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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

vinn Dear Boneheads: Don't ever be happy on paper (457 comments)

I remember when I was younger and management would send out employee opinion surveys. I'd answer them, be truthful and feel like my opinion actually mattered. I felt it was proper to express exactly how happy or unhappy I was and that the survey was some mechanism for improving things.

Then I became part of management and I realized how completely wrong I was.

The employee opinion survey mostly serves as a crutch for manager's to pat themselves on the back and the do a very good job curve fitting the results to their preconceived notions of how things are. It also serves to weed out people with bad attitudes - I've overheard more than one discussion of trying to locate an employee based on the comment they made on the survey.

So, if you say you're happy with the wage you're getting, you won't be getting a raise. In fact, it's even seen as a sign that pay cuts should be happening. Likewise, if you feel like you're a valued employee, good luck getting any more benefits. It's more likely management will use that as an excuse to strip away that one little perk, like free soda or something, just because they'll decrease the amount of HR budget dedicated to keeping employees happy. Don't ever be happy on paper.

Unfortunately, it's not enough for just you to express your desire for a raise. If 40% of your colleagues think they get paid enough, that's probably enough for management to little to no wage increase. You really want less than 5 - 10% say they're happy - in other words, 90% of the employees in your department need to express displeasure with their wages in order for the survey to have any meaningful effect on wages. (There's plenty of other ways to get a raise though - an employee survey is probably one of the least likely ways for it to happen.)

PS. If you think your company is one of those awesome companies that cares, you're probably wrong. If you sat in the room with the CEO, COO, and HR Director and heard that private conversation about the survey, you'd be horrified.

3 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

vinn Re:Itemizing? Pay someone. (385 comments)

Wrong. Do you buy clothes? Do laundry? Check your email from a computer at home? Do you pay electricity bills? Any of that kind of stuff can be itemized if done properly. More importantly, at the point where you itemize, the smart thing to do is start a LLC and accrue business expenses.

4 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

vinn Itemizing? Pay someone. (385 comments)

At the point where you can itemize your deductions, you're better off paying someone else to do you taxes. A good accountant will more than pay for themselves - you'll likely be able to recoup thousands of dollars. A normal human just can't stay on top of the US tax code enough from year to year to know how to file for every qualifying deduction.

Finding the right accountant/tax preparer is very important. I don't have a lot of tips there other than asking around - I recommend asking some small business owners who they use. I've gone through 4 different accountants over the past ten years. One got me audited, two were just so-so, and now I have one that's fantastic. You probably don't want to go to one of those tax mill places like HR Block, although there is some advantage to working with someone who sees A LOT of tax returns. You probably also don't want to go to a big CPA firm that doesn't a lot of business work.

Even more important, if you don't own your own business yet, you need to create one. Filing an LLC is fairly simple in most states. Your business should be fairly in line with one of your hobbies and the writeoffs will be well worth it.

4 days ago
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North Korean Business Park Getting Internet Access

vinn Still prohibited from importing computers.. (46 comments)

Keep in mind, US sanctions against North Korea mean key technologies make it difficult to import computers. Although these days there's so many ways to get mobile devices that might be a moot point.

Last year we were in South Korea and we went on one of the popular "DMZ Tours". So, on the tour you go to Dorason Station, which is the jumping off point from South Korea onto the rail line into North Korea, and then after that you go up a hill and look into North Korea. From that overlook, you can see Kaesong, which I think is about 7 miles over the border or so.

My guess is that this is going to be a simple and highly restricted system. A lot of management is from South Korea, so they'll give them access. From there, the simplest way would be a straight wireless shot to South Korea, but maybe N. Korea can make a play to get their paws on the traffic.

Interesting factoid, North Korea's official GDP (not counting it's counterfeit currency, drug and arms trade) is about $12 billion. Of that, $2 billion comes from trade generated by Kaesong. So when North Korea cut off access to Kaesong, it effectively made the decision to shut down 17% of its economy overnight.

about 2 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

vinn How about a poll? (2219 comments)

Apparently NO ONE has listened since the beta period began. I realize Timothy and Soulskill are replying above, but clearly no one has done any work on the actual site. Is there anyone who likes anything about the new beta? Put me in the *it blows fucking donkeyballs* category; for all the reasons cited above - broken comments, terrible layout, terrible waste of space.

So why not do a poll on it?

* I like the new beta
* I don't like it, but it's fixable
* It's terrible
* It's so terrible I'll quit using the site if you keep the design
* Print out the new website on dead trees and shove it up CowboyNeal's ass

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why So Hard Landing Interviews In Seattle Versus SoCal?

vinn What works in SoCal should stay in SoCal (506 comments)

The Pacific Northwest has reached it's max quota of Californians. Sorry, but we really don't want any more. Please consider reapplying after you've mounted a roof rack on your vehicle, own a kayak, mountain bike and a pair of tele skis (road bikes and snowboards are for pussies and white rappers.) Also, you'll need to complete 6 months working as a barista in order to fully appreciate the nuances of coffee. Finally, if you decide to whine about anything and/or compare it to SoCal, you'll be deported.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are We Older Experts Being Retired Too Early?

vinn Team up with a marketing contractor (629 comments)

Find a contractor who works in the marketing field - you know, someone who specializes in things like building websites, developing CRM programs for companies, etc. Often the smaller marketing contractors have a hell of a time finding a tech person who can help support their projects. They also don't understand the nuances of how a lot of pieces of technology fit together. However, and most importantly for you, marketing budgets are fantastic if you're on the contractor end.

about 5 months ago
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Nearly 1 In 4 Adults Surf the Web While Driving

vinn Who has time?!? (365 comments)

I am WAY too busy to surf the web while driving. Between sending email, sending txts, reading Facebook, checking the latest scores and everything else, I don't have time to open a web browser and just "surf".

Oh, and downloading podcasts. Who could forget that..

about 5 months ago
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Re: Daylight Saving Time, I would most like

vinn I'm weird, I like it. (462 comments)

I usually travel to third world, tropical countries for about 2 months of the year. Whenever I'm traveling, I try to cut myself off as much as I can from technology and just kind of roll with the schedule of the locals. Now, most tropical countries don't have much of a need for DST - the sun comes up about 6am and it goes down about 6pm. There's not a lot of variation to that through the year.

As a result, I get really used to waking up when the sun comes up (..and the roosters crow) and going to bed a few hours after the sun goes down.

When I come back, there's a bizarre change to my internal clock that really messes me up. DST seems to normalize this a bit for me, at least in the middle of winter the sun is on it's way while I'm on my way to work and in the summer at least it's not coming up before 5am. (Yes, I live in pretty high latitudes for the US.)

about 5 months ago
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The Case Against Gmail

vinn Re:The interface F*CKING SUCKS: no news here (435 comments)

So here's more detail on the work flow I need.

First, I'm subscribed to multiple open source mailing lists. Ok, awesome, I filtered those into the "Forums" tab so I don't have look at those emails, like, pretty much ever. (I read them about twice a week these days since I'm not as active with those projects any more.) That works.

I get all the usual promo emails. There's a few, like Brad's List that I actually like as well as my Skymiles emails, ok, awesome, I filter those to the Promo tab so I never have to see them.

Then, I'm on my local city council. So I have a bunch of email that spills in related to that. Those just get dumped directly into my inbox because there's no easy way to filter them since I have no idea where they're coming from. Those are tough. And I have to keep them/archive them since it's official business.

My new work related emails I've attempted to apply filters to since I mostly know the domains they originate from. But the label that's applied is gray, and my normal inbox has a gray background. I don't know how to change that color and it makes it pretty useless to have a label. Now, I can click on the Label in the left nav, however it's normally hidden because Gmail insists on showing hangout information at the bottom and it clutters the labels list.

And we haven't gotten how to manage the rest of my personal email.

What sucks is all of that shows up all in one puked up blah of a Primary mailbox. Those are three radically different areas of my life and it looks like a trainwreck to my brain because when I'm thinking of work, the past thing I was to see is an email from my mother with the subject line of, "Did you get the cookies yet?" Then I'm completely distracted thinking about a) going to the post office and b) cookies.

I think the simple paradigm here is, I want my inbox to be "Everything Else" but instead it's "Everything".

about 6 months ago
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The Case Against Gmail

vinn Re:The interface F*CKING SUCKS: no news here (435 comments)

There's some good hosted Exchange systems out there. I'm probably going to move to Intermedia. Will there be spam? It won't be as good as gmail, but there will be surprisingly less than you'd think. intermedia.net has worked well for people I've known in the past.

about 6 months ago
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The Case Against Gmail

vinn The interface F*CKING SUCKS: no news here (435 comments)

I've been a Gmail user since about June 21, 2004 (that's when my first sent message shows). For personal use I always thought Gmail was just sufficient. The labels were a bit annoying and I have found the tabs a big improvement. The storage is great and I haven't deleted an email since I started using it. I'm primarily a searcher not a sorter, so in many ways that's a good fit for my personal use.

BUT....

A month ago I started my own consulting business. While it's getting off the ground, I've been using the Gmail account for work related reasons. Coming from the standard Outlook world (as well as Thunderbird and other clients), I find Gmail SUCKS GIANT F*CKING DONKEY BALLS to get work done. It's impossible to manage any kind of sane workflow with it. As of this morning, I think I've officially given up.

The new tabs idea would almost work for me - to manage my workflow I figure I need 8 tabs total. In their infinite wisdom, they've limited the new tabs idea to 5. Why 5? I have no idea. I do enjoy the fact that it's reasonably intelligent, so it does figure out automatically how to filter things. However, I really need the ability to add my own tab for work reasons. You know, the one that's labeled "EVERY EMAIL FROM KEVIN BECAUSE THIS IS THE GUY THAT'S PAYING ME AND I DAMN WELL BETTER NOT MISS A MESSAGE FROM HIM".

Like I mentioned, I'm primarily a searcher, however some stuff is so important that you really need to be able to sort it. When you get hundreds of messages a day, the last thing you want is something scrolling off the first page of the browser window. Oh, and why the hell can't I have that first page show 1000 different threads rather than just, say, the 100 it has?

I hate to admit it, but I see a hosted Exchange account in my future.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: As a Programmer/Geek, Should I Learn Business?

vinn TLDR: Study law (167 comments)

Studying business is short sighted. At the end you'll find it's mostly a waste of time because you could have learned it all on the job. Blah blah, yield management, blah blah cash flow, blah blah EBITDA.

If you feel strongly about studying business, what you'll find next is the obstacle you can't get around is law. As much as you might want to understand the business dynamics, you'll run into having to deal with contracts, agreements, or copyrights and patents. That's a much harder obstacle to overcome, even if you have internal counsel.

Having said that, look at your options and figure out the path. If you go into management you'll figure out the b-side and have no need for a silly MBA. You'll still be stuck dealing with legal though. With regards to marketing: you either have that skill or you don't. You already know the answer to that question. The best at marketing use analytics and statistics; and the overwhelming majority don't. If you have the opportunity to learn from the best, do it, or don't bother.

about 6 months ago
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Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta)

vinn Re:Oh F*CK That! (1191 comments)

Yup, despite everyone's criticisms over the years, I do enjoy reading Slashdot's comments. Sometimes that means it's simply for entertainment sake, although I will say over the years I've learned quite a few things from others and some useful tidbits of information. I think you'd be more hardpressed to find any online nerd collection that's larger.

about 7 months ago
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Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta)

vinn Oh F*CK That! (1191 comments)

Seriously. That fucking sucks. I've been on this site a while ("Look Mom, he has a 4 digit user id"), and that is by far the crappiest design I've seen.

I want lots of news stories all accessible with a short blurb of text. I don't need videos, I don't need animated thingies swirling around, I just want news. News for nerds.

In contrast, most of the other redesigns and tweaks over the years I've enjoyed. This one sucks. It'll probably be the nail in the coffin that sends me over to Ars Technica, who's doing a much better job these days.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can Creating New Online Accounts Reduce Privacy Risks?

vinn Worry about everything else (too) (164 comments)

The things you need to worry about with regards to privacy is everything else in your life. Did you apply for the grocery card that gives you those special discounts? If so, your information got sold. Did you buy a season pass last year at a major ski resort? If so, your information got sold. Did you get one of those cards at the casino so you could rack up some gaming points? If so, your information got sold. All of this, and a whole lot more, are available to marketers or really anyone who wants to pay for it.

As a general rule, if you are filling out a form - regardless of whether its on the interwebs or printed on a dead tree - any information you provide is going to get sold. Actually, in many cases it's even worse, the information is just given away.

So, if your reasoning for changing your online accounts is to beat the marketers, credit agencies, etc then you've got many other things to worry about that have probably already got you householded and deduped from everyone's databases. Now, if your goal in life is to, say, build an encrypted email platform and promote it for worldwide privacy use, then yes - I think you should be careful how big your online presence is. If you're worried about receiving a piece of direct mail from a private golf course because it's known you reside within 50 miles from their clubhouse, have a net income of $X, and drive an Audi, well, in that case you're probably already screwed because they already know all that.

about 7 months ago
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Microsoft Will Squeeze Datacenters On Price of Windows Server

vinn Thank you Microsoft (274 comments)

Thank you Microsoft. This makes implementing enterprise strategy so much easier. So let's see.. in the past year we've ditched Microsoft CRM completely. We got rid of 2 SQL Server instances. We will purchase SQL 2012, but with only half the CAL's. These price increases make it so much easier to consider other options.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Video Streaming For the Elderly?

vinn Something built into the TV? Samsung? (165 comments)

Perhaps get them a TV with Netflix already built into it? Something like a Samsung?

I think the key is to set up the remote properly so they can access everything using a minimal number of remote controls, preferably just one. I think that's what confuses most people.. hell it even confuses me.

about 9 months ago
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Moto X Demo Video Reveals Google's Android Superphone

vinn In Soviet America, the phone listens to you. (151 comments)

"...it tells you what you need to know even when you're not touching the screen..." And it tells the NSA everything else?

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Should a Non-Profit Look For In a Web Host?

vinn Amazon EC2 / AWS (100 comments)

I have our marketing department handle all of our web stuff and they outsource it. I don't know the exact details of the inner workings of the magic used by our web company, but I know it's based on Amazon's EC2 infrastructure. I'm sure as a non-profit that you're extremely cost conscious and something like that might be a good fit for you. We're highly seasonal in our work, so during the busy times of the year they ratchet up the compute services available and we pay a few extra dollars. Then during the off season we ratchet it back down. It works WELL. In general EC2 is considered overkill for small sites, but for high traffic sites it's considered very affordable. When you say 1000 nailing the server with page requests, it makes me think it would be on the affordable side for you.

Now, we're not exactly their favorite customer for a million different reasons, and the working relationship is.. um.. strained. So I don't think I'd recommend the exact company we use, you can surely find others near you if you need help. If you want to try to roll-your-own, here's an (old) example of what you're looking at: http://www.sunsetlakesoftware.com/2008/09/13/running-drupal-website-amazon-ec2

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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Wine 1.4 Released

vinn vinn writes  |  more than 2 years ago

vinn (4370) writes "Wine 1.4 was released today and includes support for a wide range of applications, including Office 2010. There are some major architectural changes, including a built-in DIB engine for better graphics display and a new audio stack designed around the newer Vista / Win 7 system and integrated into the native audio system. Almost every other subsystem received substantial updates, including Direct3D, the Gecko-based web browsing components, and better internationalization. The release notes contain more detail and you can download the source code now, or wait for packages to appear soon."
Link to Original Source
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Do-It-Yourself Solar?

vinn vinn writes  |  more than 2 years ago

vinn writes "It's been three years since Slashdot last visited do-it-yourself solar and things have changed quite a bit. I'm looking to spend this winter putting a grid-tie solar project together and have the work completed early in the spring. What's the best way to do this? What should I buy and where should I get it?

More details: I live in Montana and our local power company supplies 1:1 credits on alternative energy. Therefore, I don't need batteries or a rectifier, which is fantastic. That means I just need a basic grid-tie inverter, PV panels, and all the stuff to connect them. The power company has a list of technicians approved to install grid-tie inverters, but most of them seem intent on trying to sell me $30k worth of stuff and not do the project the way I want.

That's to say, I need someone to install the inverter, about a 4kW or 5kW one (either is sufficient for our needs). Then I want to start by adding about 1kW worth of panels. Gradually I want to scale this to about 3kW, but I want to do it over a series of a few years. Panel prices are dropping and it doesn't seem to make sense to spend all the money right now. So, as near as I can tell, I should be able to do this project for about $6000 and provide for a big chunk of our energy needs (which are extremely modest.) I plan on having the panels fixed on the roof — no tracker or anything.

Does that approach make sense? What brands should I be looking at? I'm pretty good with wiring (I've wired most of our house and I'm comfortable working on panels), but I'm sure there's some great connector kits out there that would really make this installation easier and set it up to grow over time."
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CodeWeavers Ports Chrome to Linux and OS X

vinn vinn writes  |  more than 5 years ago

vinn (4370) writes "CodeWeavers announced a port of Google's Chrome to Linux and Mac OS X. From the press release, "We did this to prove a point," said Jeremy White, CodeWeavers President and chief executive officer. "The message is very simply this: if you are a Windows software vendor, and you want to get your product into new markets, you should pay attention to Wine. Wine is a very powerful tool for bringing your product to new audiences in the Mac and Linux spaces. And in many cases Wine is faster and more economical than doing a native port." Codeweaver's blog offers some insight into the process."
Link to Original Source

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