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Comment: lol christ (Score 1) 386

by MindPhlux (#46757759) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

I finished mine last week, it took me over 2 months with probably 40+ active hours. My return was relatively complicated though, I own a sole-prop business, so had to close out the books on that, review all my transactions to make sure they were categorized correctly for tax purposes. Had to pull together and wait on 1099s, wait for my investment accounts to mail me their 1099-INT and DIVs. I had to issue a 1099 for a contractor I paid over $600, so figuring out that was a hassle.

Had to document all my expenses, pull together deductible stuff like ad valorem tax on my car, charitable donations, etc - then figure out the business-deductable portion of my rent and auto expenses. Had a lot of healthcare expenses and opened a HSA, so had to figure out how all that impacted my shit and how much I could deduct.

I got married last year, so then had to do all this for her, which roughly doubled the time spent. She owns a condo, which I'm now using part of as a home office, so had to figure out how that worked on my business expenses - you have to document mortgage interest payments, private mortgage insurance payments, HOA fees, blah blah blah. She was also a full time student for part of the year, and then started a new job - so figuring out education expenses and loan repayments was an annoying task as well.

Finally at the end of it all, we had to weigh the cost/benefit of making 401k/IRA contributions at the last minute, get our optimal contributions in, wire that money, make sure it was categorized as a 2013 contribution, which we're still trying to make sure is all in order.

goddamn I wish the tax code was simpler. =( In the end though, got a huge refund of a lot of estimated taxes I'd paid in. used turbotax/quicken/quickbooks to do it all.

Comment: Re:Does anyone actually... (Score 1) 195

by MindPhlux (#44403247) Attached to: Retail Stores Plan Elaborate Ways To Track You

lol, you're letting the terrorists win

I use bluetooth in my car, it connects to my audio system automatically. I also drive a manual, so I couldn't use a phone without it in the car even if I wanted to. I've done it a few times, the results were hilarious, if almost hitting pedestrians on the sidewalk is your version of hilarious.

anyways, the correct response to 'oh no target and walmart are going to be tracking me' is not 'ok well let me infringe on my personal liberties to fight back at the man'.

the correct response is just not to shop at megastores that do things like this. you probably shouldn't have been shopping there to begin with anyways. go find a farmer's market or non-chain drugstore.

Comment: iGoogle! (Score 1) 383

by MindPhlux (#43204747) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which Google Project Didn't Deserve To Die?

iGoogle! I'm really upset they're shutting it down. Mostly, I don't understand why they'd shut it down. iGoogle has been my homepage for the past 4-5 years, and it's done exactly what I want a homepage to do.

I have started using other search engines over time to supplement Google for various reasons, but I honestly think the removal of iGoogle will have me using google search a lot less frequently. fwiw.

Comment: Re:XBMC as a service? (Score 1) 146

by MindPhlux (#42735105) Attached to: XBMC 12.0 'Frodo' Released: PVR-Support, HD Audio and More

Yes, unfortunately. I'd like to continue using windows as well, as I do other things with the HTPC box, like gaming, microsoft outlook, etc. I'd certainly believe the linux versions are more stable, but can't bring myself to spend money and time to set up another box for a dedicated XBMC server when I was planning on doing just that with my windows HTPC...

Comment: XBMC as a service? (Score 1) 146

by MindPhlux (#42734911) Attached to: XBMC 12.0 'Frodo' Released: PVR-Support, HD Audio and More

I really really wish they'd add some sort of functionality to separate the media server/player portion of XBMC from the front end, and allow you to run it as a service. I have a HTPC hooked up to my surround sound system, and I absolutely love the android XBMC app. It lets you browse the entire media library and queue up stuff, and even has album art and everything.

The only problem is, I have to turn on my TV, log in to my HTPC, start XBMC (or go to task manager, kill the process, then relaunch if XBMC has hung up like it seems to do 30% of the time), and then go to my ipad/android device to queue up music. I really don't even care about the PC interface, since as someone put it earlier, 'the interface is a f*ck*rse to use with a mouse'. Well, I mean I have an IR remote and everything, but the interface is still less than fun to putz around in from the couch.

The apps on a touchscreen though are stellar. if only I could run XBMC as a service and cut out 3-5 minutes of bullshit every time I want to play some tunes!

Comment: Re:Consulting is not for everyone (Score 1) 207

by MindPhlux (#42514531) Attached to: How to Become an IT Expert Companies Seek Out and Pay Well (Video)

I agree with everything up to the last point - despite your being modded 0...

Started my consultancy 3 years ago, doubled my income every year. When I started out, I was stressed as fuck. I still get stressed meeting new clients, and in writing proposals, tackling new things I've never done before. That's not a reason to decide against becoming a consultant. You just have to realize it's part of the territory.

For me, I mean - I don't think the stress has been good for me on a day to day basis, but I've also grown a lot as a professional and have a lot more confidence. If I never stepped up to the plate and took a leap over the edge and had faith in my own abilities, I'd still be working 9-5 making 1/4th of what I make now.

Also, I haven't seen anyone post this yet here - Consultants can become business owners as well. Consulting is not an end-game. I'm planning on hiring someone this year and taking out a loan to further expand - at which point the sky is the limit, and all the 'being a consultant' rules change.

Comment: Re:Nothing new (Score 1) 267

by MindPhlux (#41616037) Attached to: Kurzweil: The Cloud Will Expand Human Brain Capacity

This idea is over 15 years old - Andy Clark (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Clark), for one, argued that the use of computers can be viewed as an 'extension of the mind' vis. a 'tightly coupled dynamical system'.

It's an interesting argument, but if you don't draw the line at the human body, I think it's sort of arbitrary to draw the line at the 'usage of a tool' boundary. why not include the servers a computer communicates with? the telephone poles that support the wires transmitting the data? etc etc.

There's the question of 'what is the human body' which is certainly interesting, but I just think it's a more appropriate scope to deal with. You can measure hormonal influence on neural activity, but once you get outside of the body I'd contend it's anyone's game.

The one point Andy Clark does make that I think is really good is : language vis. a symbol can exist simultaneously internally and externally from the body - IE, as a representation and external symbolic language. I really think that's the interesting point, rather than some bullshit about computers/the cloud/ whatever extending the human mind. it's really language that extends the human mind, and I'm sure kant/clark/heidegger/chomsky/dennet would back me up on this.

whoops, I didn't log in.

Comment: Windows Small Business Server (Score 2) 239

This is what I use. Folder redirection can be a nightmare when it goes awry, but for the most part SBS keeps my files, documents and photos synced across 4 different machines (two desktops, a laptop and a netbook).

If I need to get at files that haven't yet synced because I forgot to turn on my laptop before walking out the door, I just VPN in to my network (SBS does all the setup and heavy lifting, you basically just turn it on and it works) - and either run a sync, or if I don't have time, I'll just access the files on the redirected folder on my server.

Easy peezy.

Comment: Re:uhhh (Score 5, Informative) 126

by MindPhlux (#40073983) Attached to: Judge Orders Verizon Subscriber Identities Sealed

here you go :

"In one of the mass 'John Doe' cases based on single BitTorrent downloads of films, Malibu Media v. Does 1-13, a pro se litigant made a motion to quash the subpoena. The Court granted a stay of the subpoena, pending its decision on the motion to quash. Unfortunately for John Doe, Verizon had turned over its subscribers' identities 5 days BEFORE the response was due, thus possibly mooting both the stay and the motion to quash. Fortunately for John Doe, the Judge wasn't too happy about this, ordered the information sealed, directed plaintiff's lawyers to destroy any copies, and ruled that they can't use the information unless and until the Court denies the motion to quash."

Comment: If you're talented at IT, it's not a problem. (Score 1) 504

I've been 'the computer guy' all my life - when I was 13-15, I was volunteering at a non-profit computer repair place that ripped apart donated computers, fixed them, and gave them back to other non-profits like churches and social organizations. By the end of my time there, I was actually teaching weekly repair classes to other volunteers, often 30-50 years old.

Anyways, I'm not meaning to wank off, but when I went to college, I specifically didn't study computer science, because I was pretty secure with my tech abilities, and figured I'd always be able to find a job. I double majored in Psych and Philosophy.

After college, it was a little hard to find a job, but I don't think it had anything to do with my lack of a CS background. I just explained my choice of major at university, and spun it in a positive light. IE "The analytical skills I learned in my philosophy program are directly applicable to the type of complex problem solving needed in IT environments, and in fact give me an edge of 'outside the box' thinking over my CS major counterparts" or whatever.

After I had my first job, college began mattering less and less - employers look more at past experience. In fact, I think it matters so little that I went and quit my job for a year to get a masters in Cognitive Science. No problem finding a job when I got back, and I've since started my own small business IT company that is doing quite well. Point is, if you have the skills, you'll be fine!

Comment: Re:Is $60 really that ridiculous? (Score 1) 435

by MindPhlux (#39349579) Attached to: Can $60 Games Survive?

well, based on your post, it just sounds like everything else aside from games is less expensive in HK.

in usd -

a game is 60

PC (case, mb, memory) is about 200-250

lunch is $5-12 (one game is about 5-6 lunches)

I don't wear jeans, but I do shop at outlet stores - new dress pants are 20-25

new phones cost 100-300

mobile phone costs are about 60-100 a month.

so yes, a computer game is to cost 50-60.

Comment: Is $60 really that ridiculous? (Score 4, Insightful) 435

by MindPhlux (#39348089) Attached to: Can $60 Games Survive?

I'm sort of surprised by the comments on here. I'm approaching 30, so I grew up buying games in the 'good old days' when they were ~$20-35. But if you account for inflation, is $60 really that unreasonable? I mean, I'm not mindblowingly rich, and I am pretty stingy with my money as far as just going out and dropping a 50 bill on something - but $60 for a really good game seems pretty ok. Most of the time, the $59.95 titles will have preorder sales or whatever for $45-50, and if you can wait a couple months, you can usually score top tier games for $39.95.

I'm pretty OK with paying that amount of money for good games - they usually last more than 4-6 movies lengths of entertainment, so that seems par for course as far as entertainment goes. Of course, I never spend my money on bad games - I usually find a way to errr, preview them before committing - so maybe my game buying experience is different than that of the average consumer.

Stellar rays prove fibbing never pays. Embezzlement is another matter.

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