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Posts Tagged ‘Nevada’

Oregon Lawmakers Propose Mileage Tax On Fuel Efficient Vehicles

January 3rd, 2013 01:47 admin View Comments

Government

Hugh Pickens writes writes “Facing a $10 billion dollar revenue shortfall for transportation financing, the Oregon Legislature is expected to consider a bill to require drivers with a vehicle getting at least 55 miles per gallon of gasoline to pay a per-mile tax after 2015 to offset the loss in tax revenue for fuel efficient cars at the gas pump where the government has traditionally collected money to build and fix roads. Oregonians currently pay 30 cents per gallon, a tax that is automatically added at the pump but as cars become more fuel efficient and alternative fuel sources are identified, state officials project gas tax revenue will decline. ‘Everybody uses the road, and if some pay and some don’t, then that’s an unfair situation that’s got to be resolved,’ says Jim Whitty of the Department of Transportation. Opponents of the Oregon proposal say it will hurt a new industry. ‘It will be one more obstacle that the industry and auto dealers will face in convincing consumers to buy these new cars,’ says Paul Cosgrove, a lobbyist for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Other states, such as Nevada and Washington, are also looking at a per-mile charge and a Washington law that would charge electric car owners an annual fee goes into effect in February. Oregon did a pilot study of the mileage tax (PDF) where participants paid 1.56 cents per mile and got a credit for any gasoline tax they paid at the pump. According to the study although initial media portrayals of the system were almost uniformly negative 91% of test participants preferred the mileage tax to paying gas taxes.”

Source: Oregon Lawmakers Propose Mileage Tax On Fuel Efficient Vehicles

How Would Driver-less Cars Change Motoring?

May 11th, 2012 05:01 admin View Comments

Sci-Fi

Hugh Pickens writes “BBC reports that as Nevada licenses Google to test its prototype driver-less car on public roads, futurists are postulating what a world of driver-less would cars look like. First, accidents would go down. ‘Your automated car isn’t sitting around getting distracted, making a phone call, looking at something it shouldn’t be looking at or simply not keeping track of things,’ says Danny Sullivan. Google’s car adheres strictly to the speed limit and follows the rules of the road. ‘It doesn’t speed, it doesn’t cut you off, it doesn’t tailgate,’ says Tom Jacobs, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. Driver-less cars would mean a more productive commute. ‘If you truly trust the intelligence of the vehicle, then you get in the vehicle and you do our work while you’re traveling,’ says engineer Lynne Irwin. They would mean fewer traffic jams. ‘Congestion would be something you could tell your grandchildren about, once upon a time.’ Driver-less cars could extend car ownership to some groups of people previously unable to own a car, including elderly drivers who feel uncomfortable getting behind the wheel at night, whose eyesight has weakened or whose reaction time has slowed.” Another reader points out an article suggesting autonomous cars could eventually spell the end of auto insurance.

Source: How Would Driver-less Cars Change Motoring?

Google Gets Driverless License For Nevada Roads

May 7th, 2012 05:50 admin View Comments

Google

Fluffeh writes “On Monday, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles approved Google’s license application to test autonomous vehicles on the state’s roads. The state had approved such laws back in February, and has now begun issuing licenses based on those regulations. The state previously outlined that companies that want to test such vehicles will need an insurance bond of $1 million and must provide detailed outlines of where they plan to test it and under what conditions. Further, the car must have two people in it at all times, with one behind the wheel who can take control of the vehicle if needed. The Autonomous Review Committee of the Nevada DMV is supervising the first licensing procedure and has now approved corresponding plates to go with it, complete with a red background and infinity symbol.”

Source: Google Gets Driverless License For Nevada Roads

Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

April 29th, 2012 04:01 admin View Comments

Microsoft

reifman writes “Apple’s not the only company to save billions in taxes through Nevada as The New York Times reported yesterday. Here’s how Microsoft’s saved $4.37 billion in tax payments to Washington State and how it’s led indirectly to $4 billion in K-12 and Higher Education cuts since 2008. 18% of University of Washington freshman are now foreigners (because they pay more) up from 2% six years ago. Washington State ranks 47th nationally in 18-24 yo college enrollment and 48th in K-12 class size. This hasn’t stopped the architect of the company’s Nevada tax dodge from writing in The Seattle Times: ‘it’s [Washington] state’s paramount duty to provide for the public education of all children. Unfortunately, steady declines in public resources now threaten our ability to live up to that commitment.’ Yes, indeed.”

Source: Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

How Apple Sidesteps Billions In Global Taxes

April 28th, 2012 04:18 admin View Comments

Government

An anonymous reader writes “An article at the NY Times explains the how the most profitable tech company in the world becomes even more profitable by finding ways to avoid or minimize taxes. Quoting: ‘Apple’s headquarters are in Cupertino, Calif. By putting an office in Reno, just 200 miles away, to collect and invest the company’s profits, Apple sidesteps state income taxes on some of those gains. California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84 percent. Nevada’s? Zero. … As it has in Nevada, Apple has created subsidiaries in low-tax places like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands — some little more than a letterbox or an anonymous office — that help cut the taxes it pays around the world. … Without such tactics, Apple’s federal tax bill in the United States most likely would have been $2.4 billion higher last year, according to a recent study (PDF) by a former Treasury Department economist, Martin A. Sullivan. As it stands, the company paid cash taxes of $3.3 billion around the world on its reported profits of $34.2 billion last year, a tax rate of 9.8 percent.”

Source: How Apple Sidesteps Billions In Global Taxes

iPads in the Office: What Are They Really Good For?

April 26th, 2012 04:00 admin View Comments

When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPad, he acknowledged that for a tablet to have a “reason for being,” it had to be “far better at some key things” than either a smartphone or laptop. In the consumer market, tablets have some advantages in each of the seven categories Jobs mentioned: browsing, email, photos, video, music, games and e-books.

But what about business? Sure, there are lots of business apps available for the iPad. And tablets are finding roles as point-of-sale terminals in retail stores and restaurants. But have tablets really earned their place in office cubicles and other work environments? And if so, what exactly are workers doing with them?

Let’s face it. Unless you’re Björk (who created an album on and for the iPad), browsing and email are the only categories Jobs mentioned that mean much to business people. And for all their advantages, tablets have some pretty big downsides in the office.

Yet people keep insisting on bringing the things to work and trying to hook them up to office networks, often driving IT managers nuts with support questions and security concerns.

Companies are Buying Tablets

Still, companies are buying them – or plan to. The Clark County, Nevada school system spent more than $1 million over six months on more than 1,800 iPads for facualty, administrators and students. The Financial Times spent more than $1 million over six months buying nearly 2,000 subsidized iPads for its entire staff.

Events such as these will become more common in coming years. According to a Forrester Research survey of IT decision makers, 93% expected their administrative professionals and knowledge workers to consume or create content on tablets by 2013. No matter whether those devices are purchased by IT or the workers themselves, that’s a lot of tablets showing up in the workforce.

But why are they buying, and what are they hoping to get for their money? In the case of the Financial Times, it looks like they were fishing for style. Their CEO acknowledged that the subsidy was essentially a bonus – a “recognition of your contribution to our strong performance this year.” For most businesses, the primary benefit appears to be portability, which explains the tablet’s appeal to education, sales and other mobile-minded groups. An Accenture report claims that mobility is indeed, king. “Arguably, [the tablet’s killer app in the enterprise] is the tablet itself enabling instant access to thousands of Web-enabled apps. ”

It’s an excellent point. Mobile access to enterprise data is what made the smartphone market, and tablets have several key advantages in those areas. And there are dedicated tablet apps from folks as well-heeled as SAP. But business apps that couldn’t exist on anything but a tablet? Those are harder to find.

To its credit, Clark County is using some of the iPads in unique ways. The Gage Rufus Foundation is trying to put an iPad in the hands of every autistic student in the school district. The program aims to engage students of varying abilities through the tablets’ unique combination of portability, interactivity and visual interest. Advertising shows us that vendors understand the direction this type of development needs to go – a remote doctor diagnosing a patient in an ambulance, or oil rig repairmen swiping through visual data like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. But widespread adoption of a true paradigm shift seems far off.

Or is it?

An Unscientific Facebook Survey

I decided to find out with a completely unscientific test – asking my Facebook friends the following question: “Does anyone out there use an iPad or Android tablet to get actual work done?”

Within minutes, I had 26 replies, breaking into two camps.

Camp 1, with 10 respondents, saw no business value in tablets, even though most of them were avid home users. Some answers were clever (“I use my employer-issued iPad to occupy the kids so I can get work done. Does that count?”), but the real story was that, to many tech-savvy workers, tablets are still no more than media-consumption devices.

The 16 people in Camp 2 were early adopters who were doing substantial work on their tablets. Overwhelmingly, these users needed to access messaging and work-related apps, and do light word processing on the go.

The closest of the bunch to a tablet power user was Amy Jones, an undergrad from Berkeley, Calif. (Her story is relevant, since school work can mimic the demands of typical office work.)

In addition to using her iPad for the usual consumer apps and light note-taking, Jones added a Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard for longer writing projects. She acknowledged some “limitations with Flash-based content, non-mobile websites, coding and a lack of specific application support,” but describes her experience as positive overall. Portability is the device’s most important benefit, she said.

Jared Cummings, site community manager at the game developer Funzio, uses ZenDesk on his iPad in transit, “on the train or when I’m out and about.” He’s satisfied with the mobile experience, but it won’t displace his desktop any time soon. “My workstation is still superior to the tablet. Most of [what’s lacking] is multi-window functions. The desktop or laptop is always going to win there.”

He’s right. A tablet can’t out-desktop a desktop. Or even a laptop.

More Than Replacements?

Perhaps the biggest problem with tablets in business settings is that we’re still treating them as replacements for something else. That scenario works fine if the device the tablet replaces was a poor fit for the job. Smartphone screens are too small for heavy productivity duty, but until recently, they were the only truly mobile option. A larger screen for input and viewing makes tablets a logical smartphone upgrade for mobile workers who do more than bring their laptop home to do some work after dinner.

The Forrester report summed up the current state of the enterprise tablet:

Users want to accomplish work primarily through their PCs – where they can consume, collaborate, and create. But they also recognize that during certain times, in certain locations, or when mobile they prefer to use nonstandard form factors, including tablets – where they can consume and collaborate, but not create.

The real opportunity, though, is to create business applications that work better on a tablet than on other platforms.

Know what works better on a tablet? Angry Birds. Draw Something. Google Earth. If tablets want to move beyond “good enough for a commute,” the business world needs apps that leverage tablets’ unique strengths of portability and ease of use, long battery life and relatively big screens.

To date, that’s been harder for general business uses than special industries such as health care, security and retail, but with a market as promising as this, someone will crack the code.

Do you use an iPad or Android tablet for business in ways that PCs or other devices couldn’t allow? Let us know in the comments.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Source: iPads in the Office: What Are They Really Good For?

Asteroid the ‘Size of a Minivan’ Exploded Over California

April 23rd, 2012 04:08 admin View Comments

Space

astroengine writes, quoting Discovery: “The source of loud ‘booms’ accompanied by a bright object traveling through the skies of Nevada and California on Sunday morning has been confirmed: it was a meteor. A big one. It is thought to have been a small asteroid that slammed into the atmosphere at a speed of 15 kilometers per second (33,500 mph), turning into a fireball, delivering an energy of 3.8 kilotons of TNT as it broke up over California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, classified it as a ‘big event.’ ‘I am not saying there was a 3.8 kiloton explosion on the ground in California,’ Cooke told Spaceweather.com. ‘I am saying that the meteor possessed this amount of energy before it broke apart in the atmosphere. (The map) shows the location of the atmospheric breakup, not impact with the ground.’ Interestingly, this event was bigger than asteroid 2008 TC3 that exploded over the skies of Sudan in 2008 after being detected before it hit.”

Source: Asteroid the ‘Size of a Minivan’ Exploded Over California

Magician Suing For Copyright Over Magic Trick

April 18th, 2012 04:12 admin View Comments

Image

Fluffeh writes “Teller, the silent half of the well-known magic duo Penn and Teller, has sued a rival magician for copying one of his most famous illusions. The case promises to test the boundaries of copyright law as it applies to magic tricks. A Dutch magician with the stage name Gerard Bakardy (real name: Gerard Dogge) saw Teller perform the trick in Las Vegas and developed his own version — then started selling a kit — including a fake rose, instructions, and a DVD — for about $3,000. Teller had Bakardy’s video removed with a DMCA takedown notice, then called Bakardy to demand that the magician stop using his routine. Teller offered to buy Bakardy out, but they were unable to agree on a price. So Teller sued Bakardy last week in a Nevada federal court.”

Source: Magician Suing For Copyright Over Magic Trick

Righthaven Stops Showing Up In Court

March 26th, 2012 03:58 admin View Comments

The Courts

Fluffeh writes “This story has gone from funny to said. Following copyright-troll Righthaven’s recent whipping by a judge, it now appears the company has just given up altogether. CEO Steve Gibson is working at another job (while being investigated by the Nevada Bar) and main lawyer Shawn Mangano apparently has completely stopped responding to all attempts to contact him, even by the court. All this has resulted in the key appeals in its cases to be dismissed ‘for lack of prosecution.’ Last Thursday it also had a key case closed, with prejudice, driving another nail in its already buried coffin.”

Source: Righthaven Stops Showing Up In Court

Righthaven Ordered To Forfeit Its Intellectual Property

March 14th, 2012 03:14 admin View Comments

The Courts

New submitter BenJCarter writes with an update on Righthaven, the company that tried to make a business model out of copyright trolling. According to Wired, “[Righthaven] was dealt a death blow on Tuesday by a federal judge who ordered the Las Vegas company to forfeit ‘all of’ its intellectual property and other ‘intangible property’ to settle its debts. … U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro of Nevada ordered Righthaven to surrender for auction the 278 copyrighted news articles that were the subject of its lawsuits. … Righthaven’s first client, Stephens Media of Las Vegas and operator of the Review-Journal, invested $500,000 into the Righthaven operation at its outset. With Judge Pro’s ruling (PDF), the media company is losing financial control of hundreds of articles and photos. ‘The irony of this? Perhaps those who buy the copyrights could issue DMCA notices to the Review-Journal stopping them from redistributing them?’ [opposing lawyer Marc Randazza] said via an e-mail, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”

Source: Righthaven Ordered To Forfeit Its Intellectual Property

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