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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

Tempest_2084 The Old Fashioned Way (368 comments)

Even though I'm a Systems Admin at a large company, I do my taxes like I do my D&D: on pen and paper. My taxes are very simple (one income, house, no stocks or other investments), and although I do use the long form for mortgage and charitable deductions it still takes me only about an hour and a half or so. I sort of enjoy doing them by hand for some reason, I guess it makes me feel I'm in total control and not at the mercy of some possibly buggy code that I can't see.

If my situation ever gets more complicated I'll probably switch to an accountant, but I don't see the point in paying $100-$150 for someone to tell me the exact same thing I can figure out for myself (and losing what little return I get in the process)..


Canonical's Troubles With the Free Software Community

Tempest_2084 Re:Sadly for Canonical... (155 comments)

Am I the only one who LIKES Unity? Ubuntu is the distro that got me to switch from Win 7 to Linux (still have to keep Win 7 around for one or two things though). I really don't understand all the hate other than the stupid Amazon search lens thing (which I disabled). My best guess is that it might be because I'm a new convert to Linux rather than a long time user.

about three weeks ago

RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

Tempest_2084 Re:RIP for a slow death (423 comments)

Your school made a smart move. The Model II wasn't compatible with the model I, III, or 4 (they dropped the roman numeral thing by that point). The II used a completely different processor and 8" drives, it was marketed at businesses, not home or school users. They're odd relics today, and not very useful unless you've just got to run CP/M on 8" disks for some reason.

about a month and a half ago

RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

Tempest_2084 Re:RIP for a slow death (423 comments)

Actually I believe it was the Model II that had the 8" drives. The model 1 used regular 5.25" drives.

about a month and a half ago

How Voter Shortsightedness Skews Elections

Tempest_2084 Flawed Question (269 comments)

I always thought the question "'Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?" was flawed. In my case the answer is Yes, I am better off than I was four years ago but it has nothing to do with the current president. In my case it was a lot of hard work, an advanced degree (which I paid for myself), and a lovely new wife that got me ahead over the last four years. We could have elected Donald Trump, Don King, or Kang and Kodos and I would more than likely be in the exact same position I am now.

about 2 months ago

Polar Vortex Sends Life-Threatening Freeze To US

Tempest_2084 Re:Old timer Michiganian here! (684 comments)

I've heard both. I agree that Michigander sounds like a goose, but that was what I was told we were called for the longest time so it kind of stuck. I'm not sure I like Michiganian either though, maybe Michiganite?

about 3 months ago

Polar Vortex Sends Life-Threatening Freeze To US

Tempest_2084 Re:VPN not an option for most of us (684 comments)

My job involves remotely monitoring and administering servers so I can do it from almost anywhere as long as I can get onto the VPN. About the only reason I have to be physically at the office is for meetings and hard rebooting of servers.

>>So you don't own a shovel? [/teasing] I plowed my driveway 3 times yesterday and again this morning. The roads near me were reasonably clear considering. Was a little later than usual but staying home wasn't really necessary.

I do, and I did, but the stupid snow plow decided to pile everything up right at the end of my driveway and pack it in after I had already done it twice. It took me almost an hour to dig it out again and after that I wasn't in the mood to drive into work (I have a long commute). Our boss told us to not risk driving in unless we absolutely had to, and as no one else was in the office there wasn't any reason to be there.

This weather isn't the worst I've seen by a long shot (that blizzard we had back in the early 80's was way way worse), but why risk it when you don't have to?

about 3 months ago

Polar Vortex Sends Life-Threatening Freeze To US

Tempest_2084 Re:Painful cold (684 comments)

Another Michigander (Michiganian?) here. Only one guy decided to brave his way into the office this morning. The rest of us were smart enough to fire up our remote terminal connections over our company VPN and work from home. I was all set to at least attempt the trip in, but the 4 foot snow pile at the end of my driveway said otherwise.

about 3 months ago

The Real Story of Hacking Together the Commodore C128

Tempest_2084 Re:Mind blowing (179 comments)

There were a few 'upgraded' games that offered music or better graphics (Rocky Horror, Ultima V, Last V8, etc.) but most of the available 128 games were 80 column text adventures or homebrews. Even then there really aren't all that many (50 or so tops).

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Why So Hard Landing Interviews In Seattle Versus SoCal?

Tempest_2084 It's Hard to land a job if you're not local (506 comments)

I've been running into a similar problem trying to land a job in CA (my wife is a native and wants to move back). I'm in MI doing systems admin/project manager work for one of the 'Big Three', and while I get tons of recruiters calling me, they're all for local positions (although not all in the automotive sector which I guess is at least one positive). I've had very little luck landing interviews with any company in CA and I'm fairly sure it's because I'm not already in CA even though I'm not expecting a company to pay for relocation. While my skill set is good (if I do say so myself), it's not unique, so I'm guessing companies would rather look for someone closer by simply because they can.

Unfortunately I'm a bit risk adverse, so moving to CA without a firm job offer is out of the question (I'm not putting my wife through something like that). The longer the cycle goes on the more depressed I get, but I keep on trying because there's not much else I can do.

about 4 months ago

20-Somethings Think It's OK To Text and Answer Calls In Business Meetings

Tempest_2084 It's not just the kids (453 comments)

I work at a large 'Top Ten' company and I see this sort of thing from just about everyone who is under 60 (the older folk seem to doodle on notepads rather than play on phones). It doesn't matter if it's a manager or an intern, if there are more than a handful of people in a meeting you're going to see this. I get tired of hearing exchanges like this day in and day out:

Speaker: And what do you think about that Johnson?
Johnson: (playing on his phone) Huh? What?
Speaker: What do YOU think about this?
Johnson: (glazed look on his face) Umm... Can you repeat what you said? I didn't hear you the first time.

Meetings grind to a halt when this stuff happens. Not only is it rude to the speaker, but you waste everyone's time when they have to go through everything again. Everyone swears they can play on their phone and listen at the same time, but it doesn't work. I understand the occasional emergency call (my favorite was when we could hear the guy shouting "The babysitter is doing WHAT? Stop her before she gets out the door!". I still have no idea what that was about.) but your day to day activities (work related or otherwise) can wait until the meeting is over with. It's just common courtesy.

about 5 months ago

Slashdot Asks: What Are You Doing For Hallowe'en?

Tempest_2084 Not what you'd think (273 comments)

I got married on Halloween so I'll be spending a quiet evening with my wife between bouts of handing out candy. It's tough to have a special day on a major holiday because you're always busy, but we knew that going in (Halloween is her favorite holiday). Still, we get to do some interesting stuff on our anniversary because it's Halloween.

about 6 months ago

DEA Argues Oregonians Have No Protected Privacy Interest In Prescription Records

Tempest_2084 Monkey Business (455 comments)

Am I the only one who read that title as "DEA Argues ORANGUTANS Have No Protected Privacy Interest In Prescription Records"? I was genuinely interested then thoroughly disappointed.

about 7 months ago

The City Where People Are Afraid To Breathe

Tempest_2084 'Why don't they tell people?'" (243 comments)

Umm... They do. Valley Fever isn't some new mystery illness that's popped up in the last few years, it's been around for a long time and pretty much everyone who lives in areas where it's common knows about it (or at least I they should). Maybe this is news in the UK, but it's old hat here.

about 9 months ago

Marriages Spawned From Online Dating As Satisfying As From Traditional Dating

Tempest_2084 Re:It expands your dating circle (313 comments)

Exactly. I tried 'traditional' dating for several years, but I could never meet anyone in my area that shared my interests, values, or my outlook on what I wanted out of life (being in a small town area didn't help). I had to go all the way across country to find the woman for me (I was in Michigan and she was in California). Without online dating I would never have found her and would probably still be trying in vain to find someone local. We've been married for 3.5 years and have never been happier.

about 10 months ago

Salvaging E.T. In Software, Instead of New Mexico

Tempest_2084 Re:Wasn't so bad (146 comments)

Exactly. I had it as a kid and thought it was 'alright'. It wasn't good, but it wasn't bad either. I had a lot of fun playing around with it and even beat it a few times (looking back on it, it really isn't that hard). The 'worst game ever made' thing didn't start until the 90's and even then it's not a title the game deserved. There are a ton of worse games out there, but E.T. is so high profile that it's easy to pick on. Bottom line: Not a good game, but not a bad game either. Quite frankly I think Raiders of the Lost Ark (another Howard Scott Warshaw game) is worse than E.T. and it gets near universal praise. Go figure.

about 10 months ago

Will Your Video Game Collection Appreciate Over Time?

Tempest_2084 Yes they will, but only for a time. (127 comments)

I've been into classic game collecting since the mid 90's (back when the real Atari was actually still around). Up until last year I had a massive gaming collection that spanned multiple systems from the Atari 2600 to Neo Geo (many were boxed as well). For the longest time, anything classic would sell. Loose 2600 games, common 5200 games, Vic-20 cartridges, Colecovision stuff, anything as long as it was pre-1985ish. People were reliving their childhood, only this time they had access to a much bigger allowance and they wanted everything they were denied back when they were kids. Then after awhile I started noticing that no one wanted the loose stuff anymore, people were now paying big bucks for manuals and boxes (originally people wouldn't give you much if anything extra for the box). The reason behind this was that all the big time collectors had the loose games, now they needed something new to collect so they went for the extras (boxes, manuals, catalogs, etc.). Loose games would sit there on gaming convention tables gathering dust other than a handful of very rare titles. Now we're getting to the point where the big time collectors have all the common and uncommon stuff they need, boxed and otherwise, so it's only the rare and extremely rare stuff that's selling. Those will always be worth money because there aren't enough of them for every one to have one. So everyone that was hording common and loose classic gaming stuff like it was gold are discovering that their Pac-Man cart is worth exactly 10 cents and not the $10 they were lead to believe. Unfortunately it would appear that many brick and mortar gaming shops still haven't gotten this memo.

Another thing to consider is the age of the collector. Back when I got into the hobby (mid 90's) Pre-Nintendo stuff was all the rage because that's what the current collectors grew up with. We were all 20 to 30 somethings who grew up with a 2600 joystick firmly affixed to our hand and that's what we wanted to collect for. However about 7 or 8 years ago I started to notice that the classic stuff I grew up with wasn't selling as much as it used to, and it was NES stuff that was starting to go for big money. I found this odd because up until that I point I was grabbing NES games out of bins at flea markets for $2 each, and suddenly even the common games were going for six or eight bucks, while boxed games were going for $80-$100 or more depending on the title. Then it occurred to me that the kids who grew up with the NES were now old enough and wealthy enough to start buying all the games that they missed out on as a kid. So the valuable and collectible games had shifted from Atari era stuff to NES era stuff. That doesn't mean that the Atari stuff was worthless now, but only the rarer stuff kept its value, the rest started to slip. Now we're starting to see SNES and Genesis stuff rise value (the NES stuff hasn't started to fall off yet, but its coming) and eventually we'll see the Saturn and PSX stuff skyrocket as well (although the rarer stuff already has).

So my point is, yes classic gaming can be a good investment, but only for a short time. However unless you're constantly selling off and buying at the right time (before the next trend hits) you're eventually going to lose money or at best break even. The days of mega cheap games that are going to rise in value are over, because people are already looking for what's going to become collectible in the future even with the current stuff (sort of like comic books). That's why we always say not to get into classic game collecting for the money, because there really isn't any. Get into classic gaming because you love the games.

I got lucky because I bought the bulk of my collection when people weren't thinking of what it would be worth in the future, we were thinking of the here and now. When I decided to sell off my collection due to an upcoming move to a smaller house, I actually made a good deal of money on it. However that's because I bought it back before the collecting boom happened, if I tried to recreate my collection now (or even ten years ago) and then sell it I would have lost a fortune.

You can see pictures of what my collection used to look like here: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/146921-tempests-game-room/ and what it looks like now that I've slimmed it down (it looks bigger, but it's not, I just concentrated everything into one room): http://atariage.com/forums/topic/210908-tempests-new-new-game-room/

about 10 months ago

Rare Docs Show How Apple Created Apple II DOS

Tempest_2084 Re:the more things change... (130 comments)

>>I just recently had a chance to play Wasteland on a PC and boy, did it suck, compared to the graphics that was available on the Apple ][s.

OK, I'm going to have to call bullcrap on that one. I grew up with the Apple II version and loved it (I think it was the only game I played for over a year), but there's no way the graphics were better than the PC version (unless you're talking about the CGA version). Check out Mobygames if you doubt me: http://www.mobygames.com/game/wasteland/screenshots

The only thing the Apple II version had going for it over the PC version were less bugs (the PC version was buggy as hell for some reason).

1 year,11 days


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