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Comment I posit this is the consequence of globalization (Score 2) 495

Whether you believe globalization is good or bad, the free movement of capital and work, wages will stagnate or go down (at least in the near to mid term).

In Bill Clinton's Global Challenges speech at Yale is, perhaps, one of the clearest articulations of the goal of achieving an integrated global community characterized by "shared responsibilities, shared benefits, and shared values." If the goal is to "bring economic opportunity to the 50 per cent of the globe's population which lives on $2 a day or less" then that will involve capital flowing from wealthy countries to less-developed countries.

I think the vision is that the money supply would grow fast enough to minimize or eliminate the impact of the capital outflow. Unfortunately, the evidence shows that the bet did not pay off.

Comment Re:This reminds me... (Score 1) 111

Being happy (or in generally in a good mood) is a conscious decision--coming across bad news should not change that decision. If I made a decision to not eat chocolate and I see a tray of chocolates, I should not change my mind just because I saw the tray.

The reason why I argue the article is stupid is that it encourages a superficial state of happiness. Her solution is akin to a quick weight-loss diet being the solution for a healthy lifestyle. It may help for a little bit, but it will not last. Decide to be happy regardless of the environment you are in. People, pets, and things will not make you happy--you are responsible for your happiness.

The thank-you writing was not what made him happy. He made a decision to be happy--the thank-you writing is the effect not the cause.

Comment Have we reached peak participation trophy yet? (Score 3, Insightful) 111

The stupid factor in the article is so high, that I feel like I wasted gravity just reading it.

The same goes with reading stressful or negative news, according to a study Gielan conducted with Arianna Huffington and her husband, happiness researcher and author Shawn Achor.

Society pays for a "happiness researcher"?

Comment Re: The simplest solution would be (Score 2) 295

I use street addressing feature and it is very effective. The only thing you have to pay attention to is the length of the address. The safest thing to do is put the street address on one line and the unit number on another line. I only had a problem once when a shipper truncated the address line and the unit number was cut off. The post office did a return to sender and the shipper claims he never got the package back and would not provide a refund.

Comment Re:If true, it's because Macs are starting to suck (Score 1) 376

I am actually considering making the switch. I bought a Surface Pro 4 to test out how well it works for me (the Black Friday sale made it a reasonable purchase). I turned on the Windows Subsystem for Linux, which provides a lightweight Linux environment within Windows.

For my work I need:

  • X Windows
  • Ability to SSH
  • Remote desktop (both RDP and VNC)
  • GNU and Intel compilers
  • Mathematica
  • Microsoft Office
  • Ability to run virtual machines (e.g. Virtual Box)
  • Ability to do regular backups, with versioning, without user intervention
  • OpenVPN
  • Easily connect to external monitor, keyboard, and ethernet

CPU performance is not critical because I have access to a cluster for the heavy computational loads. The Linux subsystem in some ways is more convenient because the slight differences between BSD and Linux can make moving code between OS X and Linux a little bit annoying. The cluster is Linux based--I considered making a *BSD based cluster but the scientific community has gravitated towards Linux.

So, based on my requirements either platform would work, though I probably would go with a Surface Book if I did switch. It comes down to cost and workflow efficiency.

Comment Re:The choice (Score 5, Informative) 220

The answer is obviously yes as Apple has about 12% of the market and is number two behind Samsung. Apple takes about 70% of the profit.

Apple has been losing share and profit, which I think is due to expansion in the lower price segment of the market and the improved quality of Android based phones. I would argue that the "open source, changeable, free (do you mean as in beer or as in speech)" are not factors that most people care about. I think the majority of the smartphone users care about price and usability.

Comment Re: A Master Password.... (Score 3, Insightful) 234

Unless you are making your own CPU, firmware, compilers, personally audit every line of code, etc, I guarantee you that you hit the "I believe" button somewhere along the way.

Going for absolute security is a great navel-gazing exercise. Pick the security boundary you are comfortable with and realize that you have no control outside the boundary. Hopefully you pick a boundary that fails gracefully.

I personally do not believe open source is any more secure than closed source in any practical sense.

Comment Re:The IRS Test (Score 2) 230

That is the exact point I was making. The driver has no ability to quote a price to Uber (the client) for the work they perform. From my understanding, not having the ability to quote a price is a major indicator (though not a 100% true rule) that you are an employee and not a contractor.

Comment The IRS Test (Score 4, Informative) 230

The IRS (which I assert is consistent with other tax authorities) has a series of tests that fall into three categories:
  • Behavioral: Does the company control or have the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or her job?
  • Financial: Are the business aspects of the worker’s job controlled by the payer? (these include things like how worker is paid, whether expenses are reimbursed, who provides tools/supplies, etc.)
  • Type of Relationship: Are there written contracts or employee type benefits (i.e. pension plan, insurance, vacation pay, etc.)? Will the relationship continue and is the work performed a key aspect of the business?

The questions (from Synergistech Communications, which also provides additional information), with the answers in bold based on my understanding of how Uber works:

  1. Are you required to comply with instructions about when, where, and how the work is to be done? Yes
  2. Does your client provide you with training to enable you to perform a job in a particular method or manner? No
  3. Are the services you provide integrated into your client's business operation? Yes
  4. Must the services be rendered by you personally? Yes
  5. Do you have the capability to hire, supervise, or pay assistants to help you in performing the services under contract? Yes
  6. Is the relationship between you and the person or company you perform services for a continuing relationship? No
  7. Who sets the hours of work? The driver
  8. Are you required to devote your full time to the person or company you perform services for? No
  9. Is the work performed at the place of business of the potential employer? No
  10. Who directs the order or sequence in which the work must be done? Uber
  11. Are you required to provide regular written or oral reports to your client? No
  12. What is the method of payment — hourly, commission or by the job? By the job
  13. Are your business and/or traveling expenses reimbursed? No
  14. Who furnishes tools and materials used in providing services? The driver and Uber
  15. Do you have a significant investment in facilities used to perform services? It depends
  16. Can you realize both a profit or a loss? Yes
  17. Can you work for a number of firms at the same time? Yes
  18. Do you make your services available to the general public? It depends
  19. Are you subject to dismissal for reasons other than nonperformance of contract specifications? Unknown
  20. Can you terminate your relationship without incurring a liability for failure to complete a job? Yes

By my count the Uber-Driver relationship does not pass 4 of the tests and two more are borderline. The key point that makes the relationship tip towards employee is that the driver has no direct price control (they cannot quote a price to perform the service).

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