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The Internet Idle

6 Homeless People Saved By the Internet 94

An anonymous reader writes "With Ted Williams's story (the homeless man with the golden voice, saved by the internet) blowing up online, and in the traditional media, we figured it was time to tell the stories of 5 other homeless people who've found success, be it financial or personal, through the wonderful use of this series of tubes we call The Internet."

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6 Homeless People Saved By the Internet

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    In colder areas many homeless survive on the hot stream coming out of the tubes.

    If it wasn't for rampant porno on the web, many homeless would have frozen.

  • I only counted five homeless in the article. I guess the other one represents the hidden homeless around all of us.


    • There's a second page with one story on it. I missed it the first time, too.

      • by eln ( 21727 )
        The link to the second page appears to be completely invisible if you have NoScript on. I looked everywhere and couldn't find it. Then I temporarily allowed the page, and the link appeared. What a terribly designed website.
        • At least it wasn't a flash object website. I hate when StumbleUpon gives me those. I have FlashBlock, so when I get one of those, I just assume it's not worth my time to use those. They're memory hogs anyway, especially in a window that's maximized.
    • I only counted five homeless in the article. I guess the other one represents the hidden homeless around all of us.

      That website is not laid out very well, there's a second page that talks about James Montgomery.

      Personally, I'm not sure about Adrian Lamo. Text of #4:

      Adrian Lamo, Homeless Hacker Genius

      It's always the smart people who get caught. In this case, it's Adrian Lamo, who was arrested in September 2004 by the FBI for computer fraud.

      He was charged with breaking into the private network of the New York Times Company and running a bill upwards $300,000 on the pay-per-use search tool Lexis-Nexis and a possible 15-year prison sentence.

      This wouldn't be too surprising if Lamo was a Ivy-League graduate with a rebellious streak (we've all seen Social Network three times by now to get the picture), but Lamo, one of the best-known hackers in the country, was homeless.

      Given the name "The Homeless Hacker" by some, Lamo traveled around with just his eight-year-old Toshiba, blanket, change of clothes and Taser stun gun which he used to shock vending machines to see if they'd drop any food or spare change. He did most of his virtual exploring from the internet connections of Kinko's copy shops, which if you wear the right stuff, is actually pretty smart if you're a hacker (assuming you're paying in cash.)

      Aside from the blatent idiocy of "It's always the smart people who get caught." how was this man 'saved' by the internet. I know he got interviews and a job as a grey hat ... but not sure what he's up to now other than working as an informant [].

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Adrian Lamo doesn't qualify - he had a home, he just chose not to go there.

      • James Montgomery (#6) doesn't count either. He's a homeless guy with a laptop and... well, that's it. No story, he just has a laptop and surfs the net. Seriously that's all there is, four paragraphs talking about how he's not rich or famous or joining normal society, but he has a laptop and uses the local library's wifi.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why do they have to have some exceptional talent in order to be worth saving from such a tragic fate?

    Clearly the wealthy have the resources to save many people, but they only seem to care about those who can do something for them. So in many ways this is yet more tragic.

    • Re:Why... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Joe Tie. ( 567096 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:14PM (#34795644)

      As someone who was homeless, I think I can explain to some extent. Homeless people tend to be kind of nuts. If you don't start out that way, it's highly probable you're going to end up that way eventually. It's a life of living like an animal, never being able to trust anyone, and often going days without more than a few words to another human being. Hell, you often forget how to actually participate in a real conversation pretty quickly. It's a bit like when you don't speak a second language for a while. Except not with the secondary language, but the primary. You usually only make it out by having something that can remain untainted by that, or just a lot of luck. It's not so much deserving to escape it, but that being the only way. Personally, I don't have money right now. But when I did, after being homeless, I tried to help as much as I could. And there's a LOT you can do. And it comes into play far more from direct interaction than from donating to charity. I never saw a dime of charity when I was homeless. Most don't. A person talking to me though, with respect, as a human being. And possibly buying and eating lunch with me. That happened, and it was worth more to me than words can express. It doesn't have to be the wealthy, by any means. Even if you're lower middle class, it's in you to save any of these peoples lives. It probably won't, but there's still a chance that a single shared meal can do it.

      • "And possibly buying and eating lunch with me."

        I've done that a few times, it didn't save their life but it sure made their day (and mine). I had a small taste of being homeless for a few months in the early 80's, nothing like walking a mile in someones shoes to change one's worldview.
  • Would you say I have a 'plethora' of pinatas, Jeffe?
  • 5 people with a great life are now homeless, because their jobs are taken (indirectly) by those 5 homeless.

  • As a resident of Columbus, Ohio, I would greatly appreciate this fellow being forgotten. Every 10 minutes on all local television shows, radio shows, newspapers, this story is repeated. Good for him, but please /. don't be one of those guys...
    • by karnal ( 22275 )

      Just means that there's nothing else going on. I'd rather see this story than just hear about "OMG here comes another 1/2 inch of snow!!!"

      Let's face it, Columbus news is kinda boring anyways. And no matter where this story showed up, it will be played out like a one hit wonder.

    • Just go do something newsworthy and then they'll have something else to talk about.
      Maybe get yourself some Lite-Brites [].
  • Who would have thought a homeless man could do perform Creep better than Radiohead?
    Prepare to be blown away []
    He has an album out now.
  • Good grief... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Friday January 07, 2011 @03:49PM (#34795226)

    Adrian Lamo, Homeless Hacker Genius

    Really? Shiftless snitch with no conscience, perhaps. But "genius hacker"?

  • by Joe Tie. ( 567096 ) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:07PM (#34795526)

    For what it's worth, I'm in that situation as well. Some years back I wound up homeless after an accident threw my life into turmoil. I recovered physically, to some extent. But found that my entire life had been thrown into turmoil by the new status of "limping and scarred dude". It was social death in the superficial crowd I was in and employed by, and the job fled as quickly as the people eager to stab anyone in the back to advance. I found first my wife, then my money, and finally my job gone. However, I kept my laptop even as I lost a roof under which to use it. It took a while to get back on my feet, but it was entirely by taking small telecommuting jobs found over the net over a four month period or so. If that seems like a rather long time, keep in mind that I had other concerns as well such as "eat" and "don't get fuckin' cut by either your fellows or random crazies". I'd feel more positive about the experience if I wasn't on the verge of having to worry about that all over again. My rambling point is that one shouldn't feel like these stories have a finality to them. They might have a happily ever after, but they might wind up right back where they were. Because to get to the point of being homeless is to lack a social support structure. And once you've been homeless, it can be horribly difficult to get that back. Because the lack of such usually starts out with either an abusive family, or one you've seen die around you. And continues on to friends who wound up throwing you away when you most needed them. It's not easy to open yourself up socially again after something like that happens. It might not seem important, but that view only comes from within a life that hasn't ever really experienced it. People need people, it's just a fact of our species. And you get screwed up pretty quickly from the lack.

    • by iwnbs ( 633321 )

      "People need people..., and you get screwed up pretty quickly from the lack."

      This is completely true. I don't know what you've been through. You don't know what I've been through. But, I can tell you that your conclusion is universally true.

    • by vbraga ( 228124 )

      Joe, thank you for sharing your story in this discussion. It must have been very rough to be there. (I'm feeling like a selfish asshole after hearing a few personal stories in the last few days).

      I know it's not much and I'm probably in other continent but if you ever need some help, you can contact me at my username at acm dot org.

    • Thanks for your insights.

      Some general health care advice links I've found useful myself, to the extent any of it might help in keeping on an upward spiral of healing: []

    • by v1 ( 525388 )

      it can't have been easy holding onto a laptop while homeless when in the company of the crazies that cut. must have been quite the game to hide it and still use it from time to time.

  • sure, but nobody wants to list the top 10 business men that turned homeless because of the internet.
  • Even being a youtube phenom isn't enough to be permitted to fly. []

  • I'm 95% sure that the homeless man with the golden voice is a sociopath.
  • That seems to be a success rate rivaling lives saved by not giving food to the homeless and thereby preventing choking.

    I happened to catch an interview with Ted Williams this morning, and to say "golden voice" is stretching credulity.
  • Wow! World peace! End to hunger! No more war and taxes!

    Sorry for my sarcasm. Mister X had a very nice dark voice indeed, but if until now 6 people have found a job this year, we're in SERIOUS trouble.
    Not to mention people still steal each others land in name of god and the list goes on and on.

  • why there are homeless people in a 'first world' country in the first place.

    and no, dont give me any ayn rand shit. im fresh out of my bullshit listening contingency today.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.