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Comment: Re:I'm not worried about poor students (Score 1) 303

by ottothecow (#46797871) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?
But you ignore financial aid (most people who have to borrow every cent will qualify for some at at least one school they apply to), term time employment, and summer jobs/internships.

If you absolutely can't get any financial aid (i.e. wealthy parents who won't pay for you but whose income prevents you from aid eligibility), then you are simply an idiot for not getting a job shelving books in the library and pursuing paying positions in the summers.

Term time employment is not hard to find (and in my experience, campus jobs tend to pay on the high side), and you can find something that is only 10-20 hours a week and won't interfere much with your studies. Also, half of the student jobs out there are the kind where you can study in your down time (the kids who check out books at the library or ring you up at the student coffee shop can spend half of their time doing their course reading). At $12 an hour (pretty common for student jobs, even without work-study), this can net you 6-7k each year. And of course you could always work more if you really needed to (and reduce living expenses below the "average" which includes the kids living off mom and dad).

Then, you should absolutely be working during the off periods. Not too hard to nab a retail job during winter break leading up to christmas (although not a ton of earnings from that either). But you should be working full time all summer, every summer. Even if you don't need the money, you should do this since it always seems like the kids who don't are the ones who have the hardest time finding jobs after graduation (no experience). Even if you can't beat the $12 an hour you had before, this should get you another 6k for the year. And after the first year of school, you get access to better programs, and internships from higher paying employers. Lots of places pay interns the same as 1st year employees...even in the middle of the crisis in the summer of 2008, lots of kids were getting an easy 15-18 an hour plus overtime. With a bit of work, its not that hard to clear 10k in a summer. Yeah--you don't get to go take that unpaid internship that the rich kids can afford, but it's ok--they are just being exploited anyways. You'll come out with experience, money, and maybe even a post-graduation job offer.

That pretty much covers all of your living expenses (and then some...considering you should probably be living a little sparser than the average student). Honestly, you could even still drop a grand in extra loan money on a cool spring break every year and it wouldn't really matter. You are still going to clock in at only mid 5-figure debt.

The people complaining in the media about 150k debt for 4 years of school are either lying, actually had post-graduate education, or made extremely poor and lazy decisions (and I count going to a $$$ private university as a poor decision if you have zero financial aid). Its not even easy to get 150k in loans. You can't get that much from federal loans...and private lenders aren't so favorable to slacker kids who can't even bother to earn a single dollar all 4 years.

Comment: Re:Business class is a misnomer (Score 1) 145

by ottothecow (#46761749) Attached to: How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture
Seems like it is pretty standard to fly economy. Even in the industries the parent poster listed, policies tend to be economy except for international flights and executives.

Thing is...if you fly often for work, you will reach status within a year and be getting upgraded on every flight. The monday-thursday consultants and other heavy business travelers are getting their upgrades for free...the fees are usually being billed to the client, and clients don't like to pay for first-class.

Comment: Re:It's California (Score 1, Insightful) 722

by ottothecow (#46717509) Attached to: Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?
If you are telling truth (and not just parroting about a talking-point story as evidence the law sucks), you really should talk to an accountant.

What about incorporating in order to move that tax burden off of your books and onto that of your business? Should help your subsidy eligibility. I'm not an accountant (and can't speak to the intricacies of an LLC vs an S-Corp), but I know that a lot of self employed people who recently made the jump from sole proprietorship to incorporation and they all wish they had done it years ago.

Comment: Re:What all is included? (Score 1) 722

by ottothecow (#46717391) Attached to: Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?
That was pretty much my thought. There was a deadline, people are lazy and put off signing up until that deadline was looming over them (and were possibly reminded when trying to do their taxes that they need to enroll). The deadline was extended until April 15th...but it is near enough that you should see a big increase in signups.

They probably had a pretty good idea of how many people would be required to sign up, how many of those people would opt out, and how many people would switch over from something else. Using these numbers, they probably picked 7m people as a conservative estimate of how many people would sign up...and thus it was easy to hit it.

Making a big deal of this is as if it were front-page news that the number of people completing their tax returns skyrocketed between March 15th and April 15th...of course they do. Nobody calls it into question because everybody knows that you put stuff like that (especially if you owe money) as long as possible. The problem here might be that the people at places like Fox News have been on corporate payroll for so long (with health benefits), that they have no idea what is going through the minds of someone who has to actually signup on their own.

Comment: Re:Summary from someone who skimmed it: (Score 1) 162

by ottothecow (#46687519) Attached to: Judge (Tech) Advice By Results
Still fundamentally different things. Dropbox is meant for continuous live access (and is actually a handy way to get some semblance of version control for word docs and other binary files that don't play well with VCSs). It is also meant for syncing across computers--which doesn't make sense at all if you are using it to back up system-specific information/configuration files/etc. It will protect the documents you store in it, but it makes disaster recovery a huge pain since you are starting from scratch (but hey, at least having your files is better than having nothing)

Backup systems are meant to never have to be accessed. Until you need them, in which case you want quick and easy access, and if you really care, you want more than just your pictures backed up so that you can get up and running quick (i.e. dropbox might be ok for some home user who only uses the computer for personal use and would otherwise have zero backups. It's not ok for someone who uses that computer for a living and needs to be able to get up and running again quickly in order to start making money again).

Comment: Re:Walmart employees, rejoice! (Score 4, Informative) 455

by ottothecow (#46603397) Attached to: Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees
While the practice isn't so nice, it's not exactly walmart's fault that this is the best way to get cheap labor.

Tying benefits to employment is stupid (especially with how often people are changing jobs these days). If everybody bought health insurance on their own (or had it provided by the government), then walmart wouldn't see a cost savings by hiring 2 people to work 20-30 hours instead of one to work 40-60, in fact they would probably see a savings since training costs would be reduced, turnover might be reduced (people will stop ditching the PT job as soon as they find something FT), and you might end up with a more effective employee.

IIRC, this essentially came as an unintended consequence of some government wage controls during/following the war. Companies couldn't raise wages to attract talent, so they started offering non-wage benefits. Now it is standard for it to come from your employer, while people buying their own insurance get screwed by high prices. Hard to break free of that system though...everybody expects the benefit, and it costs the company less to provide the benefit than they would have to pay you extra to afford your own insurance. So skilled/in demand workers keep getting their benefits, while the easily replaceable laborers get 30 hour work weeks.

Comment: Re:His debate (Score 1) 220

by ottothecow (#46543473) Attached to: How Did Bill Nye Become the Science Guy?
This is a better alternative than that money going to other causes.

I'd much rather have a bunch of people out there building a life sized Ark (and maybe even employing some skilled tradesmen) than for that same money being spent winning local elections for candidates that want to take evolution out of textbooks.

Comment: Re:Feds... (Score 1) 342

by ottothecow (#46464219) Attached to: New Jersey Auto Dealers Don't Want to Face Tesla
The local dealer chains in a lot of areas tend to be very successful.

This means they can make lots of local political campaign contributions (both to buy influence and to get themselves tickets to all of the fundraising galas where they can meet and great with the townsfolk). They also tend to be somewhat of a dynasty, having been started back in the golden age of automobiles and inherited by younger family members

Then, what do you do when you've got 2 kids, and your dealer brother's got 2 kids, and you don't have enough dealerships for them to all inherit? Why not send one of them into politics? It could be very beneficial to your business to have someone on the city counsel, and you've got the cash to finance the race. Maybe later they move on to the state senate.

Comment: Re:so much hate (Score 1) 310

by ottothecow (#46451111) Attached to: Daylight Saving Time ...
What happens if you have a 12:00 meeting with people in a wide area that spans time zones and DST treatments.

Does the calendaring software decide that the person who started the meeting is the "master" (i.e. the meeting is always at 12 their time)? What if the meeting is originally at a time where it is during the workday outside of DST in all countries, but the DST switch would move it outside of the workday for someone who isn't the host? Then I would think you would want to allow the host's time to change so that someone else doesn't have to work overtime.

Obviously there are solutions, but I don't think the software will be able to fix it by itself. (for reference, I don't like the DST switch, but I actually prefer DST--more daylight after work is better than more daylight before work)

Comment: Re:"... as a means to reduce theft." (Score 1) 158

To play devil's advocate--If I stole your phone...I'd probably want to wipe all of your crap off of it anyways. Flash a fresh OS on there and it is good as new.

Just like if I stole your laptop to use it myself, I would wipe the drive first (though many thieves are not so clever), or if I wanted to sell it, I would put a clean OS on it. Might be some valuable information stashed on your drive, but if I am a petty thief, I probably care more about the easy money of selling electronics vs the more complex prospect of figuring out how to profit off a stolen identity (much more difficult than cash).

A kill switch that bricked the phone (or made it unable to join a mobile network or fully boot until disabled) would kill the residual value of the phone. Sure, maybe you could harvest it for parts, but if the bootloader is locked and the OS is hosed, nobody is going to be using it as a phone again.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen