idiomatic Clojure wrapper from the developer of Aleph - https://github.com/ztellman/calx
I have to say, running Clojure on instances like these for a couple hours at a time to get a sense of what Clojure offers in terms of concurrency and parallelism on a 8-core machine with gobs of RAM is great fun - http://dosync.posterous.com/clojure-multi-core-amazon-cluste....
It's the kind of computing excitement I imagine Lisp Machine users had.
Nit: Linpack is an astoundingly easy benchmark to optimize, and they only attained 2.57 Pflop/s there. Most real science runs at much lower efficiency than Linpack (often more than an order of magnitude), primarily due to architectural reasons, so the theoretical peak number is even less meaningful than Linpack.
Our research is just moving into GPU-based processing, and we can probably adapt our current EC2 based framework to work with this relatively easily.
edit: gnu->gpu, for a harsh downvote, iPad auto correct :)
And he estimated an overly conservative 10-20% annual growth. But given the EC2 buzz this year, and personal anecdotes from my friends and colleagues using it, my gut feeling tells me the 2010 revenues will have increased 50-100% over 2009 revenues.
Is EC2 profitable to Amazon? Likely very profitable if you want my opinion. It is well accepted in the industry that the dominant cost in large scale datacenters is power and cooling --not hardware, not human resources-- and I keep running numbers in my head and the hourly prices of all instance types are well above power & cooling.
Just as an example, we know that this new GPU instance has two 95W Xeon X5570 and two 247W Tesla M2050; assuming (1) a max TDP of 50W for the motherboard and rest of the server, (2) instances are run under full load 100% of the time and always reach these max TDP numbers (unlikely, but follow me for the sake of the argument), (3) Amazon uses servers with 80PLUS power supplies (80% efficient or more), (4) a rather good datacenter with a PUE of 1.3 (power usage effectiveness, which includes overhead from power distribution and cooling; numbers in the range of 1.2-1.4 are often quoted by James Hamilton from the AWS team: http://perspectives.mvdirona.com/), and (5) electricity costs of $0.10/kWh (average in the US, but I know Amazon datacenters are in locations with cheaper electricity), then the hourly power and cooling costs would be:
(95*2 + 50 + 247*2) / 0.8 * 1.3 / 1000 * 0.10 = $0.119/hr
Given these numbers, Amazon must recoup the initial deployment costs very, very quickly... Which is why I also think EC2 must be very profitable.
I don't know of any major provider that offers SSD instances. It really is an untapped market.
The more depressing observation is that 33.5ECUs are equivalent to 8 cores @ 2.93GHz on Intel's recent architecture. This means your typical "small" EC2 instance with 1 ECU is on a par with ~700MHz of a single modern Intel core. (Highly unscientific but an interesting ballpark.)
Now if only I had some use for this :( (inspiration welcome, I am writing about GPU programming right now).
P.s. Disclaimer, they are friends of mine, the beta is pretty epic!
And the pricing... to quote from the other article on the GPU instances that's on the front page right now:
"An 8 TeraFLOPS HPC cluster of GPU-enabled nodes will now only cost you about $17 per hour."
It seems like they will never turn evil, but most big companies do, or perhaps they are just hiding it very well. ;)
Here's the formula for success: Take care of the customer. Charge them for it. Repeat.
However, I agree with the excellent presentation posted here a while ago 'The Real Life Social Network' (http://www.slideshare.net/padday/the-real-life-social-networ...) that the issue isn't number of people I want to share with. The issue is that the groups of people I want to share content with are completely separate. There are a number of pictures I would be happy to share with all my friends but would not want to share with my parents, or pictures that would be relevant to share with my co-workers but not all my friends. Until that issue is solved I'll continue to not share as much as I would were I to have more flexible (and easy to use) permissions.
I kind of like the idea, and the world is becoming ripe for a simpler Facebook, but christ - I can only imagine the difficult conversations about why I didn't reciprocate when someone 'pathed' me. "Sorry, you're not in my top 50".
About three years ago I started working on a sharing engine that offers what Path seems to be offering. Three years later and two startups (built using that sharing engine) closed, I can share a few thoughts (and a couple of stories):
Sharing Engine:We thought sharing was broken. Privacy, permissions, different media files, social networks all around were making things complicated for the average user, etc.
We had this situation at home were my sister just had her first son. She was living in Madrid and my folks back at home in Venezuela.
They wanted updates of their grandson and my sister wanted to send pictures, videos, etc. about him but there was no â€śdefinitiveâ€ť way to do it.
She wanted the sharing experience to be private (or at least we thought so. In retrospect I think we assumed she wanted this) and there wasn't a simple way to do this.
We sat down and came up with this sharing engine that was going to be unique and was going to allow her (and many like her) to share her sons life (and her own) with whomever she wanted, have complete control and was going to be incredibly simple to use. After many brainstorming sessions we finally found the perfect combination:
Users were allow to create their own sharing contexts (in the first startup their were called "buckets" and in the second they were called "albums"). These contexts were by invitation only: only the people you gave access to that context could "interact" with the media inside the context.
These contexts had a set of rules (permissions) that were unchangeable once the contexts was created: the reasoning here is that if you invite someone to that context and the person joins, it's doing so based on a certain promise*Available in every platform: Desktop, web, mobile.
This simple, yet powerful combination gave birth to what I personally think holds more value that the engine it-self: what I called the â€śsmart news feedâ€ť. This new smart news feed, was smart because it only showed what was really interesting to me. And between you and me, it was not really smart per-se, it was just that you only received notifications from the contexts you were a part of.
This had two mayor benefits:
-My news feed only showed activity (comments, uploads, etc) about the contexts I was a part of.
-I was 100% sure that people, not part of a context would receive notifications of my activities in that specific context.
I had a context that I shared with my folks. We shared pictures, funny videos, football news, etc (my dad loves Football: Go Napoli!)
I also had a context that I shared with my wife. The contents of this contexts were quite different from the one I shared with my folks.
Here is where the newsfeed was important: My folks only got notifications of my activities in the context we shared but not on those activities I did on the context I shared with my wife. Is quite simple, yet very powerful.
Of course this engine has a lot of neat stuff, like the ability to share all types of media you can think of, highly scalable, very fast and so much more.
About our two closed Startups:
On the first one this engine was a part of a bigger app that integrated your entire online life: mail, contacts, Calendar, RSS, IM, etc. We never officially launched so I can't give you to much insight about the idea (the sharing part at least).
After that, we took the engine and built a Twitter app out of it: Twitalbums.com
The idea was simple: private sharing on Twitter. No one was doing this and we thought, heck let's be the first ones to do it. The engine is built, all we need to do is connect with Twitter, put it out there and see what happens.
We did and we got some initial traction about 800 users and a review:http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/twitalbums_private_coll... , but looking back, a couple of things worked against us:
-Our execution was... meh. I mean, we were so focused on the engineering part, that we forgot about the user experience.
-Nature of the platform: Twitter users want to broadcast and be heard. They don't want to share privately. It seems obvious now... but you know how it goes.
About Path and Instagr.am
I like this dichotomy, because I have actually thought hard about this two apps long before they existed.
First let's say this: mobile is the correct approach. I think this is were you want to be with either one.
Path: is what I wanted to do with the engine we built.
However, it turns out people are social creatures (go figure!) and being social outweighs the need for privacy.
Instagr.am: is were I evolved our sharing engine (we went from private by default, to public by default, making EXTREMELY easy to be make it private). Instagr.am is going to win on the traction game but loose on the monetization one.
Could Path win on the monetization game? I think so.Closed groups have some benefits:You could display HIGHLY targeted advertising to an specific groupYou could identify users that get real value out of your service as a group and charge for useEtc.
However, I think the real value of private sharing (and were the money is) is in the small and medium business and how a tool like (in this case) Path could benefit to mobilize and facilitate communications between employees. I think if the offer is right business will be willing to pay for this (and employees will have no choice but to use it. Remember, Instagr.am already won the traction game)
Quality should be judged on merit, not who made them.
If there's magic here, somebody lift the kimono.
"The site so far is a list of lists. You make a list, give it a name and add items to it. Then you can see who else has made a list with the same name, what's on their list and what the most popular items are across all lists with the same name. Lists are things like "best coffee in San Francisco," or "evil corporations."
(I am an investor in both dailybooth and picplz)
These guys have been working on this for a long time, and atm the app looks like a prototype. In the interim instagram and a dozen other services went out, launched, and gained traction.
You can talk about the network theory stuff but most users aren't interested in that
I hate being Mr Negative, I am just a bit underwhelmed considering the hype - these guys have already been covered a lot in the national mainstream press
And the only major difference is that you can only have 50 friends...
That could be the bad news: the site might appeal most to those like me who value our privacy -- and I'm not sure how many of us are left :)
But I'm not an iPhone user either. Currently using a Pre but contemplating a switch to Android.
My only gripe? 50 is too many "friends." I doubt many of us interact meaningfully with 50 people in a given week, let alone in a given day.
I also wonder how much more users would be willing to share if 50 became 10.
not all of us an Apple one. should I feel sorry I'm not your target or you should be sorry because you restrict a social network to one platform?
I can't add any friends even if I know their url - I can only hope they add me. I'd have thought letting people add friends by visiting their url on the website would be a reasonable feature of even the most basic MVP iteration.
As it stands the web site is useless to non-iPhone users and so I don't see why they bothered to launch that aspect.
One respondent suggested that this would limit growth. If a cap of 50 doesn't quite limit growth, I wonder if it's different enough to Facebook that it might have any success?
I want to try it, but all I see is a blank page. I suspect I'll have forgotten entirely about Path by the time they launch apps for other mobile platforms (or a web interface!)
I wonder if it will make people think twice about opening a photo, knowing that that action will be logged publicly and conspicuously. I also wonder if it'll come with an on-off switch analogous to facebook and linkedin's profile views feedback.
Also, when I need to fill out my phone number, just let me pick "me" from my contact list, easier.
Props to a strong team though.
As for myself, I am not particularly interested in this service and have no plans to use it, but that doesn't mean it's lame or that there's no market for it or that it can't be a success.
The Kinect sensor has a practical ranging limit of 1.2â€"3.5 metres (3.9â€"11 ft) distance when used with the Xbox software.
One such device: http://www.ptgrey.com/products/bumblebee2/index.asp
Accuracy chart: http://www.ptgrey.com/support/kb/data/stereoaccuracy.xls [XLS warning]
a) His other video of the system where he shows that measurements of 3d objects exactly match real counterparts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1ieKe_ts0k
b) His homepage of other experiments: http://idav.ucdavis.edu/~okreylos/index.html
As Microsoft sells these things highly subsidized to claim profit with on the games I see lot's of conflict potential.
1. Production DB credentials are only stored on the production appservers, and copied in at deploy time.
2. The production DB can only be accessed from the IPs of the production webfarm.
3. Staging, Testing, Development, and Everything Else live on separate networks and machines than production.
From Chris' Twitter stream (http://twitter.com/#!/defunkt):
Seriously, I blame whoever wrote our crappy continuous integration software.
Oh that's me
What hasn't been said is how refreshing it is to see an honest and quick explanation. I know this type of approach is getting more and more common (see the foursquare outage), but in the grand scale of things, its still quite rare.
Yes, we've all made silly mistakes. But if you're in that design meeting and somebody asks, should we do ABC in case of XYZ, try not to think about how complicated or time consuming it might be to do ABC. Think about the worst case. If not doing it could at some point bring down the whole business, perhaps you should ponder it some more.
Actually, screw a book... Does anyone else want to start some wiki pages their experiences with screw-ups, the causes and the solutions? Does this exist in a comprehensive way and I just haven't found it?
If I were running some critical code, I would have seriously reconsider github, or at-least ask for a detailed explanation on their engineering practices and fail-safe mechanisms.
(It's not possible to do this in every case, especially if you make heavy use of stored procedures and triggers, but I don't. If I need client-independent behavior or integrity checks on top of the database, I just use a small RPC server. This makes testing and scaling easier, since there are just simple components that speak over the network. Much easier than predicting everything that could possibly happen to the database.)
This will be a good reminder for me to always keep a local copy.
It's been a great service, and I think as long as this kind of thing is rare, and none of my code repositories get corrupted or destroyed, I plan to stick with them.
I prefer my agility to remain on the dev-and-test side of the fence.
Accommodation is cheap, I pay 400â‚¬ for 50sqm, a friend of mine pays 550 for 70sqm with 3 rooms. That's in a central part of town. In general, between 320 - 600 you can find a pretty reasonable place for a person to live alone.
DĂ¶ner costs â‚¬2.50, a chinese meal off a stall costs â‚¬3.00, a restaurant meal in some small restaurant 5â‚¬ or 6â‚¬, in some normal restaurant maybe 9â‚¬ to 12â‚¬. Beer costs â‚¬3 in most clubs and bars, cocktails â‚¬4.50 to â‚¬8.00.
Transport costs â‚¬70 a month for the train? Not so sure about this. Parking is easy on the outskirts, but the very center of town you usually need to pay in a parkhouse.
Lots of english speaking people, and it's very popular for euro-immigrants (france, england, spain, etc), so a very western europe scene, and very easy to get by on english only.
Berlin generally has a bad work climate (I've heard people say), so if I were you, I'd apply for 10-20 jobs from Warsaw, then come over, stay a week in a ferienwohnung, do all the interviews and if you find one you like, move here. Moving without a job could put you under undue pressure. Warsaw is just 4 hours by train, is it not?
I believe there are a lot of young companies in Berlin, so I don't think the Airbus style jobs are really available here.
The cost of living in Berlin is very variable. I love Kreuzberg, you have good and cheap options to dinner for ~10 euros (e.g around GĂ¶rlitzer Bahnhof you have some good vietnamese and indian resturants). The rent should be around 250 - 350 E a room. In east berlin you can find cheaper pelaces to live in.
I dont know about job post, but just contact the Berlin Python User Group. I am sure they can give you some good advices about it. The mailing list dont look very acttive, but I am sure is still the best place to start (http://starship.python.net/mailman/listinfo/python-berlin)
Have your own space, go out sometimes, take cab once in a while... about 1.200â‚¬+/month (obviously open end).
Add at least another 130â‚¬/month for health insurance.
Unfortunately I don't know about any python gigs but if you are familiar with RoR, let me know... As a freelancer (RoR) you should get something between 300â‚¬ - 800â‚¬ / day (deepending on your experience).
There are many tech jobs, most companies are hiring.
As a developer you might make 35-60k EUR a year, depending on the company and your skills.
Transport is currently 72 EUR a month.
Meals are around 5 EUR for lunch, 10 EUR or above in the evening. Pizza is below 10 EUR. Beer is around 3 EUR.
Lots of startups, probably some doing Python, not sure who off the top of my head. Most recruitment in Berlin seems to be done via social networks rather than via job boards, so your best bet might be to get involved with the startup community and get some leads from there.
try this map to find startups http://www.businesslocationcenter.de/de/B/iii/1/seite11.jsp
there seems to be a django Berlin group http://groups.google.com/group/django-berlin
As opposed to Berlin specifically, how should an American software engineer get a job in a different country? I'd like to experience different cultures and I'd like to move to another country (after finding a job) but I'm not sure how I should go about doing it.
Initially, I think western Europe is the most ideal place since I do not know any other languages, some place where many people spoke English would be ideal.
If anyone has any tips for how an American (with no foreign contacts, or fluency in other languages) can land a job in a western European country, I'd be very interested in hearing them.
Perl is still very much alive and not at all stuck in a bad place. It may be easy to get that impression in your local circumstance but in the larger sense Perl is thriving. It's even gasp still grabbing young developers. I wouldn't worry too much about it.
1) Don't tell people you want their email address because you want to mail them.
2) Ask them for their friend's email addresses, too, and see #1.
If you try pulling either of these stunts, most reputable mailing providers are going to hit you with the banhammer. You'll have deserved it, too. If, on the other hand, you a) tell people you want their address to mail them and then b) do a proper double opt-in, your response rates will drop.
That makes me think the restaurant prefers reservations to come in that way. They don't just see it as a secondary reservation system to bring in more customers, but the primary channel.
The added efficiency of OpenTable cannot be underestimated. Especially when trying to book something for a large group or at the last minute, being able to see availability across many restaurants in a single glance is critical. I'm not going to bother calling.
Is there a startup competing in this space directly against OpenTable? Is Yelp the biggest potential contender (though i can't see them getting into the POS business)? Or Google?I could see google offering android-powered POS devices...
In an earlier part of the piece, the author states that "[his restaurant owner friend] believes that if he stops offering it, his customers will revolt and many would stop coming to his restaurant. So he keeps paying, but carries a grudge and wishes for something better."
What's the problem if the customers stop coming if by servicing their business via OpenTable you either only break-even or even make a slight loss?
If that is the case, it's not worth servicing the customer in the first place.
GroupOn does this too - you loose money by servicing the business obtained via GroupOn, but the idea is that future business from each customer will be at market-price thus off-setting the initial customer acquisition cost (CAC) as future CAC is $0.
The difference here is that OpenTable customers continue to book via OpenTable, thus each booking creates further CAC that doesn't go down.
What I find sad is that for all the long winded post on this subject, the author gives no concrete quantitive specifics of the OpenTable tariff structure so everyone can get a clear understanding of the issue.
"[R]estaurants find that they themselves no longer own the customer relationship."
If you want to know my email address to inform me of special events, or to give me a gift certificate for my birthday, then just ask me! It's not that hard.
Additionally, if I need a reservation to eat at your establishment, and you're not on Urbanspoon's Rez system or on OpenTable, you may as well not even exist. I'm not going to call you and a dozen other places looking for a last minute table. It's simply not worth my time.
This would solve a big problem for Yelp; if Yelp could save restaurants from the crushing cost of reservations, restaurants would be more inclined to forgive Yelp for allowing us "bored, jobless layabouts" to trash them in a public forum (http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2010/11/people_hate_us...).
I use Opentable a lot and I like not waiting for a table.
It created lot of hype by becoming the anti-OpenTable. Read about the complaints of this reservation system on NYT, Departures, etc. Major food editors still have been unable to review the restaurant simply because their inventory allows for no special favors.
Of course, anyone with Mechanize and scripting language of choice can do high-frequency reservation bookings.
However, OpenTable does have a huge following, and its followers like to redeem OT points for cash. Which is why restaurants are hesitant to remove it for customers that will only eat at OT restaurants.
5% margins??? Seriously???
My sympathies to anyone in this shithole of an industry. That's impossible. No wonder all the restauranteurs/restaurant-employees I know are unhappy or insane. Or both.
Now I wonder if this was an honest mistake, or a strategic cancelation to try to stiff OpenTable on the per-reservation fees. Obviously they couldn't do that with every diner who walked in the door, but maybe they could sneak a cancelation in here and there to save a few bucks.
According to this, OpenTable charges (not counting equipment and fixed monthly costs) $1 per diner.
Probably room for someone to undercut that, but it doesn't seem that the cost of restaurants controlling their own electronic reservations systems would be tremendously lower.
But maybe if restaurants did it on a cooperative basis. Hmm.
There seems to be no global diner profile in the system and there's certainly no social aspect to figuring out where your friends have reservations or like to eat. That's where I think OPEN can be undermined. I'm not an Urbanspoon user, but I don't think they've cracked that nut either.
How much do restaurants pay to accept phone reservations? It seems the cost comes from running two reservation systems - hiring a person to accept traditional phone calls, and paying OpenTable for the online reservation system.
which means that they have probably priced their product perfectly
Even more interesting, however, is that the State of Arizona banned these types of interactions in 2000, only to have to the law struck down as unconstitutional four years later. Specifically, the law banned any "attempts to correspond with a communication service provider or remote computing service" such as the sites listed above.
: http://www.writeaprisoner.com: http://www.prisonpenpals.com: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/law/1082592378.php
The last time I looked at freeware OCR software, the accuracy left much to be desired -- but I think it'd be a start, at least on the typed correspondence.
Video demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sNge0Ywz-M
The CPU design being implemented here comes from the book The Elements of Computer Systems, which defines a whole hardware & software platform.
From the linked thread, this is an isometric render of the CPU/game world, done by reddit member 'yonis': http://i.imgur.com/6ithi.png
I have no experience of Minecraft at all, so I have no real idea what's going on in these videos. I've watched a bit, but can't figure out what's going on.
And that's interesting to me for a slightly strange reason.
I give lots of talks about math and computing, and sometimes i can see in my audience a complete disconnect with what I'm talking about. They have no idea why it's cool that there's a square root of -1 modulo 101, but not mod 103, even when I've been talking about the motivation and the reasons.
They have the knowledge, but not the experience. The experience can make all the difference between "getting it" and "not getting it".
It's not enough to read books, blogs and articles. It's not enough to listen to talks and join in conversations. Seomtimes you ahve to do it for yourself, to get your hands dirty, to build an intuition based on direct personal experience, and not just conveyed second- or even third-hand knowledge.
"Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." -- Samuel Beckett
(Of course, there's always: No. Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try. -- Yoda)
I'm happy to answer any questions you may have about the site. Also, let me know if you have any feedback.
To answer some of the common questions/feedback:
* So far I have been focused on adding content, but now the site needs some sort of filtering to identify the relative value of each cheat sheet and easily find what you are looking for. I am still exploring different options for this including: page-rank type popularity scores, HN-style up/down voting, or traditional user star ratings.
* Every cheat sheet is manually reviewed. I don't add every single page that calls itself a cheat sheet. There is definitely a wide range of quality, but this is somewhat inevitable given this is user-generated content aggregated from around the web. This is not necessarily a bad thing: for example, an obscure topic might only have one single low-quality cheat sheet, but this is still useful and better than no results.
Always super-helpful whenever you decide to pick up something new
There is a impedance mismatch at work in our system of governance that's not going away any time soon. The government makes laws by sticking people into little boxes and making rules for those boxes. This system of boxes and rules -- the tax code -- is becoming more and more removed from reality by the day.
You make 10K a year selling things at yard sale, nobody is the wiser. You make 10K selling pot, nobody is the wiser. You make 10K by putting little bits on a server somewhere, you're a business. Why? Because Google can report you, that's why.
You buy socks from Amazon from a house in one state, you have to pay taxes. Buy the same socks from another state, pay no taxes. Order overseas, no taxes no matter which state you are in.
In fact all of these are businesses -- or none of them are. It's like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. We have this word "business" which has some kind of vague meaning, so we attach a bunch of rules to the abstraction.
We have a 1900s view of how things work that we are desperately trying to take a hammer and pound into a 21st century reality.
In point of fact, the economy works because people are constantly adapting to new circumstances, trying to do the best they can. As the rules get more and more complex, more and more people will end up being quite surprised at the situation they end up in.
Personally I think the system is broken beyond repair -- too many politicians are architecture astronauts -- but however it turns out, I have immense sympathy for the author of this article.
But, did he remember to track and deduct all of his expenses? The flipside to that income is that the server costs are all deducted from it. If he really was "just barely covering costs" with his Google ads income, it should be 15.3% of nearly zero dollars. He may even be owed a refund if he was paying full income tax on the ad revenue without deducting server costs.
I am not an accountant, but I've dealt with SE tax and had a few "conversations" with the IRS in the past. For all the worries about them being biased, I've found them to be fair, as long as you have precise documentation.
I'll email him shortly later today to offer my help directly. But I'll post a few thoughts just so that anyone else in a similar position will be prepared.
Everyone pretty much hit the mark with the self-employment tax issue. SE Tax is a 15.3% tax that you have to pay on income earned from a business.
It sounds like the etymonline guy pretty much got hosed from paying income tax on the income but failure to pay the SE Tax.
Google issues 1099s to anyone that earns over 400 or 600 dollars so the IRS knows if you're making money.
But, from the sound of his explanation. His server and upkeep costs should've generated enough expenses to wipe out his income. I'd have to speak with him directly and more in depth but that is the impression he left in his plead.
Also, there are ways to avoid paying SE tax entirely. If you incorporate into a S Corp and pay yourself a reasonable income, the rest would be excluded from SE Tax. An Scorp is a passthrough entity which means that all income is not taxed twice like a regular Corp. You pay tax on the income once on your 1040. But because the scorp is still a corporation, then you wouldn't pay SE tax on that income because the distribution is a dividend. You don't pay SE taxes on dividends.
Also, it seems like the taxpayer isn't clear about his options once the audit has commenced. Luckily, I'm sure that the taxpayer could still plead his case if he has some facts that could help his situation.
But these are my initial thoughts on the situation. I'm going to email him now and see if he's interested in discussing the issue further.
I'll update everyone on this issue later on if he is willing to allow me to speak on the matter as a learning experience for everyone.
Unfortunately, those minutes would have been a bunch more helpful before he ended up with penalties for not filing, but again, a good tax professional can probably help him negotiate a more reasonable settlement.
It is pretty clear that he should have been deducting his expenses from the site and only reporting the profit as self employment income. If he was actually making $10k in profit, then he should have been aware that it was more "business" than "hobby" and used those rules.
For those not familiar, the IRS has a category for a hobby because some people may have a hobby that looks a lot like a business that loses money. You can't deduct losses against your outside income, as you can in a serious business that just happens to have not made money that year.
Not a lawyer, not an accountant. Just someone who can read.
But this person, if they put the brakes on the conjecture and so on, and instead go talk to an accountant, can probably get it all taken care. It will take work; it will probably be necessary to refile the last N years of taxes with the appropriate form on which to list both the business revenues, and business expenses (of which it sounds like there were plenty). He may even get some money back.
Of course, doing that work is much less fun than venting.
1) Vested interests that like the tax system the way it is.
2) Envy and fear of envy. People who think the income tax takes from the rich, and people who happily pay their fair share because they have guilt feelings about their level of income, and think others should too.
3) The last reason is the overwhelming majority think of the income tax system as THE natural and logical system for raising revenue, having no clue about how it came into being and evolved.
The problem with this sort of thing (and the new 1099 rules) are that they criminalize a large swath of the population. Sure, the violations are minor, but the fact is if you break the rules you are guilty of a crime.
The problem with this is that if we're all already guilty then it gives enforcement officials too much power over us.
1. If he runs Adsense, he's not going to get casino or penis ads. Last I checked, Adsense was pretty strict about that.
2. Asking users for donations is hardly begging. He's providing (one hell of) a service in return, so it's only fair.
I've seen this before. People reviling the notion of associating money with the service they provide, and eventually running into money trouble sooner or later.
Even if Douglas chooses to go down the nonprofit road, he'll still have a much harder time than if he just declared etymonline.com a business and ran it as he saw fit.
The sorry fact is while you may think your tax rate is 15% or 25%, there is always that extra 15%, even for the employed. In employee's case, they pay half (FICA) and the employer pays half, which of course reduces real earning potential by that amount. It's a scam to talk about taxes rates and only quote the federal income tax rate.
The IRS usually takes 3 years to find a mistake like yours. It sounds like you've been filing wrong since 2005. The penalties suck but you got to keep that extra 15% for a really long time.
Most importantly, you have a really long time(6-12 months) from your initial notice from the IRS, before they start trying to collect. You couldn't pay right now even if you had the money, that was my experience anyways. I received a different letter from them, months later, and was finally able to pay.
Everyone knows you don't mess with the IRS. I don't get how you did this wrong for 6 years, never researched it, asked someone, or talked to an accountant. My gut tells me you probably knew what you were doing.
I know the revenue share pitch is a big old red flag for any developer worth their salt (most people who want to do a revenue share have some sort of scammy half-baked idea with nothing else to offer for which they want half of the revenue).
But this guy is clearly bringing something important to the table (a curated database of etymological data), and the app wouldn't be that complicated (depending on whether the database ships with the app or is lazy-loaded from the server).
You have your regular w2 form's amount from work. Any additional money you tacked on as additional income, the tax professional would have questioned where this extra money is coming from.
He or she would have identified that you got extra money as a business (you do not need a business license) but you must file this in a different form and pay the appropriate taxes (including social security, medical, and the other business-related taxes). The tax professional would have asked you for possible deductions and you could have deducted all your business income from it.
There's nothing unfair about this. IRS is doing the right thing. It's really your fault for getting a crappy tax professional or for doing your taxes yourself. And to add, tax professionals aren't even that expensive.
Can anybody recommend any good resources for information to help me avoid situations like this chap has got himself into?
If you aren't trying to make money, you may be able to report it as a hobby, deduct your expenses and avoid self-employment tax.
It does cost a few 100$ every year, but if you get income from anything other than W-2 jobs, you'd better have an accountant.
I've definitely had little accidents in my filings and minor trouble with the IRS but my experience is that, with the help of an accountant and some common sense, these problems can be worked out easily
There is a reason why Google sent you a 1099 form and not just an account statement, after all. Now you know what it is. No need to whine about how it's some sort of conspiracy -- you sell your time to someone, you're a contractor, you made income, and you pay income taxes. It's very simple.
The rant about the "financial crisis" was also off topic. Selling insurance really cheaply to people that you should be selling it to for a lot of money is not the IRS's problem. When the banks can't loan money or give back deposits, though, that is a problem, and that's why they got bailed out. Most of the banks paid back their money years ago. TARP is over. You got your money back. Now you need to do your part and pay what you owe the government.
(Whenever I write an article and it ends up in the tone of voice that the poster's ends up in, I realize that I fucked up and I'm not going to get any sympathy. I hope the author also learns that lesson. You make mistakes -- fix them, don't whine about them. If you want a new tax system, run for office. Your blog is not going to change anything except the public's perception of you.)
 regardless that the death penalty in anything but. But for some reason, the X Windows System always makes me think of capital punishment.
We ought not to call these incidents sexual assault. It sounds too much like hyperbole.
I freely acknowledge that they bear many (most?) of the characteristics of sexual assault, but there are many circumstances in life where we must suffer the same indignities which are not considered assault. A visit to the doctor for example. The situation and the intent of the "perpetrator" seem inexorably tied up in it.(1)
Consider how we talk about air travel already: "I got to the airport and was corralled and herded through metal gates. I was unconstitutionally interrogated by some TSA goon and then sexually assaulted at security, prodded into the cattle car and then held hostage for over an hour on the tarmac. When the flight finally took off, they fleeced us for every penny during the flight for snacks and even pillows! Its highway robbery I tell you."
One of the things in the above list is a disgusting violation of our basics rights, the rest are minor inconveniences by comparison. Could an outside observer tell which one?
I'm afraid that the seriousness will be lost in the other airport security theatrics, that it makes the victims sound like the crazy ones. I'm afraid that the terrorists not only won, but handed us our asses. Mostly I'm afraid of what might happen to my wife.
You see, when she was very young, she was sexually assaulted.(2) I'm genuinely afraid(3) of this befalling her, of what wound it might reopen. I don't want to hear Leno joke about how the TSA fondled his balls, or how maybe they should take us to dinner and a movie first. I just want this shit to stop. I'd rather take my chances on the bomb.
This is the part of a good criticism where the proposed alternative solution is supposed to go. I haven't got one. But the line of people, some who are genuinely hurt (like the author) and the many who say it with a half-smirk all calling it "sexual assault" isn't really working for me. I don't know what we should call whats going on but wrong.
(1) And to be perfectly fair, the willing consent of the "victim".
(2) The fact that I'm inclined to put "the real kind" right here is part of the problem I'm having with this whole thing. I don't want to be insensitive to the victims, but I just can't quite make it cohere.
(3) Not the "I'm afraid for the direction our country is taking" afraid, the kind where my chest hurts and I can't breathe right afraid.
Edit: I'm going to go ahead and drop this in while I've still got the edit. It seems I set up a bit of a lightning rod with the "doctor" analogy. I was not trying to argue that a TSA patdown == exam at the doctor. I was grasping for the most benign example I could think of where similar actions could take place, in order to establish the idea of a specturm (based on the intents of the actors, and the consent of the acted upon, together with circumstances) with sexual assault at one end and acceptable behavior on the other. I'm sorry if this was unclear and detracted from the argument.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
One might say that you submit to this as part of the deal to get on the plane. But if that were true, it would be between you and the airline, not the government. That means it really should be the airlines that decide how intrusive searches should be. And you would be free to choose an airline whose policies you agree with. And the airline would be free to reject you as a passenger.
The government has hijacked the relationship between you and the people you've hired to get you from point A to point B. Just because of previous lapses in their intelligence efforts enabled some people to do something terrible doesn't mean you lose your rights.
The current situation is untenable. I am incredibly concerned by the latest round of rights and liberty infringing actions by the government in the name of "security". If it is not "security" it is "children". What remains to be seen is whether or not the current solution is scaleable in the face of tremendous public outcry.
As for the assault claims, I am not surprised. I can't imagine TSA agents always remember to explain exactly what is going to happen. Pat downs are invasive and uncomfortable, but unexpected invasion must be much worse.
The only silver lining I see is that they may be responsive to the public outcry and figure out a better way to screen people. Perhaps, we should get the Israelis to train our TSA folks
http://blog.tsa.gov/2010/08/enhanced-pat-downs.html offers one reason to be optimistic. A number of critical comments talk about "molesting", "groping", "assault" etc. and these comments haven't been censored. The fact that the govt is permitting an open discussion may well mean that they'll take all the feedback into consideration.
I liken it to Ali choosing jail over Vietnam, and other instances when people protested government coercion by intentionally choosing the worse alternative to what the govt wanted them to do.
Hopefully the national outrage gets the policy changed before then, but I'm preparing to sack up and do it nonetheless.
In this case, the TSA agent obviously broke protocol. I can't see it as mandatory for the victom of the breach to stick to her part of the protocol by keeping still and silently enduring the abuse.
However, it is clear that her lack of immediate response was not a concious decision. I'm very familiar with the paralysis of mind and body that occurred. As a martial arts instructor, I see this happen a lot especially in the beginner's classes. With an opponent just holding your arm or making any kind of physical contact in a fashion you're not accustomed to, your mind can very easily go blank and you fail to move at all. A lot of self defense training is directed to just overcoming the paralysis induced by fear and/or shock.
It is clear that the author post-poned all reactions until after the fact. Perhaps from a legal standpoint this was the best course of action. But from a human standpoint, it is my view that the trauma incurred would have been far less damaging if she had reacted immediately to what was happening.
To get to my point: for anyone that want to explore your own reactions to similar situations, it is both very affordable and illuminating to try out a few self defense or martial arts classes. Read up on what is available in your area and just try it out.
With just a few classes, you can learn to react to abusive physical contact with a sharp, verbal NO!! instead of freezing into silent paralysis during the abuse and bearing the resulting trauma. You even react to verbal abuse or just plain criticism from other people in a different way if you practice martial arts. It is beneficial to everyday situations a lot less dramatic than in the post above.
If you think about it: TSA pisses off both Liberals and Conservatives now. I wonder how long would it last.
I don't believe this subject is gratifying majority's intellectual curiosity.
It might be provoking lots of feelings, but this is not Feelings News nor Moral News but Hacker News.
I'm not saying anyone has been posting badly. I'm just saying that I've seen these "TSA sexual assault" twice now, and I don't think any new ideas will come along third time.
Yes, it is clearly not about sexuality, but it is a situation where there is a massive imbalance of power. Who is there to verify that your human rights are being upheld?
It is not a situation in which you can complain, even if there was abuse - because you'll miss your flight and look like a terrorist. Then there is the social pressure to conform in front of a large audience of people who you will delay if you do complain. Not to mention the number of uniformed and armed guards present.
I am sorry HN, but I find myself lacking the desire to board this bandwagon.
Does this mean my government lying to me?? Well I'll be damned!
What politician is going to risk canning a security protocol when there's a not-unreasonable chance of a civilian airplane being blown up in the next few years? Who wants to be the politician that has to explain, after several hundred people died, why they canned any device or protocol which may have helped stopped the attack, however remote the likelihood?
I'm not saying it's rational or appropriate, I'm saying it's politically untenable, regardless of the horror stories like the one posted.
Perhaps airlines should offer 'enhanced' or 'standard' security flights, and people can choose whether they fly on a plane where everyone has pat downs or scans, or whether they don't. At least that way there would be a choice...
[As an aside I wonder how many people actually use Spoon for doing cross-browser testing of their websites. IIRC Spoon Browsers cannot access websites in the local Intranet.]
Firefox 55.1% Chrome 20.7% IE 15.2% Other 4.4% Opera 3.0% Safari 1.6%
Management asks for a product, sometimes even hires someone to design that product. The programmers are then tasked to code that product, including all the features asked for and code them without bugs or flaws. Then they are given an artificial deadline.
When the deadline approaches, they are then given different instructions... They have to either code quickly (sloppily) and ignore the flaws/bugs, or leave out features because it's no longer possible to meet the deadline and do their job properly.
They should -not- be making that decision. Management should be telling them what features to code, letting them get them right, and then giving them more features to code. Create the product incrementally, instead of waiting until the end to force a deadline.
Yes, that sounds an awful lot like Agile, but there's no reason it can't be done in Waterfall. It's a matter of proper planning and responsibility.
If your developers are saying they aren't ready to ship, it's because you've asked too much of them. (Assuming they aren't incompetent, since you should fire them if they are.)
No developer worth his salt wants to ship a product with bugs. To ask them to do so is to ask them to violate their personal ethics. At least, for known problems. Unknown problems will always exist due to the nature of the beast.
Edit: I would also like to see the list of people using this for actual selling and not donations.
More on Bitcoin: http://www.bluishcoder.co.nz/2010/10/10/a-short-introduction... http://lwn.net/SubscriberLink/414452/b8bf16adf2d1564a/
Here's where a little philosophy would help; we could save a lot of time by invoking the sensible/intelligible distinction. Mathematical entities are intelligible, not sensible, and their mapping to the external world is epiphenomenal. Seventeen is prime, not because of any empirical evidence, but because it has to be prime under the definition of primality. Math, like chess, is a game with rules.
Give me a break.
Is multiplication anything but shorthand for counting the number of blocks in an M by N rectangle?
So then, how is that not an adequate whatever for 17 being prime?It may not be be the traditional math you learned in school alongside long division and multiplication, but it's math all the same.
Also, apparently they haven't taken even moderately high level math courses, which give much more concrete definitions of divisibility. 17 is prime because it matches the definition of "prime". It also doesn't match the definition of "even". What of it? Blue is blue because it's blue, not because it can't be arranged into a rectangle.
When I write business software, I dig in for details with my users in the same way. I understand you want me to fix the document printing process. Unfortunately that is too vague to write code for. Let's find out exactly what it is that needs fixing. Usually after some digging in, I change a button or two and it is now fixed!
It is hard work to be exact, precise, and specific. Being general is too easy.
In my opinion, A is true. A is true for at least three reasons: B, C, and D.
B is true for at least three reasons. First, E. Second, F. Third, G. Therefore, B is true.
C is true for at least three reasons...
D is true for at least three reasons...
In conclusion, A is true.
If I wanted a longer paper, there would be subparagraphs under B, C, and D, in the same form. For my thesis, each of those subparagraphs got sub-subparagraphs. You can guess what I would do if I ever wrote a book.
I've often marveled at cool's longevity -- unlike the adjective sick (popular briefly in my social circle in 2005) which seems to have died out almost entirely.
"Avoid the obvious content"
"Take the less usual side"
"Slip out of abstraction"
"Get rid of obvious padding"
"Call a fool a fool"
"Beware of pat expressions"
Though  the titles are a good summary of the article [/edit] (as per "slip out of abstraction") the examples given are humorous, thorough, and help in really getting the point being made.
It's interesting to consider how the author's (sometimes verbose) sentences could be shortened. If writing for pure conciseness, what would you cut out? Which parts are completely necessary? Are the rephrasings necessary to convey the different aspects of the current point? Is the example given important enough to stay?
"Pat expressions are hard, often impossible, to avoid, because they come too easily to be noticed and seem too necessary to be dispensed with."
=> "Pat expressions cannot always be avoided."
"A writer's work is a constant struggle to get the right word in the right place, to find that particular word that will convey his meaning exactly, that will persuade the reader or soothe him or startle or amuse him."
=> "Each situation calls for a certain word with a certain connotation; the writer toils to find it."
Again, there's no problem -- it's excellent writing, it just struck me that word golf could be as interesting as code golf. What is the shortest possible phrasing to express this exact idea? (I suppose we're doing it all the time, except in English classes where word count is the goal.)
Which is to say, every single time I read an academic article.
Certainly, sex can be dull. Unfortunately, going into the specific anecdotes concerning the topic would make HN less work-safe and also damage the modesty thereof.