree? Think your specialized knowledge really is useful and people just don't realize it? Then you shouldn't be looking for employment, you should be looking to start a consultancy business. Convince people that you can use Physics to save them money, ask for 30% of their savings over the first year.

And if you can't do that, then maybe physics really /isn't/ a useful enough skill right now, and you should look into jobs you can find out about using your feet.

Re:And yet (3, Insightful)

Xistenz99 (1395377) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154703)

Physics is an obscure skill?? I don't even like physics, but I understand the value of people that have degrees in Physics. Starting a business, any business is a difficult task, let alone a consulting business. The fact is some people are really good at doing what they do and aren't salesman and don't want to be. I applaud him/her for looking for work in their field because they feel that, that is their calling. Obviously it is probably crunch time with their unemployment running out soon, but why should they take a low skill, low pay job earlier in their unemployment when there are jobs out their just 10 times more people after them than usual.

Re:And yet (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153959)

The subject of interviewing came up during a coffee break at work the other day. Most of us who have hired people agreed that it takes about 30 seconds of conversation with a person to decide whether they can do the job or not. Hiring for tech jobs I have never paid much attention to resumes except to get an idea of what interests them.

The most useful person I have hired came to us as a part time student. When he graduated I took him on as a permanent because I could see that he learnt new stuff fast and had shown potential mentoring our new intern.

HR just want to cover their arses and keep costs down.

Re:And yet (0, Offtopic)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153737)

I have mod points, and I was all set to mod you, but I alas there is no -1 You are one ignorant mother fucker in the dropdown.

Re:And yet (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153779)

Alas there is +1 Funny

Re:And yet (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153863)

they can't seem to find a job.

That reminds of a TV news clip in the mid-1980's where a white landlord was evicting a black family of five in Silicon Valley for not paying the rent. He then pointed to the Apple II computer that he just tossed out on the front yard, and proclaimed to the cameras: "If they can afford to buy a computer, why can't they pay rent?" The landlord got his apartment back but came across on TV like a total jerk.

Re:And yet (1)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153985)

Yes, right now it is real hard to find a job. And not just because there are no jobs. Things are even more harsh than just "a job".

When I went down through the tube, I had several proposals being offered. Yes, I don't have too much trouble to find a job, besides, I only once, in my whole life, was searching for a job only on myself.

But what I found this time was... Dali's Universe? Things were so surrealistic that I even closed my communication with very closed friends. Because it was nearly impossible to make a rational, weightened comment on what was coming in. It was something. I cannot even name it "crazy".

For example, someone offers you a new job. Ok, let's see what we need to do. Nothing? Stop, pal, you are offering me a job. What tasks are to be done there? Some wicked picture on security "the aliens are coming!" in the middle of the myst?! Hey, call Spielberg, not me.

Yes I could accept such a job. And playing Spielberg for a while may be funny. But sincerly, I am of the kind of "task or no task". Usually we all fall in abstractions, second thoughts and sillynesses every time you come into a new job. But this time, several proposals and all them... I don't know. Maybe aliens are really coming in?

Well, I had some money on my backpocket. Made my calculations. Hmmm I can live for some time on myself only. Cool, all comms over and out, turn off all systems and deserve the holidays you didn't have for five years. Byeeee.

This crisis is funny. Really. Because, on one side, it is not so bad as it could be. On the other side, people fried their nerves so well, that it is impossible to have something workable out of the barbecue of their thinking.

Anyway, there are lots of people who are not so lucky as me. Sincerly, I have several cases of friends and ex-subordinates who are passing some pretty bad time now. Anyway, their stories are even more horrid than my. They were searching for a job, so they meet more whackos than me.

Re:And yet (2, Funny)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154185)

Took me a while to figure out your were impersonating schizophrenia.

Re:And yet (1)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154335)

Why? Because someone offers you a job with absolutely no sense?

I am a infosec expert. So threat shall be something that you can measure. Objectively or subjectively, it doesn't matter. You either consider than under the threat of a breakin - "someone may steal information" or "we can loose a value of 100 million dollars". There is nothing weird on this, right?

Tell me, if someone comes to you and speaks about "threats", just the word "threats". And he keeps on and on with "threats", adding "hackers" or "spies" for a bit of salt. Will you take that job he is offering you? More, if you, as a professional, try to figure out what kind of threats and risks may exist, and this guy can only answer something about the fears going on inside the company? Fears, not dollars, or data inside some server.

Oh, you may think that he didn't want to give some confidential info. The BAD part of the story is that I once worked for them. And every time I tried to push the talk into what I knew they had, the guy was going somewhere else.

Yes, it is schizo season. I had three such proposals. The other two less crazy but also demanded a diagnosis.

Re:And yet (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154531)

Why? Because someone offers you a job with absolutely no sense?

Just take the job, have a look around to see what sort of Twonky they make there, then start making more.

Re:And yet (1)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154621)

Impossible. How do you figure out the budget if people talk only abstractively?

I had a few bad episodes during my lifetime with such abstractions. It doesn't work, what it doesn't work? Eeeeee it doesn't work. Ok, now what do you think or how do you think it should work. Well the computer shall "give me"/"think about"/"show me"...

And you realize that they don't even know how to use a computer.

Now think. Abstractions+"No real tasks"+"Calculate the Budget".

Under this crisis, it will take an Eternity to calculate a budget...

San Francisco, what a shocker! (0, Flamebait)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153989)

Is anyone else surprised he's in San Francisco, the all-welcoming liberal home for the homeless?

Re:And yet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154155)

In today's job market its not ok to be average. There are a lot of average people out there. When employers interview they don't just hire the "average" person they hire the best they could find from their pool of applicants. Since you already have a job you should know this. If you don't already you might want to consider learning about it because if you loose your job you could be in the same predicament.

Re:And yet (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154755)

We've got a homeless man downtown with a laptop and and he ran for mayor. Can't say he's not trying to get a job.

gay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153547)

will suck cock for wi-fi. i'll take it in the ass if you throw in a cup of coffee!

2 years?? (5, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153557)

Except Pitts has been homeless for two years and manages this digital lifestyle from his residence under a highway bridge.

That's some sick battery life right there!

Re:2 years?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153633)

I don't see any reason why they can't use Solar panels to re-charge their laptops, aside ofcourse from theft, but they've got a bigger risk of theft of their laptop than a solar panel.

I've always wondered if I should go homeless or not in a Van or Caravan, It really seems like a good idea now that I've lost my job aswell, but then I remember that a warm shower and a warm meal is worth a hundred nights of cold, wet and lonely web browsing in the outdoors underneath a busy highway.

I just hope that people like this get into filesharing and share amongst themselves, that would be kick-ass.

How did he become homeless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153579)

Any relation to his internet addiction?

Shouldn't somebody ask... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153619)

this guy [slashdot.org]??

Re:Shouldn't somebody ask... (1)

longacre (1090157) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153783)

La Jolla has much nicer weather than SF, though probably fewer wi-fi hotspots.

Re:Shouldn't somebody ask... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154485)

La Jolla is also much smaller than SF so it doesn't need as many wi-fi hotspots. There's a handful of good coffeeshops with free wi-fi and that's all you really need.

Re:Shouldn't somebody ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154761)

The La Jolla public library has wi-fi, and is one of the nicest public libraries I've been into. If you sit on the benches outside the building, you can stay dry and get wi-fi even when the library is closed. During the two days I spent there, there was a guy living in his car that must have had crazy good reception, since he was on the wi-fi from his vehicle.

The Internet connections must be slow or something (1)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153641)

... if they can't even find a job with access to the all-mighty power of the Internet.

Guess I shouldn't... (1)

Xistenz99 (1395377) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153663)

feel sorry for him and actually want to help the guy out if he is homeless for 2 years and is fine with it. For some reason this article makes me angry. Its been ten months for me and I can't find a job either, but if I was laid off 2 years ago, it would have been alot easier.

Re:Guess I shouldn't... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153923)

This is a typical article on WSJ where the purpose is get people mad at the disadvantage. You're a Conservative, filthy rich, and working hard all your life when this homeless bozo is enjoying a fine life. I'm surprised they don't bring back Ronald Reagan's Welfare Queen [huppi.com] to beat up in public square.

Re:Guess I shouldn't... (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154505)

...I'm surprised they don't bring back Ronald Reagan's Welfare Queen [huppi.com] to beat up in public square...

They are doing much better today with Obama's corporate welfare for megabanks and other mismanaged giant corporations. These are swallowing up billions of borrowed money which the next generation will have to pay. The amount of money that the so-called welfare queens swallow up is chicken feed in comparison.

Re:Guess I shouldn't... (1)

Xistenz99 (1395377) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154749)

I understand what you are saying, but after 2 months left of unemployment I will take whatever job I can get, but right now I am trying in my field. I am just saying that 2 years is a long time and that was before the economy was really bad

I got a totally different reaction from reading it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154889)

The guy living in the tent with a gas-powered laptop was pretty sad and striking.

Huge wakeup call for internet being required for everyone these days.

 

You're a Conservative, filthy rich, and working hard all your life when this homeless bozo is enjoying a fine life.

Sorry but some middle-aged man getting free cartoons/movies off bit-torrent while living inside a tent is nothing close to them having a roof over their head.

Re:Guess I shouldn't... (5, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154685)

"For some reason this article makes me angry. Its been ten months for me and I can't find a job either, but if I was laid off 2 years ago, it would have been alot easier."

When you're in the shit it always looks like everyone else has it "easy", just human nature.

Slightly OT but many people are uneployable and living under bridges because the sex offenders list includes offences such as streaking or urinating in a public place. Why? - Because the peodophile who pushed the list [wikipedia.org] wanted a dragnet that he hoped would trivialise his own behaviour.

Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (5, Informative)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153675)

If you can reach friends and family, can't you ask for help? Maybe I grew up in an environment where homelessness was not an option because I'm sure that I could chill on someone's couch until I worked my way back into an apartment. If you can't reach anybody on the internet who is willing or able to help you out while you're living under a bridge, perhaps you should re-evaluate your ongoing communications with those people. I realize that not everybody will be able to work up a western-union order for bus fair in a week or a cross-country plane ticket in a month to help their friend, you'd have to be pretty low on my list of acquaintances for me to not help you out, and I make sure I hang out with people that would do the same for me. This is really sad, while yes, its good that they can stay in contact, this is a case of communication without value.

Re:Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (4, Insightful)

Haxzaw (1502841) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153757)

I would say someone in his situation wants to be homeless. Not every homeless person is a mentally ill individual, or is someone who lost a job. Some people are homeless because they prefer to be off the grid. Some make pretty good money panhandling (begging, if you prefer). Some are criminals. If someone wants to stay connected to others, and is homeless, IMHO he wants to be homeless.

Re:Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (3, Informative)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153811)

I suppose, but I've known panhandlers that actually had really nice apartments, one guy would make a hundred or two a day. It was tough work, but the money was worth it. It is far too easy to be able to afford a place with central heating, or windows, and the like to live under a bridge.

I've also known people who choose to be semi-homeless, I.E. they work at a job that would make 100+K per year, but only work 3-4 months, live in a tiny efficiency for those few months and squirrel away that cash. When they've had enough consulting, they drop their stuff in storage, notify the land-lord that they're moving out, and go back-packing across the world. However, I have yet to meet anybody that would willingly live under a bridge. Maybe I just don't know the "right" people...

Re:Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (1)

altek (119814) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153965)

I agree that this guy probably wants to be homeless at this point in time.

But he's hardly off the grid if he's using Twitter, Facebook, et al!

Re:Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153903)

You have to realize that in most cases of homelessness, there are other factors. What I mean is that the situation isn't one of "Person lost their job, exhausted their savings, and was thrown out on the street." That is extremely rare. Not losing one's job and running out of money is rare, but that the immediate follow up is "and thrown out on the street."

In a lot of cases, the problem is substance abuse of some kind or another. Alcohol, illegal drugs, inhalants, whatever. The person has chosen their addiction over everything else, and thus their friends and family are sick of putting up with them. I mean someone can be a real good friend of yours, but if all they do is get drunk and damage your place, eventually you are probably going to throw them out. There are other causes too like mental illness, or simply being lazy to the point you find that not working and being homeless is easier.

If you look in to it you'll find that it is rather rare to see someone who is homeless 100% by circumstance. For most people, if life takes a shit on them, they have others they can go to for help. There is another compounding factor involved. Something that has either caused those that care about them to give up on them (like drugs) or something that has caused them to decide not to try and deal with the situation.

Re:Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154663)

Haven't you ever fantasized about being homeless? Like when you're visiting the bay area and it's a really nice day out? I have. But then I guess a little fantasy is a far cry from doing it for real.

Re:Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154925)

i've always imagined it's like a camping trip that lasts forever. there's a few homeless guys getting around my home town but, they have bank accounts and money (lined up at the bank with one of them once)? i can only conclude they walk around the streets looking crazy because they want to.

Re:Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (0, Offtopic)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153911)

you'd have to be pretty low on my list of acquaintances for me to not help you out, and I make sure I hang out with people that would do the same for me. This is really sad, while yes, its good that they can stay in contact, this is a case of communication without value.

REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP DEAR SLASHDOT USER: I NEED TO ASK YOU TO SUPPORT AN URGENT SECRET BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH A TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF GREAT MAGNITUDE. I AM MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY OF THE REPUBLIC OF AMERICA. MY COUNTRY HAS HAD CRISIS THAT HAS CAUSED THE NEED FOR LARGE TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF 800 BILLION DOLLARS US. IF YOU WOULD ASSIST ME IN THIS TRANSFER, IT WOULD BE MOST PROFITABLE TO YOU. I AM WORKING WITH MR. PHIL GRAM, LOBBYIST FOR UBS, WHO WILL BE MY REPLACEMENT AS MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY IN JANUARY. AS A SENATOR, YOU MAY KNOW HIM AS THE LEADER OF THE AMERICAN BANKING DEREGULATION MOVEMENT IN THE 1990S. THIS TRANSACTIN IS 100% SAFE. THIS IS A MATTER OF GREAT URGENCY.

Re:Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (1)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153935)

Some people don't have friends or family, or their family won't speak to them, or won't help, etc.

Re:Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153981)

And yet they host a forum and probably have more e-friends than me :(

Re:Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154513)

And some of friends or family that would help, but their pride keeps them from asking for help.

Re:Facebook status: "LIVING UNDER A BRIDGE! HELP" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154459)

If you can reach friends and family, can't you ask for help? Maybe I grew up in an environment where homelessness was not an option because I'm sure that I could chill on someone's couch until I worked my way back into an apartment.

If you are staying on someone's couch you are still homeless!

he's a troll! (5, Funny)

panthroman (1415081) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153695)

...from his residence under a highway bridge.

Sometimes you just gotta hand it to a troll for sheer dedication. (+1, troll?)

Re:he's a troll! (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154529)

I know, I too was reading through the article trying to find which bridge, sounds like a pretty sweet setup.


Oh, that is what you meant, right?

.........

Great New World (1, Informative)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153699)

I'm self-unemployed after a real hard season of playing Blade Runner for a year. I don't have too much money to spend but...

I have a 24 hour permanent link to Internet
I can load tens of Gigabytes per month.
Have several different channels to reach Internet, from wherever I am, in several possible means.
And have a miriad of places to go for info and communication.
At home I have also three different ways to reach Internet from several systems around the house. I can freely move with a Internet link

And all this usually costs me some. Let's see... Some 40 dollars per month? Uh!

And to think I paid a 100 dollars for some piece of junky channel just four years ago. Hey and I could load only 2 Gigs! I was robbed!

It's a great world.

Re:Great New World (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153789)

Your post made nearly no sense. You are an idiot. I hope that if you are not homeless now, you are soon.

Re:Great New World (1)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154183)

Hmmm and you probably know what is being homeless.

I have been homeless btw. Many years ago in a pretty harsh time.

Frankly, you may consider me an idiot. It's your pure and absolute right. But wishing me to be homeless.

Hope you don't become anonymous if you get some pretty bad time on your life. I know many anonymous. Too much of them. Lived two years under war. It's enough to see thousands of anonymous.

And for the guy who "insightfulled" this. Your insight doesn't go much farther than the corner of your house. Go and see the world. Not everyone has a house to sleep in.

Missed this bit (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153711)

Before the Dalai Lama visited a soup kitchen here a month ago, Mr. Pitts researched the Buddhist leader on Wikipedia and copied the text onto his iPod, to read in bed under the bridge.

Aw, that's really cool.

But now I have the mental image of the corresponding silhouette ad.. ..and it's kinda weird..

Luxury (4, Funny)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 4 years ago | (#28153735)

That's nothing, I used to stay connected, downloading movies and Linux distros, following all the news, exchanging emails with a journalist friend, using a Commodore 64 that had been buried for years - in a war ravaged country with no communications infrastructure worth speaking of. Kids these days have it easy.

Juno

Re:Luxury (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154059)

Junis, dude.

I think jobs pay better than blogging (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153745)

Hey homeless, try looking up a fucking job board instead of blogging and updating your Twitter page.

Re:I think jobs pay better than blogging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154225)

Hey dumbass! You don't just go to the job board and instantly get a job. Its a long and difficult process. People are emotional creatures and its hard to put on a smile and pick yourself up after sleeping under a bridge at night. Also where do you think people put all of their personal possessions while they are interviewing? You can't exactly leave a shopping cart or all of your backpacks and bedrolls with the receptionist without getting their attention. And even if they do have cars what do you think happens when word gets around the office that they sleep in their car?

Re:I think jobs pay better than blogging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154471)

What should he get a fucking job if he doesn't want to? Do you think you are better than him because your life is so prim and neat? You could lose everything. Nothing is in your control.

Well Stevie, you ain't gonna believe this. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153753)

I'm gonna make a TV star out of you. Just like Archie Bunker. You gonna be a household word.

It's called, "Homeless Got Talent"

Simon: So Steven, what are you going to do for us?

Stevie: I'm gonna stink

Simon: You're already our winner. You can go home proud...Ooops I made a Faux Pas...

Brought back memories (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153791)

I was homeless between Aug-2003 to July-2004. One day I had no money to buy two rice cakes which used to cost less than .25 cents. I just drank a water and I made a promise to myself to avoid such a bad condition. It was bad, cold and at one point I thought I'm just gonna die out. At the end of 2004, I brought old P5 with 64MB RAM and 10GB hard disk with mono monitor loaded with Window 95. I used the same computer to write students CS assignments and complete their projects in the night time for the money. I had a small job at the Internet cafe. I learned about SEO, forums, creating website and making money by selling ads and doing aff marketing. Today, I make my living by running over 80+ websites and forums. Even, in this bad economy, I doing good. So if you in a bad time, just hold on a while. May be think out of box and you may survive to see another beautiful day. I learnt a lot from my bad days and it made me a better person.

Hope this helps and cheers someone out there seating in cold night and wondering about the life...

PS: English is not my first language and I've only 10th grade school education.

Re:Brought back memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28153957)

May be think out of box

And presto! Soon enough you're not living in it!

That's The Idea (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154153)

The old saying of "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" applies perfectly to the parent post.

Congratulations for pulling yourself out of a bad situation!

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154021)

slow news day is it?

How hard is to find jobs today (1)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154573)

I just remembered an episode that occurred not so long ago.

This comes from third persons but I know the guy who was trying to get the job. An average sysadmin but systematic and hardworking.

When he was about to be layed off, people tried to find him a job on a business partner. The partner was having some pretty bad time with its networks. They are highly critical and shall run non-stop (something related to medicine btw). Now, lately, for several times the servers went down. There was even a hangup that lasted nearly half a day, a catasthrophe in their way of working. Things were so bad that, for some time, it was the company where this guy was working that was supporting their servers.

They naturally "offered" to their partner this guy. The partner refused. The guy went to the street. The problems kept creeping on.

Now, on that company, they were keeping four jerks. They didn't create these servers, they didn't support them and they even didn't know what was running there. Their job? "System Administrator".

I ain't talking about a little company. And this case is not the craziest I have been told of. But that what is happening. Good and average specialists are being sent to the streets while companies burn down departments or keep God knows who doing administration.

So, during this crisis, high-tech geeky homeless and unemployed is pretty natural to occur. More, with management going nuts in some companies, there is a good chance that some of the top experts find themselves on the street.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...