February 15th, 2014

no that's not two factor authentication

I'm not complaining.

CBS Local in Boston aggregates school closing information; last year I signed up for their text message alerts, because it was easier to stay current without having to consciously poll the site. Inevitably, I still refresh the site way too many times to figure out who else has closed, but that hardly matters. When I set this up last year, they were using hipcricket, wanted a username and password combination. It went into LastPass and I tried to use that this year to update my settings to remove Concord (son's school system last year) and replace it with Harvard (son's school system this year -- I'll have to do the same thing next fall when he switches to Littleton. Again, listen to me not complaining. At all.).

But no! Hipcricket no more. (ETA: Looks like they are using vibes.com) So I went to the site to follow the update your settings link. They asked for the mobile number (that makes _way_ more sense than a username/password combo, since the texts go to the mobile number anyway), sent the mobile number a one time PIN and I used the PIN to update my info. This is a brilliant system! I don't have to track anything at all. Honestly, I sort of feel like virtually all infrequently accessed stuff should work this way, except for the problem of losing the phone number would kind of suck. In this particular case, if I lose the phone number, I'd just re-sign up with my new number, and anyone who received unwanted texts to the old number could presumably just sign in and turn them off (altho it's not clear how you'd figure out where the texts were coming from if you didn't already know). (ETA: Apparently there's a listserv style generic way to turn stuff like this off; reply "STOP" and they should go away, or "HELP" if you want further info.)

Kirk Johnson at the NYT May Not Understand Tipped Minimum Wage Laws


My husband read this article. He understandably concluded that people who make minimum wage were crossing the border from Idaho to Oregon because the minimum wage in Oregon was $1.85 higher than in Idaho. The article as a whole makes clear that it isn't just the $1.85: it's more hours, for example.

But even with more hours, $1.85/hour more doesn't (necessarily) justify a 20 mile commute (altho it is not clear if that is one way or round trip). However, the examples given are overwhelmingly restaurant jobs.


Idaho minimum wage for a tipped job is $3.90 and then whatever you get in tips on top of that. In theory, if you don't make enough in tips, the employer is supposed to compensate you up to the minimum. In practice, good fucking luck.

Oregon minimum wage for a tipped job is $9.10. That is a lot more money. That is $5.20 more an hour more money, and _that_ justifies a 20 mile commute.

I don't know why this was left out of Kirk Johnson's article, but I consider the article deeply misleading as a result. Washington state _used_ to have the same kind of tipped/non-tipped differing minimum wage. I know they did, because that's why when I worked at a Denny's, I refused to switch from being a hostess (at minimum wage) to being a waitress (less than minimum wage, plus tips). I knew from talking to the servers that they didn't always make even minimum wage, much less exceed. Washington changed that -- along with the rest of the West Coast, and Nevada -- and as near as I can tell, restaurant customers took it completely in stride. I think the same would likely happen in the rest of the country.

Raising the minimum wage really will help. It would also help if we could get rid of the tipped wage lower minimum wage. And that's not likely to happen if we keep forgetting to point it out.