The Atlanta Business Chronicle has a list of the top insurance brokers in the Atlanta area. You can see 10 if you’re a subscriber, or 5 if you’re not.
I’ve had a hard time finding web testing software that has the following features:
- Lets you record a test through a browser.
- Plays back a test on multiple browsers.
- Creates non-brittle tests so that a minor HTML change doesn’t result in something breaking.
The closest I’ve found so far us Usetrace, but it seems pricy at $60/month for 2 seats.
You commonly hear casual political discussion about taxes in one state vs. another state. For example, Massachusetts often gets the nickname “Taxachusetts” because of its high taxes. But which states are really taxed the most? Fortunately, Wikipedia has a summary of the state tax information from the US Census.
Here’s a summary of that, sorted by each resident’s average tax burden (per capita tax):
|State||Total Taxes ($ thousands)||Population||Taxes per capita ($)|
(Note that this doesn’t include local taxes.)
As you can see, the top most taxed state is one most people would probably not think of: North Dakota. There, the state government collects $7584.01 for every resident. Taxachusetts ranks 7th.
If your goal is to avoid taxes, you might want to consider packing up and moving to Alaska, with only $1170.82 in taxes per person.
But that’s not the whole story, however. Some states are richer and produce more. These states have a high Gross State Product: a measure of the net economic impact of the state. By comparing the GSP to the taxes collected, we can see how much the state government is sucking up. Another way to look at this is government efficiency: is paying all of those high taxes really bringing a better economy overall?
Here’s a list sorted by taxes as percent of GSP:
|State||GSP ($ millions)||Tax as % of GSP|
North Dakota and Alaska keep their top and bottom positions on this list. But Massachusetts, with its high economic output, drops to the middle of the pack.
Finally, let’s take a look at the ability of people living in the state to actually pay those taxes. We can look at the per-capita income and figure out what percentage is paid out in taxes.
|Taxes as % of income|
No doubt about it, the highly taxed states of North Dakota, Hawaii, and Vermont are at the top of all 3 lists. On the flip side, Alaska and New Hampshire are near the bottom of all 3. Folks in Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia really seem to have a problem: high taxes which are hard to pay and not much to show for it.
I recently went looking for a cheap Android smartphone to use as a wireless security camera. The best deal I found was the “Net10 Alcatel OneTouch Pixi Eclipse Prepaid Smartphone” sold at Walmart. Its price is usually less than $8 and is available for free pickup at your local store.
I was able to get it started on WiFi without any difficulty. You don’t have to activate the phone on the Net10 cellular network. It seems to run IP Webcam just fine.
If you have a need for a mini-tablet to play games, work as a remote control, calculator, or other simple task, this phone should work just fine.
My business keeps growing, so I’m currently on the lookout for a loan to help things along and purchase capital equipment. So far I’ve looked into a few different options:
- OnDeck. After interacting with them a bit, what they offer is a line of credit with high interest rates. It looks like I’d pay way more for this than I wanted to.
- My bank. They do offer SBA 7a loans. They wanted a bunch of information up front before they’d even talk to me about what my chances of getting a loan were or the interest rates. The interactions in person and via e-mail with the loan officer were odd, like they really didn’t want my business for some reason and couldn’t tell me why. So this one is on the back burner for now.
- An SBA 504 loan. This has to be done through a SBA Certified Development Company (CDC). Most of the CDCs in the Atlanta area listed on the SBA website either don’t answer their phone or the phones lines are disconnected. I finally did get through to Capital Partners, Inc, and was able to get a little information. The 504 loans look roughly comparable to the 7a, with higher fees but a less variable interest rate. I may yet pursue this route.
- An SBA 7a loan through SmartBiz Loans. This seems like the most productive route so far. They have an entirely online application process, and have been very good about helping me get things together through e-mail. Fingers crossed.
Another area which I may yet look into is vendor financing. I’m still waiting on the vendor to get back to me with a quote though. There’s also the possibility of an unsecured personal loan, for which I get solicited in the mail fairly regularly.
I’ve heard, though, that the best way to make sure you get a loan is to make friends with a banker.
I was interviewed late last year by Courtland of Indie Hackers. Read the interview for a little background on how I built the Big Blue Saw starting from a side project.
How to avoid null checks on getFoo().getBar().getBaz() chains even if you’re not using Java 8 Optional.
This post describes techniques how to prevent null checks and NullPointerExceptions in Java 8 in order to improve null safety and code readability.