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Comment IRS+USPS (Score 2) 208

I was treasurer of a small non-profit ($200k/yr) and our Form 990 filing ran about 60 pages. That's tedious, but was normally straightforward. The interesting part came when filing for the automatic 3-month extension* (Form 8460?) in the mail. The USPS seems to tuck these forms behind the counter, and wait till the deadline passes. Then the IRS would take a month to tell us that the extension was received 3 days late, and we owed them a fine of $1000/day for 40 days. Then we'd appeal, say we were sorry and it won't happen again and "procedures have been put in place". That would normally appease them. The "procedure" is to use registered mail, or file for the extension immediately at the close of the financial year.

Anyway, my point is that the filing was not trivial. There were many things that could go wrong.

Also, donations over $5000 must be tracked and reported individually. You'll get a big smile from your 501(c)3 accountant if you donate $4999.

* We always filed the extension because, by and large, our books were not stable until well after the regular filing deadline---mostly people "forgot" to cash checks we wrote, so we had to let the checks expire, which took 6 months.

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Two Outside Bids for Dell Threaten Founder's Buyout Plan

An anonymous reader writes: Seven weeks ago, Dell announced a definitive agreement to be taken private by a group led by founder and CEO Michael Dell and the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, assisted by a $2 billion loan from Microsoft and debt financing from a group of big banks. The deal was valued at $24.4 billion ($13.65 per share of Dell common stock), but allowed for a 45-day "go shop" period for alternative bids to be submitted to a special committee of Dell's board. Not all large shareholders were happy with the price, and early this month billionaire investor Carl Icahn threatened to tie up the buyout in court unless a large special dividend was paid to shareholders — without showing interest in buying the company himself. More recently, the private equity firm Blackstone Group jumped into the fray, and by Friday night's deadline both Blackstone and Icahn had submitted bids for Dell exceeding the original $13.65 per share agreement. Blackstone is said to be interested in installing Oracle's Mark Hurd as CEO, replacing Michael Dell. As Hurd was fired as Hewlett Packard's CEO in 2010 for alleged sexual misconduct involving an outside consultant named Jodie Fisher, he might have difficulty landing another CEO job at a publicly traded company; the Dell position could be an intriguing fit for both sides.
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - GCC 4.8.0 Release Marks Completion of C++ Migration

hypnosec writes: GCC 4.8 has been released and with it the developers of the GNU Compiler Collection have switched to C++ as the implementation language for which the developers have been working for years. Licensed under the GPLv3 or later, version 4.8 of the GCC not only brings with it performance improvements but also adds memory error detector AddressSanitizer; and race condition detection tool the ThreadSanitizer. Developers wanting to build their own version of GCC should have at their disposal a C++ compiler that understands C++ 2003.

Comment Re:GNU to the rescue (Score 1) 397

GNU GPLv2:

3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

...

Seems pretty clear to me that, yes, you do. Is the wrapper executable? Is it based on a GNU GPL'd source? You'd have a hard time arguing that section 3 doesn't apply.

Comment Re:unaccounted-for variables (Score 1) 410

At last, someone mentioned the open circuit voltage!

For typical PV cells, open circuit voltage is proportional to the log of incident intensity, but short circuit current is linearly proportional. That's why most PV inverters have a dynamic impedance, to maximize power generation over the range of sunlight during the day.

What a tree-design has going for it is more end-of-day available energy (if you don't have an energy store). It also has cooling benefits (which can easily cost 10-20% in efficiency).

(And if you want to see what the sunlight in San Jose, CA was doing several years ago, check out my PV energy captures.)

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