Speed comparison: Optimum Boost vs Verizon FiOS

Optimum Boost advertises 30 Mbps down, 5 Mbps up. Here’s a speed test I just ran at Ookla’s SpeedTest.net:

(My desktop is plugged into the router, the router is plugged into the Arris cablemodem.)

Here’s one of the last speed tests I did with Verizon, on 2/15. I had the 25/15 internet package:

(Desktop was plugged into 8-port Linksys 100 Mbit switch, the switch was plugged into the FiOS/ActionTec router.)

Continue reading “Speed comparison: Optimum Boost vs Verizon FiOS”

Back to Cablevision (upcoming downtime)

So the credits are finally wearing off my FiOS bill. I was paying $49/month for about 8 straight months for all 3 services plus HBO & Cinemax (a ridiculous price) with great phone & internet, plus HMDVR and 2 boxes. My most recent bill was $127 which includes a $40 credit that ends this month, so next month’s bill will be $170 or so.

Cablevision’s been beating down my door for weeks to come back, but they couldn’t come close to the deal Verizon had given me so it was easy to fend them off. But after this recent bill I gave them a call and signed up for the Optimum Triple Play. They have a special deal for people coming back from FiOS: $69/month for all 3 services plus Boost (30/5 Mbps) and a DVR. I added another box and HBO and it came to $100.30. So as of Friday I’ll be on Cablevision and this website will probably be down until I find a new home for it – maybe WordPress.com.

Who pays the most tax? Who pays the least tax?

Why do I care? Maybe I don’t. But this is fun anyway.

Go to the IRS.gov website to the SOI Tax Stats page.

Download one of the Excel spreadsheets under Basic Tables: Returns Filed and Sources of Income. I used All Returns: Adjusted Gross Income, Exemptions, Deductions, and Tax Items for 2008.

Look at spreadsheet columns I through N. I & J show the amount of taxable income in each bracket and the number of returns in that bracket. M & N show the number of returns that had tax and the total amount of tax in each bracket.

At the top of column J, the number is 5,652,925,474. Dollar values are in thousands, so this is about $5.6 trillion of taxable income earned by US taxpayers in 2008. At the top of column N it shows that to total tax paid by all these people is 1,031,580,923, or about $1 trillion. So of all the taxable income earned in 2008, 18.2% was paid in federal income tax.

I added a new column, to the right of N, and in cell O10 entered the formula =N10/N$9. Then I formatted the column to show results as a percent. Column O now shows the percentage of tax paid by each income bracket:

I then added another column to the right of I, and in cell J10 entered the formula =I10/I$9 and formatted it for a percent. Column J now shows the percentage of the population (of taxpayers) in each tax bracket:

With these extra columns it’s pretty easy to see where the tax revenue comes from. Cells P23 through P28 sum to 33.24% of revenue. J23 through J28 sum to 0.8% – meaning that the top 0.8% of taxpayers (those with over $500k taxable income) really do account pay 33% of the tax in the USA. The next 62.2% of tax revenue is paid by 54.5% of the population – those between $40,000 and $500,000. The bottom 44.7% of the population pays 4.5% of the tax revenue.

The different population segments are color coded below:

It’s interesting (and strange) that the 13,400 people who made over $10m in 2008 contributed more revenue than the bottom 54.7% – 59,000,000 people.

The table with my additions is available here:

08in12ms
Continue reading “Who pays the most tax? Who pays the least tax?”

Thank you Cabinetparts.com!

A couple of weeks ago the hinge on one of the cabinets in our kitchen broke. I took the door off, unscrewed the hinge, and went to Home Depot to try and find a replacement. No luck. I went to a local hardware store, same deal. I was annoyed, and worried I’d never be able to find a replacement. I headed home.

I looked at the broken hinge and found imprinted on it, in tiny numerals, was “32.260-01”. It also had “blum” imprinted on it, which I assumed was the brand name. A long shot, but I entered “blum 32.260-01” in Google. I was thrilled to see that while there were no organic results, there was a paid link for CabinetParts.com. I clicked through and found the exact part I needed. They were a little more than I’d hoped to spend, but since I had no idea where else I could go to find them, I was happy to pay it. I got the part a few days later and it was exactly what I needed. Cabinet: repaired. So, hooray for them!

How does paid blogging work?

I’ve been hearing for years about paid bloggers. If people are getting paid to write their crap down in an ad-supported industry, it seemed like it might make sense to throw some ads up on this very site to see what happens. I’ve had Adsense running on this site for a few months now and the short answer is a whole lot of nothing. Here’s what the earnings look like since 1/1/2009 (my Adsense account is much older than this site; I put the banner ads up around Fall of 2009):

Basically, in a year I’ve “earned” under $20. That doesn’t even pay for domain registration & DNS for a year. And since Google doesn’t actually pay you until you have $100 in earnings, this is fake money anyway.

Now I didn’t have any illusions about making money from this site, I just put the ads up as an experiment to see if this is a realistic way to earn a dependable income. From what I can tell, it can be, but only in certain cases, basically coming down to how much traffic you can generate.

  1. You’re already famous. If you’re already a “celebrity” in your field (whatever that field is) then people already probably want to hear what you say.
  2. Your subject matter has mass appeal. If you write about discoveries in quantum physics, you may have a decent following, but it’s still only going to be the people who care about quantum physics. If you write about Jersey Shore you have a much larger pool of possible readers, because everybody loves watching a train wreck.
  3. What you say actually matters. This is related to the first point. If Joe Shmoe (or Evan Hoffman) rants at the top of his lungs, it’s just some guy complaining. If Ben Bernanke makes an offhand comment about interest rates the stock market tanks.

I’m sure there are some other cases, but as far as I can tell a tech guy writing about things that annoy him doesn’t fit any of these criteria. I’m tempted to remove the ads altogether, but it’s too interesting seeing what ads Google puts up on some of these pages. The first few months, the ads were all for some rabbi’s circumcision service. Not sure what that was about.

Compellent Doesn't Suck

I noticed a bunch of people landing on this site by searching for “compellent sucks.” I just want to avoid any confusion: Compellent doesn’t suck. Now that the pain of spending the money to expand our Compellent SAN is in the past, I am back to being in love with the product. The only gripe I’ve really ever had with Compellent is the price, and as Ben Franklin said:

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

Compellent Doesn’t Suck

I noticed a bunch of people landing on this site by searching for “compellent sucks.” I just want to avoid any confusion: Compellent doesn’t suck. Now that the pain of spending the money to expand our Compellent SAN is in the past, I am back to being in love with the product. The only gripe I’ve really ever had with Compellent is the price, and as Ben Franklin said:

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

The Barracuda Spam Firewall VMware Appliance (Vx) finally exists!

When I started at my current company, spam was handled with a separate server running SpamAssassin and a few other services. This sort of got the job done but required babysitting. I wasn’t part of the Sysadmin team at that point but I know they had to restart SpamAssassin relatively frequently, manually clear out the email queue when people noticed they weren’t receiving email, etc.

Continue reading “The Barracuda Spam Firewall VMware Appliance (Vx) finally exists!”

FiOS speed 10 months later, better than ever.

I switched to FiOS in December, 2009, and I was pretty apprehensive, having been a Cablevision customer for many years. I really had no problem with Cablevision’s service, I just thought their pricing was much too high in the face of the new competition (and deals) Verizon was offering. I ended up going with Verizon due to their awesome deal, but now it’s almost a year later and I can’t imagine going back to Optimum. It’ll probably come down to price when the current promo pricing I have with Verizon ends, but if the price was equal then no contest – I’d stick with FiOS.