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Comment I talked to the manager... (Score 1) 181

Jerry: Yeah, but that TruCoat--
Customer: I sat right here and said I didn't want no TruCoat!
Jerry: Yeah, but I'm sayin', that TruCoat, you don't get it and you get oxidization problems. It'll cost you a heck of lot more'n five hundred--
Customer: You're sittin' here, you're talkin' in circles! You're talkin' like we didn't go over this already!
Jerry: Yeah, but this TruCoat--
Customer: We had us a deal here for nine-teen-five. You sat there and darned if you didn't tell me you'd get this car, these options, without the sealant, for nine-teen-five!
Jerry: All right, I'm not sayin' I didn't--
Customer: You called me twenty minutes ago and said you had it! Ready to make delivery, ya says! Come on down and get it! And here ya are and you're wastin' my time and you're wastin' my wife's time and I'm payin' nineteen-five for this vehicle here!
Jerry: All right. I'll talk to my boss. See, they install that TruCoat at the factory, there's nothin' we can do, but I'll talk to my boss.

Comment Re:Easy solution (Score 3, Insightful) 181

California. As well as not banning direct sales by auto manufacturers, it provides more protections for employees (banning non-compete contract terms), limits on how short yellow lights can be at signals, and the state government is running a surplus.

That's what good, conservative governance will do for you.

Oh wait.

Comment Re:Holy crap ... (Score 1) 52

The security difference between chip-and-signature and chip-and-PIN matters in only one case, and that is if your physical card is stolen from your wallet. Skimmers, data breaches, shoulder-surfing, all the hacking attacks won't yield the secret key inside the chip, preventing it from being counterfeited. If you don't like the security of your chip-and-signature card because you're afraid your card might be stolen, ask your bank to issue you a chip-and-PIN card instead. If your bank won't, there are plenty of other banks who will, and who will be grateful for your business.

Visa and the retailers originally figured U.S. customers would prefer chip-and-signature because it makes selling things "easy". But that's a pretty stupid attitude, because lots of people (including you and me) are wary about identity theft. Customers need to complain to their banks so that they learn we'd rather have PINs than signatures.

Overall credit card security will still remain terrible for a long time to come because static mag stripes still exist, and online card-not-present transactions still use static authentication data like CVV2 codes. What really needs to happen to actually improve security is that mag stripes and static numbers like CVV2 need to be flat-out outlawed. The recent "liability shift" is the opening salvo in the conversion, but we're probably still a decade away from actual security.

Comment Re:non-story (Score 1) 197

You are making me restate my point. Yes, you are technically correct. I cannot argue with a single point in your post. Yet, it is pedantic and useless to most people. The camera is doing nothing. If you want to call that "inactive", "standby", or "disabled" or whatever, it is the same thing from a practical standpoint as "off". Rare would be the end user who gives a crap, especially when the product doesn't even make a claim to be "off".

Comment Re:Less service? (Score 1) 181

I don't know how the expected lifetime service cost shakes down; but what the dealership cares about is the margins on the service and maintenance they perform; not the absolute cost.

I would suspect that battery swaps, while they involve a very expensive part, would be pretty unexciting for the dealer. Unless the manufacturer is extraordinarily tight-lipped, the price of the battery will become public knowledge; and the procedure for swapping it out(while it might require equipment that makes DIY impractical, depending on where the battery is located and what needs to be lifted) should be rigidly documented and leave little room for variation in how much labor you can bill for.

Somebody has to do the swap, and presumably they won't do it for free; but there is little room either for value-added expertise(as with problems that require diagnostic work) or just plain sleazy invoice padding(as with problems where the customer doesn't know the cost of the parts, or which parts are necessary, or what the expected labor time is); it's a rigidly scripted drop-in replacement of a single module.

Comment Re:This would level the playing ground (Score 1) 359

The depreciation is $500,000 and only on assets above $2 million - and must be for business purposes.

That's only half. The owner can also expense $500,000 in the first year.

Not everyone was happy on January 2 when President Obama signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act, notably those whose first 2013 paychecks were smaller than the ones they’d received in 2012.

But the law gave Thoroughbred horse owners a reason to raise a glass in a belated New Year’s toast, as it enacted retroactively favorable provisions that had expired at the end of 2011.

“What was supposed to happen in 2013,” said Joe Bacigalupo, director of member development for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, “was that the bonus depreciation for 2012, which was set at a 50% schedule, would disappear entirely. The passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act extended it for 2013.

“There’s a significant improvement between what was expected to happen and what actually happened.”

According to an NTRA release, the bonus depreciation on purchases of race horses was reinstated at 50%, which was the 2012 rate. The expense allowance was increased to $500,000 for this year and retroactively increased from $125,000 to $500,000 for horses purchased in 2012.

Said Joel Turner, a member of Frost Brown Todd attorneys in Louisville, Kentucky, and a specialist in equine legal services, “These incentives are real.”

While conceding that the announcement of the retroactive provisions wasn’t great for tax planning, he said their beneficiaries will be “rewarded for legitimate reasons” and that the aggregate of benefits will mean that in some cases, 80% of the purchase price of a horse can be deducted in the first year.

“The ability to expense the first $500,000 and take depreciation on the next $500,000 means that essentially you’re almost getting a 100% write-off in the first year,” he explained.

Estimating the value of all aspects of the Thoroughbred racing industry to be worth about $4 billion dollars to his home state of Kentucky, Turner approved of the renewal of the provisions.

“Buying horses and writing them off was included in the law because of the ripple effect to the economy,” he said. “This encourages investment in assets.”

Make it right before you make it faster.