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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 managed to get my Cisco VoIP phone (cp-7960g) set up to communicate with a Raspberry Pi3 running RasPBX today. I didn't get the logo loaded, but I think it configured the extension number and name. This also required making a custom patch cable to make the phone with with my 802.3AF POE injectors. Pretty happy with that, but it'll probably be a couple of days before I get the next couple set up and do internal testing. Then I have to find a SIP provider...
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Gregory Leblanc

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Ugh. Apparently this crappy plumbing won't hold for a little while longer until I can replace it.
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Gregory Leblanc's profile photoRex Bosse's profile photo
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Aargh.... idiots!

Regards,
Rex
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Fascinating
 
Seems like ECC or similar error detecting/correcting mechanisms could be a simple fix for this issue. It'd add a small amount to the cost of a device but not a significant amount while making exploitation quite a bit harder, especially if specialized ECC dram chips using larger and older process technology which is more resistant are used. 
Permission-less apps take only seconds to root phones from LG, Samsung and Motorola.
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Gregory Leblanc

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I wish I had in my whole body half the eloquence that Tim has in his left pinky!
 
I reflect on how algorithms affect not just what news we consume, but what news is produced, and how the consumers, creators, and regulators of algorithms can get better at understanding whether they are trustworthy. In today's overheated political environment, ask what algorithms drive our news leads us in an unexpected direction. 
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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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I've recommended these to others, but now I'm even thinking about buying one.
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Evan Pickett's profile photoBill Bradford's profile photoGregory Leblanc's profile photo
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I'm really leery of crowd funding. Seems like a cool idea that doesn't really pan out
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This is a very good explainer piece about filter bubbles on Facebook and Twitter and how they happen. Read this, and be sure to follow the link it contains to the Wall Street Journal's Blue Feed/Red Feed site. I experienced this first hand in my conversations with some of my own family members. It was clear that we live in completely different media universes, full of different "facts." 
Pause, take a breath, and let’s look at why this really happened.
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Not registered to vote? Not sure what you need to do? VotePlz makes it easy to do the right thing. If you care about the direction our country takes, voting is the single most important thing you can do. Low voter participation rates send a strong signal to politicians than no one cares what they do. You don't want that, do you? https://www.voteplz.org/

Whether or not you’re registered yet… we’ll help you do everything you need to vote!
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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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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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Production Specialist (Manufacturing Engineer)
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
parkersburg
Education
  • Woodrow Wilson High School
    1995 - 1998
  • Oregon Institute of Technology
    Electronic Engineering Technology, 2003 - 2007
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Male