More from: General Business

Indiana Now Allows Free CCW Permits

I recommend every Indiana Citizen obtain the CCW permit now that it is free. It does not matter if you do not OWN a gun, this still allows you to carry (or have in your car) without violating gun laws. The correct reason for the permit is self defense.

I encourage you to get the permit even if you do not plan to carry a gun. I encourage you to get the permit even if you feel you will be denied because of race or economic status.

For instance, if a relative leaves his gun in your vehicle even without your knowledge or consent, and you get stopped but have a carry permit then you are not breaking the law because you have the permit. If you do not have the permit it can be jail time even through you did not know there was a gun in your car. We do not yet have Constitutional Carry recognizing the US Constitution as Supreme Law in Indiana. Yet.

Also, with the present political environment there is a major push to totally disarm all citizens so they can be intimidated and controlled by threat of deadly force. Having a fully armed State (as demonstrated by the number of CCW permits) will reduce our chances of being the first place corrupt politicos send their minions to conquer.

As of today the Indiana lifetime gun permit fee is $0.00.
Here is how to apply:
1. Start your application at the Indiana State Police web page here:  https://www.in.gov/ISP/2829.htm
2. Schedule appointment to submit your fingerprints electronically.
3. Visit your local police agency.



Zoom on Mint / MATE 20201106

UPDATE 2020-11-09

Zoom got back to me promptly. The dialog box they also fixed. In My Humble Opinion this GNU/Linux Zoom Client is one of the finest examples of cross-platform software any company has developed and the customer service has been excellent in response time and punctually correcting software issues. Buy their annual subscription.

My difficulty installing they have provided instructions to correct, which work perfectly, and the installed client performs better as well. In the Linux Mint distro version zoom cannot use a virtual background, even though it can with Windows on the same hardware BUT in the provided “lastest version” it works in Linux almost as well as in windows. I am impressed.

The application “Zoom“ you installed from “Software Manager“, is a Flatpak format and is not published by us (Zoom company) but by a third-party publisher.
To fix this issue, uninstall the “Zoom“ in “Software Manager“, then download the deb package from https://zoom.us/client/latest/zoom_amd64.deb, install using the following commands:

  1. cd ~/Downloads
  2. sudo dpkg -i zoom_amd64.deb
  3. sudo apt-get install -f

The third command will fix the dependency issue.
Please let me know if you have any more questions and I will be happy to help in any way I can.


This post is written November 6, 2020 and applies to Linux Zoom Client 5.4.1 (53350.1027). This is a paid account, so if you are using a “free” account your mileage may vary. If Zoom Support contacts me with more information I will update this post accordingly.
Zoom is a popular conferencing app. A rare but notable trait is that Zoom works in any web browser, or as an installed Client App on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Several Linux versions are available at https://zoom.us/download.

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The windows client works fine from this download page but when I chose the Linux Debian client for my Mint / MATE desktop it was missing two libraries, ibus and linxcb-xtest0. Maybe I should have tried the Ubuntu or Mint flavors, might not be their fault, but choosing Debian, Mint, or Ubuntu generally has worked the same for me as they all hail back to Debian…. The install failed, apt –fix-broken install did not fix it, and no other installs could be performed until I purged zoom with apt purge zoom. It purged nicely.

Zoom is in the Mint repos and installing through the Mint / MATE Software Manager worked flawlessly. So advice #1 is install from the repos with Software Manager.

Second. Most of it works flawlessly but some of the Settings i/f needs adjusting:

  1. The Settings dialog box covers up anything else, requiring me to drag the settings dialog box off the screen to the side to see and use the dialog boxes that it spawns. It also covered my Conky status monitor and task bar which are always on top.
  2. My system dual boots Linux Mint / MATE and Windows 10 from SSD, and I store all large data on separate spinning media. Clicking Change to change the storage location of the Zoom Video Recording provides a dialog box as one would expect, however when one browses to the desired folder the Open button is inactive and cannot be used to select the location. Choosing a specific file name will work, however one would desire a file name for a recording based upon some automatically determined text, such as the date and time the recording started.The edit box containing the path to the location in which to store the recording is not editable.
  3. I could not locate the Zoom configuration text file, if there is one: it was not a dot file in the user home folder, nor was it a hidden folder in the user home folder, nor could I find a trace in /etc, /var/* or /usr/*. The instinct is to merely edit the text config file and fix it but a better approach is to simply use a soft link. Zoom defaults the recording storage location to ~/Documents/Zoom.
    1. Using the GUI or command line
    2. Delete ~/Documents/Zoom
    3. Create a folder where you want the recordings stored
    4. Create a link to that folder (right click / create link with the GUI or ln -s <path-to-new-folder> ~/Documents/Zoom using command line)
    5. Cut and paste the link into ~/Documents (if you are using the GUI)
    6. Rename the link Zoom (if you are using the GUI, note the capital Z)
  4. Shouldn’t need to do this but it is a solution to a problem that should eventually go away.

Post Script: It still doesn’t fix the problem: when you finish a meeting Zoom says it must convert the video and then presents a dialog box to select a storage location, HOWEVER the Open button on the dialog box is always gray so it cannot be clicked, and there is no place to designate a file name for the recording.


The Best Internet Deal for Consumers

If you are now or are considering buying Internet services from Frontier, you should be aware of their treatment of their customers. Also be aware that Comcast provides faster service 60/60 for $30/month (not 50/50 for $60) with no extra fees (not for non-existent “taxes” or any other fabricated excuse), and Comcast’s commitment includes FREE unlimited service for up to four (4) mobile phones, and FREE WiFi every time you are near a Xfinity access point. There is a reason Frontier is in financial trouble!

I feel that a huge problem with Frontier has been adding extra fees into telephone and other consumer charges, after making a commitment for services – typically increasing the consumer’s cost by $20 or more per month over the amount to which the consumer agreed. Frontier also charges “rental” fees for “required” equipment that they routinely (40%-50% of the time) do not deliver. I feel that at the very least their billing policy is unethical and very likely illegal.

I feel Frontier is brazen and unapologetic in what I feel is deliberate billing abuse. The two actual billings above are for essentially the same services. Comcast charges $30, period. Frontier a little more and then adds several hard to verify “taxes and other charges” the customer is supposed to simply accept without thinking. Frontier implies these “taxes and other charges” are required, but Comcast apparently is not required to charge them for the same service to the same customers in the same State. Both cannot be telling the truth, can they?

Frontier is the surviving fragment of the historic Baby Bells: it has the ultimate state-of-the-art technology buried under the hubris of the traditional and obsolete over stuffed management structure – the cake is really excellent but there is too much frosting for this cake to remain edible. If Frontier is not forced to modernize their business model we are in danger of loosing community access to the technology.

No individual citizen can compel Frontier to change. We had hoped Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill would do better than this with a class action to make whole all Indiana consumers who were involuntarily charged “rental fees” for routers that Frontier never delivered, or to restore money collected for “taxes” that are rightfully due from Frontier, not the Indiana consumer.

Mr. Nash is not “disputing his bill” he is asking Indiana to compel what he feels are abusive and/or fraudulent utility oligopolies to comply with Indiana and Federal consumer law as it would apply to any other Indiana business.

A side note or importance: Frontier keeps referring to a charge for a router, which for about half of their customers they do not even deliver but charge a monthly rental fee. Comcast also will provide a router and charge a monthly rental fee. Comcast’s router, by the way, allows any Comcast customer in range to connect to Xfinity WiFi. If you are in a place of business which buys Comcast services and has their router, your own Comcast login credentials allow you seamlessly to use that business’s WiFi.

While Frontier extracts the rental fee over their customer’s objections, Comcast has no problem if their customer would prefer to simply buy a compatible router and not pay any monthly rental fee. Companies like to collect rental fees because they never end and so represent a permanent income. If you buy a router outright you have a clear one time expense that does not give the company a perpetual income. Your payback period on a router is about one year ($89-$120 outright for a router vs $10 every month forever to rent).

The issue here is not a router, it is extra charges placed into the bill and represented to the customer as required by government instead of being honestly disclosed at the time the customer agrees to terms and honored in the billing. This is legally known as BAIT & SWITCH: the company promises one thing in their advertising then charges you something else. At the very best the company “discloses” the extra charges in tiny print that you are not supposed to notice. If you doubt my observation, buy services from Frontier and at the time you are ordering try to get them to commit to exactly how much these extra charges will be: you are morally entitled to know the exact amount in advance before you agree. You will be told it is about this much but we can’t really know until you are billed. And Frontier’s advertising will never say you will be charged $39 for Internet plus $18 for other charges for a total cost of $57. This would compare unfavorably with Comcast (and other competitors) at $30.

Picture of justice

Picture of justice

The document returned from Attorney General Curtis Hill’s office is as follows. Essentially, AG Hill decided Frontier should investigate itself and Frontier decided that Frontier did nothing wrong. Whodathunkit!

Complaint Number: 11561091 Company Code:

Customer Name: John Nash Phone: 2603730914

Thank you for referring the complaint of John Nash to our office for review. We appreciate Mr. Nash bringing this matter to our attention.

The Complaint states that:

  • Mr. Nash is disputing his bill for services with Frontier.

Frontier has investigated the above statements and offers the following response:

  • Our Frontier Residential Gateway(router) is Frontier equipment provided with every service order and specifically designed to work with our service. Our advertising and our residential Internet terms and conditions make it clear that our service includes equipment charges, such as the router charge, and neither our advertisements nor our terms and conditions provide any exceptions. A customer may choose to use their own router, but if the customer does, our router charge continues to apply. Also, we cannot support or repair the non -Frontier equipment.

  • Though infrequent, when a customer chooses to use a non-Frontier router, we see increased complaints and more difficulty with troubleshooting, performing online resets, and providing simple resolutions, so it costs more to serve that customer. Therefore, if a customer uses their own router, the charge still applies to cover these cost. Frontier cannot support or repair non-Frontier equipment.

  • Mr. Nash requested to upgrade his Internet service to the Fios 50/50 speed. The upgrade took place on September 6, 2019. Once the upgrade took place the customer should have received a new modem, which he did not.

  • Frontier advised Mr. Nash that the price would be $53.99 per month for the Fios 50/50 speed. The Frontier agent did not advise the customer that he would receive a new modem or that he would see the $10.00 router fee on his bill. Frontier did not send Mr. Nash a modem like they should have.

  • Mr. Nash has disconnected his account due to the new modem fee.

  • Frontier issued a credit of $9.99 for the shipping and handling of the new modem since the customer was never sent one. Frontier also issued a credit of $10.00 for the router fee charged on the September bill.

  • Frontier spoke to Mr. Nash and explained all of the above.

We trust that this information will assist you in closing this complaint. We regret any inconvenience that Mr. Nash may have experienced as a result of the above matter.

Frontier Specialist: Tami Lee Department: Customer Relations

Telephone Number: 1-844-320-4445 Ext 1122543 Fax Number: 1-518-773-3717


IRS Withholding rules changing effective Jan 2020

The IRS is changing the withholding calculations and they no long involve “allowances” (ex: Married 2 or Single 0 no longer applies) and an Excel spreadsheet / macro calculator is provided by IRS to correctly withhold starting January 2020. Links and part of the IRS email blast from IRS Newswire <irs@service.govdelivery.com> follow.

We posted information from Circular E earlier this year, and the changes to IRS Form W-4 were alluded to in May 2019. The link to the current (Nov 4) draft of the Publication 15T document is https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-dft/p15t–dft.pdf. The link to the new W-4 for 2020 is https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf. The link to the Excel Spreadsheet “Income Tax Withholding Assistant for Employers” calculator web page is https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/income-tax-withholding-assistant-for-employers. The related announcement is at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/new-downloadable-assistant-helps-small-businesses-withhold-the-right-amount-of-income-tax.

The percentage method withholding tables for automated (example, Quick Books) are at https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/2020-percentage-method-tables-for-automated-payroll-systems


New downloadable assistant helps small businesses withhold the right amount of income tax

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has launched a new online assistant designed to help employers, especially small businesses, easily determine the right amount of federal income tax to withhold from their workers’ pay.

Known as the Income Tax Withholding Assistant for Employers, this new spreadsheet-based tool is designed to help employers easily transition to the redesigned withholding system (no longer based on withholding allowances), which goes into effect on Jan. 1. It does this by helping them easily implement new income-tax withholding requests from employees who fill out the completely redesigned 2020 Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate.

At the same time, the tool can also help employers continue to properly withhold from employees who still have a withholding request on file using a past version of the W-4, which was based on withholding allowances. The employer can save a separate customized copy of the file for each employee containing that employee’s Form W-4 information.

Now available for download, without charge, on IRS.gov, the Income Tax Withholding Assistant for Employers is designed to help any employer who would otherwise figure withholding, manually, using a worksheet and either the percentage method or wage bracket tables found in Publication 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods.