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Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

mindbooger Re:Intuit is the Microsoft of tax software (423 comments)

... of course you can download the blank forms from the state site itself. But Intuit has solidly inserted itself into the online process.

about 4 months ago
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Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

mindbooger Re:Intuit is the Microsoft of tax software (423 comments)

Want to see something even more beautiful? If you want to do your own state taxes in PA (as opposed to buying the state package from HRBlock, Intuit, etc.), you go to www.pafreefile.com. There, you get sent to https://www.statefillableforms..., which is a domain run by... dum-dum-dummmmmm... Intuit.

Can't even print them out and fill them out on paper, you have to create an account and fill them out online on Intuit's site, then print them and mail them.

Fsck me. They ran their in-house system one last time for this year while "encouraging" us to use the new system. The new Intuit system is allegedly the only route next year.

about 4 months ago
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Prototype Volvo Flywheel Tech Uses Car's Wasted Brake Energy

mindbooger Re:Brake Pedal (262 comments)

> The brake pedal is for braking, dammit; simply lifting off the gas pedal should result in nearly coasting

You kids and your silly torque converters. In a proper car with three pedals, when you lift, as the motor slows it transmits braking torque to the drive wheels to which it is directly connected. It actually gives you more options for controlling the car. You can get it to rotate in a corner with a brief throttle-lift, upsetting the chassis less than if you touched the brakes.

What, you just sit in your car and aim it lazily at your destination? Where's the fun in that?

about 5 months ago
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USB Implementers Forum Won't Play Nice With Open Hardware

mindbooger Re:Firewire's failure begat USB 2.0 (273 comments)

> If Firewire hadn't been an expensive pain in the ass, we'd be using USB for our keyboards and printers and Firewire for our portable drives as originally intended.

Um, you mean some of you _aren't_ doing that? :-\

about 10 months ago
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97% of Climate Science Papers Agree Global Warming Is Man-made

mindbooger _Rate_ of warming (1105 comments)

Again I'll ask you guys for confirmation (no one has said "no, you're wrong" the previous times I've asked): what I've understood all along about AGW is that man-made greenhouse gas contributions are increasing the _rate_ of warming.

To be clear, that seems to be pretty well agreed on. But "the increasing rate of global warming is man-made" is not the same thing as "global warming is man-made". We could be reducing the rate of warming, and we'd still frequently be having record high global average temperatures, because the trend in this interglacial period that predates our industrialized influence has been _warming_.

Can we still ask for accurate science reporting without being tarred and feathered as "denialists"? Or is that not allowed?

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do You Move Legal Data With Torrents?

mindbooger Yep. (302 comments)

Linux distros. After I'm done, I try to keep seeding for the next night or two to try to "give back" at least a little bit.

about a year ago
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Weather Satellites Lose Funding

mindbooger Fallen Angels (275 comments)

Anyone else who's read Niven's "Fallen Angels" recognizing way too much of it coming true? It was supposed to be _fiction_, Larry! (Wasn't it?)

more than 3 years ago
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Under Soviet Satellites, How Area 51 Hid (And Invented) Secret Craft

mindbooger Re:Beware link... (155 comments)

> I closed it right away and the Mac installer started and asked me to install Mac Protector, so I quit the installer and all is well

No, not _all_ is well. You need to turn off the Safari pref 'Open "safe" files after downloading', which should not even _exist_. :-(

more than 3 years ago
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Cooperative Cars Battle It Out In Holland

mindbooger Wi-Fi? Seriously? (139 comments)

Unable to RTFA (server not responding), but seriously? They _can't_ be talking about actually using 2.4GHz ISM band, _unlicensed_ spectrum, full of all kinds of crap that you have to accept, to build even a supplimental safety system. That's just the submitter putting a generic name to "wireless communication", right? *boggle*

more than 3 years ago
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Bastardi's Wager

mindbooger Isn't AGW supposed to be about _rate_ of change? (672 comments)

So somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but what I _think_ I've heard from the AGW proponents once you get past the ad-hominems (on both sides!), is that yes, we are between ice ages, and yes, the planet does naturally warm as you come out of an ice age (duh!), and yes, the planet has been warmer in the distant past, but AGW is about the global average temp increasing _faster_ than it should be naturally. Is that close?

So am I wrong in seeing "this was the warmest decade recorded"-type headlines lately and thinking "yeah, so?"? What happened to the rate-of-change bit? How is that trending compared to what they think is supposed to be natural?

IANACS...

more than 3 years ago
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Cambered Tires Can Improve Fuel Economy

mindbooger Re:BMWs, Minis (317 comments)

The extra negative camber in the rears is just to make the car understeer at the limit, which keeps the "general population" from losing the rear and suing the mfgr. It gives the minority something to undo to really make it enjoyable to drive. :)

about 4 years ago
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Long In Development, Toshiba 'SCiB' Battery Debuts

mindbooger Re:game changing, if true (284 comments)

Don't misunderstand me -- I hate that as much as anyone. I'm talking about ICEs in an appropriate setting (mostly closed-course competition); and even on the street, a nice V-8 doesn't have to be _loud_ to sound sweet. I've got cats and reasonable mufflers on mine; it's far from obnoxiously loud, but still has a nice song to it.

And honestly, here in my neck of the woods, subwoofers are a much bigger nuisance than loud exhausts. Self-centered idiots will be self-centered idiots, regardless what tools are available.

more than 4 years ago
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Long In Development, Toshiba 'SCiB' Battery Debuts

mindbooger Re:game changing, if true (284 comments)

The electric motor beats the combustion engine in every way

Not quite _every_ way. What it's missing is "soul" (all you folks driving stock Hondas won't notice any change, har har): the howl of a GT-1-spec V8 that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, the growl of a boxer-6, the scream of a racebike at 16k RPMs, even the burble of a tuned street-V8 idling. I guess you can play pretty motor sounds from a speaker, but still, it's not the same. :)

And there really is a lot of cool engineering in modern ICEs. Some of us will miss that.

Don't get me wrong, I think something like an AWD rally car with independent electric wheel motors is going to be _fantastic_, performance-wise. But it won't have quite the same emotional pull as the old stuff.

more than 4 years ago
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Toyota Acceleration and Embedded System Bugs

mindbooger Re:Impossible to test (499 comments)

I don't think it's applicable in the Prius case, but worth noting in general:

At WOT, the vacuum-assist for many power-assist brake systems just isn't there. You'll get one, maybe two applications from the vacuum reserve system. At that point, you have to be a little bit strong (and your seat has to be positioned properly) to generate that kind of braking force.

I'm not excusing it (your seat _should_ be positioned correctly, and you _should_ be strong enough to work the brakes without the assist), just pointing out that it's not quite that trivial.

more than 4 years ago
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German Government Advises Public To Stop Using IE

mindbooger Re:Firefox doesn't even ship official MSI (320 comments)

Firefox resists to ship a Microsoft Installer (MSI) and Apple Installer (PKG) for some mysterious reason

You're not _supposed_ to use installer packages for simple self-contained apps (which Firefox is) on OS X. Drag-n-drop from a compressed DMG is the preferred way except for exceptional case that need to install frameworks or kernel extensions outside of the .app bundle.

A self-contained app can be distributed by a network admin quite simply with rsync or ARD or an Automator script or umpteen other ways that are fully automatable. People need to stop expecting Microsoft-looking "solutions" for non-Microsoft platforms.

more than 4 years ago
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RealPlayer Zero-Day Flaw Under Attack

mindbooger Re:Hackers are the least of their troubles... (150 comments)

Eh, it's more open (with the Helix stuff?) and more multiplatform than Microsoft's alternatives (is even Mplayer with binary codecs able to play DRM'd WMVs? And even their new Silverlight, despite allegedly for Mac and Windows, is OSX x86-only -- there's a buttload of still-useful PowerPC machines still out here).

And with most sites I've seen that offer streaming content, those are my two choices -- Real or DRM'd MS (if I'm even lucky enough to have a choice of something non-MS!). Or Flash. Ooh, yeah, that's much bet....ter.

So yeah, Real is the (much) lesser of those three evils. The player isn't even all that bad on MacOS -- I never saw the bloatware Windows version everyone rips them for, so I don't know how bad it was. It's not like that now. And I don't even use it; I just have Mplayer using the installed Real player's codecs on OSX-PPC.

more than 6 years ago

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