Random Thought On Taxes

I was browsing through my Twitter feed when I came across this tweet that had been retweeted by someone that I follow:

I then read the article which talks about how Amazon is not going to pay anything in federal taxes for 2018. I then started reading some of the comments about it, and I noticed a trend. It seemed like many people wanted to take this news and attack rich people about it, but I had a completely different takeaway. The article mentions all the loopholes in the tax code that companies like Amazon use to avoid paying as much taxes as possible, and I agree. This has been the case for many years. Most people will use this to say we need to raise taxes on people, but I have another suggestion. Why not simplify the tax code? The reason Amazon can get away from not paying any taxes is because the tax code is too complicated already, so they can hire a massive team of people who spend too much time trying to figure every oversight written into the tax code to figure out how to benefit the company.

I really think we should just make it simple. Imagine telling every business in America that they needed to pay somelike like 10% in federal taxes on their profit? That is it. That’s all the tax code needs to say and 10% of Amazon’s $11.2 billion is now $1.2 billion in taxes. That seems like a simple solution. I don’t understand why this can’t be worked out. Then we don’t have to fret over are they paying enough or too little.

That’s just my random thought after reading Twitter today.

Linux Dualboot No More

Well, my experiment to see if I could switch over to Linux on my desktop computer has come to an end. My goal was to see what kind of gaming I could do, and I could never get my graphics card working to acceptable standards. Everything I played showed up looking more pixelated or slower than I was hoping, so I’ve decided to go back to just running Windows on this machine and keeping Linux on my other machines. That seems to work best for me.

My next goal is to find a decent graphics card that will work well with Linux. Based on what I was seeing, it almost looks like Nvidia seems to have the better drivers for Linux gaming. I am currently running an AMD card and not a massively powerful one at that, so I think it might be time to switch to Nvidia and get my Linux gaming on!

I’m not sure when I will be able to get a new card, but I think it is time to start saving up for one!

More Barry Eisler?!

If you have been following my posts, you know that I have been working on reading through the John Rain series by Barry Eisler. I started reading from book one last month when I picked up book #10 in the John Rain series from Amazon First Reads. I figured I might as well start at the beginning, which has been going well. I love the character. The series has been really good, and I’m currently on book 4.

Today I got an email from Goodreads announcing new books by authors I follow. Since I started following Barry Eisler on Goodreads, I got the email about his new book The Killer Collective, which is the book I already have since you get books on First Reads a month early, but the email added something that I had not seen before when I looked at the book on Amazon. The subject line read: The Killer Collective (John Rain #10; Livia Lone #3; Ben Treven #4).

Wait … John Rain #10, Livia Lone #3, and Ben Treven #4? The Killer Collective is a book that falls into three different series?! I had to check this out. Sure enough, Barry Eisler has also been working on a series following a character known as Livia Lone and one called Ben Treven. Well this though a wrench into the engine because my goal was to read all the John Rain books before I read the 10th one. Now I find out that I need to read the others (I don’t have to, but I like to read stuff in order), so I started trying to figure out the read order from where I was at. I started going off by published dates and figured out a read order and stumbled across a second book that includes both John Rain and Ben Treven.

Holy cow. I have never encountered this by an author before. I am fascinated by this development and can’t wait to see how this plays out. I also have to chuckle that my 10 book reading binge has now turned into a 15 book (technically 14 and 1 short story) reading binge of Barry Eisler stories.

And for those of you that are curious, here is the reading order list I came up with for Barry Eisler’s books:

  1. A Clean Kill in Tokyo (John Rain #1)
  2. A Lonely Resurrection (John Rain #2)
  3. Winner Take All (John Rain #3)
  4. Redemption Games (John Rain #4)
  5. Extremis (John Rain #5)
  6. The Killer Ascendant (John Rain #6)
  7. Fault Line (Ben Treven #1)
  8. Inside Out (Ben Treven #2
  9. Paris Is A Bitch (John Rain 6.5)
  10. The Detachment (John Rain #7, Ben Treven #3)
  11. Graveyard Memories (John Rain #8)
  12. Livia Lone (Livia Lone #1)
  13. Zero Sum (John Rain #9)
  14. The Night Trade (Livia Lone #2)
  15. The Killer Collective (John Rain #10, Ben Treven #4, Livia Lone #3)

Linux Mint on the Main Machine

I went ahead and set up the dual boot on my main computer with Linux Mint running alongside Windows 10. This is the first part of testing to see if I can finally move into a Linux environment completely. Linux Mint has been a popular environment for me over the past three or four years, so I tend to go back to it. Although, I was very tempted to try elemental OS that I’ve been hearing about so much, but I chose to hold off for now. Maybe I can put elemental OS on one of my other machines and give it a try.

Something interesting happened when I put Linux Mint on my main computer that I had never encountered before. Usually, the Grub menu gets installed and detects Windows just fine, and I don’t have to worry about dealing with it manually. This time around the Grub menu picked Windows boot partition to be the first boot option, which I had slightly anticipated because I chose to go the UEFI route with this install. Right in the installation documentation for Linux Mint is a small troubleshooting page that mentions this and provides the solution. I just had to reboot back onto the flash drive and tell the Grub menu what order I wanted for my boot menu.

I thought that would be the end of it, but the next time I restarted my computer, the Windows bootloader popped up and put me back into Windows. I was scratching my head at that one because I had just made the change in Grub. I plugged my flash drive in again and when I was I brought up the boot menu from the motherboard to boot into the flash drive again, I noticed the motherboard boot menu was listing Linux Mint (showing as ubuntu) as an option. That made me wonder if I had to also change the option on my motherboard, so I loaded the BIOS and checked. Sure enough, the motherboard still had Windows selected, so I changed it to get it working the way I want.

My previous two motherboards had never needed me to change the option before, so it kind of came as a surprise. The motherboard I have in my computer now is one I picked up recently, so maybe it is a newer thing or maybe I’ve just gotten lucky over the years. Either way, it’s working now and running just fine. I figured I would share this experience in the event some other user encounters it too and is trying to search up a fix.

The next step in my test is to see if I can backup some of my Steam games in Windows and restore them in Linux. I did find some information on how to share a folder between two operating systems, so I would assume performing the backup in Steam in Windows and then restoring it using Steam in Linux would work. Time will tell.

Pondering Full Switch to Linux Mint

I’ve been using Windows 10 as my primary OS since Windows 10 was released with the occasional periods where I would dual boot my PC with Linux Mint. In the last year, I’ve stuck to running just Windows on my primary PC and Mint on my older laptop. I didn’t see the need to dual boot the main computer anymore and figured that I would just stick to a single OS, but I really want to run Mint on my main PC again, so I’m now wondering if I could finally make the jump off of Windows completely and move my main PC to Mint.

My only hesitation is some of the software that I run, but I find myself running the Windows-dependent software less and less these days sticking to stuff that can run either via the web or using software available for both Windows and Mint. Gaming was a big part of the holdout to this point, but I haven’t gamed much on my main computer in the last half year. I understand that Steam has made some big improvements in that area making it possible to run some Windows-only games in a Linux environment now. I’d love to see how that works.

So, I’ve decided that maybe I should bring back the dual boot on my machine for a month or two and see if I can stick to using just Mint for now. I want to run a few experiments with my hardware to see what the performance looks like. I recently installed a new motherboard and processor, which I haven’t run on Mint yet. I also want to test the new Steam capabilities with games. If I can get things working in a satisfactory state, I think I will finally be able to make the jump off of Windows and run everything on Mint.

It will definitely be an interesting move and one I’m curious to see how it will play out. I plan to share what happens and what I experience making this change.

Book review: Predator’s Gold by Philip Reeve

Cover of the book Predator's Gold by Philip ReeveI just finished reading the second book in the Mortal Engines series called Predator’s Gold. It was a really good addition to the first book, and I enjoyed quite a bit. I’m still in love with the world of Mortal Engines because it has a slightly silly feel to it as a futuristic dystopian novel. I always get a kick out of what the future dwellers think of the stuff that happened before the 60-minute war.

Book two picks up a couple of years after the events of the first book. Tom and Hester have become aviators and fly around trading with others and exploring the world. Things are going well for them until they are discovered by a faction of the anti-traction league and become a target. While trying to escape, their airship becomes damaged, and they end up taking refuge on the traction city Anchorage. It’s there that Tom starts to feel at home and Hester fears that she may lose Tom as he comes to love the city.

Predator’s Gold has some nice action in it almost right off at the start. The new characters introduced in this book are quite fascinating. I especially like the citizens of Anchorage and the crazy Professor Pennyroyal and his outlandish adventures. I was surprised to see a character from the first book return that I wasn’t expecting. I won’t mention who it is because I think it is a nice surprise. And much like the first book, Tom and Hester find themselves fighting for their lives a few different times.

I would definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy dystopian novels and partial love stories. Read the first book before this one though. I feel like there is some stuff the reader requires to truly understand some of the events in the second one, but that isn’t too bad because then you get to enjoy two books!

Author’s website: http://www.philip-reeve.com/
Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34227806-predator-s-gold

Going to see The Kid Who Would Be King

Since I’m a member of the AMC Stubs A-List, I decided that I needed to see a movie tonight. It’s been a bit since my last one because nothing that has come out in the month of January has really intrigued me. I noticed The Kid Who Would Be King is showing, so I’ve decided to give that one a chance. The trailer looks interesting and the premise is silly enough that I will probably enjoy it.

Book review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

I just finished reading A Closed And Common Orbit by Becky Chambers, and I must say that I enjoyed this book quite a bit. On the back cover of the book, one of the review snippets states that it “is a very likable novel,” and I must agree. Likable is a great way to look at the book because I instantly fell in love with the characters.

Book cover for A Closed And Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

This book is the second in the Wayfarer series. I loved the first book too, so I wanted to read the second thinking it would pick up the story of the Wayfarer crew from the first, but it doesn’t. I was a little disappointed by that at first. That was until I started to really get into this book. This book contains two stories that it alternates between.

The first story follows Pepper and Sidra: Pepper being a good friend of Kizzy and Jenks from the Wayfarer and Sidra, the Lovelace AI that is now placed in a fake body to pass as a human. Sidra ends up living and working with Pepper after realizing that staying as the AI on the Wayfarer might be too much for the crew. If you are curious why this is, you really need to read the first book. Sidra goes with Pepper and ends up struggling to cope with being restricted to a body instead of a ship.

The other story follows a girl by the name of Jane who ends up leaving a factory she lived at and ending up in a broken ship with an AI called OWL. As Jane grows older, OWL teachers her things and uses the skills Jane picked up in the factory to repair the ship in hopes of escaping the planet they are on.

The two stories are told in alternating chapters once the book reaches a certain point. I’ve read books that use this technique before and haven’t really liked it, but this one was done really well with both stories coming to a very nice close at the end that may or may not have brought a tear to my eye (maybe someone was cutting onions while I neared the end of the book. I’m not quite sure).

You can read this book without reading the first. The story and writing is good enough to stand by itself, but I feel like you might be missing out if you haven’t read the first book. Mainly because the first book is just so likable too. I’m really enjoying the way Becky writes her books and can’t wait to pick up the next one in the series. I just found out my library has it, so it won’t be that long of a wait. That makes me happy.

I highly recommend this book even if you aren’t much of a sci-fi person. I think most people that read this book will find something to love about it.

Author’s website: https://www.otherscribbles.com/
Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29808780-a-closed-and-common-orbit