* Posts by Charles 9

5714 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

US House okays making internet tax exemptions permanent

Charles 9
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Re: Totally Skewed Outlook!

"I sympathize with the States. The lack of sales tax imposed on online sales is a true loophole in the principle that they are allowed to tax anything bought by a resident."

Ah, but here's the rub. The buyer normally pays B&M sales tax at the vendor's state. If a Virginian heads to DC on a trip and buys something in DC proper, he pays the DC sales tax (which is higher than Virginia's). So now ask, where is the buyer officially buying the goods? At the seller's state or at the buyer's state? How was this resolved back in the catalog-and-telephone days?

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Charles 9
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"What taxes the USPS pays is a matter that states could raise with the federal government through their congressional delegations."

As a federal bureau, the USPS usually cannot be taxed except by the federal government. All Post Offices are officially US Government property (thus why state and local police cannot normally police a post office, the feds see to that themselves) so become exempt from state property taxes. I think refueling is usually done on-site with the fuel obtained by a federal supply chain so again the states don't get fuel taxes. As federal employees, state income taxes are questionable (depends on the laws), so state revenues from post offices are limited (the same is true of military installations and other federally-owned property).

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Charles 9
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Re: I see a problem:

"How does that help Oklahoma when all the businesses are in California, etc.?"

Then Oklahoma has to find a way to encourage physical presence, as by law that's the only way Oklahoma can enforce this.

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Charles 9
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Re: I see a problem:

Any state where the business has a physical presence (like California and New York where Amazon keeps warehouses) can assess sales taxes against that physical presence. Anywhere beyond that is beyond their scope due to the Interstate Commerce Clause, which by default makes cross-border commerce a federal matter. That means things like store pickup (which require a B&M presence) still get taxed.

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Adobe: We locked our customers in the cloud and out poured money

Charles 9
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Re: Short view?

Nope, because the newcomers have to associate with the incumbents, and guess who has their nuts. It's like writers and Word. Many would like to get away from it, but to get their stuff published, they have to go through the editors, and the editors swear by Word due to its annotation features. So if the only way to town is across a frozen river, you better learn to ice skate.

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Boffins teach cars to listen for the sound of a wet road

Charles 9
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Re: What the what?

Not true. Every car that passed it altered the conditions of the road by driving through it. Furthermore, it's rare for two cars to be exactly alike in terms of physics when they pass over a wet road. What one car can pass safely another may not simply because they're lighter/heavier, have less downforce, balder tires, etc.

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Charles 9
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You wouldn't say that after you've taken a run through Donner Pass. High altitude, significant grades, and frequent snow, often blowing to near-zero visibility.

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Russian "Pawn Storm" expands, rains hell on NATO, air-gapped PCs

Charles 9
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Re: How do you get the data out?

"Well, by definition they wouldn't be "compatible with Windows and NTFS" in that they wouldn't be mountable by Windows."

As in they'll work with the right program, a la TrueCrypt/VeraCrypt. And it would require a driver-like low-level interface to interact with the devices at the block level (like a low-level Hex Editor). And of course it would have to employ a robust encryption system throughout so that at the least contents can't be easily seen. Additional work would be needed to conceal the fact a secret filesystem is being used (namely, writing random data into all free space in the drive before creating it; that way you have the excuse of cleaning up the drive prior to reusing it, excusing the proliferation of random-looking data in the free space).

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Joining the illuminati? Just how bright can a smart bulb really be?

Charles 9
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Re: cart before horse

At least if it goes down, it's quick to get back up. You can't say the same with underground wiring which can be broken up by a stray shovel or swamped by a flood or storm surge. Trust me, we checked the numbers and determined (especially on the coast with their high water tables) that it wasn't worth it.

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Charles 9
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Re: bulb/lamp/pear

At least the logic's there. It does look like a pear, too.

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HTTPSohopeless: 26,000 Telstra Cisco boxen open to device hijacking

Charles 9
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Re: Is there a workaround or isn't there?

And replace it with WHAT, pray?

Because if one of the biggest names on the Internet is selling eternally-vulnerable unpatchable hardware, what does that say of every other supplier on the market? Rip and replace simply means someone else when you bend over.

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Brit filmmaker plans 10hr+ Paint Drying epic

Charles 9
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Re: Shipping forecasts

Use an old computer-generated voice and turn it loose on a large local phone book.

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UK gov sinks £25k into Pi-powered cyberdesk

Charles 9
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I recall those desks with glass panels and racks in the chair well to sit CRT monitors so people didn't have to crane their necks to see what they were typing.

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eBay scammer steals identity of special agent investigating him

Charles 9
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I think it's more a case of "Impersonating a Federal Officer" which, yes, is a federal offense (18 US Code § 912).

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GPS, you've gone too far this time

Charles 9
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Re: How far off? @Gomez Adams

It may me geographically shorter, but it may also be temporallly longer due to traffic or an accident. If people change lanes frequently, it's usually because the lane is backed up and moving slowly, so going around may requiring traveling further in terms of length but also allows traveling at a higher speed, offsetting the loss.

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California cops pull over Google car for driving too SLOWLY

Charles 9
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So what happens when you get a law-vs-law clash, where a car is BOTH prohibited from driving too slow in relation to other cars AND prohibited (due to vehicle classification) from going OVER a specified speed? Especially when the minimum becomes higher than the maximum, meaning the car can't help but break the law now?

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Charles 9
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"The real fun comes when looking at the history of maximum speed limits on open highways. At present, it's 65 mph unless posted otherwise...like 70 mph on some. The *original* limit was "reasonable and proper"."

It mostly goes to population density. The sparser the population, the less the risk of a high-speed collision and therefore the safer it is to raise the limit. It also matters if your state is of some significant size like Montana and Texas. Texas houses the longest single chunk of singly-maintained highway in North America (it's piece of I-10, ~880 miles long, over 1/3 of the entire 2,400-mile-plus Interstate), and it's probably one of the few states known to post an 80mph limit, especially in the rural stretches of I-10. Montana I think used to have "reasonable and prudent" for its chunks of Interstates like I-90 but had to scale it back to only 75mph.

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Charles 9
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Re: Klingt reichlich erfunden

You're supposed to start reacting when you see two or three cars in your rear-view, which you usually CAN see. Five's simply the limit upon which the police can intervene.

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Charles 9
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Re: I'll betcha a dollar that...

Or worse, a "ghost driver": someone who manages to go the wrong way down a motorway and ends up making a head-on collision with both cars at speed. Now you have two cars crashing at the sum of their respective speeds. Even with crumple zones, a ghost driver collision is tough to live through simply due to the sheer forces involved.

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CloudFlare drinks the DNSSEC kool-aid, offers it on universal basis

Charles 9
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Re: Trust is supposed to be a two way street

Well then, you better get off the Internet, because that level of paranoia approaches Don't Trust Anyone, and since trust is required to perform any real communications...

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GCHQ director blasts free market, says UK must be 'sovereign cryptographic nation'

Charles 9
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Re: Do they have internet in prison cells?

"It's like this: a body is found with an axe poking out the chest. There is a criminal around somewhere, the murderer, and there are suspects. The criminal is a criminal whether or not they are a suspect."

Not necessarily. The criminal may be the same as the victim: in this case, a Darwin Award Winner trying to play with axe juggling.

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Roamers rejoice! Google Maps gets offline regional navigation

Charles 9
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Re: maps.me uses openstreetmap

2D-only. A similar app already exists in F-Droid which by default is FOSS.

I'd prefer one that has a horizon perspective, better suited for driving navigation.

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Charles 9
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Re: Useful in tunnels?

It does. A compass (usually via tri-axial magnetometer) and tri-axial accelerometer is enough to maintain reckoning until you emerge, and you'll find most phones of note will have these features standard these days. Even my old Nokia N95 had a compass; don't know about the accelerometer, though.

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UN privacy head slams 'worse than scary' UK surveillance bill

Charles 9
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Re: HumInt and SigInt both require wisdom

"Confirmation Bias is approaching data with a personal bias and so wrongly confirming that bias. What I meant is more innocent, more common, when we approach data with no expectations and yet still misunderstand it. Normal human error."

Confirmation Bias IS Normal Human Error. Bias is an inherent human trait based on experience. We can't help but be biased because experience shapes perception, subconsciously. IOW, we can't help but be biased just as we can't help but measure speed in relative terms: there's no absolute reference point to check otherwise.

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Drones are dropping drugs into prisons and the US govt just doesn't know what to do

Charles 9
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Re: Put up a net

And the next thing you know, the drones will just cut the nets. Either that or the prisoners start hoisting themselves up to rip them down and use them for escape attempts.

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How to build a city fit for 50℃ heatwaves

Charles 9
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Re: Underground

Actually, south-facing windows make sense in the Northern Hemisphere because in the winter you want as much sun as possible to stay warm, and the sun tends to be heavily to the south in the winter, creating a shallow angle. In the summer, the sun is more to the north so comes down at a sharper angle which you addresses with features like porches and overhangs.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the directions are reversed, so you're better off facing windows north.

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Google engineer names and shames dodgy USB Type-C cable makers

Charles 9
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Re: Not "Linux commands"

Uh...what Radio Shack?

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Charles 9
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Re: Er....

I don't know why a USB 2 charging port is 1.8A and a USB 3 charging port is 1.5A, but I'm guessing it's because I've misread/missunderstood something.

Because USB Charging over the traditional cable was always limited by the spec to 1.5A. It's just that many devices push the envelope towards 2A. Type-C cables BTW are allowed to go up to 3A by spec.

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XenData’s storage Jurassic Park: PC tape backup is BAAAAACK

Charles 9
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Re: I wonder how that works from a technical standpoint

In my experience, most of them coped by producing drink coasters and (sometimes dangerous!) frisbees...

After what you mentioned became a perennial complaint, drives started coming with internal buffers capable of holding a few seconds worth of burn. They also came up with techniques like BURN-Proof to help cope with recovering gracefully from an interruption.

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Condi Rice, ICANN, and millions paid to lobby the US govt for total internet control

Charles 9
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Re: ICANN is using internet community money to lobby against the internet community !

Fair enough. Now tell us how we can wrest the power back from them? What cards can the community still play?

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Lithium-air: A battery breakthrough explained

Charles 9
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Re: yawn

The problem is that all the temptation amounts to crying wolf. Wake us up when one of these technologies actually hits the market and is actively undergoing real-world use. Until then, what use is it for us to know about something that may never pan out?

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Charles 9
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Re: Yeah, yeah that all sounds great until you learn...

Days to discharge at what rate? A watch battery can last a year, but then again the watch only sips the power. A car OTOH has some pretty significant power demands which have to be delivered in a timely manner in order to be practical. So the big money question: can you run electric cars off these batteries right now?

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Google roasts critical twin Android bugs in new Marshmallow OS

Charles 9
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Re: T-Mobile to update 13 non-Nexus phones to Android M

I've seen "Coming Soon" signs covered in cobwebs, so I'll believe it when I actually see it.

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Stuxnet-style code signing of malware becomes darknet cottage industry

Charles 9
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Re: @AC

Or a RAID-0 where one of the drive firmwares has been pwned. Basically, trust on the Internet is a pipe dream yet you need trust to make communications work, meaning we're basically screwed. ANY trust system we can think up, someone else can subvert (like using shills to subvert a Web of Trust).

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Is the world ready for a bare-metal OS/2 rebirth?

Charles 9
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Re: Major niche OS

Babylon 5 mainly used the Amiga not just because of the 3D rendering and CGI but also because it was possible to overlay said CGI on top of the recorded footage thanks to its support for genlocks (in a day and age when video compositing hardware capable of keeping all the footage in sync was really hard to come by). That said, due to the limitations of the hardware, it's now pretty easy to see when the footage is composited instead of taken straight from film.

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Opera Jon's sparkling Vivaldi proves the browser isn't dead

Charles 9
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Re: Opera 12.16 is still the best browser, despite 3 years of neglect.

I find this odd, given that I use Firefox and Steam and have no issues. Perhaps an add-on is messing with steampowered.com and causing a redirect loop.

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E-mail crypto is as usable as it ever was, say boffins

Charles 9
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Re: 'Easy' ways to get and validate keys

"The obvious way to get the right key is to meet in person and exchange keys - or at least key finger prints. The less obvious way is to read and understand how the chain of trust works."

And then you run into the First Contact Problem. How does Alice know Bob is really Bob and not Mallory if Alice has never met Bob before? And if she tries to use a third party, how can she know Trent is really Trent?

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Charles 9
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And how can you be sure the public key repository is a real public key repository and not one that's secretly switching out keys for imposters so they can send you "trusted" malware? IOW, how can you trust that Trent is really Trent and not Gene or Mallory?

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Next year's Windows 10 auto-upgrade is MSFT's worst idea since Vista

Charles 9
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Re: Is the Windows 10 forcefd upgrade even legal?

Didn't a few countries try that already only to come back?

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The only GOOD DRONE is a DEAD DRONE. Y'hear me, scumbags?!

Charles 9
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Re: Paint balls vs CCTV

"However, it is a felony to engage in a straw purchase - buying a gun for someone (usually a felon) who is not legally allowed to possess one."

But it's kind of hard to prove the gun was straw-purchased and not stolen as the former owner claims, and under the Sixth Amendment, it falls to the government to prove the straw buyer's lying.

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After Burner: Sega’s jet-fighting, puke-inducing arcade marvel

Charles 9
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Re: I have to disagree on the Amiga version being bad.

What about Reactor? It had that distortion guitar music tied to a BIG speaker.

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Channel Islands firm touts all-in-one secure comms app

Charles 9
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How can they assure the safety of their sandbox even against rooting and jailbreaking, which IINM let's the OS go ANYWHERE?

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How to build a totally open computer from the CPU to the desktop

Charles 9
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Re: Or you could just...

But this project goes one further. It's an attempt to build a computer that is open both in software and in hardware: with every bit of electronics open for scrutiny, including chip innards (which Lemote devices cannot fully assure).

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Oracle's Larry Ellison claims his Sparc M7 chip is hacker-proof – Errr...

Charles 9
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Re: Can we ditch the silly political correctness in reg articles

Then how is "it" classified?

PS. There's been talk of using "ze".

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By 2019, vendors will have sucked out your ID along with your cash 5 billion times

Charles 9
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Re: No thanks...

"The trouble is that in in the UK, schools are pushing biometrics for the critical job of paying for meals etc."

Just wondering. Was there a high incidence of lost or stolen cards in the past? That may have been a reason to push for a method of authentication much harder to lose (it would have to take a serious accident to lose one's finger or have one's fingerprint permanently marred).

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Charles 9
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Re: No thanks...

You know, that xkcd comic fails to consider two types of people: masochists and true weaklings. Masochists would see the wrench and go, "Yeah! Hit me more!" while true weaklings wouldn't give up the code; they'd give up their consciousness at the sight of the wrench. Either way, you're more likely to kill them than get the codes from them.

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Charles 9
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Would you be willing to go without if it's bio or bust (as in ALL the vendors do it, especially if required by law)?

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Charles 9
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Re: extending to medical services as well

Then what happens if ALL doctors demand this, particularly under legal mandate? Would you be willing to renounce your citizenship and move to another country?

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Google lifts app price ceiling to US$400

Charles 9
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Re: Why should there be any limit ?

"However, for app developers, there is another route: Require the user to buy a license key. For those few apps which need it, particularly business apps, it wouldn't be enough of a hassle to put users off, and they could do volume licensing deals etc. Also, Google wouldn't be taking their cut."

Unless they use the in-app purchase system, and devs may be required to employ it as a security measure, much as eBay sellers are strongly encouraged to employ PayPal since other routes risk fraud.

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We can't all live by taking in each others' washing

Charles 9
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Re: Economic Value

"Personally, I look forward to 3d machines that can make anything through improving and freely available software - a true information age. However, I couldn't begin to predict the wants and needs of future consumers."

The catch is that 3D Printers are useless without source materials with which to produce the goods. Whoever can corner that market will be in considerable control. Then there's the matter of food, which at least at this juncture can't be "printed" by a machine and especially again without source materials.

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