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Comment: Re:Bitcoins - Good Enough for Government Work! (Score 3, Interesting) 129

by Shakrai (#48817913) Attached to: US Government Lurked On Silk Road For Over a Year

Parts of the US government hold that Bitcoin is property, namely the IRS. However, the government certainly counts it as money with regard to money laundering - just ask Charlie Shrem.

Laundering can be done with any tangible asset, from cash to diamonds to Bitcoin. That's hardly news and doesn't suggest the Government considers Bitcoin to be a currency. Bitcoin can be considered a currency when it's legal tender for all debts, public and private. Until then it's merely an asset. The fact that some people are willing to trade it for goods and services does not make it a currency. You could exchange everything from beer to securities for goods and services. Maybe I'll start charging people shares of GOOG for my labors....

Comment: The More Things Change.... (Score 5, Insightful) 164

by Shakrai (#48817887) Attached to: The Mainframe Is Dead! Long Live the Mainframe!

.... the more they stay the same. :)

I keep telling my friends that "cloud computing" is not a new concept. We used to call them "dumb terminals." Not a precise analogy of course but close enough for our purposes. You just know that's going to come full circle in another decade or so.

Comment: Re:Air-gap. (Score 1) 177

by Shakrai (#48801807) Attached to: The Importance of Deleting Old Stuff

I have every file from every computer system from every OS upgrade/re-install. In Windows the heirarchy looks like this: C:\old c\old c\old c\old c\old c

Oh, I need that file from 1996? Well duh, it's under C:\old c\old c\old c\old c\old c\old c\old c\old c\old c\stuff\
2001? C:\old c\old c\old c\documents and settings\shakrai\my documents\

Works in Linux too, where it's just /oldroot/oldroot/oldroot/

Comment: Huey Long's Philosophy applies here.... (Score 5, Interesting) 177

by Shakrai (#48801717) Attached to: The Importance of Deleting Old Stuff

Things we used to say in person or on the phone we now say in e-mail, by text message, or on social networking platforms. ... Everything is now digital, and storage is cheap — why not save it all?

Sony illustrates the reason why not. The hackers published old e-mails from company executives that caused enormous public embarrassment to the company. They published old e-mails by employees that caused less-newsworthy personal embarrassment to those employees, and these messages are resulting in class-action lawsuits against the company.

Never Write what you can Phone;
Never Phone what you can Say;
Never Say what you can Whisper;
Never Whisper what you can Nod;
Never Nod what you can Wink.

Comment: Re:Gotta stop all those law abiding terrorists... (Score 1) 329

The terrorists have no problem with breaking the law to kill and murder people on kamikaze missions... but I'm sure they're nice reasonable people who will stop using encryption if we make it illegal.

It's worked for the gun control movement; we made carrying a firearm during the commission of a felony illegal and presto, no more gun violence.

Comment: Re:Capable, sure (Score 1) 329

ts just like the extreme NRA supporters who see anarchy around every corner and need to carry a gun when they go shopping "because its their constitutional right" to do so

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is not a "Constitutional Right." It's a Natural Right inherent to all human beings that is simply recognized by the Constitution. The Constitution does not grant us any rights, our rights are inalienable and endowed by our creator(s)

Your broader point is one of common sense, which I tend to agree with; I don't make a point of carrying my firearm with me everywhere but there are certain places where I will always carry it (the laundromat at 2AM) and recent events (a spree of strong-arm robberies in my hometown) also factor into my decision as to when and where to carry.

Comment: Re:2015: Still using Facebook (Score 1) 80

by Shakrai (#48799273) Attached to: Using Facebook Data, Algorithm Predicts Personality Better Than Friends

I'm no more "forced" to use Facebook than I am "forced" to have a cell phone. I could get by with just a landline or even no phone. It would just be massively inconvenient. It's the same with Facebook. Yes I could live without it. I choose not to. You're welcome to decide differently if you wish.

Comment: Re:Just hire a CPA (Score 0) 450

Have you ever heard of ethics?

Have you ever heard of fiduciary duty? Are you working for the IRS or your clients?

So he had just under $400 on a 1099-MISC. Since it was on a 1099-MISC it was definitely reported to the IRS.

That's obviously reportable. On the other hand, reporting "just under $400" in income that didn't come with a 1099 is pure stupidity. If I tell you I got $500 fixing someone's computer are you seriously going to tell me that needs to be reported as income? C'mon.....

Comment: Re:2015: Still using Facebook (Score 2) 80

by Shakrai (#48798671) Attached to: Using Facebook Data, Algorithm Predicts Personality Better Than Friends

Why? Why, with everything that everyone knows about Facebook, all the privacy violations, all the obvious signs that they really don't give a rat's ass about the users, just the money that users' data can earn them, would anyone still be using Facebook?

Because social networking is > than what which preceded it and Facebook has a critical mass of users that makes the alternatives (G+) pale in comparison? I have friends on five different continents. Is there an easier way to remain in contact with them? To stay abreast of the developments in their lives and to keep them current on mine? Additionally, I have friends in countries where texting isn't included in their base phone plans, so they all invariably use FB Messenger for communications that Americans would conduct over SMS. My choice is to use Facebook or to wall myself off from these people. My irritation with Facebook's nonsense is not high enough to choose the latter. Besides, FB only knows that which I choose to share; if you choose to share every single trip to the grocery store and every single sexual partner they're going to build quite the profile on you. If you're a bit more selective then they won't have as much information. Common sense applies here people.

And I'll smack the first person that responds with "just have them e-mail you"; there's a reason why social networking displaced e-mail and anyone who is going to give that glib answer should consider how they would have responded to "just have them write you" when e-mail was the "new thing."

Comment: Re:Just hire a CPA (Score 1) 450

If they only make $350 I can avoid the Schedule C by reporting it as "Other Income" on line 21 of a 1040, but I cant get that onto a 1040A or an EZ.

If they only make $350 in the side-gig why the hell would you report it? For one it was probably handled in cash, which means the IRS is clueless about it. Additionally, one of the few useful lessons I learned from a professional tax preparer was that the IRS doesn't audit people seeking to recover amounts that are worth less than the audit itself costs the IRS. Nobody ever got audited over $350 in undeclared income.

At least sweep <1099 amounts ($600) under the rug for heaven's sake....

Comment: Re:Just hire a CPA (Score 1) 450

Considering that this is one of those things that are virtually perfect for computer automation

You would think that but I've personally seen Turbotax screw up my taxes in years where I had a somewhat but not really complicated (by American standards) tax return. I can't speak for the rest of the World but in the United States your taxes are not a simple matter of mathematics. There's a logic flow involved, "Is X true? Proceed to Y." and at the end of the day if you can read the instructions you can do a better job of following the logic flow than Turbotax's programmers. It's my opinion that Turbotax is useless for anything more than 1040-EZ and if your taxes are so simplistic that you can file 1040-EZ why the hell would you pay someone else to do them for you?!

The year that Turbotax screwed up my return to the tune of $2,800 was the year that I stopped using it and started doing my taxes the "hard" way. It's not all that difficult, the hardest part is collecting the relevant information for your return and if you're enough of a geek to be reading Slashdot I assume you're enough of a geek to use some sort of financial management software. Moneydance is my personal favorite but even a well kept spreadsheet would work in a pinch. Once you have the data is simply a matter of knowing which form to file and going through it line by line. My Federal taxes take no more than two hours, my New York State taxes about three. The former can be electronically filed through Free Fillable Forms, the latter has to be done by mail, unfortunately, but most States are ahead of NYS here and provide an e-filing option for people who roll their own taxes.

Even if you outsource your taxes you're still on the hook for any errors or omissions, so what's the benefit to paying someone else to do them for you? Do them yourself, you'll save some money, learn a little bit about our tax system (and the absurdities therein) and be ultimately responsible for your own actions rather than trusting some other idiot's software to do the job for you. Of course, Americans aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer when it comes to taxes; how many people do you know that live paycheck-to-paycheck all year but get four digit refunds? A $2,000 refund is $38.46 per week that you could have had in your pocket if had bothered to fill out your W-4 properly.

Weekend, where are you?