75 posts • joined Thursday 29th May 2008 13:42 GMT
EU minimum tax rates
I understand that there's a minimum rate for VAT across the EU, with exceptions having to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis (eg only 5% VAT on domestic fuel in the UK). Why can't there be a minimum rate for corporate tax rates?
Or will we then see generous tax refunds in the form of "incentives for investment" from governments determined to 'beggar-my-neighbour'?
Re: Just ignore Eadon
Definitely a troll!
I tried to read one of Eadon's posts earlier this week and it's weird phraseology reminded me of the posts of the original Amanfrommars. Now, I wonder who would bother posting such inflammatory material just to generate reaction from readers?
Switching off the washing machine?
How would switching off a washing machine save electricity? If I switch off my washing machine at the wall socket, when power is restored I have to start the washing cycle from scratch - that *wastes* electricity!
Anyway, what sort of smartmeter can suspend a washing machine's operation without cutting off everything? Surely this can only work if we all have smart devices which can communicate with the smart meter. What's the capital investment required to replace all the high-consumption, but interruptible, devices?
My mother-in-law had a water meter fitted last year. That allows remote reading by the meter-man using Bluetooth. The plumber who installed it said the meter charges the Bluetooth device from the flow of water through the turbine inside the meter. I'd have thought the same principle would work for a gas or electricity meter.
Huh? Just how desperate are they?
Does Steve Ballmer think that anyone waiting for a train is going to bother with Office365 when the brass monkeys at the end of the platform are singing soprano? No, we're just hoping someone's laptop battery will burst into flames and we might just make it out alive.....
"We sell stuff because we think - depending on situation and customer - that it is the best solution for the situation."
But "best" for whom? From Microsoft's perspective, getting the customer to buy Premium Enterprise and Business Intelligence editions rather than Standard is much "better", so they intend to promote this by changing the incentives for the sales force. What are the odds that solutions offered to the customer will suddenly no longer include the Standard (non-rebated) versions?
Re: robots.txt is bollocks
I think John Lilburne is right that the robots.txt has to cover all possible URL combinations. In further testing to check the dates of the web-pages on my site indexed on Google, the cached option shows that Google last crawled my web-site on 13-Feb! So my robots.txt is either broken or Google doesn't respect it. I'll modify the robots file and then monitor Google for a few years........
Re: robots.txt is bollocks
I too naively hoped that Google and the other search engines would respect robots.txt. So, before posting a reply here to say "Of course robots.txt will do the job", I went to check Google for anything from my little web-site that is supposed to disallow all search engines.
Sorry, guys, but it's there on Google! Either my robots.txt* is broken or Google is displaying the original pages from the few weeks between the website going live and robots.txt being enabled, in 2005!
[And no, I'm not going to post the URL - it's supposed to be kept non-public, which does make demonstrating the issue somewhat problematic.]
* # go away
Re: Battery near ear
And as their years advance, maybe they'll become familiar with that battery-powered device that fits between the skull and earlobe: a hearing aid.
I find it surprising that nearly 1,000 thermionic valves and a load of lamps, plus all the energy required to power the relays, not to mention the losses in the power supply equipment, would require only 1.5kW. Sure it's not MW?
Re: Should be interesting (@jai)
"..... the powers that be are going to notice, and then take some action to fix the system"
Yeah, but what confidence do you have in the powers-that-be that they will apply a fix that will *improve* the patent system?
Re: Too late...
V2000? Ah, you're using the modern technology - I've only got a (working) Philips N1700 video recorder from 1979 with a stack of VCR150 tapes carrying such programmes as Michael Woods' original "In Search of ..'"series on the Anglo-Saxons (you know, the one about Eric Bloodaxe).
And, no, I'm not submitting any photos of my collection - someone might recognise and break in to steal one of the "valuable IT antiques" such as the original dBaseII (autographed by Mr Ashton himself), Multimate-II, Crosstalk or Displaywrite4 boxed sets. Oops, I shouldn't I have said that, should I!
It may be scrap, but it's got memories associated with it!
I can't claim anything really old, but a few examples from my hoard:
An Anderson-Jacobson AJ832 30cps daisy-wheel terminal (printer and keyboard) complete with pedestal on castors, bought by my wife in the late '70s for data-entry, retired in the late '80s and acquired in 1989 when they moved offices. Ideal for printing on fan-fold paper. Used since 1989? Never.
A K&N acoustic coupler - the sort that you put the telephone handset inside and closed the wooden lid. Maximum speed: 300bps.
Umpteen IBM token-ring ISA & MCA adaptors, a couple of hubs and a sackful of cables, all made redundant when I (reluctantly) switched to 100base-T Ethernet.
The 10" platter and heads from a DEC exchangeable disk pack of unknown age (it was scrap in 1980).
Half-a-dozen IBM PS/2 keyboards, over twenty years old but still our favourite keyboard - I'm typing on one now.
And an old favourite from the '70s and beyond: my paper-tape hand punch with integral guillotine - essential for splicing paper-tape for input to the 1904S. Ah, happy days......
If there is one thing that upsets a judge.....
It's having the finger of blame pointing at them!
If you read the transcript of the questioning of the prospective jurors by the judge, you'll see that whilst she explores the one case that Hogan does reveal, she immediately moves on without checking "And were there any other lawsuits you've been involved in?". Hogan may defend his apparent lack of candour by claiming that he wasn't given the opportunity to reveal the earlier cases.
What are these "major efficiency savings"?
The CPC project is entirely laudable (what's taken them so long?). But I question Benoît Battistelli's prediction of "major efficiency savings". Just where do these savings come from? At the end of the EPO press release there is: "It is also expected to enhance efficiency by supporting work-sharing initiatives designed to reduce unnecessary work duplication", but that doesn't sound "major". In fact, what does it mean? Does it mean "we're planning to match applications submitted to both USTPO and EPO, to assign the research to one or other office and to grant or reject patents as if they were one organisation"? I share the fears of what might be EPO's unspoken long-term goal implied by "the CPC will be a stepping stone towards a more general harmonisation of the world's patent systems".
Anyway, what practical difference will this unified classification scheme make to the USTPO? I thought, perhaps I'm wrong, that USTPO were constrained in where to look for prior art, and it doesn't include non-US patents. So how would being able to search European patents just as easily as US patents save them any effort? And that's making the enormous assumption that the USTPO does search their own patents for prior art before granting a patent........
Re: In fairness, should also report Samsung asking for a retrial
And specifically, if Samsung's claim ".... while Samsung's witnesses were barred from explaining how Samsung's products differ from Apple's" bears any relation to reality, then I'd have thought the overturning of the verdict at the the Appeal Court was a slam-dunk.
Re: Not quite the first
Quick! Someone tell the USTPO about this prior art *before* Apple makes the inevitable application for a patent on the ability to watch BBC downloads on a mobile.
"But thanks to the google / oracle spat we now know that an API is not protectable"
Maybe not! The trial judge gave his judgement that API should not be copyrightable, but the appeal court may decide differently. It won't be settled law in the USA until the US Supreme Court has given judgement.
What, you think that Oracle are going to give up so soon?
Problems for the BBC?
Will adverts appear on Skype's video-call service?
Over the last year or so, I've seen several interviews with members of the public on BBC news programmes via the video version of Skype. If adverts appear during the course of the interview, then that'll mean the end of live broadcasting of Skype-based interviews to allow the adverts to the edited out. And presumably the advert-supported channels won't be too happy either.
Re: UPS: "Sorry, complete and utter rubbish"
Do you undertand the difference between an "on-line" and "off-line" UPS?
A ferro-resonant UPS would definitely obscure micro-fluctuations in demand, not to mention those motor-generator sets with spinning inertia that covered our ICL mainframes thirty years ago!
Hmm, this offence sounds familiar, but with a different outcome...
"The breach was reported to the FBI who turned over the investigation to Scotland Yard's Police Central e-Crime Unit after tracing the hack to the UK."
So here we have a Brit who hacks into a US computer system from the UK. Sound familiar?
But in this case, he's tried in the UK. Why didn't the FBI activate extradition?
PS: I can understand why 'OK' and 'Hollywood Life' magazines wouldn't cough up for these "personal emails" - not even a lovestruck teenager would consider typing any intimate message that her step-father could get access to!
Re: "why Oracle didn't give OpenOffice to TDF?"
It boils down to licencing: - Apache versus GPL. Rob Weir of IBM shed just a little more light a few days ago on why IBM is supporting OOo under Apache rather than LibreOffice here: http://lwn.net/Articles/497392/#Comments
Re: "Catastrophic appearance of former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz"
Yeah, it's so "catastrophic" for Google's case that Google's attornies want to call Schwartz again for the patents phase of the case and Oracle's attornies have been trying to get the judge to block further testimony from him.
Don't assume the APIs are copyrighted!
"They appear to be clear on the question of APIs being covered by copyright"
Well, yes, but that's because Judge Alsup has told the jury to ASSUME that the APIs are copyright! The jury has to decide whether Google's use of the APIs is "fair use" or "de minimis", effectively deciding whether or not Google has infringed on this *assumed* copyright.
If the jury decides that the assumed copyright has been infringed, then the judge will rule on whether APIs *are* copyrightable - if he decides they are not, then the jury's verdict on this aspect of the case becomes irrelevant (unless the judge's ruling is later overturned by the Appeals Court). Of course, if the jury rules that no copyright has been infringed, then the judge will heave a sigh of relief and not have to make a landmark ruling on the copyrightability of APIs.
Then Phase II of the trial starts....
Re: A couple of "really not corrects"
Have you researched the circumstances of the Lindholm email? Why have you assumed that "Page asked a very knowledgeable Java veteran what to do"? My understanding is that Lindholm was NOT asked directly by either Page or Brin but by the Google committee tasked with dealing with Oracle's legal action; this committee included Google's top lawyers (Kent Walker and Ben Lee) and Andy Rubin, head of Android operations at Google. Presumably that's why the e-mail was addressed to only Lee and Rubin with a salutation to "Andy".
Lindholm is technical - would you rely on his judgement on the necessity for (further) licencing in a billion dollar lawsuit when you're paying for a bunch of in-house lawyers?
The author assumes too much........
The author said: "If you really want BBC content to be available for download free, “because I’ve paid the licence fee”, then I’d argue that what you’re actually arguing is that the BBC ignore any rights other people may have in that content"
Sorry, I don't see how that argument necessarily follows. The BBC broadcasts to licence holders for free now - is the author claiming that the BBC ignores the rights of others when it does the broadcast? I assume that when the BBC broadcasts archive material today, it has procedures in place to fulfill its legal obligations and compensate any rights holders. Why cannot those procedures be followed for making available archived material for download?
And further the author claims: ".. and that it fund the digitisation of material and provide the download infrastructure out of the current licence fee. And that, ultimately, means that there will be less money to spend on commissioning new programmes."
I agree, but then we're into a debate about how the BBC should spend its budget. I, for one, would be more than happy for the BBC to devote *more* of its income to making archive material available (for free) and *less* on commissioning new programmes. That's a value judgement based on my recollection of past BBC programmes and my perception of the quality of what's being commissioned today.
Patent it OR commercialise?
".... considering whether to file patents or commercialize the technology"
Why not do both? In fact there doesn't seem a lot of point in paying the patent application fees unless there's going to be commercial exploitation.
Also, because it's often not the end-user organisation that chooses MS
When software is being chosen for a new (or a major revamp of an existing) project, who makes the choice of whether to go with Microsoft, Oracle, FOSS or whatever? Many projects are controlled by external consultants. If the external consultants were ever to recommend zero purchase-cost software, rather than expensive proprietary software, the fees for the consultants will appear to be a much higher proportion of the total costs, so the client is likely to start to wonder about the size of the consultants' bill....
I'm not convinced that locking will do anything for their Windows sales income. Once you've paid for the tablet/phone device (from which Microsoft has taken their slice of profit), what difference would it make to their income if you then install Linux/Android or whatever? Only if Microsoft see locking your device to use only Windows as the way to generate further income from you (anti-virus subscription, Windows Apps, etc) does this make commercial sense.
Apple, RIM and the Android-OEMs have such large market shares that Microsoft will have to compete on price and features, and I just don't see locking the device to use only Windows will be seen by consumers as a "must have" feature!
GPs always expect to get paid
How is this news? Anyone who's had any experience of working in NHS primary care knows that GPs are extremely commercially minded - every time they are asked to do something different (outside their contract), they expect to get paid extra.
@AC "Tablet PCs have been around a very long time"
Nah! Much longer than that! Would you believe mid-80s (running DOS, of course)? We used Huskies in our refridgerated warehouses. The Husky was bolted to the pillar on the fork-lift truck and it displayed which pallet was to be loaded on the lorry etc. The touchscreen was easy to use by the fork-lift truck driver even when wearing insulated gloves (which ruled out standard keyboards).
@wize Be pragmatic!
Let's assume we have two equally-secure operating systems A & B. We are worried that the OS we use may become vulnerable to malware. Now if OS A is used much more widely than OS B, we might assume that it is likely that developers of malware will target OS A rather than OS B. Thus, adopting OS B is the pragmatic choice.
This is one issue where staying with the herd does not profit the individual.
So your argument *right now* actually supports the adoption Linux; when Linux is more popular than Windows, then switch to Windows.
Not only should Apple have to pay to make the injured party whole, as you've suggested, but Apple should *also* lose all the benefits they have gained from excluding a competitor from the market place ("unjust enrichment").
"The problem with Florian Mueller seems to be that he has an understanding of the law"
You really want to get flamed? Go to a forum where the nuances of law and litigation are discussed and make that statement again.
You're trolling aren't you?
Wikipedia & MuellerSorry to keep on with the Florian Mueller bashing, but I was under the impression that all of Mueller's litigation expertise came from Wikipedia. After all, his pronouncements on legal issues have proved to be wrong depressingly often. I agree with Vic - Mueller is not a reliable source.
Curiouser and curiouser.....
Seemingly within hours of the ASF self-publicity about plans for a future release for the official version of OOo, a press release appears from Team OpenOffice.org in Hamburg about their plans for a release candidate named "White Label Office 3.3.1" based on OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 "with important security fixes and problem corrections". Rapidly followed of course by a non-too happy reaction from ASF....
LWN has a brief report (http://lwn.net/Articles/473355/). One of the follow-up comments contains a remarkable allegation about exactly why Oracle shut down the openoffice business.
"I'm not dead yet!"
The open letter on the ASF blog is so sad - it's a plaintive plea of "we're still alive".
What I don't like is the bluster over their claims of "our licence is less restrictive than yours". They claim "Apache OpenOffice does not seek to define a single vision", sorry, but whatever their vision currently is, it doesn't seem to be widely shared. The comments on the blog entry show their current lack of success.
The sooner this project is handed over to The Document Foundation's LibreOffice, the better. Shame on IBM for encouraging Oracle to send OOo down this dead-end!
Does the AT&T statement mean what you think it means?
Parse the text carefully!
The statement "we solely use CIQ software data to improve wireless network and service performance" does NOT mean the same as "we use CIQ software data solely to improve wireless network and service performance". The former merely states that AT&T improves wireless network and service performance using only CIQ software data and from no other source; it contains no explicit exclusion that CIQ software data is used by AT&T for other more sinister purposes.....
Yes, but where?
Where do you think that the alleged crime was committed?
How was this patent granted?
"We discussed that idea almost exactly a year ago, coincidentally on the very date the patent was filed. "
Then why was the patent granted? Surely a case of prior art based on pre-publication? And if not, then surely on the grounds of obviousness!
Is exhortation and hand-wringing enough?
If HM Government is that concerned about these "threats", why doesn't it do something really radical, such as blocking the use within the public sector and the commercial sale nationally of software that has a track-record of poor security? We can all think of a well-known operating system that's allowed an enormous amount of damage, yet the Government seems oblivious to its responsibilities in protecting the public.
And on whose shoulders does Microsoft stand?
If DEC had rigourously patented all the developments* in VMS, I wonder how far MS would have got with NT/2000/XP?
Just how blinkered do you have to be to speak for Microsoft? But then it's always been impossible to embarrass a lawyer.
* excluding all the prior art in Unix, RSTS, etc upon which VMS itself was built.............
And then there's the consultants.....
Many (most?) projects of this size are managed by consultants who need to justify their large fees. If the price of the software selected for the project is zero, that invoice for consultancy fees looks embarassingly large - much easier to opt for the most expensive products.
@Ian Ferguson: "Acceptable risk"
I was with you until the last phrase "... and decide what is acceptable risk".
How do you envisage making a decision on acceptable risk? Surely the level of risk that is acceptable is: a) very subjective; b) will vary according to whom you pose the question. Should a decision on what is acceptable be left to a bunch of industry insiders?
Wrong! It was a description of H-P's sales team
I heard this first applied to H-P sales in the late seventies (ie well before Novell really made an impact). I thought this description exactly matched my experience of H-P, because it was the philosophy of Messrs Packard and Hewlett. Ahh, if only H-P could be trusted now as they were then......
PS: Actually, we both could be right - it might have been a quote from Bob Frankenburg, ex-HP, before he took over at Novell.
You can't beat nature
An interesting analysis of the report. I draw a few conclusions, including:
1. Boost the investment in pumped storage (or other rapidly-assessible energy storage bank).
2. "Smooth" the peaks and troughs in demand to avoid the claimed problem of the wind-power contribution exceeding the demand when at low levels. Even better, find some mechanism to match electricity demand to the times of high power availability from renewables (wind and tide) and we'd make progress.
If only we'd invested in renewables the amount of money spent on nuclear power over the last 60 years, the issues would be better understood and allowed for....
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