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Comment: Re:Negotiating when desperate (Score 3, Insightful) 474

The only exception is if you're 15 years old and it's literally your first job, and in that case it's probably appropriate that the offer is for minimum wage.

So, if I'm 21 and graduating from college, I'm supposed to have enough saved to be able to turn down that first offer? I don't know about you, but I worked >50 hours / week in college (making between $10 - $20/hr at various jobs in early 2000's), and I barely kept the tuition bills paid. Granted, I basically had no debt coming out of college, which put me ahead of a lot of my peers, but I wasn't in any position to say no to a job offer and live on my luxurious (non-existent) savings.

Now that I'm ~15 years out, I do have the freedom to turn down job offers, but it's because I started out with no debt and have been able to save. For those starting off in the hole, saying "no" is a luxury they won't have for a LONG time.

Comment: Re:bullshit (Score 2) 212

Reminds me of warnings on grape juice concentrate sold during prohibition: "After dissolving the brick in a gallon of water, do not place the liquid in a jug away in the cupboard for twenty days, because then it would turn into wine."

Could we get something similar: "After downloading the code, do not remove lines 33-67 of Encrypt.c, as this will disable the legally mandated NSA back doors"

Comment: Re:Of course they're giving a 6-year transition (Score 1) 259

by johnwallace123 (#48150409) Attached to: "Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

Well, of COURSE I didn't resell the license - that would be silly! I sold a license, but I had to pay a royalty to my wholly-owned Irish subsidiary for selling the license. It's complete coincidence that the royalty rate is 99% of the gross sales on the licenses. Thus, you can only tax me on the 1% profit that I made on that license, and that's BEFORE I deduct anything else (I'm sure I can find 1% to expense somewhere else - furniture depreciation sounds like a good idea!).

It's kinda like capital gains tax. If I sell $100 worth of MS stock, I'm not taxed on $100. Rather, I'm taxed on the difference between what I paid for it and what I got for it. If I paid $90 for that stock, I only owe taxes on $10 of capital gains income. Things get really tricky when selling for a loss, but I don't want to complicate the matter.

I know it's an oversimplification, but that's essentially the tricks that they're using. When you remove all of the accounting mumbo jumbo, it reveals the tricks for what they are: dirty, slimy ways to avoid paying taxes. (That being said, all the tricks are legal, and if I could use the tricks, I would use them to the fullest extent allowed by law as well).

Comment: Re:Of course they're giving a 6-year transition (Score 1) 259

by johnwallace123 (#48149903) Attached to: "Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

Actually, from my understanding of the loophole works this way:

MS sells a license to use Windows for $100 in Colorado. This is counted as US income. However, in the US, we don't tax revenue, we tax profit. This means that if MS had expenses of $100 for that particular license, then it would owe no US income tax on that sale. Conveniently, they have a wholly-owned subsidiary based in Ireland (but headquartered in the Cayman Islands) that is willing to sell that license for precisely $100. And just like that, no US corporate income tax for ANY license!

Granted, you now need a way to get out of the Irish income tax (which is lower than US income tax), and that's where the Dutch Sandwich comes into play. I know I'm oversimplifying things, but when you can set up new companies and transfer the "assets" for essentially the cost of a few lawyers and filing fees, avoiding taxes becomes pretty easy.

Comment: Re:Fine! (Score 1) 365

by johnwallace123 (#47996589) Attached to: Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

How can you have a standard like that if it doesn't dictate teaching methods? This is especially true for math where you don't just regurgitate the correct answer. The method is a part of the correct answer. For that you pretty much have to "dictate the teaching method".

Actually, math is probably the LAST subject where you want to "dictate the teaching method". There are over 10 ways to prove the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra; all of them are "correct" and give the answer. By dictating the teaching method, you are stating that all other proofs are incorrect, which is patently wrong.

It doesn't matter how you get 62 + 36 = 98. You can draw squares and lines, column addition, grouping by 5's, or counting on your fingers! All are valid ways of finding the answer. Some may be more efficient than others, which can impact your ability to get through all of the questions, but as long as you get the right answer, it doesn't matter how.

It's like saying "We have a programming problem, please use C to solve it". Any programmer worth his salt would walk away immediately. C may be the right approach, or the best approach could be Java, PHP, or even LISP. It's better to teach multiple methods of doing something simple, so that way when you get to something complex, you have the skills to solve it AND (more importantly) the skills to know what tool to use.

Comment: Re:Software Documentation is bad everywhere (Score 5, Insightful) 430

Have you ever USED IBM, Oracle or MS software?

I've run into scenarios with both IBM and MS where I'm looking for a specific error code, and I get into this:
Q: What is ERR:174027?
A: That's ERR:174027
*Bashes head into wall*

Commercial software might have better documentation, but a lot of the help still comes from blogs of people having the same error, which IS NOT documentation!

Comment: Re:let them so it gets thrown out? (Score 1) 286

I didn't RTFA


but wouldn't the tricky/slimy answer be "let them search it, so then all of the evidence gets thrown out"?

No, because then you've consented to the search, and there's no restriction on what they can do. By remaining silent, you likely consented to a search. Alarmingly, by remaining silent, you can waive your right to remain silent (see Salinas v. Texas).

Comment: Re:What I say (Score 2) 286

Actually, no.

"Am I being detained, or am I free to go?"

Another one of those rights that can use some excercise is the right to walk away from a police encounter. Just because a cop wants to talk to you doesn't mean that you have to talk to him. Granted, it's a good idea to not be a dick, as the cops can legally ruin your day. Be polite and direct without agreeing or admitting to anything is the best course of action.

Comment: Re:Some Good, Some Bad (Score 1) 286

Don't get physical/let them do as they please, then lawyer up."

I consider that bad advice, because it discourages people from exercising their right to defend themselves against unlawful arrest, a right that has been repeatedly verified and upheld in court.

Of course, as with any exercising any right, you do so at your own peril.

I think this piece of advice was more aimed about keeping you safe, not keeping you "right". If you start fighting with a cop because he's illegally searching your phone, you might end up catching a bullet. Since you were fighting with the cop, he thought his life was in danger, so the shooting could be "justified", even if the initial search was illegal.

You can be right, but if you're dead, it's really a pointless victory, isn't it? If the search is illegal, you can get it tossed in court (VERY easily), and then you can go after the police for damages. If you're dead, who cares?

Comment: Re:danger will robinson (Score 1) 688

by johnwallace123 (#47068255) Attached to: Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

Take a better example, like:

- 148.

Doing this in your head the traditional way would be hard.

Not really; the steps are (working from the right, of course):
1 < 8, so 1 becomes 11, 2 becomes 1, and 11 - 8 =3
1 (previously 2) < 4, so 1 becomes 11 and 3 becomes 2, 11 - 4 = 7
2 (previously 3) > 1, so 2 - 1 = 1

Answer: 173. Took me all of 10 seconds. I needed to remember at most 3 pieces of information at once (the fact that I borrowed plus what digits I had already solved). That's well under the 5 - 9 items that people can hold in short-term memory. With this method, I just need to know how to count to 20 really well, and if I'm really stuck, I can use my fingers + toes!. I use this method ALL THE TIME when tipping, to figure out "what tip to I need to make the bill X".

Granted, if I'm subtacting 10-digit numbers, the "traditional" method can get tough to do entirely in your head, which brings me to...

[T]his is the kind of math that makes people think they can't do it without assistance from paper or a calculator.

When was the last time you NEEDED to add/subtract a 3+ digit number and you didn't have a pen/paper or a calculator with you? I don't even have a smart phone, and I've got a calculator on my cell phone if things get really tricky.

But doing 52 + 21 is much easier, and doing 73 + 100 is also quite easy.

Where did 52 come from?? There's no 52 in the problem anywhere! And why are we adding 100?

The "traditional" method only looks at a single digit at a time, so you only need to know how to add 2 single digit numbers (and carry or borrow). With your method, you need to first know that 48 + X = 100, so X = 52. You're no longer doing arithmetic in your head, now you're doing algebra in your head!

Comment: Re:Don’t throw a wet blanket on science (Score 2) 86

by johnwallace123 (#46521067) Attached to: New Stanford Institute To Target Bad Science

And, frankly, even if the research isn't mistaken, but is later superseded by more advances, we should start thinking about how to attach references to those sorts of things too -- lawyers do it when drafting a statute that replaces a previous one, to avoid confusion. Scientists should figure out a mechanism to do the same.

If only there was a mechanism to refer to or cite previous work. I know... we can call them references, or citations! Awesome, I should publish a new paper telling everyone that they should use this system!!

Comment: Re:Regulation of currency - 2 issues (Score 1) 240

by johnwallace123 (#46390287) Attached to: MtGox Sets Up Call Center For Worried Bitcoiners

1) bitcoin value goes up and down, so does everything else. Live with it or dont use it.

Not everything goes up and down at the rate of bitcoin. Over the past year, the exchange rate of a bitcoin has ranged from $36 to $1151. If we consider BTC the "currency" and a single USD the "commodities basket", that gives us a deflation rate of 96%! Even if you look at today's exchange rate of ~$650, it still gives us a deflation rate of 94.5%. Never in the history of the United States has deflation gone higher than 20%. Deflation is generally considered a very bad thing in economics, and it usually coincides with a major recession.

2) Storing your bitcoins on a server owned by someone else is like giving your cash to someone you dont know. Maybe it will still be there, maybe it wont.

I just gave my entire pay check to someone I don't know! I don't know the teller at my local bank! HOLY CRAP! I should run over there to make sure that my money is still there!!! Oh, right, that's what this whole FDIC thing is meant to prevent; I like the regulation of my bank. It means that I don't have to hoard my cash and hire an armed guard to protect it while I work.

As many have stated, BTC is an investment, and a speculative one at that. A currency, it is not.

Comment: Re:So, whom to H8? (Score 3, Insightful) 325

by johnwallace123 (#46015803) Attached to: The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

Great idea!

OK, now this grad student is certified to teach high school, right (which means he double-majored in secondary education and computer science)? We can't have any uncertified teachers corrupting the minds of our youth.
Cool, and he's completed his mandatory background check that he has to pay for too, right (and that will take about a year to process)? Excellent!
And he's also going to participate in the mandatory training sessions at the high school held at 7 am, even though he isn't scheduled to come in until 1 pm.

Teaching high school is WAY different than teaching college. The barrier to entry is much higher and the requirements much different than those of a standard "industry" job. Not to mention the pay sucks. This might be a reason why the CS teacher at most high schools is a math/science teacher who knows how to use Windows and may have taken an intro to CS elective in college.

Comment: Re:^This (Score 1) 375

by johnwallace123 (#44993773) Attached to: Students Hack School-Issued iPads Within One Week

If this is true, then how come our schools are so awful?

We the people have been throwing more and more money at schoolteachers, and requiring ever-increasing levels of training and education to maintain their license to teach, yet the educational achievments of our students have been flatlined for 40 years, and have even fallen dramatically in some districts.

Have we really been throwing money at teachers? Teacher salaries have remained fairly constant in inflation-adjusted terms over the past few decades. W have definitely been throwing money at schools. With NCLB testing and gee-whiz-bang "let's give everyone a tablet" initiatives, and insanely overpaid administrators, we're spending way more, but we aren't seeing any results... hm...

Meanwhile home schooled children, taught by parents with no formal training as teachers, outperform government-schooled students so often that the high achieving home schooler has become a cultural meme, if not a cliche.

Charter schools have also been able to deliver superior results at lower cost.

Um, citation needed? Yes, some charter schools are great, but even more are worse.

No, I don't think we need professionally trained well paid teachers. What we need are voucher programs, more home schooling, teachers and schools that have to compete, the utter end to tenure of any kind, and pay/bonuses based on classroom performance instead of seniority.

Because tying pay raises to test performance doesn't give anyone an incentive to cheat. It would never happen.

Opening up the teaching profession to anyone with a bachelor's degree and a demonstrated knowledge of a subject (english, math, science) would be even better. There is no evidence that having a master's degree in early childhood education helps someone teach 3rd graders how to multiply. Let those who want to teach and who are good at it take the field, and get rid of parasitic space takers for whom a teaching job is a state-paid sinecure.

Most of all, outlaw public sector unions so that groups like the NEA aren't able to block real education reform.

I'm all for at-will employment, but let's be honest, if school systems could get away with paying teachers minimum wage, they would. After all, if all you need is demonstrated knowledge of a subject, why don't the 1st graders teach kindergarten? Too far? OK, well, certainly a high school dropout should be OK. After all, they know their colors and how to read "See Spot Run." I'm sure you wouldn't mind handing over your kids to a burnout stoner, right?

Even bytes get lonely for a little bit.