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The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

Streetlight Remember the guy who hired a Chinese programmer? (263 comments)

There was the guy working for some company as a programmer who hired a programmer in China to do his work for him so that he could watch cat videos all day. IIRC, he paid the Chinese guy at the rate of $20k per year and the work was rated highly by the company's managers. Why hire an H1B person for $50k when you can hire someone outside the country for $20k that does good work and you don't have to go to all the trouble to get someone a visa, pay Social Security & Medicare taxes, pay moving expenses to the USA, help him or her set up all that's associated with settling in, etc., etc. We're talking 80% savings, not the much less 50%. Such a manager might might be considered a financial genius and end up Chief Financial Officer of the company.

about a week ago
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Google Glass Is Dead, Long Live Google Glass

Streetlight $1,500 down the drain (141 comments)

How much will Google charge for their next test product that fails? $3,000? $5,000? . . . .

about two weeks ago
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Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

Streetlight Re:Also not everyone has taxable investements (450 comments)

If you have an IRA or SEP, the manager of those accounts will report the Fair Market Value (FMV) as of Dec. 31, of the account each year to the IRS and you'll get a copy of the report sent to the IRS. I assume this is so the IRS will know if the accounts have had non-taxable additions in excess of that allowed by law and whether Required Minimum Distributions have been taken. If RMDs have not been taken there is a 50% tax on the amount not taken in any year. These FMVs don't have any consequences for reporting taxes, though folks need to pay attention to them.

about two weeks ago
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Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

Streetlight Re:Not just self-employed.. (450 comments)

When you start taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) or other distributions from your IRAs, 401ks, etc., the distributions are taxed as normal income. The investments remaining in the retirement accounts continue to change tax free, so no Schedule D is involved on that account. Of course, if you reinvest those distributions in stocks, bonds, mutual funds you may have a Schedule D to fill out as you will probably be selling assets, particularly as mutual funds adjust their portfolios of stocks through selling some assets at least once a year.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

Streetlight I use Bifocals and have no trouble (464 comments)

The bifocals I have use a correction of about 0.75 diopters for the left eye and ~2 for the right in the bottom part of the lenses. What I find important is that for a desk top monitor the bottom of the monitor should be at the level of the table and not raised up. And that's for a desk top at about 28 inches from the floor. A lower desk might even be better. If I could get drug store reading glasses with these different corrections for my two eyes I'd use them but it seems they're only sold in the same magnification for both eyes. I guess they're good for folks with contact lenses with proper correction for distance sight. Of course, drug store glasses probably don't correct for astigmatism. One thing one needs to do when seeing an optometrist for a prescription is to first measure the distance from the bridge of your nose to the monitor you'll be using and make sure the correction can be used to read at that distance otherwise they usually correct for a shorter distance. It's a trivial check during the exam.

My wife has used progressive lenses on her "coke bottle" glasses (corrections for both eyes ~6 diopers!) and loves them. Her job involves using a computer all day. She claims there have been considerable improvements over the years in the width of progressive part of the lenses.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Is Building a New Browser As Part of Its Windows 10 Push

Streetlight Start over = new bugs + old bugs (248 comments)

Creating a new browser means reinventing old and new bugs. MS is still getting rid of bugs in Windows Explorer in version 11 and the new browser will take at least 11 or more versions and hundreds of patches to even come close to other, more mature browsers. What are they thinking?

about a month ago
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Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority

Streetlight If you were to start the Internet from scratch... (115 comments)

What would anyone do if they were to build the Internet infrastructure in a place where there was no infrastructure except phone lines first installed many dozens of years ago? Install those monstrous DSL cabinets all over the place only to be replaced later with coax infrastructure because speeds were too slow? How about just jump into fiber to the home/apartment building/business office/factory? Cuba might have a faster Internet the the average in the USA, although not necessarily more private than in the USA. Oh, wait, I forgot about the NSA.

about a month ago
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Streetlight Like, Nebraska and Oklahoma don't have illegal MJ (484 comments)

One thing legalizing marijuana may do, besides producing some tax revenue, is allow for reasonable regulation of it's distribution. Nebraska and Oklahoma authorities are whistling past the graveyard if they think they don't have any marijuana in their states and any there must have come from Colorado. I would also guess that the MJ dealers in those two states are not getting it from legal sources in Colorado. There are likely cheaper sources from elsewhere including home grown stuff. I haven't heard whether legal marijuana sales in Colorado has eliminated illegal sales, but it has likely reduced the cost of police searching for it and housing offenders. Police and jailers have better things to do. By the way, I live in Colorado and have never used marijuana.

about a month ago
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In Iowa, a Phone App Could Serve As Driver's License

Streetlight Cops might also be interested in where you've been (207 comments)

The comments here seem to focus on the situation that by giving your unlocked phone to a cop so he/she can see the driver's license will allow the cop to get everything on the phone. One other purpose may be to see where you've been. This may occur if the Driver's License app makes use of the GPS system on the phone so that it records your itinerary and your speed. Could you then become a suspect in a crime because you were someplace where a crime was committed even if you were totally innocent? You might also get a speeding ticket for speeding a long time before the cop stopped you or could even have measured your speed.

about a month and a half ago
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Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

Streetlight Re:What in the hell was he thinking? (388 comments)

Or Bolivia.

An Air Force officer told me that an Air Force Academy cadet was once asked by a US civilian what service he was in. His response was that he was in the Bolivian Navy. The AFA uniforms are blue, slightly different in blue from that of US air force commissioned officers' uniforms with different emblems, etc.

about 2 months ago
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The Sony Pictures Hack Was Even Worse Than Everyone Thought

Streetlight Re:... Everything? (528 comments)

Why would Sony have employee medical records? Not likely legal if in the USA.

about 2 months ago
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UK Announces 'Google Tax'

Streetlight Re:Why not abolish corporate taxes entirely? (602 comments)

I keep hearing this suggestion but have not heard how those taxes on the shareholders would be taxed. If you own the stock of a company that pays no dividend you won't pay any tax even if the stock price increases. Under today's tax law taxes aren't levied on the increase in stock equity unless the stock is sold. And then the tax depends on how long one owns the stock and the total income of the seller so it's either 15% or 20% for long term holds. I also haven't heard anyone propose taxing the change in equity value of companys' shares held by individuals. If stock prices decrease then would shareholders should get credit for that decrease? Furthermore, the taxes produced could be very volatile as the willingness of stockholders to sell or buy stock varies. One thing government at all levels need is certainty in the size of annual tax revenue to pay for required services. One way taxes might be levied on owners of companies is to distribute all after expenses revenues to shareholders and then tax the shareholders. Companies are able to manipulate their books so there are no after expenses profits including moving profits overseas so there may never be any taxes paid directly or indirectly by companies.

I want to hear how shareholders in companies would pay taxes corporate taxes.

about 2 months ago
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FBI Seizes Los Angeles Schools' iPad Documents

Streetlight Re:$1500 per ipad!? (229 comments)

I don't think it's even that simple. iPads have some kind of life span and will need replacement. When they're new there shouldn't be too much need to replace them but some will get broken screens and other problems associated with age and use. I wonder what the budget is for repair, maintenance and replacement. And as these iPads are in the system longer this cost is sure to increase annually. It may mean that after some number of years (five?) 100% of them will have been replaced. That initial $1 billion will become another $1 billion plus the repair bill. With 650,000 out in the field there will be a lot of repair techs either in a central location or in a shop in each school. All this will cost a bundle well beyond the initial purchase price.

about 2 months ago
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FBI Seizes Los Angeles Schools' iPad Documents

Streetlight How are these iPads connected? (229 comments)

Perhaps I missed it, but I didn't find out how these iPads were connected to the Internet or even if they are connected. Do they use WiFi as well as Wireless telephony or just WiFi? If the latter, though most folks have WiFi at home, some do not. So do the students need to be near a hot spot to get school work done or is Internet connection unnecessary for educational use? If the iPads have Wireless connection then the cost of the contract with telephony carrier is an extra cost and who pays for the use beyond data caps? The articles indicate that the location of the iPads can be monitored by school district but I assume they can be turned off. In any event this seems to be a complete violation of the students' privacy.

Questions, Questions, Questions....

about 2 months ago
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Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

Streetlight Re:Light takes a long time to get here (307 comments)

In some sense it doesn't actually matter. If light traveled a billion years to get here, then any life that's happening "now" (for a sane definition of now) won't be observable by us for another billion years.

I suppose being able to observe the life is important for us but I assumed these guys concluded life was impossible in these galaxies. Just because we can't now or ever observe life there doesn't mean it isn't there.

about 2 months ago
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Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

Streetlight Light takes a long time to get here (307 comments)

Most of the galaxies are likely to be so far away that the light - including gamma rays which are made up of high energy photons - has been in transit for billions of years. What's the situation now in those billions of gamma ray emitting galaxies we are now observing in the intervening years since the light was produced? They may have settled down making life possible.

about 2 months ago
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Germans Can Get Free Heating From the Cloud

Streetlight Re:Great in the winter .. (148 comments)

Heat can be used to run air conditioners too if the temperature of the heat is high enough. Connect the heat output to a Sterling engine connected to a compressor or pumps for evaporative AC. This waste heat might also supplement the heat source for water heaters. I assume buildings in Germany have restrooms where folks can wash their hands. Some may even have showers.

about 3 months ago
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The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat

Streetlight Re:Worthless degrees (438 comments)

This sounds pretty good. Making a plot of data that probably fits a linear model, say from chemistry or physics, is a good start. Then plotting the data on graph paper and eye-balling a straight line and using a triangle to get the slope and intercept will give students the concepts they need when they get to linear regression, on to nonlinear curve fitting and from multivariable analysis and using derivatives to find the function for the tangent at any point on a curve. Hopefully beginning students do the simple linear stuff by hand before they get to use and perhaps program more complex functions on a computer. Programming linear least squares is pretty easy but if students have done this by hand they'll really understand what it gives them from those early "by hand" exercises.

about 3 months ago
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The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat

Streetlight Re:Worthless degrees (438 comments)

Two comments that support what you say:

1. One of my colleagues went to one of those teacher-parent conferences for his fifth grade child and asked when fractions would be taught. The teacher's response was they don't teach fractions because they're not used anymore. I think of that every time I take out a ruler or tape measure graduated in fraction of inches. My guess is that fifth grade teachers don't know enough to teach the manipulation of fractons.

2. Talked to a high school math teacher and he said that the math in first year algebra was basically grade five arithmetic. And they teach "calculus" in high school! I'm not sure what a high school calculus course must teach but I'm guessing not much. Elementary school students aren't prepared for high school. Do you expect HS grads to be prepared for college in the USA?

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Streetlight Streetlight writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Streetlight (1102081) writes "Digital Camera Review (http://www.dpreview.com/) announced May 14, 2007, that they had been acquired by amazon.com.



"We're proud and excited to announce that Dpreview has been acquired by the world's leading online retailer, Amazon.com. Started as hobby site in 1998, dpreview.com has grown to be the number one destination for anyone interested in digital cameras and digital photography. Each month dpreview.com has seven million unique visitors (over 22 million sessions) who read over 120 million pages. 'We've worked very hard over the last eight years to deliver consistently high quality content to our readers', founder Phil Askey said. 'It will be fantastic to be able to expand and build on that without compromising our quality or independence. With the support and resources of Amazon we can achieve this.'""

Journals

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Amazon.com acquires dpreview.com

Streetlight Streetlight writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Digital Camera Review (http://www.dpreview.com/) announced May 14, 2007, that they had been acquired by amazon.com.

"We're proud and excited to announce that Dpreview has been acquired by the world's leading online retailer, Amazon.com. Started as hobby site in 1998, dpreview.com has grown to be the number one destination for anyone interested in digital cameras and digital photography. Each month dpreview.com has seven million unique visitors (over 22 million sessions) who read over 120 million pages. 'We've worked very hard over the last eight years to deliver consistently high quality content to our readers', founder Phil Askey said. 'It will be fantastic to be able to expand and build on that without compromising our quality or independence. With the support and resources of Amazon we can achieve this.'"

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