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Gregory Leblanc
Attended Woodrow Wilson High School
Lives in parkersburg
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Gregory Leblanc

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I hear good things from the xamarin folks, and then something like this...
 
Dear developers, I thought you should know. Yours, privacy. http://m.slashdot.org/story/312289
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Gregory Leblanc

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This is bound to be handy.
 
Interested in integrating a USB Type-C receptacle or plug into your hobbyist design?

Tyler at Scorpia has done a great guide on simple configurations to make a correct Type-C UFP, among other configurations.

#USBC   #USB   #TypeC  
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It's tax week, so that means talking about everyone's favorite thing, doing taxes!

Today I am going to talk about tax preparation. Ever wonder why Congress seems to make taxes more complicated every year despite the public clamoring for something better and the fact that the IRS is obviously under resourced (ironically but truly) and overworked? Did you know tax prep companies actively lobby government officials to make taxes more complicated? It may create inequity, but there's money in that, and not much chance any individual will take the fall, so why not?

Add to that the predatory practices of these companies, from forcing people to click through a bunch of scary sounding but unlikely and not so bad if things go wrong insurance options, to claiming to offer a free return but charging for anything (and I mean anything) beyond form 1040 EZ. Right, because if I had 1040 EZ, I could have done it in less time than it took to enter the data in your forms.

Sure, if a human is doing data entry for me, or if I need extra advice, I expect to pay a premium. Even a few bucks extra (the price of a meal) would be reasonable for a few extra forms, with options (but not a gauntlet) for more. When itemized deductions suddenly pop the price to $30, though, with state "not included" (wait, didn't it say state was free too at the start?) that's NOT okay. Oh, that would be fine for a whole package, or if it said up front that itemized deductions would cost extra, but after I already did the data entry?

This is with TaxAct, which in the past has been less predatory. It will be my last year using this software though.

This isn't about the price of taxes, or even about the price of a service, but about a system that is needlessly convoluted, and aimed at bait and switch tactics and dishonest claims.
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Kiss US owned cloud providers goodbye in the long term. With the EU privacy agreement doomed, China, Russia and India not going to stand for meddling this pretty much condemns any cloud company with a US arm or connection to slowly being pushed out of the market as governments and legal actions force their customers to move.

US Supreme Court approves expanded hacking powers - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36169019
The US Supreme Court approves a rule change that could allow law enforcement to remotely search computers located anywhere in the US, and beyond.
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Evolution of the Ucayali River

The Landsat program is the longest-running enterprise dedicated to the acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth. Google's Earth Engine combines this multi-petabyte collection of satellite imagery and geospatial datasets with planetary-scale analysis capabilities to facilitate study of our home planet.

This timelapse of satellite images depicts the evolution of the Ucayali River in Peru between 1985 and 2013. The tight bend on the bottom of the imagery undergoes a neck cutoff as the river cuts straight across the landscape. The development of sand bars can also be seen downstream around the large bend.

Source: http://goo.gl/F0LWZV

#ScienceGIF #Science #GIF #Satellite #Earth #GoogleEarth #Landsat #GoogleEarthEngine #River #UcayaliRiver #River #Ucayali #Peru #Bend
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+Georgia Bosse​ it's in Peru, presumably in the Amazon, so it probably really is that green.
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Gregory Leblanc

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oh yeah. I'm trying this at #CoCoFest 2016 ;)
I'm in London for Kubecon right now, and the hotel I'm staying at has decided that light switches are unfashionable and replaced them with a series of Android tablets. A tablet displaying the text UK_bathroom isn't responding. Do you want to close One was embedded in the wall, but the two next ...
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For the locals, Powell's has a sale this Sunday, 30% off "nearly everything" Get the coupon from their email list: http://www.powells.com/ff2016/
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Gregory Leblanc

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wow. some very clever mechanics in this.
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Charles thinks harder about these things than I do, and generally comes to excellent conclusions.
 
Tax Week: Part 2

I was going to write about sales tax today (and I'll still get to that) but I finally had a chance to read into this great article and one of the salient points is that gas tax, which provides a lot of the funding for public transit, is down substantially.

There are good reasons for thinking that public transit should not be linked to our use of gas for cars, but at very least, our (crumbling) road infrastructure is in bad shape largely because our payment has failed to keep pace with inflation.

This might have made a little sense leading up to the recession, as gas prices were spiking and pushing the margins of a lot of the failure points that later broke and became an international economic plunge, and let's face it, it probably DID make sense to do some deficit spending during the recession.

But we aren't in a recession anymore, and gas prices have fallen in a way that's leaving competitors (especially clean energy and efficient design competitors) in a bit of a lurch. Moreover, this isn't a new thing. Oil (and steel) were the original culprits that brought corporate monopoly laws in the US, and one of the specific tactics those laws were meant to combat was the use of price fluctuations to drive competitors out. Fast forward a hundred and some odd years, and the only change is that now the scale of these tactics is such that the US can't simply break up the party (honestly, no entity, not even the producers themselves, can at this point).

While we can't control the prices that oil comes into our economy at, what we could do is create a "stabilizing" tax. Something like this would take the price of gas (before state tax) and raise it to something not unfamiliar or outrageous (based on octane), say $3/gallon for "regular", plus some flat tax (say $1) fixed to an inflation index. That way, we always pay at least $4 a gallon, plus state tax (or, to be really fair, set the price of crude at $75/barrel + $25 flat, but that fails to account for the quality of the crude). The primary benefit here is that other energy producers or those making alternative technology always have a price point that an international oligopoly can't foil - at least in the US. Secondarily, there's money, which could be set aside for transit, or just roads, or poured into the super-fund for the now inevitable spills and cleanups that our domestic petroleum interests seem to be involved in every few years.

But the point here is not about money earned. The point here is about money spent, and about stability. Americans need to know their investments will pay off, and frankly petroleum interests and auto users need to pull their weight.

There is no better time for this tax. American oil interests would hardly be affected by this law - they are already undercut at every turn these days, and maybe a great equalizer will help those companies actually producing superior product, or those companies with lower costs, which could bail some American companies out, or create opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Of course this will have consequences other than for immediate price stabilization of oil. Petrol byproducts will become cheaper (but not much, as this is already an international market) and states will be forced to do some mild reconciliation of disparate gas taxes, but not much. Even petroleum producers will like it eventually, because the US will be a reliable market that can be easily counted on regardless of international prices.

In the end, this is a logical response to international price fixing of oil, not a normal sales tax, or a government interference beyond reason, and it's something we should enact now, while we can.
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Gregory Leblanc

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Since 1996, the Rumsey collection’s online database has been open to all, currently offering anyone with an internet connection access to 67,000 maps from all over the globe, spanning five centuries of cartography.
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The Rumsey map collection is really cool! Thanks, Greg.
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Anyone still think adblockers shouldn't be part of every users security ?

BBC, MSN hit by malicious ad attack - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35821276
Several large websites have been hit by an attack that makes them display malicious adverts that could see visitors infected with ransomware.
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The FBI's demand that Apple craft new software to bypass iOS's security protections has ignited a worldwide debate about a government's ability to force tech companies to sabotage their own security. One repeated question has been: will other countries, like China, demand the same powers?
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Have him in circles
74 people
Paul Jones's profile photo
Owen Taylor's profile photo
Sammy Ominsky's profile photo
Dean Johnson's profile photo
Kathryn Roberts's profile photo
Rosanna Yuen's profile photo
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Michael Fagan's profile photo
Ziya Suzen's profile photo
Education
  • Woodrow Wilson High School
    1995 - 1998
  • Oregon Institute of Technology
    Electronic Engineering Technology, 2003 - 2007
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