Saturday, January 31, 2009


Your government form verbiage of the day

From W2 filing form for businesses provided online (link):

This form is provided for informational purposes only. Copy A appears in red, similar to the official IRS form. Do not file copy A with the SSA. The official printed version of this IRS form is scannable, but the online version of it, printed from this website, is not. A penalty of $50 per information return may be imposed for filing forms that cannot be scanned.

To order official IRS forms, call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) or
Order Information Returns and Employer Returns Online, and we’ll mail you the
scannable forms and other products.

Gee thanks. Wouldn't want to distribute forms in a way that minimizes costs, like just downloading them. And wouldn't want to create a situation that just begs for people to get fined by trying the obvious thing (like using the form provided online by the agency responsible for the forms).

The way that is set up for getting them the required information is to fill out documents online, which after they're submitted can be downloaded and printed. And any transcription (such as from quickbooks to an online, multi-page form) has the chance for error, which is easier to catch when you can view the forms all at once, printed out. But (at least last year) you can't print them until they're submitted, and once submitted, corrections are quite hard to make.

Fortunately, this weekend I'm buying payroll software for future . In theory, (I think) that shouldn't be necessary for a 2-3 person business, but I've gotten tired of the headaches so I've decided to start partaking of the government created market (tax software and professionals).

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Thursday, January 29, 2009


Perhaps I fly too much

Preethi likes to brag that wherever she goes in Lynchburg, she knows someone. Right now I'm in the airport in San Diego where I've run into four people I know, only 1 of whom was at the event that brought me out to San Diego.

Related note 1, For the second year in a row, I'll be traveling during the Super Bowl.

Related note 2 (which is also related to Related note 1) [Gwar]We again need more minions.[/Gwar]. (CRT still has its original minion, but this trip has a very high probability of resulting in a need for at least 2-3 more minions) . So drop me a line if you want to work on some really cool stuff or just fetch me coffee, the latter of which is especially diabolical because I don't drink coffee.


Sunday, January 18, 2009


New CRT logos (Update)

I got a graphic artist to put together a more professional looking logo for CRT.

Since the idea of the logo is to convey "professional, credible looking wireless company" to the public and since the blog's readership counts as the public, I thought I would try you guys out as a real-cheap focus group. (Read as, I'm not paying you guys, but I'll get the first round next time I'm out drinking with anyone who comments before Tuesday)

Below, I've included copies of the 6 variations and the current design. Leave a comment saying which one you like and /or which elements you like and why.


Thanks everyone. Looks like I owe beer to quite a few people.

We went with the one in the bottom right (or (3,2) as Mike wrote) with the variation that we used the waves of the top right (sharper, more dynamic roll-off). Admittedly, that was what I had in mind before the little study (you guys and about 15 other people via email and in person). But I had intentionally mixed around the elements to see if people would come to the same conclusions. (Not everyone, but more than half, which seems real positive)

Since others gave their rationale, here's mine (as to why a new logo and why that one). First and foremost, I wanted something that looked "professional," which really means "like what everyone else does". Looking at various large, successful companies' logos, what I saw were logos that used the company name and/or acronym with minimal additional clutter. For example, Walmart, McDonald's, Holiday Inn, or closer in industry, Cisco or Google or even GD. What I didn't want was something that tried to cram too much into the logo at once (like these guys - it's cute, but it's not "professional").

That basically meant 1) a distinctive font, 2) a single, simple design element and 3) a dominant color or color pattern (that could also help brand). We also had to spell out Cognitive Radio Technologies because it's not the first acronym expansion that comes to mind for "CRT", though we need to have "CRT" in the logo because "Cognitive Radio Technologies" is just too long of a phrase.

I had decided that the current wave (or more accurately, the compressed fade formed from a misshapen N) was the wrong way to go because outside of folks involved in wireless circles, no one really knew what that curve was on the original logo (and even in the right circles, not a lot of them). However, lots of people apparently have become accustomed to associating symbolic radio waves propagating from an antenna with "wireless" and in fact, when I showed this logo around, no one asked, "what's that supposed to be?" And sorta like the Cisco logo, it can be taken in several complementary ways (e.g., the Cisco logo is both a stylized FFT and a stylized representation of the Golden Gate bridge which combines "technical" with their SF location). Likewise, our little design element (in theory) conveys that we're a wireless company, but also looks like a repeated C (sorta like the Golden Arches is an M) and with the blue color, it kinda looks like ripples (making waves, making a splash...).

So simple, distinct, clean and most of all, professional.

So was it the most fun logo that we played with? Nope. (We pre-screened a lot.) But hopefully, by adopting elements of the "big boy" logos, it looks like the logo of a company that signs million dollar contracts. (No, we've not done that. Low 6 figures, yes. But it never hurts to put things in place early.)


Friday, January 16, 2009


A Poll Question

I have not insignificant self-employment taxes to pay on the money left over at the end-of-the year in CRT. The fun of a small LLC is if you want to carry over money across calendar years to pay salaries (and say, you made all of your money right at the end), you have to pay personal taxes on it. I would very, very much prefer to use the money to float employees between contracts.

So, should I pull a Geithner?

If it influences your response, I've paid taxes on everything that came home as it came home.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Ricardo Montalban is Dead

More information here.


Monday, January 12, 2009


An argument for the BCS?

Florida versus Oklahoma compared to Arizona versus Baltimore.

The latter may not happen, but at this point, who would be surprised?

And how much better would you have felt about a NYG (or CAR) versus TN (or PIT) Superbowl? (parenthetical allowances for computer / voter variation)


Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Plagiarizing Whippersnappers

2 days. 2 plagiarizers.

1) Yesterday, a coauthor of a previous paper and now a conference organizer was reviewing a paper for said conference when he noted that about half of a paper was ripped off from one of our papers. Turns out, the other half was taken from another one of mine. For bonus fun, a third coauthor on our paper (twas a gigantic cross-layer survey paper) also noted that he had in the last two months strenuously rejected the paper for plagiarism (hadn't told us though).

We only ended up informing the conference chairs. My normal M.O. (sadly, this has happened enough to have an M.O.) is to email the adviser. My next step, which I've never had to take, would be to the department chair.

2) Some time ago (about 2 months) this random chick emailed asking if I would be willing to post an article of hers on the CRT blog in exchange for linking back to her site with a byline. She had no background in cognitive radio and I assumed it was some sort of SEO trick. Nonetheless, I told her if she wrote an interesting article, I would be happy to post it with her byline. Today, she sent me her article. It ripped off virtually word-for-word a fairly well-known magazine article on the topic.

She got a nastygram rather than a post.

Kids these days.


Monday, January 05, 2009


My minion

I have a minion starting tomorrow. You might think, Jody really means "employee", and you may be right, but in my mind it's going to play out more like this:

Jody and his minion work in the lab to create "Frankenradio"

I might even have another minion in the near future. Though probably not if they ever see this post. Unless they're down with immanetizing the radioschaton. Then game on man.


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