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US corporations operating tax havens

The tax haven called Monaco

Image by nanand81 via Flickr

Tax havens.
One of those legal, but totally unethical things to play with when you’re running any sort of business, but especially one as large as the ones mentioned in the Washington Post article.
What’s really annoying with this is that it should be pretty obvious if the income is being shifted around with audits of books regardless of how PR people try to say they “operate” in those locales. The problem with this is that the government loses out on billions of dollars a year in tax revenue. In turn, this becomes a burden for the average taxpayer. Talk about unethical.
But that’s not all! Oh no. It seems that several of the latest “financial bailout” corporations also operate these tax havens. This means that while the taxpayers are fronting the bill for these corporations to exist, they’re not even doing their due diligence as American corporations by paying our own taxes. And that’s just terrible.
Is there going to be a way to shut these legal loopholes down? We’ll see. The President-elect seems to think that they will but somehow I think that corporate pressure will throw its own weight. Let’s be honest here. The people that have the most money play the power plays and the rest of us are left footing the bill.

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iTunes Saturday

Apple iTunes Apple iTunes

Movie Review: Resident Evil – Degeneration

Degeneration is one of the few animated films that doesn’t really suck. That’s mainly because a lot of it has to do with the fact that there’s a lot taken from the game universe and since Resident Evil 2, Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy finally are together again.
The entire film is actually fairly interesting and action-packed although I found the whole love interest for Leon absolutely horrifying. Angela Miller, whom was supposedly a SRT (Special Response Team) member and wasn’t a rookie cop anymore, had about as many problems with defending herself as a scared cat. And that was not only horrible, but sort of pathetic.
Don’t get me wrong. Resident Evil: Degeneration was definitely a great animated film and I would watch it again. The voice acting cast came from the top English speaking voice actors. But, it definitely could have done without the Angela Miller character altogether and just made it into a complete action/horror film.

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Pirate Bay does accounting on Twitter

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It’s pretty amusing when I’m sitting here working that I happened to check one of my screens and lo and behold, I see the infamous Pirate Bay.
Wait. They’re on Twitter? Apparently. And not only that, but they’re touting the piracy of an application that everyone seems to be trying to get in the last few weeks in this field. Wow. Who knew that pirates also did accounting. Eh? Totally unethical, but it still does prove a point on why many things are going towards SaaS and free MMORPGs. It’s just behavior that you don’t have to deal with anymore.

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The power of Twitter in a business environment

twitter_logo_s.png I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong.
Well, not completely. But I did finally over the course of the a year or so, start back on Twitter even though I had thought it to be a complete waste of my time. And from a personal standpoint, I still can’t see myself doing this if it wasn’t for my business. But from a marketing and customer service standpoint, Twitter allows me to touch base with not only a new market, but it also allows me to respond a lot more quickly to my clients. Something that only email could have done before.
Am I sold as far as this being the only virtual network out there from a business perspective? Of course not. Friendfeed, and a whole slew of other social networks allow for a new medium to run merchant services from. But when you operate a SaaS such as Merchant’s Mirror, being virtually online at almost real-time is imperative to both sales and support.

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Movie Review: Wanted

I had figured that this would be a neat action film, but I really didn’t anticipate the cheese factor. I mean seriously. An assassin movie couldn’t be that cheesy, could it?
But yet, it was. Terribly. The kid in it (McAvoy) is like a Tobey Maguire wanna-be. He does the stupidest types of things and in this case, you would almost think … how did a fraternity of assassins last this long, if they’re recruiting people like this kid? It’s just insanity.
In any case, what really threw this movie into the B-pile was at the end. Who the heck straps bombs to rats? And on top of that, more rats than you can count. I mean it truly was asinine and not very much like something Gibson (McAvoy) would do. In fact, the entire movie he was showing little to no patience for anything and if you ask me, strapping any sort of thing on anything live takes a lot of patience. Especially one that’s lethal.
Would I watch it again? Probably not. It wasn’t the worst movie that I’ve ever seen, but it definitely wasn’t one of the best. And the script made the movie look like it was trying to copy Matrix and throw in a few other things. It also threw in so much sexual themes randomly, that it was just amusing.
One critic has been noted to say:

“It looks as if it has been written by a committee of 13-year-old boys for whom penetrative sex is still only a rumour, and the resulting movie plays like a party political broadcast on behalf of the misogynist party”

If you’re looking to see some random sex type things and see Angelina Jolie’s naked backside, then I would definitely see Wanted. Otherwise, save your money.

Macrumorslive.com gets hacked (NSFW)

macrumor_hack.png It seems that one of the largest rumor sites has been hacked during the keynote. At 9:24AMPST, the site gets hit with a “STEVE JOBS HAS DIED.” Then a string of profanity and spam links and other such nonsense for a good fifteen or twenty minutes before the site was taken down.
The screenshot was provided by John Brown, whom was watching it happen in real-time and happened to get a snap before the site went down.

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Operating system detection for software downloads is annoying

MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 06:  In this photo...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Here’s the deal. I wanted to download Google Chrome. But the website detected that I was on MacOSX and wouldn’t allow me to download the Windows version (I had to change my user agent to download it). And for those that actually do use multiple operating systems, this is a huge hassle when there are no links to the other operating systems.
One website that does this very well however, is Mozilla. They actually detect your operating system, but provide a link on the bottom in case. I believe this is the ideal way to do this since there are many IT administrators out there that perhaps use one single primary system but actually support multiple systems can download the right software without having to think about it too much.
I think this is a problem of engineers that think too much like engineers and complicate even simple things. While I’m picking on the Chrome team a little bit, this is an issue dealing with many websites that I’ve had to deal with and a rather annoying problem.

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Merchant’s Mirror small business accounting

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Those of you that know me on a personal level know that recently I’ve been working diligently on a startup with John Brown called Merchant’s Mirror. In planning and development it’s been over a year in the making and we’re happy to announce that on January 1st, we released it to the public. At $15.95USD per month, we provide a small business with everything necessary in accounting (and if you prepay a year, it’s $169.95USD per year!) at a fair price.
Creating invoices for customers and paying your vendors doesn’t have to be a difficult process, so why make it such? While only in our first release, we’re already looking into methods and ways to make it easier for the small business owner to take full advantage of doing their accounting the way they can understand it, not because they’re forced to do so.
There’s one thing that we stress and that’s the fact that we’re not only writing this for our clients, but with our clients. That means that every person that uses Merchant’s Mirror is in fact helping craft and shape the tool. Keeping track of your books shouldn’t take you all day nor should it confuse you. And as such, we’ll be striving to work with our customers on all things great and small to try to provide the best in SMB accounting.
And in case you haven’t seen the press… our interview with Fast Company’s Robert Scoble, our mention by Inc Magazine, and a mention by Dennis Howlett.
But let’s get back to the business at hand. Your small business accounting. Let’s be frank. When was the last time your accounting software provider actually wanted to help you make your life easier? Or actually cared that it would save you time, and money? The fact that it could be used by your accountant and yourself without a tremendous learning curve? These are all questions that we seek to answer… for you.
So give it a try.

Democrat governors want bailout too

The Financial Bailout

Image by urbanjacksonville via Flickr

It seems like the Democratic governors of five major states are asking for over $1 TRILLION dollars in federal assistance.
I mean, seriously? This bailout business is becoming ridiculous.
Here’s the thing. Governments are known to be the worst in budget spending. Thus, there’s a lot of inefficiency and fat that can be cut in both process and red tape. Obviously there are probably pet projects that can be cut also that are usually put in by people just as in the federal government there are “earmark” projects.
This just strikes a nasty chord with me on a personal level. For one, these governors are looking out for their coffers, rather than looking out for the raised taxes that everyone would have to pay. Sure, just pile on when the debt is spread out to the rest of the country, but I surely doubt they would have tried to pull this fast one if they could only go to their own state citizens for the money. Seems to me that corporate greed has filtered into our governments too where they’re looking for the taxpayer to bail them out.
And that’s just not good. We keep throwing money at a problem instead of fixing the actual problem. It goes back to why AIG can make the ridiculous claims it did after taking bailout money.
In the end as an Independent voter, this really annoys me. Mainly because we had voted out the Republican party on the federal level because of this type of behavior just to replace them with a different wolf in the same sheep’s clothing. And our little taxpayer’s house still keeps being threatened to be blown down.

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