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Comment: Re:Had to do paper for a few years (Score 1) 379

by Slugster (#46760169) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?
I send my taxes on a paper 1040. The first year they had the free-E-filing I could not get it to work*, so I said 'fuck them' and mail paper every year. The issue I had with e-filing was that I could not do it, because I did not have a printer.

To use the free filing websites, you had to go to the federal one and it didn't give you a 1040-like form, it gave you an idiot question-and-answer format. So you could not capture screenshots of the form as it was being completed.... When I finished with the federal, a window popped up asking if I wanted to print, but it would not allow normal Windows .xps printing and did not allow viewing the print results on-screen, and I had no other virtual printer software. So I could not get any visual copy of the Federal return, and you need a couple numbers off that to do the state return. And you had to proceed directly from the federal free-e-file site to your state's free-e-file site, or else the state filing was not free.... and all the websites let you go all the way through and fill everything out and then tell you at the END that you will have to pay.

So I ended up filling out paper copies of both anyway, and have ever since. Fuck them and their idiot websites. Apparently they are still struggling with the concept of "paperless filing", since now you don't get to waste forms THEY provided, you have to print your OWN forms to waste.

If they just had a way to fill out and email a 1040 PDF, that would be great--but there is apparently no free way to do that.

Comment: Re:Taking one course solves a "shortage"? (Score 1) 147

by Slugster (#46465463) Attached to: How St. Louis Is Bootstrapping Hundreds of Programmers

So you want someone who is experienced, willing to work for dirt cheap in a boring shitty job, in a boring place, with no perks? ...

This is really the problem with 'finding programmers in the St Louis area'..... --Or at least, it was ~10 years back when I tried getting into the field.
The educational requirements and experience that companies wanted was way out of line with what they were willing to pay, and they were generally unwilling to allow any flexibility in either regard.

The whole thing with the online course seems odd. It's just going to give local businesses more applications they already don't want.

Comment: Re:Tech answer? (Score 1) 352

by Slugster (#46413141) Attached to: Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

How about some sort of shutter covering your license plate, which shuts or otherwise becomes opaque when the car is turned off? Would that be legal?

In some states it is already illegal to put any kind of cover over a car's license plates.

The law originated with the louvered covers that were designed to block off-angle observation (so that the stationary radar gun wagons by the side of the road could not get a clear pic of your license plate as you sped by).

Comment: Re:But, it is illegal (Score 1) 166

by Slugster (#46386567) Attached to: Invention Makes Citibikes Electric

NYC has decided that electric bikes, an overall great idea, are illegal, as they are sorta "motor vehicles", and as such, don't comply with motorcycle regulations ...

This is really the 'problem' with motorized bicycles in the USA. There is no unified legislative support to allow them. Each state has its own rules.

Some states do allow both electric and gasoline-powered bicycles, with various restrictions and requirements. A few allow registering them as mopeds, plates and all. Other states don't allow them in any form.

Some states only allow electrics, and while that seems like an okay deal it isn't... It's like saying "you can own a car but it has to be all-electric",,, and what does that mean? Way higher cost and way less range than a comparable-powered gasoline option would be, despite all the Consumer Reports praise for the Tesla.

Also I tend to suspect that there are two invisible issues:
US cities really don't want to have to deal with all the problems that a huge increase in cyclists would cause. Also-
The US economy is inflationary and so the government isn't interested in anything getting cheaper than before. You trading your car for a motorized bicycle would be a savings of thousands of dollars a year for you--but for govt bureaucrats, it would be a loss of thousands of dollars spent into the economy each year. Why would they ever want that to happen?

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 1) 130

by Slugster (#46212009) Attached to: Boom Or Bust: The Lowdown On Code Academies
Coding doesn't pay enough to offset the degree costs in the USA.
There is a few reasons for that, none of which you and I can do anything about,,, except for not playing the game at all, because whoever wins, isn't going to be us. The observation that young people seem to have realized that is a good thing (for the kids!), not a bad one.

My advice to young kids now is "don't go into debt for schooling to do anything that can be off-shored". That rules out a lot of technical fields at once, but it is the truth. Coding is becoming a third-world job skill, like medical transcription or making tennis shoes. You might like it, it might be difficult and you might be GREAT at it--but its usefulness as a source of income depends on economics you cannot control.

Comment: US employers can't use skills testing anymore (Score 4, Interesting) 59

by Slugster (#45707521) Attached to: EdX Drops Plans To Connect MOOC Students With Employers
A US Supreme Court case found that if an employer was using skills testing that resulted in racial discrimination, then they were guilty of racial discrimination if they intended to be discriminating or not:

The court case is "Griggs vs. Duke Power"
For an explanation, see-
http://www.popecenter.org/commentaries/article.html?id=1749

The only kind of testing that US companies can use now without fear of discrimination lawsuits, is educational requirements. Ridiculous but true.

Comment: And the biggest ones are on paper... (Score 2) 189

by Slugster (#45638927) Attached to: eBay CEO: Amazon Drones Are Fantasy
And what happens when an Amazon drone smacks into someone's face walking down the street? ,,,,,,, Everything on amazon goes up $1 in price, that's what. ;)

The drone-package-delivery story seems to be rather unrealistic to me, just for the liability reasons--considering the one guy who died after flying his own RC helicopter into his head.

More likely they would just hire local people to deliver stuff using their own cars for minimum wage (or not-much-more than minimum wage).

Comment: Captive markets and planned obsolescence (Score 1) 237

by Slugster (#45469491) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Trust Online Tax Software?
This was sort-of my understanding of the big popular tax software also,,,,, that if you use the online services or not, the package is still only going to function for one year. And it's no accident.

A friend spent a number of hours over a few weeks entering tax info into a (big-well-known) program they had purchased the previous tax-year, figuring they'd just print it out and mail everything in, because they couldn't e-file it because it wasn't a current version,,,, and guess what? "Sorry, you need an upgrade to print. Click here to go to our website" -- or something to that effect.

Comment: because words is evil (Score 1) 308

by Slugster (#45457477) Attached to: Google and Microsoft To Block Child-Abuse Search Terms
A few years back a PC of mine got a virus. The main thing that the AV software said was that it had the signature of the "fuckyou" virus.

So I went looking online for info on how it might be removed, and found...... almost nothing. Because most forum software automatically censors the word "fuck", as well as any of its close variants. As did most of the antivirus company websites. One of them didn't--one of the bigger ones, Norton or McAfee. That was the only place that had any info on it.

So get ready for the "childporn" viruses. As soon as that word becomes unsearchable, there is no reason for malware writers not to use it to their own benefit.

Comment: How about just battery fires also? (Score 4, Insightful) 264

by Slugster (#45373671) Attached to: Tesla Fires and Firestorms: Let's Breathe and Review Some Car Fire Math
It is not useful to simply compare the rate of vehicle fires. That is important, but it is only half of the question.

What would be useful would be to also compare the rate of non-Tesla car fires originating from the battery, with that of Teslas.

It would not be advantageous for Teslas to have 'essentially eliminated" the risk of fuel fires, if doing so also include drastically increasing the risk of battery fires.

Comment: Into the abyss (Score 1) 202

by Slugster (#45294659) Attached to: Panasonic Announces an End To Plasma TVs In March
Plasmas were my last best hope--but when I went browsing online some months back, I couldn't find any dedicated PC monitors for sale and didn't want to pay for a TV.... -and couldn't find much of any high-quality CRTs either. Is there any PC screens (for desktop use) that don't have the LCD viewing angle issue?

{-that being, that the image at the top edge is never the same color as the image at the bottom edge-}

A few years ago I "upgraded" my CRT Viewsonic monitors to new-fangled fancy widescreen LCDs. The wide-screen part is nice, but I've come to realize that the LCD part sucks.

Comment: Re:Fail-safe (Score 1) 305

by Slugster (#45116995) Attached to: Xerox "Routine Backup Test" Leave 17 States Without Food Stamps

One of the news articles mentioned that merchants were supposed to record transactions manually and allow purchases up to $50. ...

The one I work for didn't. But then, they couldn't. There is no mode programmed into the (computerized) cash register system in the stores to allow such a thing (at least at the chain I work at).

Also, the lack of such a capability may be no accident. With no way to verify that a card was still good or had money on it, well, -the people might, um, forget how much they're really supposed to get? And get a lot more. Especially expensive stuff....

I am not in a position where I would make that decision--but I would presume that without a guarantee that the govt would cover 100% of all charges during such an outage, there's no way stores are going to take EBT cards they can't instantly verify. A lot of these same people already can't write checks, because the store's check-cashing system won't accept checks from them.

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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