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Comment: Re:Dirty Little Secret (Score 2) 450

by don.g (#48800533) Attached to: Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

In New Zealand, income from a job where you are an employee (most people) is handled by a system called PAYE (pay as you earn). It's automatically deducted from your pay.

Bank account interest is handled by RWT (residents witholding tax), automatically deducted from your interest. If you're not in the top tax bracket you need to tell your bank, or they will overtax you.

Every year you can, if you wish, ask for a "personal tax summary" which states income and tax. If you paid too much tax, e.g. if you took unpaid leave, said overpayment will automatically be refunded. If your RWT rate was wrong you can ask for a refund of that, too.

If you made donations you send in a form (1 page) with receipts, and get a refund.

If you're a small business/self employed/etc then yes, you have to work out how much tax you are supposed to pay. But most people aren't in that situation.

Isn't that what IT people do? Optimise for the common case?

Comment: Re:Google doesn't have a monopoly on ANYTHING. (Score 1, Informative) 334

by don.g (#48439119) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Silly question, but is a company which tries very hard to pay no tax on its profits a "legitimate business" or a leech on society?

Yes, I know they do neat stuff, as do many other companies. Yes, many other large companies legally avoid taxes. They're leeches too.

Yours sincerely, someone who likes his tax-funded healthcare and education systems. [can you guess I'm not in the US?]

Comment: Re: Thanks for the fraud, Turbotax (Score 1) 410

In New Zealand most people don't need to file a tax return at all. If you ask the tax department they will send you a Personal Tax Summary which states what they think you earnt and paid in tax. If it says you paid too much they will automatically issue you with a refund.

The only paperwork I do for personal tax is to sent in my donation receipts to get a tax credit. I did this yesterday, took less than half an hour.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 225

by don.g (#47528273) Attached to: Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

I have a similar experience, although there is some stuff I would like to do that's a pain:

* Photo managment with Shotwell -- not enough local storage
* Video editing with PiTiVi -- not enough local storage or horsepower (not that I've tried, don't think crouton/xephyr support video acceleration)

I was going to leave an old PC on to remote into for stuff like that, but it's deciding to be unreliable and I need a way to automatically suspend it to save power.

Comment: Re:It won't matter anyway (Score 1) 78

by don.g (#47249987) Attached to: EU, South Korea Collaborate On Superfast 5G Standards

Wow. I'm in a small city (43,000 inhabitants) in New Zealand, and have fibre at home. NZD99/mo, 30Mbps down, 10Mbps up, really unlimited, no "fair use clause." I could pay another NZD30/mo if I wanted 100Mbps down, 50Mbps up, and those prices are likely to come down pretty soon. The government is funding a rollout of the fibre network to most of the country's urban population.

If I wasn't in a fibre area there's a 50% chance (providing I was urban) I could get VDSL. And if not, I'd still be able to get 10Mbps ADSL2 unless I was somewhere semi-rural, at which point the speeds degrade to what you're getting in Seattle.

I've been to the USA. Your cellular networks have terrible reception -- I remember having no reception in a restaurant in downtown San Francisco -- and are far too expensive. Just as your ISPs are capping your previously unlimited fixed-line connections, ours are uncapping theirs.

Comment: Re:Level playing field (Score 1) 347

they will act like any other local utility and tell you to wait 5 years until they gather enough data that there is a demand for it, then take another few years to study the problem, then spend another 5 years begging for money in the budget and finally upgrading the network

Actually, go check out Wilson, North Carolina. They embarrassed Time Warner so badly, Time Warner strongarmed the state into making municipal broadband illegal. It creates a lot of cognitive dissonance with the "government can't do anything right" crowd.

Which is hilarious considering the current system is just government-granted monopoly anyway, yet they defend it voraciously because, uh...privatization!

Comment: Re:Contracting? (Score 1) 477

by Gizzmonic (#46936303) Attached to: Sony Warns Demand For Blu-Ray Diminishing Faster Than Expected

Netflix is better because they'll stream you 4K video if your TV (and connection) will support it. That's roughly 4x the resolution of 1080p, which I think is as high as standard Blu-Ray will go.

OK, so Netflix has "4k" streams just like VHS-sourced garbage on Youtube is "720p". The source of the video, and the encoding itself, is much more important than the final resolution.

That 12 megapixel smartphone with the tiny lens isn't going to be taking front-page photos for the Boston Globe for the same reason.

Blu-ray is still the best quality consumer format out there, period. Netflix is focused on the smallest files, and the "HD" streams turn into a chunky mess during high-motion scenes.

I hate defending Blu-ray for numerous reasons (DRM, 'standard' that actually wasn't for the first few years, slow menus, etc) but the video and audio quality really is the best we have.

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out! -- Ken Thompson