The Sector is a supporter-group for The Real Life Superheroes around the globe.
This page was created in 2012 in order to keep our presentation online somewhere.
Navigate using the buttons at the top.
The Sector is a small team of software developers, falling under the RLSH-Supporter category. We support the Real Life Superheroes around the globe, by offering to create on-demand projects for the RLSH for free.
If you are a Real Life Superhero, and find yourself in need of a small software utility that'll make your work easier, you are most welcome to contact us.
What we can do
The best way to list what we can do, is probably to give you examples of what we have already done so far:
J2ME / Java Micro Edition cellphone apps (e.g. The Eye)
Q: You often mention "JavaME enabled phones" when referring to apps. What are JavaME enabled phones?
A: JavaME was the platform to develop for prior to the arrival of iPhone and Android devices. Virtually all devices produced prior to iPhone and Android devices, could run JavaME apps, including feature phones, Windows Mobile, Symbian phones, and non-smartphones. Even PDA's could run JavaME. That means you can pick up almost any old phone (which cost almost nothing used nowadays), and put it to good use for some RLSH activities.
Q: Why not develop for exclusively for Android? Noone uses JavaME anymore.
A: Because most RLSH don't have a whole lot of money to spend on their gadgets and activities. By offering apps that runs on JavaME enabled phones, the expense should be down to a minimum, while still being useful. We do also develop for Android devices though. One example is The Eye which has an Android client.
Q: How can I get your apps?
A: Simply contact us requesting it. Our apps are only available to the RLSH though.
Q: I could use a specific app for my RLSH work. Can you make it for me?
A: Contact us and describe what it is you need. Then we'll look into it.
Here are some links to other RLSH-friendly sites.
Superheroes are real
How you'll see the RLSH if doing proper research - By C / The Sector, April 2011
It was Sunday, 6th of March 2011, when I received a text message from my brother. It read: "Google Phoenix Jones".
He'd just returned home from a 2 week work-related trip in the United States, where someone had told him about this guy dressing up as a superhero and fighting crime during the nights in Seattle.
None of us had ever heard about this phenomena before, but I admit I'd often wished there would be superheroes around. (Approximately every time I watch the news). Co-workers, family and friends have often heard me complain about the lack of superheroes. Ideally someone with superpowers, but not necessarily.
There's just too much shit going on in the real world, and I use the word "shit" because it is a suitable word to use. It's been going on for decades, and our socalled systems doesn't seem to adapt or change into something that can handle this mess.
And deep down we all know it, don't we? We know all about the injustice that's happening everywhere everyday. TV makes sure to remind us daily. Each of us just quickly conclude that it's too big for us, and thus out of our hands. So the only action we take, is to agree that someone ought to do something about it... and then we switch to another channel.
That's why we all love movies about superheroes, or any kind of hero for that matter, that comes and saves the day. Heroes who eliminates evil and injustice. Because we all do hate evil and injustice. And since we can't seem to get rid of it in the real world, we settle for a fantasy: We watch a movie. And while watching this movie, we do get this wanted feeling of pleasure when we see how the evil is destroyed without mercy. Then we feel better with ourselves again, and avoid thinking about that we haven't changed the slightest misery in the real world.
You've probably sometimes had the thought: "Oh man, I wish I had super powers so I could deal with that evilness... but I don't, so...".
Most of us reach that same conclusion, that since we don't have any super powers, there's no way we can fight evil and injustice.
But an increasing number of people in the world strongly disagrees with that conclusion. In fact, multiple unrelated groups of people, disagrees with that.
One of these groups are called Real Life Superheroes, and when I found out about their existence that day I received the sms from my brother, it immediately caught my attention.
I began watching videos, reading articles, following tweets. I read the unofficial Real Life Superheroes Manual, and listened to all the Superhero Academy radioshows I could find online.
For several days I spent most my sparetime researching the various groups of superheroes around the globe. That is something few people seem to do. The majority of people who hears about this community, seems to settle for the 5-minute intro, which goes something like this: "So, they are dressing up in costumes pretending to be superheroes patrolling the streets fighting crime? Haha!".
You laugh and make fun of these people for a while, and then the conversation goes on about another topic.
Since I've been researching this community quite a lot now, and you most probably stopped yours after a few laughs, I feel I should share the things I've discovered. Because it ought to make you stop laughing, and instead gain some respect for these people.
But before continuing, there are a couple of things you should know upfront:
None of these people claim to have super powers, or in other ways be superior to other humans. In fact, they encourage everyone (you, the currently non-superhero) to take part of the community.
You can't generalize these superheroes any more than you can generalize the human race. They are all very different and fights injustice in very different ways and for different causes.
Their costume is, contrary to what you first assumed, often the least serious part of it all - but it does have a purpose.
What is a superhero?
At this point, let's take a moment to think about what a superhero is. How would you define the word superhero? Obviously, it must be some kind of hero, and logically it must be a hero who is more than your average normal hero.
What's the origin of the word "super"? Does it mean superior, or supernatural, or just something that's more than average?
If "superhero" is a term that applies only to "heroes who has supernatural powers", then we can't call Batman or Iron Man a superhero, because they've never had any supernatural powers in their lives. But most of us regard them as being (fictional) superheroes nonetheless.
So what you need to do right now, is to try to figure out, why you define Batman and Iron Man as superheroes, despite their lack of supernatural powers.
When I asked myself that question, I learned that my perception of a superhero, has nothing at all to do with supernatural powers. (In fact, having supernatural powers doesn't even make you a regular hero. You have to do something heroic before you can become a hero, and having superpowers doesn't automatically make you do heroic things).
So I found out, that to me, a superhero is a person who
helps other people, instinctively, altruistically
actively seeks injustice - and does something to correct it
dares to take action where other people and/or the system remain inactive and does nothing
does good deeds for other people by his/her own free will in his/her own time using his/her own money
doesn't get paid for the good deeds he/she does. It's not a job. It's just something he/she does because it's the right thing to do - and no one else is doing anything
Such a person is more than just a hero. That's a unique hero. An extraordinary hero. A superhero.
Most of us non-heroes does nothing that even comes close to those things. Instead, we prefer staying home taking care of ourselves. It's safer. It's so stupid going out at night, we're told. And we all seem to accept, that we can't go out at night. It has become kinda like a common knowledge to us.
"I got mugged yesterday...", one says.
"Oh... you really shouldn't go out at night", another replies.
And oddly enough, many people seem to agree, that it was the victim's own fault he/she got mugged. Could have just stayed home.
This is where the police is supposed to help out. But where are they? Clearly rarely around when needed. Because the budget doesn't contain a "Patrol the streets and prevent crime" pot for the undermanned police department of your city. It all comes down to money, and it always will. That's why nothing will ever change, before someone steps up and does something for free. You might as well face it: We need heroes.
The first thing I was surprised to find out about this community, is that it's huge! We're not just talking about a small group of people in the United States here. There are hundreds of them around the globe, divided into many different categories and groups. Each superhero is unique, has his/her own cause, goals and missions.
While researching, I've stumbled across a categorization of these people. They aren't global to each group, but I can mention 3 of those used by the Real Life Superheroes community: "Public Service", "Social Activist" and "Crime Fighter".
No doubt, you think the first 2 sound boring, while the latter one looks rather intriguing. But to be honest, most of the categories involves crime fighting in some degree. I came up with my own 4 categories, which in my opinion all fights crime in their own way:
The charity group
The activist group
The detective group
The Kick-Ass group
Before I describe how I see each of these groups, keep in mind that each RLSH can easily exist in more than one group. Also keep in mind, that this is just how I see the groups. It's not a definitive "This is how it is" guide.
The charity group consists mainly of people who has a strong heart for those in need. They go out on the streets in the middle of the night, to hand out food, blankets and clothes to homeless people. Some of these things they give away, are donated by various people, but often it's bought and payed for by their own pockets.
They wear a superhero costume (more or less), but not to disguise their true identity. Instead, they do it to put more focus on the topic and get more attention from the public - and as you can see - it's working very well!
That is brilliant! Many of them have been active with charity for years, and discovers that putting on a superhero costume kinda wakes up the media. So they make this sacrifice, putting themselves in the spotlight, in order to put more focus on the topic, and everyone takes the bait. Well done!
The activist group does anti-crime work, like e.g. painting over graffiti or hanging up / handing out posters to help the police find missing or wanted persons.
This too is done while wearing a superhero costume, but again not so much to hide their true identity. Instead, it's done to promote their cause and make people curious - and again it's working.
Other superheroes in this group visits schools and basically teaches children to take the right path in life. (It's easier for a superhero to teach children this, because they of course pay more attention to a superhero in costume than to the average teacher).
The detective group is very much like your average daily life detective. They investigate various crimes while staying out of sight. They come up with evidence, which they turn over to the police. The difference from other ("real") detectives is, that these superheros do it for free, in their own time, for their own money.
Unlike the two first groups, the superheroes in this group never wear a costume when they're out in the field. (Obviously that would attract attention). They only use their costume to hide their true identity, e.g. when being interviewed in the media - just like other detectives usually also do. There's nothing weird about that. The superheroes has merely chosen to always use the same disguise for this purpose, and why not as a superhero - again to create more focus on their topic.
I call the last group the Kick-Ass group, because it consists mainly of people much like the main character in the movie Kick-Ass. And you might think that they were inspired by that exact movie. But in fact, it's more like the other way around. Keep in mind, The Real Life Superheroes has been around for years, while Kick-Ass was produced last year.
Anyway, this group have chosen to actively fight crime in the streets during nighttime. They interfere with fights, stops thieves, prevent drug-dealers from dealing, and so on.
This group wears the costume for 3 reasons:
Hide their identity. This is dangerous work that could jeopardy their family and friends.
Protect themselves. Their costume is merged with armor like bullet-proof wests, elbow and knee pads etc.
Promote their cause - which works even more than with the 3 other groups. (Because we all love it when someone kicks ass, don't we?).
As mentioned, the reason I define these 4 groups instead of using those I found while researching, is because I think all 4 groups can be called "crime fighters". While a lot of people tend to consider only the Kick-Ass group to be actual crime fighters, I honestly believe that the less violent groups might actually be giving better results in the long run. But more about this later in this article.
As also mentioned, you can't generalize these non-fictional superheroes anymore than you can generalize the human race. In fact, you can't even generalize each group individually, no more than you can generalize a certain group of other people.
Some superheroes from one group disapproves the methods another group is using, while others are pro any kind of crime fighting methods.
Some superheroes from each group likes the publicity, because it promotes their cause. Other superheroes from each group stays far away from the media, and focuses instead on the work.
Maybe they'd go for more publicity, if the media acted a bit more mature though. I've seen a few articles and other texts online mocking the community, which logically can only be because the authors didn't do any serious research on the subject.
But these degrading texts are also often written in a very childish manner, so we probably shouldn't take them too serious.
Anyway, at this stage you're probably still thinking, that most of these people are... well, insane! But let me just say, that I've read lots of forum-posts, posted by various superheroes. And I've listened to many radioshows, and watched TV-interviews with them. And I have to say, that all of those interviewed seemed very intelligent and sensible to me. (I admit I was surprised by this).
There's only one thing that has disappointed me about them, and that is the hostile attitudes some of them have against their fellow RLSH mates, because of disagreements. I hope this improves in time. I'm not saying they should agree on everything. Just treat each other with respect.
Hmmkay... but still...
You probably agree that these superheroes are in fact doing good things in the world. They're not the bunch of loonies you (and I) initially assumed they were. But you're probably also still a bit skeptic. "Why do they have to wear those silly costumes?", you think to yourself. "And why are some of these costumes so dark and scary-looking? That's not very superhero-like. That's more like villain-like".
Well, you grew up with Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man etc. You've always known they were the good guys, and therefor they don't look scary to you at all. But if you think about it, I bet you would find them rather scary if you saw them for the first time, without knowing if they were good or bad.
But you know they're good, so their costume is perfectly acceptable to you. You don't even give it a second thought.
It's basically the same thing with these non-fictional superheroes. Just like Batman, some of them have an interesting story behind their choice of costume. So don't be too fast to judge them by their appearance.
Let me give you an example: Thanatos. Scary looking costume, looks like death, doesn't he? In fact, that's because he is indeed costumed as death.
This superhero was once told (by a cop), that most the people who lives on the street, have nothing to look forward to but death. He decided to change that comment into something positive, so he put on a costume to look like Death, and then began his quest to aid the homeless. He spends most his time on his mission, giving food, clothes, blankets, anything to homeless people and other people in need. Probably not what you first thought about him when you saw his picture, eh?
So now the homeless does literately look forward to "Death".
I'll admit, that I too needed time before accepting the scary costumes. I mean, for the Kick-Ass group, scary costumes are ideal when fighting crime in the streets. No mercy to muggers, I say.
But it's not that ideal to look scary when crouching down next to a homeless guy - unless that person already knows you - and they can't know you before they've met you, can they? But ok, Thanatos has become extremely well-known by now, so at least in his case it's not a problem anymore.
I still don't see the need for costumes
That's because there isn't a need as such. Lots of people around the world are engaged in voluntary public service work and the likes, and they've never worn a superhero costume while doing so.
But there IS a purpose for the costume. In fact, I can spot at least two purposes.
Think about this for a while. Why are you still reading this long article? Is it because some people help homeless people, or because some detectives help the police solve crime? Or is it because some people walk around in superhero costumes while doing it?
Yes, the costumes are without a doubt what made you curious, and that means the superheroes have achieved their goal: They've made you focus on the subject and their cause.
Despite being mocked by everyone who knows nothing about them (meaning most people), these people have stood their ground and held on to their costumes. I bet you couldn't do that.
Their costume is usually the last thing they get in place, after deciding to become a superhero. They've probably already been doing charity work and other good deeds for years, and decides to join the superhero community, putting on a costume, in order to put more focus on the topic, open up your eyes; make you realize that you've actually been embracing apathy for so long that you didn't even notice it anymore.
Another reason for the costume, is to help the hero get into character. Living a double-life takes some effort. Imagine walking the streets at night, constantly being alert. Then switch to your normal life, letting down your guards. Not as easy as you might think. The costume helps a lot on a psychological level here. It helps the hero be alert when in costume, and helps him/her relax again when out of costume. And this actually makes the costume one of the most important utilities the hero has - not to be underestimated.
Apart from that, most of them doesn't take the costume serious. Try listening to the end-tune of their Superhero Academy radioshows. I encourage you to do so.
Differences and disagreements
The final thing you should understand about the superhero community, is that they aren't united as such. The individual groups does not agree on everything. Not even everyone in the same group agrees on everything.
Some superheroes from the Kick-Ass group doesn't categorize the people in the charity group as being superheroes at all. And some superheroes from the activist group considers the Kick-Ass group vigilantes that'll end up giving all superheroes a bad reputation - especially when someone from the Kick-Ass group ends up dead.
Isn't that great?! It's just like with the fictional superheroes in the movies, when they disagree. We have it all here. I love it. But I do also understand why the superheroes don't like it. And as mentioned, I'd wish they would treat each other with more respect despite of their differences.
I'd like to address all superheroes here from all groups, and share my view on this:
Know that (at least most) the world looks at you as being united, for the sole reason that you all wear costumes.
On the positive side, this means that all of you will receive smiles and positive thoughts for the good actions anyone from any group does. On the downside however, it also means that all of you will pay the price for any mistake anyone from any group does. If just one of you mess up, all of you will pay the price.
Everyone of you represents the entire community (not just your own group). Therefor, it's so extremely vital that each of you
think before you speak
think before you take action
think before you do anything at all
Always keep in mind, that any action you do, will have an impact, good or bad, on the whole community. You ow it to your fellow superheroes to think everything thoroughly through before deciding on any action. One single mistake can be very expensive for everyone. Not only the entire superhero community themselves, but also every single one of the people you all are helping.
And since the whole world is watching you, there is just no room for mistakes.
This is also why I'm glad to see very intelligent articles and forum posts that concludes, that e.g. taking down the local drug-dealer really doesn't change the world much. I'm happy to see the RLSH seem to realize that there's a much bigger picture than the simple movie-version of good and bad.
I have equally respect for all 4 groups. You all do equally important work in my opinion. Yes, that's right. Equal. None of you have lesser value than another of you.
Although I do believe, that the best way to fight crime, is to prevent it from ever happening. Prevent crime from ever having a reason to emerge. And the way to do this, should probably be through politics, fixing the system by applying steps that'll take more consideration to the victims that otherwise ends up as criminals.
But such a system is seemingly not going to happen, is it? If it was, it would have happened long time ago I think.
I would encourage a 5th group of superheroes, called the politicians group, to emerge and engage themselves in politics, but apparently politics are too complicated and too focused on each politicians career, to be able to do any serious progress. That's my impression when looking at the past generations anyway. So sadly, we can't depend on that approach. We simply can't keep on waiting.
The next best thing to do, is exactly what the charity and activist groups are doing. By giving away food and clothes, they are minimizing the chances of people doing crime. (If you ever find yourself in a situation without food an clothes, you'd probably do crime too in order to feed yourself).
So the charity group is actually doing great work with a huge impact, with (relatively) little effort.
The same goes for the activist group, when they're visiting schools and teaching children to take the right path in life. That's how it's done! Lead our children in the right path, then they won't end up doing crime when they grow up. Simple logic. Great work, huge impact, little effort.
That is the kind of work that, in my opinion, is the most effective, regarding the quest of changing the world to the better. It will change the world - in the future.
While we wait for that future to arrive, we can't really turn the blind eye to the present chaos though, given to us by a broken system. And this is where the detective group, the Kick-Ass group, and the rest of the activist group comes into play.
This is why I appreciate all 4 groups. I strongly believe the RLSH will change the world together.
Open letter to the RLSH
By C / The Sector, November 6, 2012
Dear heroes and heroines,
I would like to share some thoughts of mine with you all. It's a bit of a read, so please save it for when you have the time.
When I was a kid, I used to fantasize about having an extra BMX bike that no one would know about. It would be hidden somewhere in a forest relatively close to home. Then at night, I would sneak out, take my bike (that everyone knew I had), and ride to the secret location of my hidden BMX, and then I'd ride off into the night to destroy evil and bad guys, and help people in need. The BMX would have some flashing LED's mounted somewhere, kinda like the light you see on the front of the car Kitt in Knight Rider, and that would be my "mark" of some kind. Something people would recognize me by. I fantasized that eventually bad guys would see these flashing LED's from a distance, and then simply flee because they knew they'd be in big trouble if I caught them.
This fantasy was a very early one in my life, but I had lots of other hero-fantasies later too. Even today I occasionally fantasize about having some kind of supernatural power so I can go out and eliminate evil and injustice.
For various reasons irrelevant to this post, sadly I am unable to do the kind of work you all do. Therefor I tend to settle for watching and re-watching many superhero movies instead, just to satisfy my need to see justice be done. I do, however, try to give my input to the community in the form of feedback and suggestions, along with my software-development skills and an occasional money donation. I don't consider myself an actual hero though, which is why I choose to go under the label "supporter" instead.
But all these things tells me that I definitely belong in this community. There's no question about that. I am one of you, whether anyone of us likes it or not.
We all have this urge to fight injustice and evil. We don't know why we have this urge. We just do. And in my experience, finding equally minded people is a difficult task. I've been disappointed by this over and over in my years. It's much easier finding people who'll laugh at your altruistic points of view, and I've never understood this petty way of thinking most people seem to have.
Therefor I was very excited when I found the RLSH community. Finally, people who thinks like I do. Finally, people who has the same urge as I do to help people in need.
And before I continue, I just want you all to know that I deeply admire and respect all of you. I think you're all awesome. Everyone in the RLSH community.
While risking to sound less masculine here, I have to say that I simply love reading, seeing and hearing about your work. Real world superhero activities! It just doesn't get any better than this.
I am very thankful to all of you for what you do, but even more thankful to those of you who posts videos and pictures of your work. "Real Life Superheroes". It is warming to see, for me and for everyone else like us.
I really believe it'll make a much bigger difference in the world, if you document your work. The actual work you do, (let's face it), doesn't change much in the world for too long. But documenting it, posting it online, lets thousands of already-curious potential future heroes be inspired even years after the event. You'll make it easier for them to see, that they're not alone with their abnormal points of view - and then they will maybe join us.
And when they join us - please - give them the warm welcome they're expecting to receive from a group of altruistic people with the exact same selfless way of thinking as themselves. In the long run, the world will see that you are truly heroes, because you stand together.
Stand together heroes and heroines. We need to stand together. Focus on our common objective, and stand together.
Sincerely, C, The Sector
Happy New Year!
By C / The Sector, January 1, 2013
In a few months I'll have been part of the RLSH community for 2 years. That's not a long time compared to how long most of you have been in the community. But it's long enough to get acquainted with a lot of you. I have also become rather good friends with some of you.
This makes me glad, because it means that the first of my 3 "things I thought I could contribute with" has become an actual thing I do contribute with: To give feedback, advice and suggestions. So to those of you it concerns: Thank you for letting me in.
The second thing I thought I could contribute with, was software development, with a special interest in cellphone apps. With help from my team, I have in fact managed to create a few of these, and they have been mailed to quite a few RLSH by request. So that part has also become an actual thing I do contribute with. Thanks to those who has shown an interest so far. I hope you've had success using the apps.
The third thing I thought I could contribute with, was occasional money donations. To be honest, I haven't kept track of how much money I have donated to various RLSH so far, and I don't feel like naming a figure anyway. I'll just say that I have donated to different RLSH and their different causes, so that should count as useful contributions too.
That means I have succeeded in contributing with the all the things I wanted to contribute with when I first joined. That's worth mentioning, I think. :-)
I hope 2013 will allow me to assist even more RLSH with advice and feedback, and that even more useful apps will be developed to benefit the work you all do.
Typically, when having achieved the goals one has set, one would set himself new goals. I'm not going to do that though. I don't see any reason to do so, and I don't feel like it either. I'd rather just keep focusing on the same 3 things.
So anyone who feels like talking about whatever is welcome to write me. I have a fair amount of knowledge and experience about various topics, so there's a good chance I can give you some helpful input to whatever it is you're trying to work out. If not, I may know the name of another RLSH/supporter who can help.
And should you come up with an idea for a cellphone app or another system that could benefit you with your RLSH activities, then I encourage you to write me and present your idea.
Regarding money donations, let it be clear that I'm not a rich man. But when I can, I donate generously and happily to the RLSH who 1) focuses on a cause I can support, and 2) treats their fellow RLSH with respect, despite having different opinions.
Finally, my usual encouragement: Please welcome newcomers with open arms and be their guide. Don't start off by bashing them for not doing things your way. If you disagree with them all the time, then you're not the right guide for them.
And a new encouragement: Try to be open for a helping hand from your fellow RLSH. The community is flooded with many different talents and skills. When they offer you their help - take it! Don't be proud, and don't hold on to that skepticism.
Sincerely, C, The Sector
Making the world a better place
By C / The Sector, January 31, 2013
I see that everyone in the RLSH community is fighting for different causes. Everyone targets specific needs and specific problems. Feeding the homeless. Picking up needles. Stopping street fights. Different needs, different problems, different missions.
And everyone have their own reasons for choosing their missions and goals. But the overall goal, that everyone in the community is fighting for, is actually the same exact same one:
Making the world a better place.
Everyone in the community seem to agree, that the reason you're all in this, is because you want to make the world a better place.
Wow, think about that. You actually agree with everyone else in the community about this thing. Can you feel the unity? No? Well...
I am not a RLSH myself. I am just a supporter. I have chosen to support the RLSH because I deeply admire what you're all trying to do, and I think, that the way you try to send the message to the world, is just utterly cool. Using a superhero outfit sure does get the media's attention, and at the same time it also says: "Apparently, it takes a superhero before anything gets done about this". That's just plain awesomeness. And the fact that many of the RLSH does infact hit the streets to do good, that just makes it even better.
So as a RLSH-supporter, I donate money to you, I develop cellphone apps for you, and I give feedback and suggestions to those of you who are receptive to such. On top of that, I too have a goal I am "fighting" for, just like any RLSH have, my own "mission" so to speak:
Make the public respect and admire the RLSH the same way I do.
My approach for trying to achieve this goal of mine, has so far mostly been simply to send feedback to the various RLSH, both positive comments and constructive criticism. Because I believe, that anything any RLSH will say or do, will have an impact on the reputation for the whole RLSH community, good and bad. So when I see a RLSH do or say something that, in my opinion, makes it difficult for me to achieve that goal of mine, then I make sure to express my feedback, in a respectful and polite way of course. I hope that by doing so, similar future situations will play out differently, giving a more positive impression of the RLSH. And when I see someone do or say things that helps me achieve my goal, then I make sure to give them some positive feedback, and possibly also a money donation.
One important thing to remember in this context, is that no one is perfect. I don't claim to be either. I hope everyone in the RLSH community realize, that no one can do or say the optimal thing all the time. I hope everyone can accept that about themselves and their fellow RLSH. But if you're always open to feedback, (even the kind that isn't expressed so eloquently), then you'll learn. It is your responsibility to be open for feedback from your fellow RLSH. Likewise, it is also your responsibility to give feedback to other RLSH when you believe it will benefit the community and/or the individual.
Not everyone has the skills needed to express their feedback in a respectful manner, and I'll understand completely if you choose to just throw away insulting feedback. I do so myself, because I'm an old grumpy man who's lost the patience with primitive minds. But you could choose to be the better man, filter out the bullshit and think about the message they were trying to give you.
So far I've got mixed results with my approach, as you'd expect. I've sent a lot of feedback to various heroes, and most of them have replied back with a positive attitude, even when I gave them constructive criticism. And this despite the fact that many other people in the community had claimed, that these particular individuals would never listen to feedback. So in these cases, the feedback has worked great, and I feel that I've helped the whole RLSH community by doing this.
But there will always be people who aren't open to feedback. (Funnily enough, in my case these individuals were the same people who told me that OTHER heroes wouldn't listen). Anyway, when you run into non-receptive people, then you should of course not keep banging on their door, but instead just leave them alone and focus on your own RLSH activities instead. That will be much more constructive, and effective use of your time. If you are communicating on a social network or forum with no moderation, blocking them is probably the most optimal solution. The alternative is usually an endless and useless "debate" that typically escalates into primitive drama, which is just a complete waste of your time and resources.
Considering this is a community consisting of heroes, it shouldn't be necessary to say this next part, but apparently I have to: Do not post degrading, belittling, insulting posts about other heroes anywhere. That is simply just not what heroes do. When you choose to do so anyway, it seriously damages the reputation of the RLSH in general, including your own. So please don't do that. It seriously prevents me from reaching my goal.
I'm not saying you can't have a negative opinion about another RLSH. Sure you can. Do have your opinion, and do hold on to it. It's yours to have. Just don't contaminate the community with your anti-propaganda against another hero. You must respect that not everyone shares your views. (And THEY do not make posts about how stupid YOU are for not sharing THEIR views). You can talk all the trash about whoever you want, as long as it's in a private non-public conversation between you and a friend. We all need to receive that "I agree, he's a moron" feeling from a mate every now and then. Just don't post public personal attacks on a fellow RLSH. How hard can it be?
Obviously I can't force anyone to not do that. The only thing I can do, is to write texts like this one encouraging a more mature behavior, offer my support only to those of you who truly acts like heroes, and remove those who does not away from my focus. So that's what I do.
The Sector will only support the heroes who distances themselves from these personal attacks. That is how I have chosen to contribute to our common goal:
Making the world a better place.
Everything has an end
Open retirement letter by C / The Sector, February 5, 2013
It has been clear to me for some time now, that the time and resources I have spent on this community, has not given the results I was hoping for. I know this is a feeling many people in the community has every now and then. They engage themselves in a project idea, spend a lot of time and resources on it, only to find that it does not get the attention or recognition they thought it would. It could be a radio-show, a forum, some kind of help-program or a cross-country handout.
For me, it's been 3 things: RLSH cellphone apps, giving general feedback/advice/support, and money donations.
I can't claim it hasn't been a success. I have made apps, given feedback with advice and support, and donated money. I've done the things I decided I would do, and it's been appreciated by those who's received. But it hasn't been anywhere near the success rate I thought it would be.
I expected more people to be interested in RLSH cellphone apps, and I expected to use a lot less effort reaching people. I naively expected superheroes to treat each other (and everyone else too, including myself) with a lot more respect. Long story short, I ended up spending way too much time and energy compared to the actual benefit it provided the community.
And I know a lot of you will probably say that's a lousy excuse for leaving. You'll say that everyone in the community does that. And I know, I agree, and I do applaud that. Keep going as long as you can.
For me, I am neglecting my family when I sit in front of the screen with the next messy debate, where it takes days to reach each other - if it's even possible to reach each other. And the gain is close to impossible to measure.
Considering how long it's been like that, I don't believe it'll change. And at this point I ow it to my family to spend the time with them instead now. So that's what I have decided to do.
This is not a hasty decision I've made in the heat of the moment. I've thought about leaving for months, which I'm sure some of you know. Recent events has just confirmed that it's the best thing to do.
I don't know what'll happen to The Sector yet. But anyone who needs a cellphone app developed for their RLSH activities, can contact Carbon Wolf. He can make apps for iPhone and Android. Faceplate can probably also help with web projects.
It's been very interesting getting to know you all, and I'd like to sign off with a few personal greetings:
Phoenix Jones, You were the reason I learned the community even existed. You rock! Keep rockin'!
Crossfire, I've enjoyed your weekly Superhero Academy very much. Keep it running! It's great for the community.
SkyMan, And you keep on being his wingman!
Lunar Veil, You were one of the first heroes I heard interviewed on the Superhero Academy. Your interview gave me a really positive impression of the community.
KnightOwl, Thanks a lot for e-mail corresponding with me back when I first joined. You too gave me a really good impression of the community with your very polite and friendly mails. You're a true asset for the community!
Purple Reign, It's such an admirable cause you're fighting for. Thank you for the many e-mails we've exchanged. It's been a pleasure.
Thanatos, It's impossible to find anyone in the community who's more respected than you. Nothing is more logical. You're getting nowhere near the recognition you should.
Life, I know an awesome good man when I see one. Most men would have been exhausted by now, but you just keep on going. Any RLSH should look up to you.
Zimmer, You too keep going on strong, which is very admirable considering the things you've had to deal with. Stay strong and keep leading! And try not to turn old and grumpy ;-)
Geist, You are much more respected than you think. Stand tall and be proud of who you have chosen to be!
Nyx, Never saw a lot to you after I joined. I missed hearing from you. But good to see you're still active, because you're definitely a great asset for the community as well.
RazorHawk, I have to admire that you never quit, despite having a lot to fight with. And I don't have to say any more than that ;-)
Hazmat, You and I joined the community around the same time. You're so lucky to have your soulmate with you. You make an awesome team. Make more videos, fun ones, but also try making a few semi serious ones.
Nightingale, Try to make him stay out of trouble. ;-)
Superman, Respect for trying to assemble people and make things happen in the community. Also, best of luck with your Spykee project.
Tothian, No one has been in more turbulence in this community than you. You're a strong man for keeping the motivation. Don't lose it!
ShowStopper, Make sure he doesn't lose the motivation. ;-)
I'm sorry to those of you who's disappointed by me leaving, but at the same time I think you understand.
I wish everyone all the best of luck with your future RLSH avtivities!
C, The Sector
Brief introduction to the RLSH community
An attempt to get newcomers to stay in the community, September 3, 2013
Hello. I am C, the head of The Sector; a small supporter group of the RLSH.
I formed The Sector 2.5 years ago when I joined the RLSH community. As a supporter group, we mainly offer 3 things to the RLSH: Software development, money donations and general feedback and advice. For example, taking time to write this text, is part of the kind of support that we do. Take a look at sectortools.com to see if there's anything else we can help you with.
Let me be completely frank with you from the start. I've written this text as a "brief introduction to the RLSH community" to newcomers, in an attempt to prevent you from leaving the community again. Because I see that happens way too often. People join the community with an idea about who and what the RLSH are, only to be repeatedly disappointed and discouraged and ultimately just leave again, taking with them a rather negative impression of the whole community. I'm hoping that by writing this, and have you read it, you won't end up leaving again. And that will, in my opinion, be good for both you and the community.
Let me first express my deepest respect. I think you're awesome just for having the interest in the RLSH. That alone tells me you're an altruistic kind of person. There aren't that many of us in the world, who wants to spend our time and/or resources helping strangers. I'm going to guess, that when you discovered the RLSH community, you probably thought something along the lines of "Wow! Finally a community full of people just like me! These guys ROCK! I gotta be with them! They're like MY FAMILY!".
And wouldn't that be awesome. Sadly, it's very far from the truth. The community is nothing like that. If you believe it is, then you will definitely be very disappointed when you learn that it's not. Especially because of the way you'll learn it: By receiving multiple rude disrespectful comments to basically whatever you have to say or do.
That will of course discourage you, and then you'll quickly lose interest in contributing anything to the community - and then you'll simply leave the community again. And that's sadly a scenario I've seen happening too much.
Let me explain why it happens, and then why it doesn't have to happen to you after having read this.
First thing you need to understand, is that the community is huge now! It consists of just about as many different people as you'll find anywhere else in the world. And as with everything else that gets (too) big, it's bound to break apart - into smaller fractions that then operates on their own - and this is the case with the RLSH community too. It used to be much smaller and cozy. You can stumble across vets that'll talk about the good old days where everyone knew each other. Well it's not like that anymore. Nowadays it's grown extremely big, resulting in people disagreeing a lot more, and therefor forming their own "camps". So the community is far from one thing nowadays. Instead it consists of multiple (opposing) "camps" now. And this has two consequences:
Whatever it is you're looking for - you most probably CAN find within the community. It "just" requires some looking around.
During this looking around, you WILL run into all the people from other "camps" that dislikes whatever other "camp" it is you're looking for. And sadly, despite this being a community of socalled heroes, they rarely act or behaves accordingly. Meaning, they WILL send you a lot of rude and disrespectful comments along the way. They probably already know of the existence of the "camp" you'd fit right into, but they'll never tell you.
Apart from that, this community also has the mandatory trolls who'll just criticize anything about you as much as they can, as long as you'll let them. And this brings me to the most important part of it all:
Do not under any circumstances ever engage yourself in discussions with any of these people posting the rude disrespectful comments. There is only one right action you should take when you encounter this: Block the person(s), and continue your search. Trust me! Any other action is completely useless, and will only be a complete waste of time and energy. Just block and move on.
And that's basically it.
Now you know why you'll encounter these not-so-hero-like behaviors, and hopefully you won't be too discouraged when you do.
Now you know that they do not at all represent the community, but only a small part of it. A part that you're not interested in anyway, so their opinion doesn't matter. Don't waste your time on it. Just block and move on.
Now you know, that despite what some people might tell you, whatever it is you're looking for in the community is most probably here in some form.
C, The Sector
Cellphone application for remote surveillance and distraction
The Eye is the name of the very first RLSH project done by The Sector. It is intended to provide the RLSH with a very cheap gadget that can be used mainly for surveillance, but also distraction.
Currently, The Eye is available in a version 0.1 in the form of a 5mb zip file.
How it works
The Eye actually consists of two cellphone apps:
The Eye Controller
You install The Eye Controller (as seen in picture on the left) on your main phone. It is available for Android and J2ME enabled phones.
You then install The Eye on a patched Sony Ericsson JP-7 phone.
You can then use your main phone with The Eye Controller to remotely control the Sony Ericsson phone with The Eye, telling it to take pictures, record audio or video, and send it back to you in the form of an MMS.
The Eye is available only to the RLSH. If interested, feel free to contact us and request the package by mail.
Small offline notes application
Hero's Notes is intended to be a small collection of useful notes, available in an offline form for quicker access.
Currently, Hero's Notes is available in a demo version to show how it works. It's available in an HTML version and a J2ME version.
There are no native Android or iPhone version, but they should be able to view the HTML5 version just fine.
Big online system for patrol-logs
While surfing the various RLSH sites, I see that some of you are uploading pictures and videos of your patrols to various services such as YouTube, while others to post patrol logs at various forums. I think that's great, because I believe your patrols should be documented one way or another.
I think it could be beneficial to have a log system for all RLSH to use, only open to RLSH and benefactors / supporters (just like the various RLSH forums). This text is a very short description of an idea for such a patrol log system.
We imagine it to be an online web-based system. In other words, you'd use your browser to access it.
After login, you would be able to
create/edit/delete patrol logs
create/edit/delete account logs (documenting incoming donations and outgoing expenses)
When clicking the "Create new patrol log" button, you would be able to input the following data:
Name of the RLSH doing the patrol
Name of the patrol
Start date and time of the patrol
End date and time of the patrol
The route sketched on a map, possible with arrows and timestamps on certain spots, to give an overview of where you were what time
Attach expense logs for this patrol
Attach pictures and/or videos for this patrol
Type a diary-like description of the patrol
You would then input the fields you feel like.
Here's why The Sector thinks it would be great for the RLSH to have a system like that:
You would be able to keep track of your own logs in a searchable system.
It could give you (and maybe more importantly, your personal benefactors / supporters) an overview of which patrols had which expenses.
It would allow yourself and your supporters to view your "account", which would show how much money is spent on each patrol + how much money is received by individual supporters. In other words, an open view of the financial part. When you receive a donation by a supporter, you'd add it to the account so he could see it was there. (Most of your accounts will always be a negative amount, because you spend a lot of money on it yourself).
It would let you keep track of how much money you've spent on your RLSH patrols in total. Something that might inspire other people to help too?
Small cellphone app to notify your local hero of various events
The idea behind this project, is to create a little cellphone app with 4-9 buttons. All the buttons will send an SMS to the local RLSH containing GPS coordinates of where the message was sent from. Depending on which button was pressed, the SMS will also contain what is happening at the location.
For example. A RLSH-Supporter is witnessing an event that would benefit from the presence of a hero. For example, he could be stumbling across a group of homeless people in a new area. He then uses this app to notify the local hero about it.
To avoid receiving a lot of spam-SMS, the local hero would have to spread this app to his trusted supporters himself.
Hero's Notify currently exists in an HTML version. Click here to see it. (The demo will only work on Android phones).
IRC bot for RCSM's live-stream patrols chat-room
When Rain City Superhero Movement goes on patrol, they provide a live video-stream of the whole thing. For this live-stream, there is also a chat-room where fans and supporters can have a cozy chat while watching.
LASH_BOT has a few functions on the chat. It fetches information from Seattle's data feed using Socrata API, filters it to only relay relevant events around the areas where RCSM usually patrol. It also retrieves streaming status, and informs everyone when the stream is online and offline.
Future functionality include quotes, auto-kick and ban and more.
Bluetooth Sniffer / Bluetooth Alerter
Standalone app for semi tracking
This is actually two apps:
one that constantly scans for nearby bluetooth devices, in order to register which devices is around at which points in time. Can be useful to get a pattern overview of when people or vehicles (carrying bluetooth devices) enters or leaves a certain area.
one that constantly scans for a certain bluetooth MAC address, and alerts you one way or another if it detects the device. Could be used to alert when a person enters a certain area.
This app has already been developed for JavaME enabled phones. It scans for nearby bluetooth devices every 30 seconds, and saves its findings in a CSV file. This CSV file can be imported into a database in order to generate an overview report (not part of the app).
Note: Only bluetooth devices that are put in discoverable mode are found.
This app has not yet been developed, but experiments has established that it's possible. When having retrieved the bluetooth MAC address of a target by using the Bluetooth Sniffer app, Bluetooth Alerter can check if this device is nearby even if it is not put in discoverable mode. Bluetooth has to be turned on, but it doesn't have to be put into discoverable mode.
This can be a potential very useful tool for the RLSH. One usage can be for e.g. victims of domestic violence, to be alerted if their abuser is detected nearby. Another usage could be to place multiple Bluetooth Alerter devices around the city, in order to semi track a person.
Alerts could be by SMS or Internet or simply playing an alarm tone.
Devices could be phones, laptops, headsets, anything bluetooth. As long as it has a MAC address.
Retrieve timelapse photos of certain locations anonymously
This app would be ideal for those who prefers a more subtle approach to crime fighting. The idea is that you place a camera somewhere, and have it take a photo every 5 seconds or so, in order to create evidence.
Such TimeLapse solutions can be bought in many variations, like e.g. a GoPro. The disadvantage of those solutions is that you have to go out and retrieve the GoPro back at some point.
The Sector's idea is to develop the TimeLapse software for an older cellphone. You pick up this older cellphone on a flee-market somewhere.
You then install TimeLapse from The Sector, and place the phone somewhere out in the field.
Now instead of going back to retrieve the phone at some point, you just park your car nearby and access it with bluetooth. You then transfer the photos to your own phone by bluetooth.
The advantages of this approach are:
No expenses on data traffic, e.g. by MMS or Internet
No traces that leads back to you, except your bluetooth MAC address which I doubt anyone can use for anything
Using an old phone bought on a flee-market = no big deal if you lose it
No service subscription required. You can use an old inactive simcard if you wish.
The disadvantages are
Older phones do not have anywhere near the same good picture quality as e.g. a GoPro. Night photos are especially poor quality with older phones, but daytime shots should be fine.
You have to connect the phone to a charger somehow, because TimeLapsing takes a lot of battery power. Not sure what the optimal solution here could be.
Alternative TimeLapse solutions
If you have the option, you could also work together with someone who lives close to the location you wish to keep an eye on. You can then have this person place a webcam in the window, disguised somehow to look like a window decoration, and let you access the webcam via Internet. That would give you a live feed.