Archive for 'Random'

Pack light go fast LAX DXB RUH LAX

8 days. Goruck SK40 and the stuff in my pockets. Pack light go fast.


Jell-O Shot Mailing List Purged

500 People–Goodbye

I purged about 500 names off the Jell-O Shots email list last night: people who had not opened an email from me in a while — namely, in the last 14 editions they had opened the email once or never.

I don’t want to annoy anyone with emails they do not want. If they had not looked at the last 14 emails, they must not be interested. Hence the purge.

Why I Am Afraid to Unsubscribe

I am on a bunch of email lists from people I know and like. They arbitrarily added me to their mailing lists and I get their newsletters. After all, I am in their contact database.

I am too embarrassed to unsubscribe because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but I never read their stuff. Instead I laboriously set up filters to send their emails straight to trash.

That is bad for them and it is bad for me. It is bad for them because they wonder why their “open” rate (number of recipients who open the email divided by total messages sent) is so low. Their marketing efforts fail. It is bad for me because I get emails I don’t want and spend time setting up filters to get rid of them.

A few years ago I arbitrarily added everyone I knew to my mailing list. Bad Idea. Now I see what has happened. We have been running for a while on the “opt-in” method: people do not get added to a list unless they specifically ask.

But that doesn’t solve the problem of people I added to the list without their consent, and it doesn’t solve the problem of people who subscribed and now wish they hadn’t but they don’t want me to know they unsubscribed because I might be sad.

That’s Why I Purged the List

That is why I purged the Jell-O Shots list: to save you from the feeling that you might hurt my feelings :-) (I’m pretty robust in that department, so don’t worry!) and to more accurately gauge whether what I send is useful to the people who read it.

If you don’t get next month’s Jell-O Shot it is probably because you were part of that purge. Sorry. Just subscribe again and you’ll be on the list. Or email me and I will add you manually. (See? Only people who ask to get email will get email. I learn.)

Also, if you get the Jell-O Shot next month and you want to stop it from coming, just click on the “unsubscribe” link. Trust me. I will not be offended, and if you call we will still chat happily.

Our Mailing Lists

Finally, just to tell you what is going on in our email lists: we have three, and please sign up if your are interested (and of course unsubscribe if you don’t like them).

    Jell-O Shots. Once a month, at the beginning of the month. Plus the odd rant from an airport lounge somewhere on the planet.

    Expatriation Only. Focused on one topic, especially for people who are interested in taking our upcoming workshop on expatriation for normal people.

    International Tax Lunch. Second Friday of the month, noon PST. One hour of international tax from our conference room. Come to Pasadena or listen in by conference call.

Click on the link you want and subscribe. Or re-subscribe if you think I bounced you off the Jell-O Shot list (don’t worry, it will tell you if you are subscribed and you won’t get multiple copies of the emails).

Elena’s reviews on

Elena Redko taught a semester-long intro course in accounting at the Glendale Community College in Glendale, California. It wrapped up last night.

Check out her ratings on Be impressed. :-)

We’re lucky that she works here. Congratulations, Elena. This goes up on our Wall of Fame.

Congratulations Debra. 97. Wow.

Debra Rudd has just finished passing the fourth (and final) exam in the CPA exam cycle. Audit.

She passed with a score of 97. Ninety. Seven.

Debra passed all four exams in a year, passing on the first try.

Seriously, congratulations. This is fabulous.

To those of you who want to be accountants, maybe you can start (as Debra did) as a Philosophy major at Columbia. It wouldn’t hurt, anyway.

97. That’s nuts.

Cracks appear in Google’s armor

The Mighty Google might be showing signs of vulnerability in its key area of strength: the quality of search results.

Up to now, the easiest way for me to find a section of the Internal Revenue Code has been to hit Google.1

My search up to now has been as follows:

26 usc 6501

This would reliably return Section 6501 of the Internal Revenue Code at Cornell University’s wonderful resource as the first result.

Google has a new search algorithm.

Today I searched for Section 6501 using the same search query:

26 usc 6501

It returned this:


Google correctly found Cornell’s website but assumed that I wanted Title 7 of the United States Code instead of Title 26. The other sites with the United States Code are acceptable, I guess, if you like them. Forbes at the fifth result? And going down the list further, the results get a bit messier.

I’m not sure what this means, except that I will be using DuckDuckGo even more than I do now. It correctly and reliably points me to Title 26, Section 6501 of the United States Code for the top 6 results. Not until the 7th result does it get confused — sending me to Title 15 rather than Title 26.

  1. Note: I pay for Lexis. I pay for BNA portfolios. They charge metric crap-tons of money for their service. The fact that I bail out and use Google to find stuff outside their services should tell them something. []