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Comment Re:So do the employees get to write that off? (Score 1) 399

In a sense, yes. If Alphabet had gifted the employees $500, the employees would have received such a declaration on the W2 and therefore would have to pay taxes on that $500 gift. Instead, Alphabet gifts the charity, so the employees do not receive such a declaration so they don't have to pay taxes on the gift.

I'm no accountant, but as I understand the tax world, these two are equivalent to all parties:

1. Alphabet gives employees $500... Employee gives charity $500.
2. Alphabet gives charity $500.

What isn't clear to me is how a Chromebook is valued for these transactions. They could be valued at retail... or at COGS... but there's also services that may come along with them, right?

Comment Myths (Score 1) 318

Many of the items you mention as "win-wins" are myths.

While it is true for some, most people are not more productive at home. There are more distractions. There are fewer opportunities to engage with coworkers, and the management resources are further away. (yes, management is supposed to be a resource to help you get things done more efficiently. If that's not the case, then someone is doing something wrong)

Most workers don't consider the commute time to be "company time" so when they move away from that commute time, they don't automatically give it back to the company. They take it for themselves.

Finally, until someone comes up with the "whiteboard killer app" (and I've used lots of candidates), nothing beats a whiteboard for communication.

For the most part, the only people who are more productive with work-at-home options are workaholics since they have even more opportunities to get stuff done. But even or them, the lack of office time can be counterproductive if they aren't coming in on a regular basis.

Comment Yes. We all have one. (Score 2) 340

Everyone at my small company has one. They aren't cheap, but neither are oscilloscopes, good computers, multi-monitor setups, office space, lab benches, etc.

Not everyone here adjusts them regularly, but I'd say around half of us do. It's good to adjust sit/stand posture multiple times a day. Also, for some workflows, we're in and out of our office / lab for multiple iterations and having the workspace at our standing height is just more convenient.

We also use the stand mode quite a bit for sharing / desk meetings / etc. I'm the one in charge of buying office furniture and it's unlikely we will buy anything else in the near future for office desks.

Comment Re:Anthropomorphizing (Score 2) 421

I don't think anthropomorphism is the correct term to apply here. The term applies to attributing human characteristics (intelligence, emotion, two hands, two legs, etc) to things that don't have them. But AI would presumably have a compatible intelligence and possibly emotion as well. Maybe even hands, legs, etc but that's largely irrelevant.

Furthermore, you might have things twisted around a bit. "Biological ends" may not be all that different from "machine ends" -- quest for power / energy / food, survival, and maybe even reproduction depending on the depth of emotion. Just because we're a biological vessel for intelligence doesn't necessarily mean that an intelligence in another vessel won't seek similar ends.

The sad truth is that we still don't know enough about intelligence to reliably untangle chicken and egg in all cases.

Comment Re:MavenLink (Score 1) 144

MavenLink is rather nice. For long-running projects, I think something with Gantt charting is an absolute necessity and most programmer "issue trackers" don't have Gantts. But this is mostly due to their mapping to methodology. Gantts come from waterfall methodologies and that doesn't settle with an agile process.

Software works well for agile processes but there are a lot of tasks and projects out there that are much more tuned to waterfall methods. Long-running projects, for example, can have tons of dependencies. Dependencies don't exactly play well in the agile process.

In the end, I think a combination of the two works well for some organizations. Waterfall / Gantt / MavenLink works well for the big-picture view where teams work concurrently and sequentially. Agile works well for small-grained tasks that are too numerous or tedious to incorporate into the waterfall view.

Comment Why does FB care about write-once run-anywhere? (Score 4, Insightful) 240

They are a multi-billion dollar company dealing with an app running on one of (if not the) most relevant and widely-used smartphones in the market. They should dedicate a team specifically for the iPhone. And if Apple changes the API every week, they would be wise to rewrite the app every week just to maintain that market.

I don't care for Facebook and have my issues with Apple, but this is just a business decision on ROI.

Comment Re:Obligatory xkcd (Score 1) 372

First of all, you're setting yourself up with a massive fail should anything in this chain go wrong as all your eggs are in one basket. I could go on, but it's pointless. You haven't thought this scheme all the way through. What if the hard drive goes bad? What if just one or two sectors on this hard drive go bad? What if you get hit by a bus, have a heart attack, get caught in an act of terrorism or act of God? (just realized there isn't much difference between these, hmmmm) Not only is that bad password security, it's just bad IT practice all around.

The discussion was about password security. There's an entirely different discussion about backups, power of attorney, identity theft, medical advanced directives, catastrophe management, etc. You are correct, though -- these are all considerations that require careful evaluation and recognition that they CAN and DO occur.

Comment Re:Obligatory xkcd (Score 1) 372

The only problem with that system is it makes all of those sites unaccessible from literally any other computer in the world, unless you carry the KeePass file around with you.

To a great extent, that's the point. My feeling is that my stuff should be inaccessible from any other computer in the world unless I trust that computer. And representative of my trust of that computer is that my TrueCrypt (and KeePass) files are on it.

Comment Re:Obligatory xkcd (Score 3, Informative) 372

Well, not exactly applicable but interesting to the discussion.

I think the point is that consideration must be made for the "location" of the access portal. That is, if anyone with an internet connection can try their key in your lock, you probably want a pretty good lock.

But for access to things that have additional security, the lock quality may be reduced in favor of a key that is easy to remember.

1. Keep a good, long, easy-to-remember passphrase for access to your TrueCrypt partition that sits on a private computer inside your house.

2. Store passwords inside this partition in something like KeePass. The KeePass password doesn't need to be industrial. It should be easy to remember, but non-obvious. You type this password a lot.

3. Keep all internet passwords at maximum strength for the site and make them random from your password generator.

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