back to article US to hand out wads of green (cards) in bid to staff tech industry

The US government has yielded to industry bosses on some Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skilled-immigration issues, but less on others in a new bill meant to reform the existing immigration system. A bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators released the highlights of the bill yesterday, after months of pressure …

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Anonymous Coward

"Companies will also have to pay H-1B visa holders higher wages"

How about "Companies will also have to pay H-1B visa holders the same wages as Americans"?

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Re: "Companies will also have to pay H-1B visa holders higher wages"

That has been the rule for over a decade that I know of.

But enforcement and compliance? Non-existent.

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Unhappy

A rose by any other name...

Still stinks the same.

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Facepalm

I think this says all that needs to be said on this.....

"Because our goal here, of course, is to meet the requirements, number one. But, also do so as inexpensively as possible, keeping in mind our goal. And our goal is, clearly, not to find a qualified and interested US worker."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU

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Thumb Up

Re: I think this says all that needs to be said on this.....

THAT'S the one I've been looking for!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Saw it when it first came out, but lost the link years ago.

Watch this video and know that the ONLY goal is to drive down wages.

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Re: I think this says all that needs to be said on this.....

Well that explains why 99% of job ads I've seen in engineering over the past 8 years or so had such insane mandatory requirements for just above minimum wage that to fill the requirements you almost had to be their employee already.

Wish I could turn back time and skip the degree I would have probably gone further...

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More bullshit from the Scheissmeisters

[...]because the tech bosses say there just aren't enough STEM-qualified Americans to fill the tech sector's roles.

Should read:

[...]because the tech bosses say there just aren't enough STEM-qualified Americans to fill the tech sector's roles at the third-world wages the "tech bosses" are willing to pay.

There, fixed it for you.

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Meh

We're not all here to export your jobs to India...

I moved to the US from the UK to fill a position that the bank I work for in the UK can't fill in the US.

I get paid more, but I take home the same due to the higher levels of taxes. And living costs are way, way higher in Manhattan than London.

Yet I can't move jobs because I'd need a H1-B visa, and they've all run out.

Is it fair that skilled workers who come to the US (which was founded on immigrants, after all), who pay Federal, State and City tax have less rights than US Citizens who murder several people and are incarcerated in the middle of Texas?

Thought not.

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Re: We're not all here to export your jobs to India...

is it fair US Citizens who have NOT murdered several people and are NOT incarcerated in the middle of Texas have less rights as well?

thought not.

But if we executed the multiple murderers or didn't treat them as poor broken victims and make sure they didn't feel "disrespected", how much whinging from your side of the pond would we get then?

Meanwhile all of us here who have been working our entire adult lives to support those on the dole and in the System, get it from both sides.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We're not all here to export your jobs to India...

I don't have an issue with what the US does to its citizens and prisoners - I'm a guest in this country and I will respect the rule of law here. And I can't remember stating anywhere that I believe US citizens should be deprived of their rights...?

I'm just saying a country founded on immigrants should be perhaps a little more open minded to those who wish to come here and bring their skills here...

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trans-Atlantic tax comparison

Dave, I’m intrigued by your observation that taxes are higher in Manhattan than they are in London. I’d guess that the typical commentard would contrast the UK’s 20% standard VAT to New York City’s 8⅞% sales tax, or compare the price of 3.785 litres* of petrol in London to a gallon* of gasoline in Manhattan, and wonder which taxes in the Big Apple more than make up for such differences. Would you be willing to provide more detail on your tax expenditures, which apparently makes London look like an offshore haven as compared to Manhattan?

Regarding the fairness issue, life isn’t fair. If that mass murderer serving time deep in the heart of Texas is a natural born US citizen, is at least 35 years old, and has been a US resident for at least 14 years, then he’d have the right of being eligible to serve as US President. Short of a constitutional amendment, no immigrant to the US will have that right, no matter how much better qualified that immigrant would be in comparison to that mass murderer.

* — Queen Anne’s wine gallon, as is our custom.

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Re: We're not all here to export your jobs to India...

"I moved to the US from the UK to fill a position that the bank I work for in the UK can't fill in the US."

Bullshit. The bank moved you because you were the cheapest option. Banks exist to make a profit for their shareholders, not to molly-coddle their employees.

"I get paid more, but I take home the same due to the higher levels of taxes. And living costs are way, way higher in Manhattan than London."

Haven't checked recently, but last time I checked total taxes paid were quite a bit higher in the UK than on this side of the pond (sales tax/VAT, fuel, etc., not just payroll). I, personally, find NYC & London to be about a wash, as far as day-to-day cost of living goes.

"Yet I can't move jobs because I'd need a H1-B visa, and they've all run out."

You are a wage slave of your UK bosses. Enjoy your time in the US.

"Is it fair that skilled workers who come to the US (which was founded on immigrants, after all), who pay Federal, State and City tax have less rights than US Citizens"

Yes. And that's "fewer", not "less" (according to my A-level in English). Become a citizen. It's not exactly rocket science ... I'll be happy to welcome you! And please note that you'll retain your British citizenship.

"who murder several people and are incarcerated in the middle of Texas?"

Non sequitur.

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Happy

Re: We're not all here to export your jobs to India...

... Why don't places like the Cayman Islands or Bermuda have initiatives like this? Microsoft and the likes might have to compete with the Pharmaceutical industry on this front.

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Pint

Re: trans-Atlantic tax comparison

I'll give you petrol - we get taxed to buggery in the UK for that one!

Booze. That's very expensive here. It was $14 for a Vodka Red-Bull in some pub off 44th! Zounds! I've not ever spent that much in the UK. Ever.

And no, I can't mention what I get paid here. Or what I get taxed, as you could derive my salary from it. Sorry.

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Pint

Re: We're not all here to export your jobs to India...

I'm sure I get paid more or the same as local staff, the job websites and recruitment agents in the US I've spoken to have confirmed that.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm paying as much tax here as the UK. Perhaps I need better accountants...

As previously stated it's the booze here that's expensive. Probably a lack of Wetherspoons or other chains like Nicholson's or M&B.

Fewer? Less? Probably :)

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Re: trans-Atlantic tax comparison

Dave, I’m not looking for granular detail like pounds, pence, dollars, and cents, or even percentages from which your salary could be estimated; I’m just curious about the general categorization that led to your observation. For example, while resident in Manhattan, do you pay a greater percentage of your salary in income tax to Albany and Washington combined, than you did to your local council and the Inland Revenue combined while resident in London? Which types of taxes show London in its best light when compared to Manhattan?

Shelling out $14 for a drink at a midtown watering hole isn’t a tax; you have no unavoidable obligation to pay $14 per drink while resident in Manhattan, and you won’t get charged with tax evasion by renting your alcohol elsewhere. Curiously enough, I’ve never spent that much on a drink in the US — ever. (I might have done so in Oslo once upon a time, though.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We're not all here to export your jobs to India...

Pray tell..what amazing, unique skills do you have that can't be filled in a country of 300 million? with millions of developers out of work? Any decent developer can learn any programming language in a few weeks at most, so if the particular skills aren't immediately available, they can come up to speed fast.

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FAIL

We need skilled workers with education AND experience there are none in this country so lets import them. I wonder why there are not more people coming through the ranks of IT from entry level upwards........

Wanted: Entry level I.T Person for our offices in downtown expensiveville to clean the crap out of the servers and perform occasional external HDD installs.

Must have advanced PhD in complex modeling of the human brain and quantitative finance. Must have 10+ years experience with Android/iOS development (Xbox 360 development an advantage) and should also have a working knowledge of Mandarin, Russian and Swahili.

You will be rewarded with a competitive package that includes a salary of 5 magic beans and have the privileged of being beaten with a broken bottle at the end of each day (once you have completed the extra 5 hours of totally not compulsory overtime,honest guv)

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sad thing is I've seen too many job ads not far off that...

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FAIL

Tired of the lies

In a country of over 300 million people with over 7.5% unemployment and STEM graduates that cannot find jobs, this constant drum beat by corporations demanding foreign labor because "there aren't enough qualified people to be found locally" is a damned LIE!

Foreign labor is brought in to work for cheap. Period.

The number of H1B visas granted annually should be drastically reduced to only a few thousand or eliminated enitrely.

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Re: Tired of the lies

"Foreign labor is brought in to work for cheap. Period."

Not quite - if you can get it to work for you cheap then its not working against you. Especially if it means it cant work for anyone else and would have to go home if it got uppity.

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Stop

Re: Tired of the lies @cybersaur

It is simply not correct that skilled foreign labor is a cost saver. If you're bringing in high end specialized talent their wages are going to be high no matter where they come from. They command those wages simply because they have unique skills that are in demand and they can choose where they go for work.

For low end or entry level work (in IT at least) foreign labor costs are on par with what you pay for anyone else at that skill level. Even if you can get a slightly reduced base salary there are substantial costs to sponsoring foreign staff. We have three sponsored employees (a FORTRAN & COBOL guy and two materials scientists) who cost about $14k annual (each) on top of their salary packages. Legal fees, DHS fees and ICE fees are really, really expensive and the regulations are very time consuming to deal with. The only reason we have any sponsored employees is because the skills we need simply aren't available in the U.S.

The skills may exist in the U.S. but for specialized research you'll find that many scientists won't leave projects they've been working on for years, pretty much no matter how much money you offer them.

Finding skilled staff is not a simple issue and you make a grave error by attempting to reduce it to 'get cheap labor'.

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Re: Tired of the lies @cybersaur

We are continually told there is a skills shortage, yet the salaries on offer in the IT sector are the lowest they've ever been in real terms, as stated in recent articles on this very site. The media report there is an oversupply of graduates and not enough new graduate positions to match, forcing many to take less skilled work.

I highly doubt there are 300,000 new jobs (that's how many visas they want) being created in America every year whose skill requirement is so high that no one in America is available and sufficiently skilled to do them. Some perhaps, but nothing like that number.

Secondly, it's highly suspect that people who just-so-happen to have exactly the right skills are available but only from abroad. How did they obtain these sought after skills that Americans lack? Are American companies leeching these skilled people from foreign companies by offering them higher salaries? If so, some day soon American companies may find they can no longer afford to compete, or may even be subject to a reverse brain-drain. If this happens, America will be forced to educate it's own people for these jobs, in order to stay competitive.

Are American companies reluctant to educate their own staff in these skills for fear of them leaving? If so, then America needs to emulate what other countries are doing, perhaps by reviewing the effectiveness of it's education system. If you have the most expensive degrees in the world, then you ought to be producing the best qualified workforce.

For low end or entry level IT work, the salaries at present in a India* are a fraction, perhaps 1/10th of the equivalent job in America*. For any job, whether low or high paid, if there are extra fees for employing an immigrant in America* plus the limited number of visas, why not create the job in India* to avoid those costs and complications? If these are genuinely new jobs, then no-one in America will lose their job as a consequence.

Finally, the way that the government submits to the wishes of industry lobby groups demonstrates a lack of democracy in their decision making. US politicians are elected by the people to represent the interests of the majority. I suspect that the interests of the majority of Americans has been ignored in this case.

* NB. Throughout my comment, you can generally substitute any "developed" nation for "America", and any "developing" nation for India, I don't intend to stigmatize any nation in particular.

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Happy

Re: Tired of the lies @cybersaur

Well, one major problem are schools in the States. Our educational system is pumping out the dumbest educated kids you've ever met. Second is a HUGE lack of work experience. A lot of imported workers have some experience under their belts and don't behave as though a degree makes them all knowing. Recent graduates are generally worthless hires who take ages to skill up. It doesn't make sense to hire a U.S. graduate inane cases because they don't know anything. A degree no longer means having even rudimentary skills. Not so much the case with many foreign workers.

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Re: Tired of the lies @cybersaur

>Recent graduates are generally worthless hires who take ages to skill up. It doesn't make sense to hire a U.S. graduate inane cases because they don't know anything.

From what I have seen these are exactly the kind of people companies most want to hire because they are the most likely to screw up salary negotiation and are the most willing to blindly do what they are told. As many others have pointed out businesses are more interested in lowering labor costs than caring about the quality of what they produce.

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Meh

Re: Tired of the lies @cybersaur

Lowering labor costs at the expense of your product/service does not make the least bit of sense: That's a losing proposition all the way around. Unless, the job can be done by 'anyone' in which case the job doesn't justify higher wages.

I know some companies with truly bizarre hiring practices and nobody targets recent grads because they will 'screw up' negotiations, the additional screening expenses alone would offset any savings of a few thousand dollars; recent grads aren't going to qualify for positions where tens of thousands of dollars and benefits are on the line anyway.

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Pint

Crappy field gets worse and worse. "I Work in IT" = equal "I'm a skilled laborer paid unskilled laborer wages". Same prestige as call center operator.

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I don't understant this at all...

There's loads of IT and comp sci guys with no work (a few cohorts and I have founded our own IT company so we aren't in this position.). There's few listed IT and comp sci jobs. These companies seem to manage to go DIRECTLY to claiming they can't find anybody and hire H1-Bs, without the intermediate step of even seeking hiring in-country. And now they want to raise the cap? Most odd.

Unless things have radically changed, the standard procedure to get an H1-B employee hired a few years ago was... a) List loads of requirements, to the point that nobody will actually have the skills. (Maybe throw in "5 years experience with Office 2013" for good measure.) If anybody DOES claim "Yes I have every skill" you call them out for lying at the interview phase. b) THEN go say you couldn't find anybody qualified and seek an H1-B. c) When THEY claim they have every single requirement, "Great, you are hired!" d) Probably do about a ream of paperwork. The red tape is ineffective at keeping this system from being gamed, but nevertheless it's still there.

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microsoft still has the guy who invented tetris sitting around in the basement doing nothing

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Anonymous Coward

Got some friends directly involved in this

Two of my friends are directly involved in this shenanigans. Do a search for Sona Barrett visas and you can see the case.

http://www.kavitachhibber.com/main/main.jsp?id=legal-Nov2005

Gives a good summing up of the case. Sona and Kai have been suffering huge amounts of stress due to the case and I've spent many hours listening to them as they struggle with the legal system and several incompetent or lazy lawyers. The case has been going on for 10 years. I can't believe their company is the only one gaming the system.

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Anonymous Coward

Restrictions are good - they protect local jobs

The US knows how to do immigration better than the UK, even if it's not a perfect system, at least they try!

Have a quota per year - GOOD

Require locals to be hired first - GOOD

Require wages to be local or higher - GOOD

All things the UK should do as well.

The reality is there are plenty of suitable local candidates in US and UK but employers can't be bothered to help with relocation, working from home, anyone over 35, some re-training, part-timers and anything else that requires any effort on their part.

Their laziness causes unemployment. Putting grads through a training program is normal in almost every other sort of job - legal, medical, media, etc - why should IT expect not to have to do anything with new hires?

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Stop

H1-B1 = Indentured Labor(sic)

Been there, done that: You have to do any shitty job your "benevolent employers" tell you to do. You can't negotiate your wages, even though you know you are paid way below the norm. You are treated like you are also one of the 1000's of desperate, completely fucking useless immigrant-blaggers from other parts, and that you should only be too thankful to serve them for their pleasure. Your employers threaten to cancel your H1-B1 visa and immediately set the emigration authorities on you if you don't meekly comply.

Back in Blighty with my dignity in tact, to let some non English-speaking, bull-shitting desperado from India believe he just blagged himself and his huge entourage into the land of milk and honey, where the streets paved with gold...

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FAIL

Yet again we hear these allegedly high powered business folks asking the government for some corporate welfare to bail them out. Shareholders should take note: they can get that kind of thinking for a lot less $$$ from a life-long unemployable living off the welfare state.

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Or maybe they could follow suit put a job ad for a CEO that none could possibly fill and bring someone from another country over to act as CEO for $20k a year and no benefits. Cant be worst than a fair chunk of CEO's I've seen at screwing the company up.

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hmm

The only good thing I can say about H1B at all is that is marginally better than shipping the job overseas (local taxes and such). Still it shouldn't be a race to the bottom which is exactly what global capitalism is these days.

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Re: hmm

not really all that does is keep the lawmakers quiet as they can keep giving themselves raises.

If the taxes were hit hard then they would do something about it which would happen to off shoring them to another country, but as that does not happen in this case they can give a shit less what goes on.

Also to the people that say or think well vote the people out. Problem is the other party isn't any better 99.9999999% of the time. Either they are just as corrupt, or worst. And I know by me to run for office you need a LOT of cash just to get on the ballot, let alone the fortune you need for advertising.

So pretty much it is set up so if if you are a politician, and you don't sell your soul to these companies that pull this shit off you can't win unless you are a multimillionaire, but at that point you probably pull similar crap off yourself.

The US government does not represent the people, and hasn't for awhile it represents the corporations, and all this gun control crap they spout is just so the people will not be able to rise up against the oppressors like what has happened in the past for far less :(

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Root Cause?

Perhaps we have not been educating ourselves enough to what makes technology work. There was a time when this was how young people got into what is now called "high-tech"; I am one of them, playing with electrons since 1957.

I won't call for more College degrees, though, not having gotten one myself. Education need not mean certification -- nor a Credentialed States of America, either.

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@cortland (was: Re: Root Cause?)

(First posted here, 16th November 2009)

Too much technology, not enough techs.

There are too many computer users, and not enough people who actually understand how computers work. Humanity hasn't grown along with it's technology. Scammers (and marketing folks ... same thing? You decide!) are separating fools from their money.

I, me, personally, have had my "friends & family" email system up and running, non-stop, for over two decades. It is not exactly rocket science.

Note that I said "system". When the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, my box under Bryant Street in Palo Alto lost power long enough to exhaust the UPS. New York took up the slack. When the 25th floor of the World Trade Center went away on 9/11, my server in a small closet at Sun went with it, but the Palo Alto server took up the slack. In both cases, servers in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Auckland, New Zealand did their job of mirroring the main servers. So did the small box at Great Aunt Mabel's, in Duluth, Minnesota (just in case). (The NYC server's replacement is currently housed in Nyack.)

The system also runs Usenet, ftp, and Web servers. Maintenance takes (perhaps) 5 minutes a week, and most of that is clearing logs if nothing important seems to be happening.

If I can do it for myself, on the cheap (under $150/year), why does the corporate world seem to think that basic connectivity has to be massively expensive, to the point of having to pay someone else to take care of it?

The answer is that there is too much technology, and not enough techs ... and the fact that marketing rules the world (as seen by Management). Technology is a cost center, and marketing makes money. QED.

Fortunately, some of us grok otherwise, and will continue to fan the "sometime less is more" flame ...

(Another comment along the same lines, first posted here)

The real problem ...

The real problem is that there aren't enough techs who understand how computers and computing are used in the real world well enough to set up the enduser systems so they can be used by those endusers with a minimum of instruction and support.

My technophobe Mother and computer illiterate Great Aunt use Slackware. Support calls from them came in around three or four times per month when they used Windows. Today, support calls are virtually nil[1]. They don't even know root exists. The wife can dual boot WinXP and Slack ... she can't remember the last time she booted into Windows, she much prefers Slack. She uses a user account, but can use root if she desires. She never has, as there has been no need.

The key is to understand the needs of the user, and set up the computer appropriately.

I do the same thing in corporate environments ... No, the end user does NOT need the shareware whatsit o't'day on CORPORATE computers! Nor do they need to set up a "screensaver" that alternates pictures of their livestock & sprog, nor play games, nor access !MyFaceYouTwit ... We have company email servers, they have a corporate email account (if required ... not everyone needs email at work). Google everything is banned, corporation-wide, everywhere I consult. Don't like it? Cry me a river. This is where you WORK, not a playground.

Draconian? Perhaps. One odd affect of me coming in and locking down a typical 500-1000 seat company's IT infrastructure is a 10% or more drop in required seats ... with most of those seats coming from apparently useless middle management.

[1] In the last year or so, I've only had one support call from my mother. I had to go plug in a printer for her. To be fair, I would have had to do that regardless of OS, because she's afraid to plug anything into her computer ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @cortland (was: Root Cause?)

> my box under Bryant Street in Palo Alto... my server in a small closet at Sun ...

> servers in Edinburgh ... and Auckland ...

> the small box at Great Aunt Mabel's, in Duluth, Minnesota ...The NYC server's

> replacement is currently housed in Nyack ... on the cheap (under $150/year),

That is cheap.

Purchasing, installing, maintaining, powering, and connecting all of those for less then fifteen bucks a month.

Really quite incredibly cheap.

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Re: @cortland (was: Root Cause?)

"Purchasing,"

None of the fancy kit was purchased, most was acquired surplus, some as perks after Pilot-build and/or Beta testing. The rest is last year's high-end stuff that was bound for the skip.

"installing,"

The surplus kit is/was allowed to stay "in place", in most cases for services rendered.

"maintaining,"

My personal time is valueless. Ask the IRS if you don't believe me.

"powering, and connecting all of those"

Free, to me. I write odd things into contracts sometimes. Try it. You might like it. The only place I pay for power is here at home (which is a null cost, because I'd be paying it anyway), and under Bryant Street. The only place I pay for bandwidth is here, at home (another null cost), and at my Great Aunt's in Duluth.

"for less then fifteen bucks a month."

Bryant Street runs about $30/year in electricity. The other $120 /year is what I pay for my portion of Great Aunt in Duluth's DSL line. That is, literally, all I pay day-to-day into all the gear I have off-campus ... Hardware failures generally lead to severing that particular branch of the network, until I can swap "info for hands on" with a local techie. To date, no data has been lost.

It's been running since FlagDay, January 1st 1983 (earlier, actually, but I rebooted the whole thing when we went "live" with TCP/IP), and has been in daily use by an average of over 8,000 individual accounts (out of about 70,000) since 1999. What can I say? ::shrugs::

Oh ... "WHY?" you ask ... research. It's part of what I do for a living. And the $150 is a tax write-off ;-)

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