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Comment: Re:Lottery scratch tickets; not so random (Score 1) 166

by edb (#46283555) Attached to: Why Improbable Things Really Aren't

Yeah, well, we run raffle/lotteries several times a month. The wadded-up mumbles of paper are *not* the ones that get pulled out when we're fishing for winners. Just sayin'.

Nor are the illegible scribbles even considered as possible winners. "Penmanship, people! PENMANSHIP!" If I can't read your winning name, then you ARE NOT the winner.

This is especially funny because our market is elementary school teachers. Yes: the ones who should be teaching children how to write legibly.

Yeah, right...

Comment: Re:More regulation = less choices (Score 2) 214

by edb (#43921361) Attached to: Amazon Delivering Groceries? It's Coming, Thanks To Sales-Tax Politics

Be careful whereof you pontificate. Different states have different laws.

In California, what you said is largely correct. The seller is responsible for remitting the sales tax to the state, whether it was collected from the purchaser or not. In fact, if the seller collects less than is due, the seller must remit the full amount due; if the seller collects more than the amount due, the seller must remit the entire amount collected (i.e. can not keep any overcharged tax).

In Pennsylvania, and perhaps other states, it is specifically ILLEGAL for the seller to include the sales tax amount in the retail price. The seller is legally REQUIRED to collect the sales tax as a separate amount from the purchaser. Or at least this was true a few years ago when my company was selling at a conference in Pennsylvania; it may not be true today, but the law was made quite clear to sellers at the event.

This is just a tiny, tiny hint of the complexity of the sales tax situation nationally. Also consider that a specific food item may be taxable in some states and not in others. Indeed, that same food item might be taxable in some jurisdictions (city, county) within a state, and not in others within that same state.

And then get into whether the purchaser is exempt from sales tax or not. For example, in many states, schools do not pay sales tax. In others, they do. It gets very interesting when a teacher goes to a professional conference in another state, and will not be reimbursed for any amount charged for sales tax even though the sale is not exempt in the state where it took place.

Comment: Re:From TFA: (Score 2) 259

by edb (#42713471) Attached to: How Newegg Saved Online Retail

Most settlements are self-contained, and are not affected by outside events or court judgments. A settlement by definition is a short-cut to circumvent going to trial; that pretty much limits its scope in both directions. The settlement does not affect other litigation (outbound effect = 0) nor is it affected by other litigation (inbound effect = 0).

If other parties to other lawsuits which have settled agree to reopen those settled (i.e. closed) suits, then they are open game. Otherwise, them's the rules of the game.

The incentive to settle is both to reduce the current thread and also to avoid future exposure. Every settlement includes language to include both past and possible future liability.

The extent of that agreement is the question.

Comment: Re:Wireless has congestion (Score 2) 161

by edb (#41210951) Attached to: The Danger In Exempting Wireless From Net Neutrality

No. This is not what Net Neutrality means. Net Neutrality means giving the same priority to the same type of traffic (voice, data, SMS, etc.) categorized by data type, and most especially NOT categorized by source provider. Net Neutrality means that a carrier should treat all voice calls equally, even if the call originates/terminates/transits a provider other than the carrier.
For example, Sprint should not give higher priority to digital voice packets from a Sprint source than they would to digital voice packets from a Verizon source. AT&T should not allow full bandwidth to streamed video from AT&T movie archives but throttle video from UTube.
Emergency voice traffic would warrant higher priority categorization than normal voice traffic. But the important point is the *type* of traffic, not the source of the funding that pays for it.

Comment: Re:HTTP Policies (Score 5, Interesting) 273

by edb (#39610855) Attached to: Some Hotspot Operators Secretly Intercept, Insert Ads In Web Pages

Without exception, in traveling to >30 hotels each year for the past [wayyy too many years], the higher the per-night rate for the hotel, the more the nickel-and-dime charges for what should be included as part of the accomodations.

< $100/night usually includes:
    - FREE wifi, unspecified throughput, non-public IP
    - FREE incoming phone calls
    - FREE incoming faxes
    - FREE outgoing phone calls up to 30 min
    - FREE computer near lobby for guest use
    - FREE document printing for reasonable # pages
    - FREE microwave oven in the room
    - FREE mini-fridge in the room
    - FREE pillows & linens on the bed
    - FREE pull-out drying line for laundry in the bathroom
    - coin-op laundry for hotel guests

> $100/night often imposes charges for:
    - WIFI: $12.95+tax per day
    - public IP: additional $10+tax per day
    - incoming faxes: $.50/page
    - outgoing phone calls: AT&T Operator rates + 200% surcharge
    - document printing: $.50/page
    - fridge in room: $25 per night, special request
    - microwave in room: $25 per night, special request
    - linens: changed every 3 days at no charge, no discount for multi-day stay
    - laundry: 24-48 hr turnaround; $5.00 per shirt, $10.00 per pants, don't even ask about other items!

Comment: Re:Cant stop a moving train (Score 4, Insightful) 234

by edb (#39610777) Attached to: New CISPA Cybersecurity Bill Even Worse Than SOPA

Unrelated amendments should not be allowed to be attached to any proposed legislation. This kind of nonsense is and always has been an abuse of the system, and has been exploited by both parties forever.

Congress could very easily amend its rules to prohibit unrelated riders to legislation. But since congress-critters are the very animals that benefit from the hidden sleight-of-hand, it's unlikely they would take this course on their own.

We can't even get this done in California, where the Initiative Process lets anything get on the ballot. How can we possibly get this idea passed at the Federal level?

Comment: Valuable skill for smuggler lookout? (Score 1) 311

by edb (#39041327) Attached to: Followup: Ultraviolet Vision After Cataract Surgery

I vaguely remember a fictional story I read ~20 years ago about someone who had had recent cataract surgery and was kidnaped by smugglers, forced to be their spotter watching for a signal from a UV flashlight on a boat offshore running dark. The story made a point about how people with cataract surgery but no implanted replacement lenses were able to sense UV light (not necessarily "see", but sense).

Comment: Re:Are you selling the brand? (Score 1) 113

by edb (#39041237) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Smartest Way To Transfer an Old Domain/Site?

gmail.com may be around for a long time. But you may decide at some point, for whatever reason, that you do not want Google Gmail to be handling your email. It's pure hell to change to a new email address, much harder than changing a phone number, because senders' records of what they *think* is your email address last essentially forever. Not at all like a little black phone book.

Domain names are cheap, as low as $5 a year depending on the Registrar you use, but certainly easy to find for less than $10/year. Buy one for your personal use. They're not just for business any more!

Set up your private/personal/vanity domain so that email gets handled by whatever email service provider you are using for the moment. Change providers when you want, for whatever reason. Your email address doesn't need to change.

Benefit: if you own the whole domain, you can change the "local" part (to the left of the '@') any time you want if the S/N ratio goes bad due to spam.

It took more than a century to get phone number portability, so that you can take your phone number with you when you change phone service providers. It's built into the email system, if you use it correctly.

And since domain names are quite cheap, compared to the "Old Days", by all means use a different one for a hobby or small business, from Day One, separate from your personal domain. Then you don't have to struggle to separate your personal life from your hobby-become-business from your small-business-just-sold.

Comment: Re:Step 1 (Score 2) 113

by edb (#39040855) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Smartest Way To Transfer an Old Domain/Site?

Please don't generate a new email message, that's a potential source of new spam.

Much better to configure your SMTP server to reject the email at SMTP connect time, with the error message containing the new address to use. The error message usually ends up visible to the human sender, and spam 'bots will ignore it.

Comment: Re:Who cares (Score 1) 239

by edb (#38836847) Attached to: Jailbreaking Could Soon Become Illegal Again

There's a pie-chart meme several years old:
http://artandavarice.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/record-company.gif

That graphic might be derived from information in this article from the 1990s:
http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

I've not been able to find a direct source for that famous pie chart, let alone the original data source. But in my experience as a musician and publisher, it's plausible.

[heed the signature]

Comment: Re:Ah yes, the bunny ears lawyer cliche (Score 1) 491

by edb (#34774126) Attached to: When Smart People Make Bad Employees

Oh, yeah. That's what I'm talkin' about!

More seriously, the link is a totally valuable yet MF time sink! I mean both valuable and time-sink. This is what the Web was meant to be: a twisty maze of clickable links, all of which are fascinating to read and may sink your time

I did sink quite a bit of time into reading the presented data/trivia. I'm amazed at how much information was readily available at a click or two.

Nicely done!

Round Numbers are always false. -- Samuel Johnson

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