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Bleeding U.S Dry?


If you are a subcontractor you might have asked yourself a very common question: When the place where I work each day is paying for MY skills, how oh why is someone else able to take 30 to 75% of my wage?

No, I am not talking about the Government. While the 30% the 'Fed adds on top of that skim cripples us to taking home only about .25 - .40 on the dollar, every contractor who has had to scrimp and save to work hard while others bask in our earnings knows how much it hurts. How did this happen?

Who Ruined It for Us All?


Many years ago, a bunch of sub-contractors sued their contract employer (IBM) for benefits. To the horror of all genuine consultants, these secretaries actually won the lawsuit. From that dark day to this, in order to avoid those legal entanglements, every company in the U.S of A now uses "Shell Companies."

Shell Games


You know how the shell game works - Some 3rd party company contacts you. They tell you about a great contract job. You give them your resume, you win the interview, and you report to work. When the work is done, you are out of a job. In exchange for merely getting you an interview with a decision maker, you fork over many, many, dollars an hour to the middle man. How is that fair?

According to the U.S. Government, loosing full quartile percentages of our hourly wage *would* be fair if our employment continued after the sub-contract work was ended. Since it doesn't, the shell company should be either paying us as 1099 or W2S (statutory) Employee. That is what federal tax law says.

Taxing Terms


The difference between 1099, W2-S and W2 is a matter of ensuring that you can keep things like health insurance and other business deductions working the same way from contract to contract; Avoiding loss of benefits for pre-existing conditions.

When we work W2, United States Employment and Tax regulations assume that a shell company is taking care of us - after that single contract is over - as employees. For far too many of us independent contractors however, our shells just dump us back into the job search game again. A clear violation of the intent behind that W2 "employee" status, today most shell companies do not even reimburse employees for their travel and living expenses. It's a nightmare.

To The Rescue!


While we cannot deny that having head hunters can be valuable when we are out of work, we need to change the legal system so as to encourage our real employers to use us directly. To cut out the middle man.

In order to re-kindle the entrepreneurial American spirit, we need to ask our lawmakers to let contractors enjoy the fruit of our own labors. Moreover, rather than allowing a rare breed of idiotic consultants to terrorize our would-be employers with legal nightmares, we also need to ask the government to step in to protect companies from gratuitous would-be-employee lawsuits.

Let companies choose to hire U.S. without fear; Let good subcontractors once again reap the reward for our ability to keep our *real* employers happy. Most of all, we need to liberate our long-term earnings from a host of do-nothing middlemen. After all, is the company where we show up to work each day paying for our ability to get the job done, or the ability of someone else to find our resume on Dice.com or Monster.com?

Dumb & Dumberer-er


The mere fact that modern human resource professionals are actually forbidden by their legal departments from using Internet resources to locate their own employees underscores the foolishness of where our country has arrived today. In the spirit of competition; in anticipation of rekindling the genuine supply-and-demand mentality, if we want to keep America competitive in the world labor market, don't we need to cut out as many middlemen as possible?


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Adding Javadoc to NetBeans 

What is "Netbeans"?


Netbeans is a free Java developers environment from Sun. IMO is is much easier to use than Eclipse.

The best part of the deal is that NetBeans is 100% free. If you are new to Java Software Development, NetBeans is a great place to start before you upgrade to a professional IDE like JBuilder.

Help!


Once NetBeans is installed, most folks also want to install the on-line help for Java.

For the perplexed, to install the Java documentation (know as JavaDoc) all we have to do is:

(a) Download the official JDK docs from http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp

(b) Unzip the doc into the JDK directory (on MS Windows, mine was under C:\Sun\SDK\jdk)

(c) From the main NetBeans Menu, select "Tools | Java Platform Manager".

(d) Select the platform you need to Javadoc in the left side of the Platform Manager.

(e) Click the Javadoc tab. Select Add ZIP/Folder. Type in the directory location of the newly unziped Javadoc files.

(f) Close the Dialog. Your changes will be saved automatically.

Notes


The hardest part can be finding the proper version of the help files you need. If you were looking for JavaHelp on version 1.5, then try http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/download.jsp


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Thanksgiving for - Our New Blog-ability! 

Wow - this was easy.



There I was writing my own blog-site CMS solution, when the inspiration suddenly hit me: Why not see what my fellow open-source dweebs have cobbled-together for ready reuse?

So I did and here it is.

How long?



After spending a few dozen minutes reviewing the code from just as many entries, this entire project took less than 10 minutes to get it installed, configured, and tested. After a few security-hacking attempts on my part, what you see here represents about an hour more spent making it all look a little more custom.

Bottom line



Astounding! But what am I going to do with all of the Thanksgiving Vacation time I saved up for this week? (Honestly: this re-use just pushed us about 2 part-time, scheduled calendar-time years ahead of the project's R&D curve!)

Coming soon



Oh well: The plans are to re-host as much of the recent 'blogging traffic here as I can. Over time, I also plan to migrate everything from those 20 year-old BYTE Magazine articles, to my most recent + fatuitous entries at Network World.

... Definitely a work in progress here, so stay tuned!

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