Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I still have trouble believing a 20Mbps download speed.

Ai, Caramba! What a difference a new modem can make!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Great Deal on Ooma

$169.99 (or maybe $189.99) after price match & coupon. But some people have trouble with the coupon, so it's back up to $199.99 (which is what I got mine for).

Ooma is clearing out old stock before Telo appears. It comes with a DECT 6.0 phone that has all the Ooma buttons right on the phone. I have to walk over to the Ooma device if I want to do a conference call or send a call directly to voice mail. Oh, the horrors!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Just found this great program that lets you lay out your desktop according to grids that are stored as templates. Just choose the template you want, then you can drag a window to an open grid position and it will snap to the correct size.

If you want to use multiple apps at the same time and don't want to try to manage their sizes yourself, this is a great little tool.

Beat that!
(I'm not even using the local server!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I don't think I did a good enough job covering the difference between inclusive and exclusive tax rates.


"I am buying a twinkie for $1.00 and I pay 30% tax, so $1.00 + ($1.00 * 0.30) = $1.00 + $0.30 = $1.30"


"I am paying $1.30 for this twinkie (total amount), and 23% of that is tax, so $1.30 * 0.23 = $0.299 = $0.30 (tax). The twinkie must be worth $1.30 - $0.30 = $1.00."

All the same numbers, just spoken differently.

When talking about sales taxes, it seems foreign (and misleading) to discuss it in terms of inclusive rates. But when talking about income taxes, it's natural.


"I make $100,000 (total amount), and I pay a marginal tax rate of 28%, so $100K * 0.28 = $28,000 (tax). My take home pay is $100,000 - $28,000 = $72,000."


"I take home $72,000, and I pay $28,000 in tax, so $28,000/$72,000 = 39%. Or, $72K+ ($72K * 0.39) = $72K + $28K = $100K."

Just to loop back: if the twinkie cost $72K, and tax was 39%, you'd pay $100,000. ("That's one big twinkie.") Yes, an inclusive income tax rate of 28% is an exclusive income tax rate of 39%. That's why a 23% FairTax rate can be demonstrated to be 30% sales tax.

Once again, the FairTax uses inclusive in order to more easily compare to the IRS. They are not trying to hide anything (necessarily); it is simpler and "fairer" to compare the two taxation systems on the same basis, so FairTax converts to inclusive rates rather than quoting Income Tax as exclusive rates. After all, if all you heard was "you're paying 39% to the IRS", your first thought would be, "no I'm not..."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Balloon Juice � Blog Archive � Wingnut math: "Let’s cover this 23, 30% divide Dennis. If we can. If I want a dollar for a pencil at the end of the transaction, I make a pencil I want to have a dollar in my pocket, I’m going to have to charge $1.30 under the Fair Tax plan. Do you call that a 23% tax or a 30$ (sic) tax?"

This is one of the easiest things to demagogue about the FairTax argument - 'They are lying because they say 23% instead of 30%.' (The other easy target is the removal of corporate income taxes, but I won't go there right now.) Unfortunately, so many people have trouble with the difference between inclusive tax and exclusive tax. Sales taxes are commonly referred to in the form of exclusive taxes, being added on top of the original value. Income taxes are commonly referred to in the form of inclusive taxes, being stated as the portion of the original value that is being taken away. The math: Exclusive = 1 - 1/(1-Inclusive) , as in 1 - 1/(1-.23) = ~.30

When the FairTax crowd wrote up their data, they chose to state the inclusive rate of 23% rather than the exclusive rate of 30%. Why? They claim it is because they are comparing it to income taxes. However, it could just as easily be because it is a lower value and sounds better to people who hate paying taxes (which includes just about everyone).

Oh, and I love it when people state income taxes as exclusive rates. They numbers become downright scary.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Recommended Computer Reading

Someone asked me for a recommendation of a good computer book to read. I've taken the time to gather a few of them together. Not all are great works of computer literature - but some of them are!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mario Marathon on USTREAM: Digg It! | Follow on Twitter | Post on Facebook Visit the Mario Marathon Web Site Star Checklist | F.A.Q. | Fan Art | Donation...

Mario Marathon on USTREAM: Digg It!
Lunatics with a calling. They are playing Mario games until they get enough money for Child's Play, a charity that puts video games in hospitals.

Memristor minds: The future of artificial intelligence - tech - 08 July 2009 - New Scientist

Memristor minds: The future of artificial intelligence - tech - 08 July 2009 - New Scientist: "Within the past couple of years, memristors have morphed from obscure jargon into one of the hottest properties in physics. They've not only been made, but their unique capabilities might revolutionise consumer electronics. More than that, though, along with completing the jigsaw of electronics, they might solve the puzzle of how nature makes that most delicate and powerful of computers - the brain."
I just called Comcast and got my internet price cut from $42.95/mo to $19.99/mo for 12 months. I did have to make a commitment not to leave in the 12 months, but I have no intention of leaving right now anyway. (I have recently considered Clear, which just came to Atlanta, but I don't want to suffer the step down in speed.)

EDIT: That's a savings of $275 over the next year.

All I did was ask nicely, and they gave me the special price. No yelling or threatening to quit necessary!

They also offered Showtime for $5.95 a month, FYI.