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Comment Re:FedEx lost there 1099 cases in court (Score 1) 97

I'm sure Amazon's already thought of that. If not then they are skating on thin ice.

Quite a few smaller companies (and even some larger ones) in this industry have been playing this game where they hire drivers on a 1099 basis but treating them as regular employees. The IRS takes a very dim view of employers who like to do that, as it's practically a form of tax evasion.

Comment Re:My dad used to make $100k a year driving a truc (Score 1) 97

Current trucker here. That $100K figure is probably not made-up.

Not only is it possible, despite trucking's reputation of being "unskilled" labor for losers, but quite a few truckers have been pulling down incomes like that for *years* now. Of course, there are strings attached: a lot of those guys are owner/operators who practically LIVE in their trucks for something like 80% of the year; there are a shit-ton of non-driving duties for which you aren't making any extra money (eg pre-trip inspections, waiting for loading/unloading, maintenance, etc); and you should have had the parent clarify whether that $100K was *net* or *gross* (maintenance, repairs, tolls, fuel, tickets, permits, IFTA - a semi can generate a LOT of overhead, trust me on that). It's still good money (for now) but it's definitely not easy money.

I'm not even an owner/operator (don't want to be one) and even I am pulling down short of six figures annually myself. I don't have much of a social life, but I'm not starving.

Comment Re:Google+ (Score 1) 359

I couldn't agree more. Personally, I think the "marketing" had a lot to do with its demise. And, in this case, "marketing" == "trying to cram Google+ down everyone's throats." I think that's what turned me off on a personal level. I left the world of Windows over a decade ago because I felt I was being dictated to by Microsoft; the way Google was trying to push G+ on me felt pretty much the same way, and I was having none of that nonsense.

Comment What about laptops? (Score 2) 362

This is the precise reason my next laptop is probably going to be ordered from someone like System76 or Zareason. I shouldn't have to do this silly UEFI dance with offerings from major "Big-Box" OEM's just to install my choice of OS on what is supposed to be MY system. So why not avoid all the BS and buy a portable from a manufacturer which actually specializes in building Linux machines?

Comment Re:What about range on this smaller car? (Score 1) 247

People will like the smaller car and lower price,but if it doesn't have the range... they will not flock to it...

And cargo capacity, don't forget that. This is why I always drive a Peterbilt. First, it's crucial that I can drive 3000 miles with no load, because I reckon some day I might need to drive all the way across the country without stopping.

A semi in that case is handy because I can fill up the back with energy drinks to keep me awake, and a portacabin so I don't have to waste valuable time finding a restroom at a stop.

But the cargo is what's really important. I once thought I would have to move house. It turns out I didn't in the end, but the thought of the panic I would have undergone had I not owned a semi made it all the more worthwhile!

Oh and it's a vocational model on the off chance I might need to move house to somewhere without a paved road.

Honestly, until I see them building small "cars" with this kind of cargo capacity I just don't see people flocking to them.

I think this semi is right up your alley, then:

Comment Re:welcome to the big time (Score 1) 193

Have you never asked yourself why Android is getting all of these attacks, but you rarely (if ever) hear anything about Debian/Ubuntu/Red Hat/Arch/Slackware/whatever distro suffering the same fate? Are they not Linux OS's, too? In fact, I think it's Dalvik that's getting exploited rather than the kernel itself; I could be wrong but that's pretty much the biggest difference I see between the vanilla-variety distro and Android. I will admit that your point about running strange code from untrusted sources is 100% correct - that's going to eventually bite you in the ass regardless of the OS you're running.

TL;DR - If we're talking attack vectors then it might be helpful to remember that GNU/Linux != Dalvik/Linux

Comment This is VERY common in the trucking industry... (Score 1) 1103

Trucking firms in the U.S., especially the larger companies, have handled payroll in this fashion for years. You get a card issued from ComData, TCH or some similar company. Not only does the card hold your paycheck (similar to a bank card with direct deposit but without the account), it's also necessary for refueling at most major truck stops (don't worry; the diesel doesn't come out of your paycheck, the card's just for authorization and tracking purposes). You can also get an advance of a limited amount toward your next paycheck. It sort of works like a combination fuel card/debit card and can be quite convenient.

The big problem with all this, of course, is that the fees for checking your balance or withdrawing money from an ATM can be ridiculously high; I've personally seen some people spend up to a quarter of their checks on transaction fees alone (I'm truly not making that up). That's why a smart driver will immediately opt for direct deposit into his own bank account; you have no choice as far as accepting the company's card (you need it for refueling) but you don't have to volunteer for the repeated ass-raping you receive for actually using it for your own finances. Shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out, but some of these drivers "need help". Seriously.

Comment Re:Treaties (Score 4, Informative) 154

FTFA: "Some countries at the table, however, have submitted proposals that would also give the UN some power when it comes to Internet regulation, which the U.S. and other countries oppose. Ambassador Kramer has been speaking out against the Internet component of the treaty since before the conference started on Dec. 3, but more than a week later, they are still included in a draft that's on the table."

Maybe you missed that part. Seems the countries opposing this (no, not just the "evil" US) are doing so precisely because no one actually "owns" the internet as it stands now. The second we allow a governing body, *ANY* governing body, to do so is the second we start seeing people get censored by tin-pot dictators wishing to cover up the evidence while committing all sorts of atrocities against their own people - and, yes, that goes for the US as well. If you look at quite a few of the countries who back this treaty (China and Russia are two of them), it's easy to come up with a list of folks who'd love nothing more than to narrow down the avenues through which information gets out, and for some pretty nefarious reasons.

I think the only reason you were modded "+5 Insightful" was because of your anti-American rant, not due to actual logic.

Comment Re:Some Suggestions (Score 1) 208

1) Lots of natural light, ideally a corner room with lots of windows. You'll also need at least one of those magnifying lamps.

2) Deep benches, at least forty inches, this is because your test equipment will take up at least a foot of space at the rear.

3) Lots and lots of mains sockets, you'll never have enough. Wire the power through a residual current circuit breaker and a big red emergency stop switch. Make sure your family and other people around know where that emergency switch is.

4) Four channel scope, signal generator, lab power supply (0-40V 5A) with a couple of channels, a second fixed power supply with 12V, 5V and 3.3V outputs and a bench multimeter. DON'T buy cheap, it's better to get a good second hand unit than a piece of cheap Far-East test gear. I like Hameg but I know that opinions will differ here.

5) Anti-static mat and wrist strap.

6) Lots and lots of storage for parts, as with mains sockets you'll never have enough storage.

7) Decent tools, as with the test equipment don't buy cheap. I'm still using some tools that I bought twenty years ago.

8) A set of drawers underneath your workbench for storing your tools. The plastic inserts that go inside kitchen drawers will help keep things in order.

9) A burglar alarm and a lock on your workshop door. All this lot is expensive and you don't want it to vanish and reappear on Ebay.

10) Air conditioning and/or heating depending on your location. Equipment calibration will drift in temperature extremes and the standard of your work will suffer.


The anti-static mat (floor and desk) and wriststraps are often overlooked but are of extereme importance. Nothing puts a damper on your day like frying an expensive IC because you didn't take basic precautions.

Also, look into getting some good ventilation in your workshop; between the chemicals you're using to clean circuit boards and the soldering/desoldering you'll be doing, there's going to be a lot of fumes around your workbench.

Comment Re:Advice from a trucker (Score 1) 365

Programmed yourself?

What's the current cpm in the industry? I haven't driven in four years, but from the ads I hear on XMRadio and on the backs of trucks, wages have been stagnant.

The software's not my invention; a Google search will turn up the names of several manufacturers for logbook apps (even the iPhone/iPad had one!) Yeah, wages haven't really moved since you were in the truck; this fact, plus the new CSA rules making it harder for a trucker to actually stay eligible, means that a driver shortage is looming in our future (some say it's already here).

Comment Advice from a trucker (Score 5, Informative) 365

I'm not an RV'er but, since the economy chased me out of my Unix sysadmin gig, I resorted to putting food on the table by becoming a freight jockey (it was also a nice change of pace). When you're on the road for 26 days out of the month (as well as single with no children) shelling out rent for an apartment is kind of a moot point, so I literally live in the truck. Wifi on the road is really no big deal anymore, especially since most major truck stops, hotels, and even quite a few interstate rest areas now have hotspots.

That being said, there are a few things I do to make online life a little easier for a road warrior:

(1) As I already mentioned, many of your typical diesel stops are going to have wifi but the network can get pretty crowded at times. Some of the best times to use wifi at these facilities is 9 am to 5 pm, when most of your competition is going to be on the road instead of hogging up the bandwidth.

(2) The signal coverage in the places can also be a little spotty: one corner of the lot may have wonderful signal strength but another can absolutely suck. If you can, park so that you can have a clear line of sight to the building in which the antenna is located. Also, try not to put the fuel islands between you and the building if it can be helped; you can go from a really good connection to being knocked offline because somebody's Peterbilt pulled in to the fuel lane at the wrong time.

(3) Many of the wifi hotspots in these stops are managed with OpenDNS and certain websites will be blocked (namely, anything having to do with torrents).

(4) Wifi obviously won't be available everywhere you stop. If you often find yourself in the middle of nowhere (like me) then consider getting something like Verizon's MiFi or Fivespot devices. Verizon's plans seem to be better for heavy users but, if all you do is surf or check email, then there are probably cheaper plans around.

(5) One of the best investments I've made was a wifi repeater with an externally-mounted antenna. A typical trailer is about 13'6" (4.5 meters) in height; when all the diesel jockeys park it for the night there's going to be a awful lot of metal for your signal to try to get through.

(6) I often use my laptop for trip planning as well as keeping my DOT logs via an approved logbook application, so my machine is often running while I'm driving (but I do keep both hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road). Don't know about RV's but trucks bounce around a lot; as you can imagine, this repeated shock-testing can't be very good for the condition of your laptop. If you're going to be doing something similar then I highly suggest getting a laptop stand which bolts to the seat (the seats are usually equipped with "air-ride" shock absorbers and can greatly reduce the constant jarring experienced while driving).

Comment Re:Where's the Work? (Score 1) 348

The speed limit is the maximum allowed speed, but if the vehicle or external factors make that speed dangerous, you really shouldn't be driving that fast when, for instance, approaching an intersection.

Sorry, still doesn't explain shortened yellow-light times. And thanks for the lesson, but I'm pretty sure I know that already; I log about 100K to 120K miles each year. How long would it take you to reach that level of practice, 10 years (considering the average motorist drives about 15,000 miles per year - the average trucker does close to that in a month)?

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