Wednesday, September 30, 2009

RSS is dead? ugh, enough already!

So I keep hearing this chatter about how RSS is dying. First time I heard it was back in May from Steve Gillmor over at TechCrunchIT. Then it was followed by Sam Diaz over at ZDNet. And finally a few days ago, Chris Dixon, blogged about the same thing. For some reason or another this picked at me.

RSS is not dying! Or at least not anytime soon. A lot of those authors are assuming that Twitter or social networks or some combination will kill RSS. Now, I've been using RSS for over three years now. My subscription list has grown from a few sites to maybe 60-70 now. Some update once an hour, once a day, or once a month at best. Because of this compilation this has become my daily news source. Its tailored by the interests that I have (venture capitalism, entrepreneurship, technology, cleantech, etc) and by the sources that I respect enough to get the information from. If I tried to somehow manage to use Twitter to get all this information, I probably could it. However, it would involve never getting offline or having to skip out on a lot of the information. The simple idea of trying to drink out of the fire hydrogen that is twitter would be unbearable! I can leave my computer for 30 minutes and come back with 50 new tweets (and I only follow 90-100 individuals with no publications). How could I possibly manage to understand what areas of interest to read first? Who/what is more relevant? I could not!

Now, twitter is planning on changing this up by adding groups, lists, etc. Its not enough, I cannot find enough ways to parse my interests to make it manageable and I'm a big nerd about it! I'm not exactly sure how the everyday manager, consultant, employee, or human being would feel about it, but I'm sure they already don't have the time in the day to deal with something like this. Its easier to come back into Google Reader and catch up with what you missed for the day. Your social networks definitely provide interesting additional content to read, but as it stands for me now, its not providing enough of my daily intake :)

Of course, I could be completely wrong, but hey, there's more than one way to skin a cat!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Comp Sci Programs Making a Comeback?

Considering its only been about 7 months since I talked about the prospects of engineering degrees becomes more popular in this country, I'm surprised to see such a quick uptick in Computer Science Degrees in only a semester's difference. According to the NY Times, the amount of individuals pursuing a CS degree have increased for the first time in 6 years! That's great news, however, I'm inclined to know the breakdown of international vs. American students within these programs...there will be a later blog post as to why I would like to know. On a further note, a study from these individuals on why they are pursuing the degree would also be great.

Nevertheless, this is awesome news!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Coworking in Dallas

So instead of spending my Friday working from either home or Starbucks, I decided to change things up a bit.  I spent the day at a coworking space sponsored by Alex Muse and Big in Japan.  It was easily one of the better environments that I've worked in.  Although yesterday was technically considered a Jelly, I don't believe its much different than any other time of the week.

I got there in the morning, grabbed a seat at one of the available chairs and spent a few hours working while chatting it up with some really cool folks.  One of the guys, Chris, that sat next to me has recently built a neat app for the G1, go check it out.  There were a bunch of other developers as well as folks doing some media content and advertising work.  

Got a lot accomplished, met some great people, and even got free pizza!  Not sure if the pizza is a standard, somehow, I doubt it :)  I would definitely suggest anyone out there who is a consultant, entrepreneur, or independent contractor to check out some of the coworking space out in your area.  This is the best list that I could find online.  And if you live in Dallas and want to check out the Big in Japan coworking space, go here.  To get and idea of what it looks like, check out the pictures here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama on Estate Tax

So let's first get aroud to the apology I owe to whomever reads this blog about not posting for nearly 2 months.  I will try my best to not have that happen again, sorry.

Now onto something that gives me a bit of an irk from time to time....Estate Tax.  Realistically its not something that will effect me for many years to come, so who knows why I'm about to gripe about it.  If you haven't heard about it before, its essentially a tax on inheritance, although its also called a 'death tax'.  Originally it was levied on the wealthy in this country, but over time it has grown to effect small business owners, farmers, and everyday people.  The main reason it started to effect all of those people is simply the growth of the value of the dollar and all of a sudden a million dollar inheritance wasn't as much as it sounds.

This is the table of the tax over the course of the most recent years:
tax rate
2002$1 million50%
2003$1 million49%
2004$1.5 million48%
2005$1.5 million47%
2006$2 million46%
2007$2 million45%
2008$2 million45%
2009$3.5 million45%
2011$1 million55%
So only since 2004 did it finally start to make a reasonable crawl upwards.  There is also a big hole in 2010 when it is completely repealed before going down to the miserably low amount of $1 million in 2011.  As a morbid observation, I can imagine some strange things happening in 2010 with deaths of wealthy individuals.
However, it looks like there is some effort to freeze the current levels moving forward.  I'm not sure exactly where this sits on the priority level for Obama's first 100 days or maybe its not even within the first 100 days.  I'm personally a bit surprised by the fact the democratic congress would choose to freeze them at the 2009 level, however, I am quite content with it.  The $3.5 million exclusion is a per person basis, another words allowing a married couple to exclude $7 million in their estate from taxes.  I think this is extremely reasonable.  I'm a big subscriber of Warren Buffet's view of inheritance: "Leave enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing."
I have a tremendous distate for laziness in society.  Unfortunately, a large inheritance from one's parents, grandparents, uncles, etc allows for a great excuse to never lift a finger.  This is by no means a rule amongst all individuals receiving inheritance, there are plenty that are capable of handling a large amount of money.  I am not speaking to their ability to manage it, but more so the responsibility.  You see, taking away someone's incentive to wake up in the morning, to make a life for themselves is robbing them of potential joy they will never understand.  Money will never solve all of your problems yet there are a lot of people out there that don't know how to become happy or happier once they have all that money.
This leaves me to think that although $7 million is a high amount, its enough to get someone started, but not quite enough to do nothing.  Money needs to flow from one source to another for the economy to work and as awful as it sounds to have to tax someone's life's work, it may just do their beneficiaries and the economy some good in the end.