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Comment: Re:To be fair... (Score 4, Informative) 434

by dnahelicase (#43239401) Attached to: Internet Sales Tax Vote This Week In US Senate

Use tax is arguably unconstitutional due to the interstate commerce clause, and that is why states do not enforce it. They can wield the moral force of "this is the law" to those that don't know better and get them to put it on their tax returns, but they won't go after those who don't pay because they're afraid to lose. The states' end game has been a federal authorization for the states to collect sales tax because it would put them on much more solid legal ground.

You've clearly never been through a sales/use tax audit as a business.

They do not feel like it's unconstitutional, and are not afraid to enforce it. it's not a "moral force" - it actually is the law. You cannot get out of state entities to collect sales taxes for you, but if they can show that you have nexus in a state, they can make you collect them. If you buy things from anywhere, in or out of state, as a purchaser you must pay use tax on it. It's not a suggestion for the ignorant - it is the law that you report your untaxed purchases.

Technically you owe this on everything, even those things that have been taxed by other states - it's just that most states agree to reciprocity.

There is very little gray area here. As an individual they probably won't go after you, but businesses that are supposed to collect sales tax (including those without a physical presence) and pay use tax - they go after you like wolves.

A universal rule for everyone would be a dream for those that process sales taxes. It's ridiculous the amount of time that is spent figuring out which sales are taxable, what jurisdiction those are in (the state, county, city, LOST, misc taxes) and how to report and pay those.

Comment: Re:dem Economics (Score 5, Funny) 255

by dnahelicase (#43182585) Attached to: Nvidia Walked Away From PS4 Hardware Negotiations

My thought is that tablets will allow us to extend games and make them portable. For example, I would have loved to have been able to play Skyrim on the PS3 and the Tablet: The PS3 at home and the Tablet when on the road. Saved games would be synched to the cloud, similar to what Steam does today, and downloaded to the tablet so that you could pick up where you left the game. The capabilities of tablets would have to improve quite a bit before this happens, but it is coming...

I was thinking the same things as I was playing sim city the other day....man it would be nice if this game was synched to the cloud...

Comment: Re:Console margins can't be good (Score 5, Insightful) 255

by dnahelicase (#43182551) Attached to: Nvidia Walked Away From PS4 Hardware Negotiations

You're making the assumption that they thought about this. The people involved in the decision probably numbered in the dozens tops, with most of them marketing and finance people. With the way companies seem to be run to realize maximum profits in the short term these days, it's even possible they realized this but turned down the long term gain anyway.

Given the fact that we're talking about AMD and Nvidia, my guess is that it was a thoughtful decision.

The fact that they have walked away before, that AMD is in previous consoles, and that everyone is continuously crying (from the tech world and wall street alike) that AMD is near it's end (even though it's not), it sounds like they might have made a good decision.

AMD is going to spend a lot of time making a low margin product that is going to be outdated next year but one that they have to keep spending resources and time on for years. Nvidia is going to be spending their time on supercomputer applications, drivers, and pushing their image as a higher end card.

Sometimes you walk away from a business deal because you want your competitor to win it.

Comment: Re:Wrong focus (Score 2) 297

by dnahelicase (#42910727) Attached to: Congress Takes Up Online Sales Tax

The problem isn't that "state taxes are too big for Amazon to figure out." They've got plenty of legal and tax representation.

The real issue is for SMALL sellers on the internet. Say, people who sell via etsy, or bands that sell albums direct to fans.

Now, suddenly, THOSE people need to understand and properly understand taxes for all 50 states, collect those taxes, and remit them to the proper time to the proper authorities. Oh, with all the necessary paperwork.

It's not just 50 states, its 50 states and each taxing jurisdiction in those states. City, county, local, and special taxing jurisdictions make sales and use tax incredibly complicated.

Comment: Re:Amazon are crazy (Score 1) 297

by dnahelicase (#42910679) Attached to: Congress Takes Up Online Sales Tax

I buy the sort of stuff that people would buy at walmart (soap, deodorant, batteries and other household goods at Amazon so I don't have to pay sales tax

Then you are probably already not following the law. Most states require that you report any goods you buy where sales tax is due, but where the retailer did not collect sales taxes.

I'm going to assume you aren't reporting those purchases at the end of the year (I believe the statistics show most people don't) but that does not mean that it's not a requirement. This legislation is about making it possible for states to collect taxes that are already due in a manner that traditional brick-and-mortar already have to deal with.

Comment: Re:Wikileaks vs. PGP (Score 1) 173

Not much more challenging.

Note that this may not block individual attacks, but it should prevent mass cable intercepts.

It is much more challenging when all your data is in the cloud. You're communications might be secure, but if the low-level tech hired by the subcontracted firm that supports the datacenter for the company that the government has hired for "the cloud" decides to download all your information, then it doesn't matter how secure your communications are.

Comment: Re:Security in the Cloud is harder, more experts n (Score 1) 173

And who notices when all the corporate data you have, which can be accessed by anyone in the world with just a username and password, starts getting downloaded in central China, or Estonia?

Or who cares? That cloud provider lets you setup usernames and passwords, and tell you it's secure. Your employees go home, where they've recently downloaded "AVG Super Microsoft Spyware Buster Plus" for a small fee, and now your corporate data is available on bittorrent.

If you call that cloud provider and complain, they say "our users can work anywhere in the world, it's "the cloud

Comment: Re:Looking forward to it (Score 2) 173

Oh, good. IT departments are going away. Is this when users finally stop calling me because they hid their whatsit toolbar in Outlook and they don't know what they did and they need it back and they don't know how to get it back and why is it so technical??!?!!!?!

Good. Maybe I'll get some real work done instead of bouncing between Slashdot and walking users through basic functions of Microsoft Office for the billionth time. Glad that users don't need my help anymore.

Actually, I think this will be going away in the next 10-15 years. Sure, stupid users will still exist out there, but I see 3 year olds texting now. The idea that you "learn" computers is going away.

Kids are learning how to use computers, iPads, and random electronic interfaces before they can read. Just in the people we've hired in the past 5 years I see a huge difference. The "experienced" computer user from 5 years ago has a harder time learning new software than the "inexperienced" (right out of HS and no training) computer users today.

They might need help and have stupid questions, but I think the days of "I don't know how to do this because it looks different" are going away.

Comment: Re:Hah (Score 1) 173

I cringe when I hear of small shops that host their own email. I've seen vets and dentists that run their own outdated, unpatched, backup-deficient exchange servers. Even for companies that have 50-100 people, outsourcing email can be a very good practice. It's cheap, relatively secure, and has a professional team behind it. Once you get above 100 people or so, have a real IT crew and budget, you have to really think about the cloud.

When it goes down, there's basically nobody to call, and if MS or Google decides that you are going to change platforms or security settings, there's really nothing you can do about it.

Comment: Re:Problem? (Score 1) 644

While it's true that the fossil fuel companies have benefited from political largesse over the years, including special perks, they're hardly unique in that regard. It seems to me that most people who complain about subsidies to fossil fuel companies, especially those who don't complain about similar subsidies to industries which they favor, have an axe to grind and ought to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

I actually do complain about other companies receiving subsidies, but given the fact that this story was about solar and natural gas, that is what we are discussing here. However, they do benefit from a number of subsidies not available to other industries, but that's a very complicated issue to discuss in a comment (which is why I've given a range).

Corporate welfare is a bigger problem in this country than many other types of handouts, and giving them to the most profitable companies, that are granted exclusive rights to drill by the government, can easily be argued that it against the public interest.

Fossil fuel subsidies aren't just a problem in the US, but around the world subsidies are an issue. The IEA claims they are the biggest enemy to green energy.

Just because many companies have their hand out doesn't mean it's alright for fossil fuel companies to do it. We should stop where it makes sense (ie grossly profitable industries that don't compete in a free market) and support them where they do make sense (ie young technology that could eventually get us out of middle eastern interests and leave the planet easier for our children to live in).

I find people that don't complain about fossil fuel subsidies don't have an axe to grind; they tend to not care enough to be informed.

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