Telecommuters and Out-Of-State Income Tax

I came across this interesting story about a Tennessee resident having to pay New York State Income Tax. (Story here.) In prior years, he paid tax based on 25% of his income, since he travelled to New York 25% of the time. This is an interesting quandry, and parallels the debates of paying sales tax on goods purchased on the internet. New York's argument is that they deserve to collect tax in a situation where the individual chooses to live outside of New York, but be employed within New York; a commo... [More]

Recharge a Laptop in 1 Minute?!

First, Centrino and larger Lithium Ion batteries not only pushed laptop performance to new levels, but also increased battery life. But, even better is this article from Information Week (here): Toshiba on Tuesday announced a new lithium-ion battery -- the type used in virtually all laptops -- that recharges 60 times faster than current batteries and loses less than one percent of its capacity after 1,000 recharges. The new battery can be refilled to 80 percent of capacity in one minute, Toshiba claimed,... [More]

Microsoft: Week 1 Review

A lot of people have asked how my first few days went at Microsoft, so I thought I'd write a bit about my experience. Monday The first 6 hours of the day were spent in New Employee Orientation. This whole process runs like a well-oiled machine. I imagine with the amount of hiring that goes on at Microsoft, it ought to be an efficient process. I was in a class of about 90 other people, although they admitted it was a fairly large group of new hires. There were several stations for filling out various f... [More]

MVPs Revolt -- C'mon

Here's a surprise: Many Microsoft Visual Basic MVPs are upset about the lack of further development of VB6 (ie, not VB.NET). In fact, many have signed a petition (here). I don't mean this disrespectfully, but: let it die. I don't say this is a smug anti-VB person -- I love VB6, and have used it extensively. However, I just don't see why Microsoft should regress and support VB as the petition recommends. Let me explain by addressing the points in the petition: 1. Preservation of assets This is main r... [More]

Once Again: It Was Too Thick to Pour

The title here is a bit esoteric and doesn't describe the contents in this post: We recently got back from our Vegas trip, and it was a blast! This has been our third trip to Sin City, so we had a pretty good game plan going in and knew where we wanted to go this time around. This year's "King Of Queens" season started out with an episode about Doug and the boys planning a Vegas trip. Doug needed to build up credit with Carrie; while driving to pick her up one day, the site of a fudge desert caught his... [More]

The Monty Hall Puzzle

The Monty Hall problem is one of the best brainteasers I've come across; it's also one of the most debated. I first ran into this problem while taking a statistics class in college. It goes something like this: Suppose you are on a game show, similar to Let's Make a Deal. Monty Hall presents 3 doors, and asks you to select one. Behind one of the doors is a big prize; behind the other two are fake (or very low value) prizes. You select a door. Before opening your chosen door, Monty says, "Before I show you... [More]

Job Impressions - An Interesting Read

I have a couple of weeks of down time before I start my new job at Microsoft (though I wouldn't exactly call it downtime with moving and wrapping up affairs). I'm getting really excited, but as with any new chapter in life -- particularly one that involves a career and relocation -- I have to analyze what lead me down this path. At the time, I didn't do much thinking about why I was applying elsewhere, but by updating my resume and accepting interviews, I decided my current career path was coming to a cl... [More]

How to Write Unmaintainable Code

If you're a developer and looking for a good lauch, you must check out this article, How to Write Unmaintainable Code. I'm going to include my favorites here: 1. Creative Misspelling If you must use descriptive variable and function names, misspell them. By misspelling in some function and variable names, and spelling it correctly in others (such as SetPintleOpening SetPintalClosing) we effectively negate the use of grep or IDE search techniques. 2. Accented Letters Use accented characters on variabl... [More]

Interviewing at Microsoft

In a few weeks, we'll be moving to Redmond, where I'll be pursuing a career with Microsoft as a software engineer. After a few months of deciding my future in Sandpoint, we (the family) decided we should at least keep our options open and keep my eye on the job market. This is probably sound advice all the time, but it's a mentally draining process. I'm an avid reader of the Moon Gals' blog ( and back in early December, they posted about the need for software engineers (ht... [More]

Cover Letters: What Not To Do

Over the years I've done a fair share of interviewing candidates; most of the time I deal with mainly the technical aspects instead of the soft skills, so by the time I get to see a candidate, they've already passed the initial phases. Recently, though, I also received a cover letter from a candidate. The age-old warning from professional HR types is: make sure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Kind of obvious, isn't it? Well, the cover letter I received is a veritable gold mine of ... [More]

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