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  • May 19th, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    Mail Order and Internet sales tax

    The methodology for which state's sales tax should be paid by the consumer has always been backwards, even when the explanation is "follow the money". A mail order/internet transaction still occurs the same way as physically going to the store: the transaction occurs when the merchant processes the sale (at THEIR location). So the tax rate should be that for the state where the merchant's transaction processing center is located. The sale ALWAYS occurs at the merchant's location, not the consumer's location. It just doesn't happen until the merchant accepts the money. It matters not what route the money takes to get there.

  • Sep 10th, 2009 @ 8:34pm

    There's only so much music...

    After reading Mike's article about the Wired Vanish Project,, and the fact that he can only read so much,
    I have to say that there is only so much music you can listen to, especially if you read a lot, or are a musician yourself and work on videos and recording. I am disabled and am part of an on-again-of-again group that performs classic rock tunes as a hobby for friends. I follow Mike's comments on the music business with great interest. It's absurd that my group should be required to pay license fees to perform the popular music of yesteryear for anyone in their own home, let alone the local nursing homes and senior centers (yes, they like to rock too) for free. Also, its a double standard, since all popular artists learned their craft by emulating and then innovating on music they have heard. I'm sure they didn't pay license fees to Muddy Waters and the like. And don't get me started on Jazz Improv.

    Thanks to Mike pointing out the projects of the above mentioned musicians, I have listened to some of their music. I never would have otherwise. That proves his point that their marketing efforts are needed. In this case, it got enough buzz going that it came to Mike's attention. And by trickle down effect to me. So the actual project only has to generate enough interest to get it mentioned elsewhere. It doesn't have to reach the whole world by itself. Thanks, Mike.

  • Jan 20th, 2009 @ 6:01am

    what is the suggestion (as the_dukeman)

    I'm curious what might be a good way for the newspaper companies to become profitable. What do you guys think? My guess is for them to adapt to providing what the consumers want. That is quite a task considering the varied ways in which customers consume the news. While online content seems to rule for many, the print versions are very popular as well.

    IMHO the biggest reason the print newspapers are selling much less these days is not that they have been replaced by online versions, but that the price has risen too much. I'm convinced that if your local rag sold for 25 cents daily instead of a dollar, circulation would quadruple at least. I know I would start buying it again at that price. If you could order only your favorite sections and only the specific days you wanted, subscriptions could be much more cost effective. I would subscribe even though I'd still be checking my online news sites several times daily.

    Any newspapers out there willing to take on that challenge?

  • Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 3:27pm

    Re: re: false value is a real issue (as the_dukeman)

    The replacement costs are high as a trickle down effect. Inflation across the board has been fed by the fact that people have had to raise the price of practically everything that could be sold so they can afford to pay their mortgages. This also contributed to the dollar losing strength around the world. The 70% estimate is based on the dollar staying strong in the world market and real estate prices progressing at a more steady rate. The two highest priced items in an average family's budget are mortgage and car payment. Automobile prices are also much higher priced than they should be, but this relates more directly to the trickle down effect of the real estate price glut.

  • Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Good Piece! (as the_dukeman)

    That's exactly how the credit problem escalated. Inflated real estate prices fueled a credit frenzy. As long as the prices were kept inflated, there was plenty of "collateral".
    Reminds me of a feedback loop at the last concert I attended. Ouch, my ears!

  • Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:49pm

    false value is a real issue (as the_dukeman)

    The false valuation of real estate has been quite a large contribution to this and previous large Wall ST dives. This problem evidenced itself in the late '70s and spread like wildfire. Prior to that era, real estate values, especially private homes, rose at a more stable rate overall, generally not by great leaps and bounds. These inflated values created the need for much more financing, which in turn fueled further inflation which could be sustained by the huge rise in the use of credit. People will always pay more for something if they can borrow for it. A domino effect followed. Of course the dominos must fall at some point. Even now the real estate values will be propped up by the government in an effort to recoup the bailout investment, instead of letting them adjust to the proper price point (in my estimate a drop of 70%). This is exactly what happened with the 80's bailout and is a major contribution to the current situation. A price adjustment such as this won't be popular (will we never learn?), but would provide a much more stable platform for real estate investment. Right now is the perfect time for this price adjustment to occur.

  • Oct 6th, 2008 @ 1:54pm

    banks should get back to banking (as the_dukeman)

    I recently saw on a documentary a financial pundit in France stating that French banks do 75% normal banking, and keep real estate as no more than 25% of their business. As a result, the French banks are in way better shape than the American ones.

  • Oct 6th, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    property values (as the_dukeman)

    After looking at the 1980's S&L bailout, this current mortgage situation could well be fallout from that. Until the early 1980's property values slowly and steadily rose, making real estate a sound investment. By the time the S&L bailout occurred, they were out of control. Since the bailout was in no small part based on hoping these values would gain again after the inevitable slump from the financial institution failures with bad mortgages, they fulfilled their own prophecy by soon escalating the property values again for no other reason than to try to make their money back from buying the toxic assets. When investors saw how much the prices were inflated, and that folks were willing to pay those escalating prices, an investment price spiral ensued.

    So in a way, the bailout plan from the S&L debacle directly set up this current situation by causing the property values to be propped up instead of allowing them to devalue to the proper price point and steady the market. Estimates of the S&L bailout plan having a 5-10 year economy impact are in fact false. It continues to this day.

    Thinking on Capitol Hill is that the government will make their (our) money back by selling the toxic assets at a later time. But they will inevitably prop up the property values again instead of allowing them to return to the levels that will ensure good growth in the future. The analysts hope that a 5-10% drop in prices will be sufficient. I suggest that they really need to drop 70% to put them back to the growth rate before the S&L bailout and the 5 preceding years.

    Now is the best time for that price adjustment so the real estate market can have a bright and steady growth prospect. Otherwise the same thing happens again in 15 years, if the economy doesn't collapse anyway in the next year due to marginalized price adjustments in the real estate market. They should take their medicine now and force the economy heal itself instead of just using a band-aid. Because the real estate prices were so inflated, investment vehicles in all sectors relied on those false values to make their profits. And so goes the self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Jun 7th, 2008 @ 8:32pm

    video pulled (as the_dukeman)

    It looks like the video has been pulled from Google. Anyone know somewhere else it might be available?

  • Jan 21st, 2008 @ 7:25am

    AT&T monopoly still exists (as the_dukeman)

    In my city AT&T has protected telco service areas. So even though I have options on choosing my ISP, they still have to use AT&T's equipment, so AT&T has the ability to control what happens over that equipment. The monopoly is still there. Verizon refuses to provide internet services in AT&T areas. I was told by a Verizon tech that this is because they don't want AT&T tampering with their equipment (again). The cable companies enjoy the same monopolistic protections here.

  • Oct 4th, 2007 @ 7:19am

    user ID

    At first glance the user ID issue seems mighty damning for the defendant. But the fact that she uses this ID on many other sites means that it is much more likely that it could have been stolen and then used by someone wanting to cover their own tracks while performing questionable acts online. Although the combination of the same user name AND the same password might seem to be more conclusive evidence, that would only be true if it's shown that she used this same combination frequently across the web. It certainly wouldn't be conclusive evidence for the same reason. The argument is just as strong whichever way you look at it. "Evidence" may be too strong a word to describe that data.

  • Jun 19th, 2007 @ 8:39pm

    Re: voting and politicians (as the_dukeman)

    Until we are allowed to vote NO to the offered politicians on the ballots, we will continue to have this problem. Instead of just a blank box for a yes vote for each candidate, there should be one box for YES and one box for NO, for each candidate. Then the true voice and wishes of the people would be heard. Anybody ever heard of the Rules of Order procedure where all votes YEAH and NAY are counted?

  • May 22nd, 2007 @ 12:28pm

    Nobody watches it.

    I'm convinced that nobody watches broadcast TV, at least not anywhere near the numbers reported by the Networks. Except, of course, the news and PBS. I think it's just a bunch of made up numbers. I mean, look at what's on those channels: content not really suitable for children of any age. Let alone adults with brains.

    Also, "Independent" content ceases to be so when its producers band together into a group. True independent content comes from garages and living rooms, not production companies.

  • May 19th, 2007 @ 4:54am

    the issue is...

    The reason the MLS is trying to oust Redfin is the fact that they are undercutting "Real Estate Agents'" commissions. They charge a much lower flat rate instead of the standard 6% agent's fee. In fact they rebate (except when not allowed to do so by local laws) any amount above their standard fee when paid the 3% from the other party's agent. It makes the agents that charge full price look too greedy. Of course they want them out!

    From the consumer's point of view the standard 6% rate hasn't decreased, even though home prices have escalated over the past few years. That's a big pay raise for the agents, with no more services provided. Agents' associations are fervently trying to get Redfin and similar internet based real estate services regulated out of business. Sadly, they may well succeed. It is now up to consumers to make sure their government representatives don't make this happen.

    Go Redfin!

  • Apr 20th, 2007 @ 10:08am

    similar issue

    When an article like this one appears on this site, it always reminds me about the man who has been suing a women's revenge web site claiming that incorrect and defaming data about him has been posted in a public forum. What gets overlooked in many of these cases is that the web sites generally refuse to identify the members that post these comments, so he cannot sue them. While the part of his suit that holds them liable for the content has been thrown out, he has persisted because the site still refuses to provide the data he needs to sue the person at fault: the user that posted the comments. This issue has been glossed over by many "news discussion" sites in order to get quick discussions going on the 'stupidity' of the man for suing the wrong people.

  • Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 2:22pm

    And now the lyrics...

    It is just as absurd that the lyrics sites have been taken down. I'm sure there are many more people singing along with the radio, etc, than the hordes of folks that are playing instruments to these songs. The lyrics sites are as much fair use as are people singing in their cars. Not that the copyright mongers care. Music users unite!

  • Feb 28th, 2007 @ 6:53pm

    (untitled comment)

    The day hasn't arrived yet that I can take the free video I downloaded from YouTube and exchange it for food to feed my family. When the value of the video I downloaded and the video I uploaded are equal to all parties, then maybe. At this time all the "peers" in this example are not equal and so the value is also not.

    Food for though but not for my family. 21st century food still costs 21st century capital.

  • Feb 26th, 2007 @ 8:37pm

    You can thank Cisco for that.

    I just updated the firmware in my Linksys router only to find that in the new version the user name cannot be changed. That's not the worst of it. Too bad. Now I'm reticent to buy any new hardware from them.

  • Feb 26th, 2007 @ 6:05pm

    Just like in the movies...

    I think the way our society handles the patent/business/antitrust issues will probably lead to Corporate Wars like those referred to in the movie Rollerball. It truly is based on greed and that just will not change. The term Corporate Lemmings comes to mind.

  • Feb 23rd, 2007 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Flaming people you know

    Exactly. Just because the ISP shouldn't be forced to reveal your identity for a post does not mean that you should not be liable for your post. You wrote it and posted it, therefore you are responsible for its content. If you reveal your own identity, then kudos to those that bear the brunt of your words if they bring you to justice for posting content that impacts their life.

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