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  1. Frankly I think tax loopholes are more of a problem than tax breaks for the poor. My former manager drives an Escalade and is by no means poor. He was bragging to me that his effective tax rate was only 4% because he basically uses his LLC (which has yet to make any money) as a tax shelter. I'm not sure of the exact the details, but I think he was writing off his time spend on projects as a business expense billed at his contracting rate leaving the LLC taking huge losses that transfer on to his personal taxes. I don't particularly care that people who barely can scrape out a living aren't being taxed much if at all, but it does irk me when I see people making far more than me, paying far less total taxes (not just percent of income). Perhaps that's just me though.
  2. Thank you, that's the most reasonable post I've seen on the subject yet across many forums. Now, if only our elected officials could express themselves in a similar manner and keep an open mind across party lines.
  3. You both appear to have completely looked over the fact that I'm not saying increasing taxes is the only solution, I'm simply saying that taking tax increases off the table completely makes no sense when trying to solve this problem. Yes, we need budget cuts and we also need to increase our revenue through taxes if we're going to have any hope, but if you want to go on thinking that it's the evil democrats ruining everything, go ahead. Funny, I didn't even mention who should get the tax increases. I'm not particularly rich, but I'm certainly willing to pay my part if sacrifice is needed from everyone to fix this. Now that you've mentioned it though, could you tell me how many people are there in the US making over a million per year and what their average total tax rate is? (genuinely curious here)
  4. Just to be clear, I don't think that the tea party is completely at fault here, I was just repeating what I've heard at some of the less conservative parts of the internet. Frankly, I really don't care who's at fault anymore, at this point it's like breaking up two bickering kids who just broke something. Sure, one of them probably started it and is slightly more to blame, but it really takes two to keep it up and they should both be punished.
  5. Can't the deficit either be attacked by cutting spending or raising taxes and it doesn't have to be either/or. Wasn't it the tea party that refused any compromise that included raising taxes? Wasn't this also cited in the statement regarding the downgrade: I don't really like any of the political parties at the moment and I find it very funny that everywhere I look, conservative leaning sites are saying this is 100% democrats fault and liberal leaning sites are saying this is all the doing of the tea party. In my opinion, this is just another symptom of the poisoned political arena where all hope of an rational discourse has been replaced with mindless following of talking points and endless finger pointing all while nothing gets done. Then when the consequences come for this political deadlock each side simply blames the other and their loyal followers herald the virtues of what their side would have done if they weren't thwarted by the evil other side.
  6. This comic sums it up: xkcd: Google+ Basically it lets you keep in touch with people without having to bug them on IM or email and without having to be subjected to facebook and thousands of crappy flash game invites.
  7. Order and Chaos Online has been taking up a bit of my time lately. It's basically World of Warcraft on an iPhone or iPad if you're in to that kind of thing. Out of curiosity, what type of iPhone or iPad app would you find useful or most like to see done better? I recently finished making a large custom iPad app for a company so I'm curious what people would like to see on the app store since I need a new pet project to work on and wouldn't mind making some extra cash if it sells a few copies.
  8. Interesting thoughts all around. I apologize that I don't have the time to properly read through the entire thread and make specific responses, but I will give my perspective as an atheist particularly regarding Mute and Seminarysnoozer's discussion. I honestly strongly doubt that there is any type of consciousness after death. I don't know this with certainty and of course I would hope that I can continue existing in some form after passing away but I'm not counting on anything. So why do I continue on? Well, if this is indeed the only chance at any type of existence I get, you can be sure I'm going to make the best of it. Even if I don't exist forever, every action I take will ripple on into eternity as the people I interact with will be slightly different for having known me and the same for the people they interact with and so on. I think, more accurately, the vacation analogy could be stated as: If you were stuck on a warm private beach for 2 weeks even knowing you wouldn't remember anything at the end, wouldn't you live it up and enjoy yourself? Applying that analogy back to life, whether you would "value" the experience before or afterwards is a moot point if you don't think there is a before or after life, but while in the moment and having fun I'm sure you would consider it more valuable than moping around about how it wouldn't last forever and there is no point. If anything, I would think the inverse would apply and that religious people would have the mentality of "why should I do something useful right now when I have eternity to get things right." Perhaps in your heart you know that your existence is only fleeting and want to make the best of it?
  9. Ripping DVDs is quasi legal, meaning studios don't like it but it doesn't affect them enough to prosecute, but there have actually been many lawsuits over the legality of DVD ripping software and DVDs are DRM'ed using CSS (Content Scramble System). In fact movie studios still won't allow content distributors, such as the company I work for, to burn DVDs on demand without expensive CSS licensing to "protect" the content even though CSS it can barely be considered a deterrent these days. As for iTunes, only in the last few years have they been allowed by the labels to deliver DRM free music. Up until that point, they used their proprietary FairPlay DRM which they would not license to anyone else and only worked on Apple portable devices. If you wanted to play a track you downloaded from iTunes, you could either put it on an Apple device or go through the ridiculous charade of burning it to a CD, ripping it back to your PC, then transferring it to your non Apple media player. Agreed, though I believe the publicity of lawsuits against file sharers have taken away a bit of the feeling of anonymity. Steal a candy bar and you'll probably just have to put it back if you get caught... "steal" a track or two and you could be liable hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the absurdity of the laws surrounding copyright. I disagree here. In order to illegally download something, you need to download and install a P2P program, find a torrent by sifting through misleading sites with fake links and seedy advertisements, and then hope there are still seeders. For most users this is no where near as simple as slipping something in your pocket while in line. But why did the majority start down this path? That is definitely an argument toward why illegal downloading is perpetuated, but does not speak to the root cause of why it became commonplace. The average person might not know what DRM stands for or even what it is, but they do know that they bought a couple tracks from some site and they won't play on their portable music player for some reason and so they know not to do that again.
  10. But with the vast majority of people, if they want a piece of candy they simply pay the small fee and legally purchase it. I've never tried it, nor would I want to, but I suspect in the long lines of annoyed people at Walmart, it would be rather simple and difficult to detect if you just slipped a piece of candy into your pocket. So what's the difference that a large portion of the population is turning to illegal methods for their digital goods and not physical? I believe the difference is that for a long time, the digital product that people wanted wasn't even available legally. If there were a restriction that if you bought candy, you could only legally eat it while in the store in front of the clerk and it cost $5 for a simple candy bar, I believe a significant portion of the population would turn to illegal methods because the only legal option is so pointlessly ridiculous and that's equivalent to what we've been seeing with the digital landscape. As companies embrace digital delivery and give the customers what they have been wanting with fewer insane DRM restrictions, more and more people will obtain content legally and it will be a win-win situation. Don't get me wrong, I think illegal downloading is just as unethical as physical theft, and in fact my paycheck comes from people legally obtaining content, but I think the impact and of piracy is greatly overstated by inflated naively calculated statistics like this.
  11. This has already been discussed in various threads, but logically it's near impossible to get hard numbers for piracy because for example you can't count every 16 year old downloading photoshop as adobe "losing" the full retail value of their product. My suspicion is that the vast majority of people download things because they can, not because they are saving money on something they would have bought. If content providers want to "defeat" piracy, they have to offer a superior product and/or service. Not too long ago a user's only legal option was to pay the same price as a physical copy for a DRM riddled piece of content purchased for a single device that they could lose access to entirely if the providing company goes out of business. Contrast that with a high quality digital copy of nearly anything that can be downloaded and ready to go from a torrent in hours and can play on any device you own and it's really a no brainer why so many "average" people were turning to piracy. I do believe the market place and digital landscape is quickly changing though. Between hulu (paid by ads) and netflix (paid monthly service) I don't really even have the desire to go through the hassle of finding a torrent for something, checking comments to see if it is legit and waiting an hour for it to download. I am more than willing to suffer through ads and/or pay a small monthly fee to instantly stream 90% of the content I care about watching straight to my TV through my computer, XBox 360, Wii, or PS3 (yes I have all those attached to my TV). The overall trend of network traffic is that P2P transfer is quickly dropping and streaming services like Netflix are rapidly increasing and if I recall statistics I've seen on /. recently Netfix traffic has already far surpassed all bit torrent traffic put together. So while piracy will always exist, I don't think it is threatening to strangle the entertainment or software industry by any stretch of the imagination.
  12. I'm not particularly worried that authorities will abuse those features, I'm more worried that those features aren't adequately secured and tech savvy trouble makers will take advantage of those features and publish exploits so that any script kiddie with google and access to a radio shack can take control of your vehicle. In my professional experience, companies who don't have to fend off already established lines of attack put very little time and engineering into security to the point where it's almost trivial for someone with experience in the field to bypass them.
  13. It's a short jump from C# to Java. It's a sizable leap from C# to Objective C
  14. If you're only concerned about windows compatibility, I would say .NET is definitely the way to go. I personally like C# syntax over VB even for simplicity and ease of use. I also would avoid using Access if you have any desire to expand the project. SQL Server Express + Management Studio is free and easy to integrate with in .NET languages.
  15. Knowledge and memory are more likened to wisdom, thinking quickly seems more related to reflexes. In my opinion, intelligence is simply about applying your knowledge. To some extent yes, but you can practice a lot of the type of questions you would see on an IQ test and get rather good at them without being more intelligent as a whole. Standardized tests are next to worthless for gaging intelligence, but that's alright because that's not really their purpose. The tests are simply there to ensure that teachers are imprinting the children with textbook material because that's all they're expected to do. For some reason most school systems seem to equate rote memorization to learning. I often wonder if I have Aspergers or some similar autism spectrum disorder. Definitely