Mark Rickert

Digital Nomad

RV Home Invasion


SLAM on the side of the RV


Harder this time.


It’s 4am. I leap into motion. This is not a police officer—a police officer would have announced himself before breaking a window. I was being robbed. *beep*beep*beep*beep* - my gun safe door springs open and I grab my 9mm handgun from its resting place, touch the bottom to ensure the clip is inside.

As I put the gun in my left hand behind my back I use my right to draw back the curtain that prevented shattered glass from spraying all over my home. I see a hand reaching in through the broken window reaching for the lock.

Solar Panels

I’ve been wanting solar panels on my RoadTrek for a while now. There were 3 ways I could recharge my batteries:

  1. Plug into shore power - this involves tethering yourself to the grid and sometimes paying for the privilege. Picking up and driving away becomes more complicated when you’ve got an electrical cable hanging off the side of your vehicle.
  2. Running the onboard gas generator - this uses gas (duh) and is generally loud and annoying. I run the generator as little as possible.
  3. Driving - the act of driving at highway speeds charges the batteries due to the excess energy created by the engine’s alternator. But sometimes I don’t need to drive anywhere but still need my batteries topped off.

Solar panels seemed like the ultimate solution: silent, always on, no consumable fuel, always working when the sun is out.

So I went in search of solar panels.

Opening a Modal View Controller From a UITabBarController

I recently had to implement a workflow for a client whereby they had a UITabBarController and tapping one of the tabs would open a modal view controller.

This seemed obvious to implement. Just add the tabBarController(tabBarController, shouldSelectViewController:viewController) method in my tab bar controller’s delegate and return false, then open the modal!

Creating Your Own Stylers for UIControl Subclasses in RMQ

I love using RMQ. It makes it so easy to initialize, append, and style views you add to your iOS app’s hierarchy. The styling subsystem is robust and elegant. But what to do when you have a custom class that you want to be able to style?

Having recently ran into this problem and solved it, it’s actually pretty easy.

I wanted to implement DCRoundSwitch in my app and style it with RMQ. DCRoundSwitch is a UIControl subclass, but it needed a custom styler defined to be able to style it in my controller’s stylesheet.

Questions and Answers

People seem to be endlessly fascinated by my lifestyle and with endless fascination comes a myriad of questions. Maybe it’s because they don’t understand the lifestyle. Maybe they envy it. Others ask questions because they’re in the process of transitioning to a lifestyle on the road like mine.

This brings me to Carol. She is a family member of a coworker and has been thinking about retiring to live in a van and travel the country. She has a lot of questions so instead of answering them privately, I’m going to take the opportunity to answer them here on my site for the benefit of everyone!

Homeless by Choice

I’m homeless. By choice.

Well… I’m houseless. My home is a Roadtrek ‘98 Dodge Ram van converted to a motorhome by some fine folks in Canada.

Some may find this lifestyle off-putting, but I’ve joined the ranks of an estimated quarter of a million Americans living full time on the road. It was a conscious decision I made in early 2014 after thinking about it for a while. It took a few months to put my plan into action and I officially left my sticks-and-bricks apartment in the trendy neighborhood of Plaza Midwood, Charlotte, NC on August 15th, 2014.

Prepending the Default RubyMotion Build Task

UPDATE - I’ve rewritten this article with a more elegant solution.

Thank’s to the helpful Hipbyte team member Watson1978, I was able to figure out how to run tasks before and after build processes in RubyMotion. I’ve ofeen wanted to do things before building to the simulator like downloading assets into the Resources folder, but never knew how to do it. My solution was to extend the core RM build processes and alias methods, override the methods, and then run what I wanted to before running the aliased methods… yeah… annoying, huh?

It’s actually really easy to do with a little know-how and the rake-hooks gem!

One Month Living in a Van

Today marks my 1 month anniversary of living full time in a Roadtrek Class B RV (1998 Roadtrek 190 Popular). I live with all my worldly possessions in about 140 square feet and it’s amazing!

I’ve never felt so free!

Listening to User Feature Requests

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on my new iOS app aloft. One user emailed me and asked if I could make the weather station screen searchable. I told him “no problem, it’ll be in the next version that ships”.

Searchable tableviews are not hard to implement (more on that in a bit), but I had left it out simply for the fact that I didn’t think users would need that feature. The app sorts the weather stations based on closeness to your device and I incorrectly assumed that users would just want to use the closest weather station.