Talking Dollars

One of the hardest topics to talk about in a blog post is business. When it comes to the world of free software, it is generally assumed that there is an algorithm to take care of that. There are also folks out there who are dismissive of "business concerns" and lay concern that nobody should be concerned about your business model while they themselves receive compensation for work in someone else's business model.

I haven't had much time due to the pressures of my job to spend on the fundraising campaign to raise money to get out of my job. Yes, it is an unfortunate catch. There was a research project proposed that may need some tweaks now but fundamentally remains concerned with reviewing access methods to the Internet via satellite. Considering the SpaceX disaster recently that destroyed Facebook's hardware that was to be deployed to space for Internet.org-based access, it is still a live topic without much open or published research. The basis for even doing such a thing started with a satellite called PACSAT launched in the early 1990s but to hear talk of these satellites today you'd think it was a totally new innovation.

By the numbers:

Total Sought

$80,000.00

Year 1 Annual Compensation

$20,000.00

Year 2 Annual Compensation

$20,000.00

Office Rent (Both Years)

$12,000.00

Communications (Both Years)

$5,000.00

Printing (Year Two)

$3,000.00

Travel (Year Two)

$2,000.00

Taxes & Other Compliance Costs (Year Zero)

$18,000.00

Now, these numbers at immediate face value look bizarre. What could cost so much? Isn't research free to conduct? Shouldn't anyone be glad they have a great employer?

First and foremost, bear in mind that I am a civil servant. If you are having a difficult time watching news about the US presidential election, imagine what it looks like to me. The outcome of the election leads to a new chief executive and that may lead to many changes at work. None of the impending scenarios look that great that may yet take effect as of inauguration at 12:01 PM Eastern Time on January 20, 2017.

Research isn't free to conduct. It takes time and that has a cost. Printing the results of research and presenting it somewhere also costs money, too. Working out of my home is not as doable as it might have been previously due to the number of family members being housed under one roof making it hard to have work space set aside. On the other hand there is a nice luthier's workspace here.

Some specific structures were decided upon in putting this together. First and foremost was the need for leasing office space. As noted above, I don't have space to work out of home easily. Since the original proposal happened to have some actual functional research to it involving the mounting of antenna masts and other equipment, finding space elsewhere would be important. I put a new roof on the house not that long ago and do not have that much space to place antennae.

This would have been structured as sole proprietor. That means that the judgment call was made that the project was small enough to not require the founding of a company to sustain a time-limited endeavor. After canvassing multiple potential fiscal sponsors, there was not a suitable match available in northeast Ohio that could be found either. Apparently smaller questions like this don't fit places like an already existing aerospace institute (not big enough) and too many local academic institutions are too focused on social justice/LGBT issues nowadays to do much cross-functional information science research. Paying the various fees to the Ohio Secretary of State for incorporation plus the minimum of $850 in user fees to the Internal Revenue Service itself to ask it for non-profit status was thought to be overkill for just one research project alone.

In the sole proprietor status, all money received would book as income directly to me and I would be taxed on all of it. I would take a direct tax hit in one year even though the project is designed to run for two years. Ideally the running time was planned to be January 2017 through December 2018. Considering who my current employer as a civil servant happens to be, I'm actually well-trained for handling the paperwork involved in such issues and handling compliance in reporting the income. That's also why such a hefty chunk is broken out in the amounts above for paying taxes as well as covering other compliance costs. Income isn't tax-free when you're starting from scratch. This is the least complicated option financially and structurally.

As to the other figures, they're not that hard. The annual compensation is a bit of a cut in pay from what I currently earn per year. I would be able to pay the mortgage but won't be buying diamond rings for anybody any time soon. Telecommunications costs are projected based upon the not very competitive market locally. Printing would involve having copies of the project final report produced for distribution. Travel would involve getting to a conference location to speak.

These aren't the simplest decisions to make on how to proceed in setting things up. They are the difference between trying to proceed and giving up. As we continue to reinvent the wheel in providing Internet via satellite yet don't have a strong literature base about such forms of data transmission, there is a hole to be filled. Waiting for the perfect fiscal structure to support such research may easily result in the research becoming moot as time slips away.

Some dollars have actually been received. Admittedly the goal is still pretty far away. I've not come close to "packing it in" and giving up just yet. Funds can still be donated here: https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/fixing-potholes-of-the-information-superhighway

Creative Commons License
Talking Dollars by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://identi.ca/alpacaherder/note/GpHahBCeT7uy5xDPPziBhA.

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Omnibus Grab Bag

Poking My Head Back In

It seems that I occasionally end up mentioning that I am still out there. This time it came about through leaving comments on a merge request. I haven't done such in a while due to the demands of my job. My account hasn't been hijacked on Launchpad and it really is me. After some time to reflect during the day I've come to recognize how jaded and cynical I can get in my day job.

Other Changes

It feels horrible not being a online content creator lately. I'm still a podcast listener and a working list of what I subscribe to is available via gpodder.net. I encourage everyone to subscribe to Cybersauce World News, the Podcast Of Power.

I will be creating some content and presenting it on August 21st. This will be done primarily with F/LOSS tools. On behalf of the domestic missions Field Activity for West Avenue Church of Christ I will be preaching and leading Sunday services at the Music Along the River festival in the Harpersfield Covered Bridge metropark. The event has a Facebook presence. I've submitted a holding title for the Sunday sermon but may still change my mind as to what I'm speaking about. Initial thoughts were to be working from James 5.

Repeating Something From Elsewhere

My job is not good for my health. My last medical appointment was one where the medical provider yelled at me asking why I was still there. Complaints about having to pay the bills, keeping a roof over not just my head but also the heads of my parents, and more were offered as reasons as why I'm still there.

We've been trying for games to help keep stress down. One has been to take a somewhat blanked out map of the USA and just put tick marks down each call to track which states are calling. That way you can see if the flavor of your day is Sunny Southwest, New England Chowder, Cajun/Gulf Coast, Cloudy Northwest, or EXTREMELY ANGRY New Yorker. Too many of the EXTREMELY ANGRY New Yorker especially with a helping of snotty Jersey boys leads to having A Bad Hair Day. My call queue keeps coming up Cajun/Gulf Coast.

It could be said that The Process Is The Punishment in dealing with my employer. That brings up Eighth Amendment concerns over cruel & unusual punishment. Then again, so do random thoughts about how unusual flogging might be if you took out the horse whip and substituted in the biggest fish possible and greased it in while lashing at a person in a flogging. That amendment to the constitution prohibits not just cruel punishments but also unusual ones that may shock the conscience but are not necessarily considered "cruel".

To bail me out of my nation's federal exchequer for something more stable yet sane such as the aerospace research project trying to consider the Outernet platform as it wants to move to cubesats even though it ignores cubesat history and suffers from a rejection by NASA to its aspirations while also evaluating what the startup is doing now, funds can be donated here: https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/fixing-potholes-of-the-information-superhighway/

The deadline for that is September 30th, the end of the federal government's fiscal year. I may be furloughed at any time before then as it stands now but September 30th is the hard upper limit due to the current lack of approved appropriations legislation. After furlough I am out without a job until an indefinite recall date. Raising the cash lets me quit my current post and conduct research for two years, publish papers, present at conferences, and build new directions.

Upgrade Paths

My laptop is now on Xubuntu 16.04 (64-bit). Assessing the household's machinery shows a surprising number of 32-bit machines. The one currently active is sitting on Lubuntu 14.04. Other machinery is in mothballs but is still usable. I've got some hard decisions to make.

Creative Commons License
Omnibus Grab Bag by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://identi.ca/alpacaherder/note/SvpAZ05qTcy4mRdMZcWBaQ.

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