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Comment: Re:Finland (Score 1) 382

by RubberDogBone (#46763473) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

American tax code is sometimes called "The Lawyers and Accountants Retirement Act" because the complexity ensures lots of work to do for those professions until they retire to small private islands.

Paradoxically, there is a saying in Washington that any law with the word "act" in the name manages to do exactly the opposite of whatever is says it does. But since there is no actual act named this, it does not counter itself and thus they get to keep the work.

Comment: Simple and only a few rules (Score 1) 382

by RubberDogBone (#46763445) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

My taxes are deliberately setup to withhold extra, because I stink at saving money and I know it. So this way it just happens, and I get a refund every year. One year I had to pay a few hundred bucks I didn't have so this also makes sure I have plenty of cushion in case something goes wacky and I owe.

It so happens tax refund season also falls right on the time when I need annual work done on my car, which I would not otherwise have the money to cover. So that's what I do with my little refund every stinking year. Car repairs.

Anyway, the moment my W2 is available for download from my payroll company, I ask HR if that's final. Because sometimes they revise it. And THAT sucks if you have already filed. Once I get a final W2, I run it through one of the online tax software things mainly to see where the numbers fall. They'll let you get all the way to the end before you have to pay. Normally I do this through two competing products to see if they have the same results. So far, they always have.

If I am due a refund, I file that part of it immediately. Typically a Federal refund posts in a week. This year, I filed on Jan 31 and had a refund on February 6.

Normally I owe a little to my state. $23 this year. If I owe, I mail it around April 14. No need to pay them early.

Now I have a very simple income. One job, plain W2. I used to own stocks outright and that messed things up badly for me. Have to do all this depreciation and interest basis whatsit junk. HUH? All I wanted to do was own a few shares in companies I admire or use or liked or whatever, totally a whopping $30 or something. Wasn't trying to make money and didn't. But those few symbolic shares did cause a paperwork nightmare as 1099s started coming in after I've already sent in my tax form and spent my little refund and forgotten all about it. What do you mean I get a 1099 for ONE share of something that lost money? wtf do I do now? I already filed.

I never could figure out what to do with all that stuff but since the shares were worth approximately 10 bucks and had lost value, I ignored it and presumed the IRS would not bother to audit something so small. They never said a word. The one company I really liked went private, from which I got jack. The sale price per share was practically nil. And that ended my desire to have anything to do with stocks. So yeah don't do it. Let your 401(k) do it.

Comment: Re:not just the uk (Score 1) 109

by RubberDogBone (#46752637) Attached to: Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

I call BS. Pro phone thieves and their buyers know to pull the battery as soon as they steal a phone. Without power, no tracking.

This is trivial on Android/Windows Phone/BB (not that anyone wants to steal the latter two) and even on iPhones, it's not very hard to pull the cover off and remove the battery (was two screws on an iPhone 4, plus a screw for the battery cable, well under 30 seconds to do it), or pop it into a faraday bag for later handling.

Nobody stealing phones with half a brain would ever allow themselves to be caught with one that has GPS actively reporting their position. Only low-level idiots would do that.

Comment: Re:IANA Physicist, So... (Score 1) 630

by RubberDogBone (#46709639) Attached to: Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

So? Congrats, you have found the enemy ship with the really powerful gun they just fired at yo- yeah it sort of stops being a thought about then.

There hasn't been ship-to-ship gun battles in decades so nobody knows what it would even be like if opfor went at it with these weapons. But I bet they'd have a pretty good idea where the enemy was even before they fired this thing, and once they did fire it, they'd know for sure they were about to get a headache.

The real question is, what the heck do they DO about it once they know they're being fired upon by this thing? You do, of course, what you'd do versus a conventional round, which all depends on the tactics being used for that particular battle. Sometimes you take hits for the team, too. So you let the supergun take out some non-critical assets while something more useful or valuable does other work.

Comment: Re:no kidding (Score 1) 465

Scrapheap Challenge was perhaps the very first of the modern reality shows, and always mostly honest about needing something that was competitive AND looked good on TV. Cathy Rogers and Robert Llewellyn have both said they had a show to make, afterall. Something entertaining needed to come out, even if it was a disaster. (The later US-produced seasons completely rejected these aspects in favor of JUST making stupid TV Hollywood style. Was very happy when that version was cancelled. Just garbage TV there at the end.)

I found their approach of sundown mostly OK compared to the other shows where there is some sort of arbitrary clock running and a mad rush to meet it, although there is no particular reason for any of the panic. For example, the home renovation shows that have "five days!!!!" to do some project. Reality is, they could take as long as they want to make it work, barring budget. The mad rush is just to add urgency.

And if I recall, there was at least one Scrapheap episode where one of the machines failed immediately. They showed that and also showed the opposing team step in to help get it going. The early-seasons attitude on THAT show was at least competitive with comradery.

Comment: Re:Flight recorder (Score 1) 491

by RubberDogBone (#46570335) Attached to: How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

When you get right down to it, life is 100% fatal. Everybody who is alive is going to die. Everybody who was alive and is not any more, has died. Everybody born tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the day after that, is going to die.

All of them tragic and sad and with loved ones left behind, but nothing can stop death. Nothing.

Comment: People are next, if not already (Score 1) 405

by RubberDogBone (#46560441) Attached to: L.A. Police: <em>All</em> Cars In L.A. Are Under Investigation

If every car can be automatically worth investigating, then so can people. After all, cars don't do anything without people at the controls (at least for now anyway), so if a car is interesting, then the driver must be absolutely fascinating.

And it won't matter if the driver is walking down the street or driving, they might drive soon. Heck, if you buy alcohol in LA, they should go ahead and book you for DUI because, you know, you might drive. Or beat your wife or kids in a drunken rage, set the house on fire and go on a stabbing rampage in a hair salon. You might do these things. Might as well assume you will. Stand still while we book you for murder in that hair salon. Wouldn't want to accidentally have you fight with arresting officers.

Comment: The moon, alice (Score 1) 48

by RubberDogBone (#46490073) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Jonathan Coulton What You Will

So, Joco, I had no idea who the hell you were when I stumbled across the PopSci podcast from the moon, which was really awesome and still what I think of when I think of your work. Not all these songs everybody else thinks of. No, for me it's a wacky but informative podcast.

So what happened? Why did they stop? How come you don't talk about them?

Comment: What IF it was a car that turned into a robot!? (Score 1) 330

by RubberDogBone (#46480067) Attached to: What If the Next Presidential Limo Was a Tesla?

What's the point of pointless what-ifs? It will not be a Tesla, or a Taurus or a Leaf or whatever. It'll probably be a Tahoe or another limo.

And by the way, there will be more than one of them. They always send at least two identical vehicles, and keep spares on stand by.

Comment: Re:Makes a kind of sense (Score 1) 519

by RubberDogBone (#46432353) Attached to: Massachusetts Court Says 'Upskirt' Photos Are Legal

Yeah I get that the logic is different. The court decided based on the exact wording of the law, which they are changing last I heard. One worries about laws rushed into battle; but one worries more about the laws they spend time trying to pass. Good results are rare.

Laws have a serious need to catch up to the 21st century. A local case where involved a man who emailed pictures of his parts to a recipient who didn't want them. The police got involved and prosecuted under laws related to sending unsolicited porn without an envelope over the pictures marking them as adult content or some such thing that you have to do when you send unsolicited porn. The judge threw out the case on the grounds that email has no envelope so it simply didn't apply. The law had no concept or provision for what happened, and one could wonder why the police chose that route. But it didn't work. Obsolete law.

My pondering on the expectation of privacy is just that I would have none if I wore a kilt, for example. While I certainly would not expect upkilting, the only thing keeping it from happening is expectation of proper behavior on the part of other people. History shows counting on people to behave is not necessarily a good idea.

That's one of the reasons there are so many laws, after all: to encourage compliance and penalize the offenders. However in the case of a kilt or dress or skirt, this particular problem can be prevented entirely by choosing to wear a garment not vulnerable to such invasions.

Oh now I know this sounds too much like "her clothes = she asked for it" but I think that's a totally different (and rightfully ridiculous) thing. I am not suggesting bottomless clothing = any invite to anything, however I chose to dress tactically for the environment I plan to be in. From shirt to shoes to whatever covers my legs. I was in an environment where upkilting was likely, I would probably wear something else, same as if I was going to be in thick brush or spiny plants or walking on broken glass or hot furnace slag.

Yes I would go out into the world assuming there would be jerks with shoe cameras everywhere. And I would make it difficult to catch me and more difficult for them to remain walking and capable of reproduction afterward. I have a fondness for knees. And every jerk with a shoe camera usually has two of them. :P

Comment: Makes a kind of sense (Score 1) 519

by RubberDogBone (#46425487) Attached to: Massachusetts Court Says 'Upskirt' Photos Are Legal

This decision makes a kind of sense to me, and it's not difficult to understand. A woman in a dress or skirt wears that clothing with the knowledge that a breeze, for example, could come along and remove whatever modesty might exist. The classic Marilyn Monroe/Subway vent thing.

Therefore, there could not be an expectation of privacy when that type of clothing is worn. Because exposure can be an issue and a risk that is just accepted, or else they'd wear something else.

As a guy, I don't understand a lot of why women do what they do, such as carrying handbags and wearing clothes with no bottom like a dress or skirt, and how this manages to happen across culture or continents that have nothing obvious to do with each other. But it seems to me having the wind potentially expose your privates -and with the risk that is for women, is kind of a drawback, along with the lack of protection to the legs.

FWIW I may be a neanderthal for wondering such things but I still think upskirting is horrible and not how people should behave in this society. It should be a crime because it serves no purpose except to exploit the victim or target.

Comment: HA! I am holding on to my Keurig until it breaks! (Score 1) 769

by RubberDogBone (#46392553) Attached to: The Next Keurig Will Make Your Coffee With a Dash of "DRM"

They can 2.oh this all they want. I am holding on to my Keurig B70 until the thing dies. Which, given Keurig's awful reliability, has probably already happened in 7 out of 12 universes. But for now it still works!

And when it dies, it goes back to Costco for a new one. HA! Take that Keurig!

PS: Keurig coffee is not THAT good. It's merely convenient. The company often mistakes these for being the same thing. They are not. When they DRM it all to hell and make it less convenient, it will become another -nt word and that word is irrelevant.

Comment: Re:serves them right (Score 1) 387

by RubberDogBone (#46385097) Attached to: Girl's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000

Breach and also defamation or slander as these accusations about discrimination were never actually put to a trial. The parties merely agreed to settle. With the settlement gone, and no trial, it's back to his word against theirs and clearly they have suffered some damages to their reputation in all this breach.

The only thing keeping this from being a financial bloodbath for this family is how badly the school wants to eat them alive, or not.

The end of labor is to gain leisure.