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Comment: Re:Meh (Score 1) 257

by klparrot (#48373545) Attached to: Internet Sales Tax Bill Dead In Congress

Keep in mind that Amazon still doesn't collect tax for out-of-state third-party sellers (unless the order is "Fulfilled by Amazon"). From your Amazon account page, you can download your annual purchase history in spreadsheet-compatible format, with the taxes broken out into their own column, and use that to figure what purchases still need to be accounted for for calculating use tax. That was more necessary back when they didn't collect any California sales tax at all, but still comes up if you're buying from third-party sellers.

Note that if you haven't kept receipts to calculate your use tax, you're supposed to estimate it as (for 2013 in California anyway) 0.033% of your adjusted gross income. Depending on your spending, that works out to being as if, very roughly, 2% of your spending were out-of-state.

Comment: Re:Letter erosion and touch typing (Score 1) 341

by klparrot (#41320633) Attached to: I go through keyboards ...
I found I improved much quicker by looking at the keyboard until I was so used to typing that I knew it from muscle memory and ended up looking less and less at the keyboard until I eventually stopped looking. That way, I was a fast typist all along, rather than being slow until I got the muscle memory down.

Comment: Re:In case you don't know it... (Score 1) 41

by klparrot (#35765338) Attached to: Feds Approve Google's Purchase of ITA Software

Can't tell if sarcasm; ITA Matrix is one of the most flexible and powerful flight search engines out there.

It's kind of useless to search for the cheapest fares in a whole year, because seat sales are often offered a month or two before the flight, not to mention most airlines only sell seats up to 11 months in advance. Use something like Airfare Watchdog if you want to hear when seat sales happen, then use ITA Matrix to pick dates and routes in the timespan that the seat sale is in effect.

ITA Matrix also has an advanced routing language, which you can use to specify alternate airports, restrict what carriers will be used, what airports to connect through, how many connections to make (both minimum or maximum), what fare codes to use, etc.. I haven't yet found anything else like it on the web; I use it all the time to find flights that will maximize my frequent flyer mileage and minimize my cost.

Comment: nukes do not work that way (Score 5, Informative) 384

by klparrot (#33919370) Attached to: Five Times the US Almost Nuked Itself
IANANP, but AFAIK a regular explosion or fire will not set off a nuclear weapon. The trigger explosion has to be carefully controlled, otherwise it'll just blow apart the nuclear material instead of compressing it to supercritical. That's why it's so hard to build a nuke. Crashing with a nuke is at worst going to spread some nuclear material over a small area, in the same way that any other material in the crash would be. No nuclear explosion.

Comment: radioactivity understanding fail (Score 1) 120

by klparrot (#30691756) Attached to: Using a Toy Train To Calibrate a Reactor

Californium is only slightly radioactive, so the toy train did not glow green after its ride in the fusion reactor.

Gaah! Why does this misunderstanding persist? Generally, things which are exposed to radioactivity do not themselves become radioactive (and radioactive things do not glow green, for that matter).

Comment: sponsored links in google results are the culprit (Score 1) 543

by klparrot (#26480321) Attached to: Tricked Into Buying OpenOffice.org?
I was wondering how anyone could accidentally download from a third-party pay site, since the real site is always at the top of my search results. Then I realized that I normally don't even see the sponsored links; my brain filters them out automatically. Clicked on a couple of them, and some do look pretty slick; I could see someone falling for it once they've gotten to that point.

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