February 6th, 2007

Formula 1

Advertising: Quality or Quantity

Further to the discussion of sporting event viewership, Cheryl forwards to me a story about AT&T sponsoring the Williams Formula 1 race team. It won't get them much notice in the USA, where F1 is hardly noticed compared to the Monster That is NASCAR, but AT&T wants global notice among people with money to spend, and decided that sponsoring an F1 team was a good way to get it. (Formula 1 is far more popular in Europe and elsewhere than it is in the USA.)
Pensive Kevin

Getting It Backwards

I was working on my income taxes last night. I still don't see why I should be obliged to pay an extra fee to electronically file my income tax return. (I've done this in the past, but there was a rebate scheme whereby I got the filing fee back later.) Just getting my refund -- which isn't large because I manage my tax situation so I don't over-withhold -- a few weeks sooner doesn't seem like a sufficient justification for spending roughly 10% of the refund amount in e-filing fees. Yes, I guess I must qualify as "wealthy" because I make too much for the free e-file scheme. But the median salary for San Mateo County is more than the cut-off for that scheme, as I recall.

Anyway, why should the government (by way of the contractors who get the money) charge extra for e-filing anyway? Surely e-filing saves money in processing costs. I used to do date-entry of Medicare claim forms when I was in college, and so I'm familiar with buildings full of people keying information off paper forms and into a computer and how inefficient it is.
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Hugo Trophy

The Rediscovery of Fan [Writer]

John Scalzi has been thinking about the Fan Writer Hugo Award on his blog. Other people have been discussing it. pnh has made some excellent points, and other people have, in my opinion, completely missed the point of what the Award is intended to reward.

I found it especially amusing to read "I would actually hate to see a published writer of commercial SF/F fiction win a Hugo for fan writing." Followed shortly by Patrick pointing out "...this has happened over two dozen times. Nor were all of those Hugos to Dave Langford."

Some of them sure seem to think there is a bright-line definition between "pro" and "fan" and that one can't possibly be both at the same time. This isn't true. It's sort of sad that there are so many people (both pros and fans) who think it is.

Edit, 22:10: Changed subject line when I realized what I'd overlooked in the title.