Best Argument for a Progressive Income Tax (vs a flat tax)

It’s sometimes hard to explain to someone why a flat tax is inherently unfair.

“How is it unfair if everyone pays 10%?”

That statement is hard to argue with, unless the person you’re arguing with is able to have a nuanced discussion about tax burden and how a dollar is worth more to someone at one end of the wealth spectrum than it is to someone at the other.

This little sketch by David Akadjian does a good job of making that argument without needing to be particularly nuanced:

David Akadjian, 2016

The established rich pay less, everyone else pays more.

Another way to say this is that the wealthy and established are making it harder and harder for people to get ahead by shifting the burden onto those who are just starting out. This hurts small businesses and rewards larger, established businesses.

ScanSnap Directly to the Cloud

Last week, Fujitsu added an awesome feature to their ScanSnap scanner line (at least, the iX500 that I have). You can set it up so that, rather than having to have a machine on the same wireless network to pick up the scanned documents, the scanned documents just get shipped to your Dropbox or Google Cloud.

That let’s you do some really interesting things. You can run Hazel rules on your Dropbox folder, just like you can on a local folder, to do automatic sorting, naming, etc. on your machine. You can also do some interesting automation things with IFTTT to trigger other types of activity based off of files getting scanned. Or some combination of both (you scan some sort of receipt, it’s automatically filed into a folder via Hazel, which also triggers an IFTTT action to send an email to someone telling them that receipt is there).

The cloud feature seems small, but it’s a huge improvement to the convenience of what is already a device that has made my life a lot simpler.

Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis, and a Regurgitated Potato Chip

Many of my favorite SNL sketches are Will Forte sketches. The Falconer time travel sketch, the ESPN Classic commentators, Tim Calhoun.

His humor and writing just hit me exactly right. Recently, with the SNL season wrapping up, UPROXX did an oral history of one of Forte’s weirder, funnier sketches “Potato Chip Thief”.

(It also includes the origination of Jason Sudeikis’ southern character who became the judge in “Maine Justice”, another one of the hilariously absurd SNL sketches of that cast.)

Solomon: That regurgitation of the potato chip is Will. It was one of those things where I think I said, “People are going to gag when they see this.”

Meyers: I think probably three or four years into my friendship with Forte, I realized there were certain things it was pointless to argue about.

Solomon: Will said, “I don’t care what kind of reaction we get. I just want a reaction. I don’t care if it’s laughs. I just want the audience to react.” And they did! If you listen to people in the background, they are like, “Oh my God.”

Meyers: It’s great because it’s 187 groans and two people who couldn’t be happier – and those are Forte’s people.


Docker Beta

Docker is a really cool technology. But it’s local implementation on the Mac was just a mess of a layer on top of a VM, with a bunch of network jankyness.

It was fine for doing a little bit of prototyping, but it fought with my local VMs, added GBs of VMs to my SSD, and was just a huge pain in the ass to work with.

The new Docker beta, in my limited testing, is really nice. It’s much, much faster than the old Docker setup on the Mac, closer to the metal, and seems significantly more efficient.

Docker still doesn’t clean up exited/old containers, which I think would be a useful feature. But I guess that’s why it’s a beta.

The Simplest Apple Music Fix

There’s been a lot of talk about Apple Music in the past week (the link is to a good example).

I actually like Apple Music. It mostly works for me. I have what I think is a reasonably large music collection (but I’d guess I’m just on the upper bound of average, maybe). I listen to lots of music, both stuff from my music and from Apple Music.

I find the biggest problem is the concept of “my library” vs. Apple Music. I often listen to music and click the little heart to “love” a song, whether it’s on Beats One, or an artist radio, or just because I was checking out a new song I heard on a podcast.

The problem is, I have no idea how to find those songs again. When you create a playlist in iTunes, you can only find tracks that are in your collection. So, if you want to do anything with that song, you have to first add it to your collection, then you can heart it.

If you heart it before you add it to your collection, your collection doesn’t count it as “loved”.

There’s lots of really odd behaviors around rating/hearting/interacting with songs that are not in your library.

I think the simplest fix would be that if I’ve done anything to a song (heart it, rate it, add it to a playlist), that it’s part of “My Library”. If iTunes (or the Music app) want to have a switch/toggle to only show music that’s local to your collection, go for it. But the fact that I can’t just treat Apple Music’s library like my own library forces me to think about the order of how I act with music, and that’s more friction than I should have.

In doing that, it would also change the way search works. Why not have search just graphically show you which music is on your device vs. in the cloud?

There’s too many places where I have to think about whether I’m dealing with Apple’s music or my music.

Just take that away.

Proud to be a Hokie

99% of the time when I talk about being an alumnus of Virginia Tech, it’s in reference to our football (loving the Coach Fuente era so far) or basketball (Buzzketball!).

Virginia Tech, however, has been been making huge strides in becoming a nationally influential university. I’m lucky that a lot of this started 20 years ago when I was in Blacksburg, under the leadership of Paul Torgersen, through Charles Steger, and now with Timothy Sands. I really do feel lucky to have attended Tech during this time of transition.

I couldn’t be more proud when I read about VT’s impact on the Flint water crisis. It’s something I already knew on the periphery, but reading the details made me feel that much more proud to be an alumnus.

Speaking in the Quillen auditorium, Roy described a call he had received from a woman who was in tears because she had given her children and grandchildren tap water. “She told me she poisoned her kids,” Roy said. “It wasn’t her fault. But a mother’s heart could never accept that. She thanked all of us for what we did. This is why we spent the last six months of our life pulling all-nighters, pulling weekends together, because we cared. And it changed who we are as human beings.”