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* Posts by JLV

288 posts • joined 4 Mar 2013

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What happens in Europe, doesn't stay in Europe: US giants accused of breaking EU privacy pact

JLV
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Black Helicopters

Hosting providers in Canada and Germany

Hey, love the place, but you gotta be realistic.

As a Canadian, I wouldn't give Canada's companies the benefit of the doubt. If anything, we usually lag behind compared to the US when it comes to consumer privacy (do not call lists and credit card # on receipts came in 2-3 yrs behind US initiatives). Lobbying by big corps is even more effective here.

As far as gov snooping goes, doubt they'd keep much of US hands either. Esp w Harper.

Mind you, Canadian hosters love to drum up US privacy concerns to whip up business. They would, of course.

Now, Germany I would be more inclined to trust.

Really, what some small country needs to do is to become the Switzerland of hosting. Laws yes, but privacy first.

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Anonymous wifi the latest casualty of Russia net neurosis

JLV
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Re: What about forriners?

>never trust them, nor take them at face value.

And what do you make of Putain's 80% approval rating? If that is untruly reported, fine, another buttress to your argument that we in the West are being manipulated.

If his approval is anywhere near those numbers, then consider that Western national-level politicians can only dream of an 80% approval rating.

Outside of national emergencies or wars, which are conveniently present right now. Which would make your "cynical and clever" Russians pretty similar to us in their propaganda absorption quotient, would it not?

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Yosemite Siri? Apple might plonk chatty assistant on your desktop - report

JLV
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Joke

instead of working on the patent, how about working on the hottie avatar bit?

Apple is really lagging behind on the 'hottie' bit of Siri.

Check out http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/08/12/cortana_in_windows_threshold/

Cortana is... fetching all right. Whether or not I would want to have a chatty assistant is uncertain, but at least she doesn't look like a paperclip. In fact, the Cortana avatar is one bit of synergy MS can show between its XBox division and the rest*. Lots of $ later, but hey.

So, Mr. Cook, where's Siri's avatar at?

How about striking a deal with Dan Simmons and using the persona from Remembering Siri in the Hyperion books? She's a surfer girl on a planet called Maui Covenant who becomes their PM by the end, so no scatter brain. Plus, surfer girl has a lot of avatar sexiness potential, methink**. And Simmons can use the cash, having been on a downtear in his more recent books.

* on the flip side, Halo I, which I loathed as a game, came from Bungie, which once upon a time, had really nifty games like Myth. A great loss for gaming, Bungie => MS.

** Let's not focus on the PM bit of her career, she's aged considerably by relativistic time debt by that point - methinks a Lady Thatcher hottie avatar calls for mind bleach.

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China cracks down on instant messengers: Users must hand over REAL NAMES

JLV
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Re: "slander and rumours"

Not to say anything good about the Pinochet mess. Or the Central American death squads which are more recent. Or whatever the US has been up with the war on terror in addition to Guantanamo.

But isn't that comparing apple and oranges? violence against your own citizens is considerably more blatant than against faceless people in another country, most of which your propaganda can dismiss as not-quite-innocent.

A better USA comparison to Tianamen, where the police of a state shot its own citizens in a largely peaceful demonstration, would be the Kent State shootings in 67, with 4 deaths. Not quite the same intent, the same fatalities or the same results.

Tianamen is quite in its own league, even in a nation as populous as China. It makes more sense against their background of forced labor camps in the 60s and 70s.

As much as anti-Americanism, somewhat deserved as a result of Bush Jr, is rampant in these here parts, Russian and China have never even really pretended to be places where human rights are very important. Russia is reminding us of that these days, but remains an impotent backwater with dreams of geopolitical relevance.

China... can go both ways. They certainly will become the dominant superpower in our lifetime. They can develop and be kind to their own citizens and to the world. That's in many ways their best interest. But their government also lacks legitimacy and is very prickly about criticism, as this shows. Tibet, and more importantly, the western Chinese Muslim regions? Not exactly cuddly/huggy behavior.

A good way to retain public goodwill is to engage into easy adventures against foreign enemies or perceived slights. Spratleys, Taiwan, all sorts of potential powderkegs.

It's dicey. Designed-for-China-wars kit like the F35 family sends a signal that they should not trust us. But, can we trust them? Their government is a huge part of the problem, but face it, most of the world abused China in the 19th and 20th century. Will Joe Average there be willing to forgive and forget? Will China be content to merely bully its backyard?

Interesting times indeed, but this is not a good sign, no sirree. I still think the West should go out of its way to de-escalate military competition with China, but we may yet rue the advent of a potentially even less restrained superpower.

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Surfing the web from Android? We KNEW it – sorry, iOS fanbois

JLV
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>Would you refuse to buy a house... Yes!

Glad to see we all agree. Preposterous to think people would be that silly.

I mean, it's not like hugely accelerated house price inflation has ever happened, at a national level, ever, izzit?

What those Case-Shiller guys smoking? And we all know Euro house prices have been moderate in the last decade, don't we? Canadian house prices? A study in mature, astute, moderation.

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Quicker, easier to fly to MOON than change web standards ... OR IS IT?

JLV
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WTF?

Re: We went from NCP to TCP/IP overnight.

>CSS in general is really not all that important

Yeah, right.

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Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms

JLV
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Re: Serval Project is much more interesting

>Wi-Fi interfaces

can you remind us again about wifi ranges? good if your nodes are close, less so if they are remote. i.e. better in cities, less so outdoor.

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JLV
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Thumb Up

wondering about all the negatives

Has this been done before? Apparently, yes. Is this better than sms, no? Radio-freqs - apparently contentious outside of the US.

But, if you take this as a mesh-capable text-only system, I think it does have potential.

- piggy backing on your cellphone allows their system to be stripped down to just the radio bits and allows you to carry your cell and one small device and integrate its use with your cell (the offline map example being one significant bit).

- I mostly use texts anyway myself, so this is 75% of what I would want.

- In the appropriate locations (and I am not sure line of sight would be that favorable in a cellular-down New York scenario), this could come in plenty handy in certain circumstances. Camping/hiking comes to mind. Marine situations not so much because you would use a VHF set instead. Search and rescue? Dunno, again because of LOS, but tracking searched locations automatically might speed things up quite a bit over voice comms.

- I assume later-generation multiband emitters could sidestep the US-only bandwidth bit. Later generation kit might be a whole lot cheaper too. Cheap enough might be quite different from purpose-built comm systems just like 10x speed improvements are a qualitative difference in IT systems.

To me, they are not all the way there, by no means. This is still an interesting spin on enabling mast-less comms on cellphones. Done right it has the potential to be integrated in ways voice-only tech like walkie-talkies and UHF doesn't. Even if it fails, it might very well point the way to other systems. Or just serve as an example of what not to try.

Seriously, with the number of dubious startups doing the same things as each other, in order to be the next social network or NoSQL wannabe, I rather applaud them for looking at fresher territory.

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KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer

JLV
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Happy

>Team F/OSS are copying where MS has lead

A nitwit who manage to get it totally backwards ;-)

Whether or not you like Linux, MS had plenty of opportunity to observe and learn from the Gnome3/KDE4 and especially Unity fails of the last few years.

These gripes about massive unsolicited UI changes, touch and usability of desktop vs tablets/phones? Had been going on for years before MS decided to faithfully make the same design errors with Metro. They could have learned from all the Penguin griping going around, but, no, they doubled the ante instead and managed to make Win8 even more hateful with its schizophrenic Metro/Classic personality.

At least, on Linux, and Macs, if all else fails, the command line is a pretty capable interface. Not quite how I would describe the command line on Windows ;-)

For me, KDE 3x was the best. Granted, in that case, it did look somewhat like Win XP, which is not by itself a bad thing.

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Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5

JLV
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WTF?

Re: iShaft

>a new phone every 6-12 months,

Upgrade every 6 months, with new iPhones only coming out every year or so???

Does dislike of Apple preclude common sense & math ability? FUD much?

Typically app updates can be maintained till your hardware loses theoretical/effective iOS refresh ability, about 2-4 years on average. You are at risk of new connectors (Lightning cable) but the flip side is old-style accessory discounts. Ran iOS 7 no prob on 3 yr old 4G.

Signed - for now at least - an Android Nexus5 user.

Siri... seriously? I know I don't wan to use a POS voice agent by any manufacturer, so why would I care? But if I did, standard cost/benef analysis would apply in evaluating purchase.

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JLV
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Re: Not so rare.

Could be worse. Samsung had a perfectly functional, _bug-free_, full-control iOS remote app for my Samsung smart TV.

One day, upgrade 3.0 came out and... dumbed the iOS app down to pretty much volume & channels only.

Love being a pawn in those 2's lawyer spaffs. This is something I'll remember next Samsung purchase eval time.

Nexus phone's remote app works, at least. Maybe Samsung can get more aggressive and make it exclusive to their app store only next time?

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JLV
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Paris Hilton

Confused

What's getting upgraded, the app on the phone or the firmware on speakers as well?

If the app, first you could choose not to upgrade it, so that you don't have this problem.

Second, you _won't_ be able to upgrade if you are on iOS under reqs, update doesn't install. So... you'll have to stick to old app on old device, as per some comments above. I've had that happen, being cut off due to old iOS. Old app stays.

What you won't have is an ongoing set of updates to your old-OS app. And Sonos is being transparent. Is that the storm in this here kettle?

Now, if there's a speaker firmware incompatibility bit to this story, Reg was not being clear about it. and could you... not install it?

All the Apple/Sonos bashing is bit rich from Android users whose vendors are notoriously bad at OS upgrades (one reason my current phone is a Google Nexus cuz at least those get Android updates).

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Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source

JLV
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Boffin

>Engineers know how to fix things. What do beancounters know?

Since we are talking about military drones and military procurement in this instance, when have beancounters ever had much to say about military hardware?

$500 Multidirectional Kinetic Injectors (hammers)?

$150M and up "budget affordable due to procurement scale" (the original intent) F-35 fighters?

how many $B to refit Her Majesty's new carriers with supposedly contractually possible catapult extensions?

I don't mind the beancounter bashing vs engineers, usually.

With military procurement however, I think a lot more beancounting sanity checks should be happening. Keeping the same defense budgets, that should result in much better gear for the boys n girls in the frontlines and less gouging by the military contractors.

If it makes engineering sense (and I doubt your Glonass idea makes any sense on NATO gear), then inertial sensors will be fitted in. Whether that is at reasonable cost is quite another question.

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Stop begging, startup-land, and start YELLING at Catch of the Day

JLV
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Joke

buzzword

Ah, another spin on my favorite buzzword, proactive.

Which until now I had assumed to be largely meaningless corps-speak, with a vague connotation of 'in advance' or 'to anticipate'.

Using proactive to describe reacting three years late? Maybe it's an entirely meaningless word after all.

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Games industry set for $5 BILLION haircut, warn beancounters

JLV
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Paris Hilton

confused...

usually we get the "PC games are dead" mantra.

now we are back to PC games saving the day???

Far as game quality goes, it's a bit unfair to expect most new games to be brilliant. I can certainly cite a number of game franchises for having overstayed their welcome.

But every so often a new game comes out that does push the envelope. Not really different from movies, where most of the crop consists of duds. And, like movies, if you wait 6 months or so, you'll get it for much cheaper.

The difference is that many good games have good replay value.

It's also a bit unfair to criticize game AI overmuch, it's not like the non-game AI field is doing that great. With the exception of IBM Deep XYZ and cloud-based machine learning.

Back to finishing Dark Souls 2 and when that's done I'll spin up my Shogun 2 again.

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Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery

JLV
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Re: Intoxicated

& probably some of that nasty rock n roll music too.

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Weaponised Flash flaw can pinch just about anything from anywhere

JLV
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Unhappy

>looking at you, BBC

Oh, CBC is _much_ more of a a Flash fan than BBC. Almost all their vids require it.

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Programming languages in economics: Cool research, bro, but what about, er, economics?

JLV
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Boffin

Depends what you are optimizing for...

Assume you are optimizing for _your_ thesis paper.

a) Pick a simple problem and implement it in, count them, 8 languages. After the first implementation, the work shouldn't be that hard, except for figuring out basic language constructs. You can probably peruse the language shootout sites for inspiration as well.

b) Pick a metric that is entirely objective, mathematical and easily comprehended - speed. Maintainability? Who, outside of our profession, really cares about it? In fact, judging by some code I've looked at, a fair proportion of devs don't get it either. Productivity and maintainability are arguable, speed is not.

In any case, you can be assured that the average economics prof won't understand that runtime speed is not that important.

c) Bask in the glory of a well-quoted and argued about paper, where even The Register seems to have had wind of it. If some of your peers disagree with your assessment, you can take refuge behind your hard numbers while refuting their objections as subjective.

Do you really think they got that paper wrong?

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

JLV
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Happy

Re: VP of product at AOL

Funny thing is the Reg ran this exact same storyline about 3-4 years back, with someone trying to cancel his AOL service and recording this exact same BS.

Shows these guys never learn. And, why should they? They can probably browbeat at least some of their customers most of the time.

On the other hand, it does look silly when it gets aired. Then, it is time for the company PRs to earn their salary, do their bit and swear that it was a rogue employee. Not like Comcast, or AOL, would ever condone aggressive and abusive customer retention tactics as a policy, oh no. Cross our hearts.

Scapegoat ahoy!

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Rural mobile coverage: Tweeting twits to join chirping tits in UK's national parks

JLV
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Re: Hooray

>bull.

>Unless you call £53 for 7 days or £88 for 15 days rental expensive ?

Again, one of the cases where a commentard seems to think his needs and wants should be the needs and wants of all other commentards. Unusual, that ;-)

Yes, I would call 7.50 quid a day expensive, if you frequently go hiking.

I live in Vancouver, we are right next to very quickly accessible, but also extremely rugged terrain. Some of it has cellphone reception, most of it does not.

It's not uncommon for us to decide on the spur of the moment to do some trail or other on which we would benefit from having an emergency system. What to do then? Rent a sat phone? Can't - too short notice. And expensive. Buy one permanently? No - it is too expensive.

Now, if I were going up for a week or two in the brush, in an area generally not frequented by many people, then, yes, I would probably get a sat phone. If I were a multimillionaire or if I went out into the deep back country frequently then maybe. But I am just a fairly advanced recreational hiker. Sat phones are not a fit 90% of my time.

p.s. one thing I will agree on in this debate. It's nice that your parks are getting coverage. But don't rely overmuch on a cellphone. They may save your behind, sometime. But they are not foolproof in rugged terrain. For example, one local guy died of exposure 3 years ago because they could not pinpoint his position before his batteries died, after they got his call.

Map, compass, leaving an itinerary and expected return with a buddy. Common sense, esp re sunset in winter.

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JLV
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Re: Hooray

Agreed on the cost. And, like said, it requires planning and you will not be carrying one on a casual day trip, most likely.

My alternative kit is a GPS emergency beacon. It is a one time use device, cigarette pack sized. Got mine for $150, no subscription fees. Batteries are good for 5 years, are replaceable and there is a test switch.

If you need help, you yank out a wire, which triggers it. It bounces a signal to military search and rescue sats and the gps keeps on pinging your location. The company who makes the beacon then notifies appropriate authorities, potentially on the other side of the world.

Other models have subscription fees and can send rudimentary sms, but I fail to see the need. One drawback is it doesn't float, but there is a eyelet on which you could thread a cord attached to a float.

As it doesn't cost anything you can even loan it out to friends when they go out somewhere remote.

re. taking maps on a hike, there are a number of no-network-required apps available for smartphones. Not all of them are very good at trails/topo, as opposed to road usage, but they should at least give you a rough idea of where you are. I wouldn't rely on them for a multi-day remote camping trip, but they are much better than nothing on a casual hike. iOS: PocketEarth, Android: OSMAnd.

p.p.s. If anyone can recommend a really good topo app on iOS, Android, I'd be grateful.

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US authorities round up ILLEGAL DINOSAURS for repatriation

JLV
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Re: In this case

Well, by whose laws was it legal then, exactly?

Laws conveniently put in place by the occupying European nations, where the artifacts now reside? It's not like a country like Egypt or India had much choice in the matter then, izzit?

Not a big fan of Western guilt tripping about most things myself. But in this case, I'd say the stuff should either be purchased or sent back. Canadian First Nation (Indian) tribes got their masks back from Ottawa a while back and that's only fair.

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That 'wiped' Android phone you bought is stuffed with NAKED SELFIES – possibly

JLV
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Boffin

Re: Hammer...

Like I said there is very little on that phone that is sensitive in the first place. Which, imho, is best practice. A big chunk of your risk is while you own it, not after disposal. I don't have an overwhelming need to bank on mobile for example. Sexy pics? A rather dumb move regardless of medium.

Now, your needs may differ but I don't want to landfill mine, more an issue than the $ profit. And, if you pass it on rather than sell it, how does change anything and who's to say it doesn't end up on Craigslist later?

Hammers? Great for some users but a thorough wipe, not just a reset, will cover 90% of the rest. Research your own recipe, carry it out and rest assured there are plenty of much lower hanging fruits to be picked, as per article.

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JLV
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Hammer...

Errr.... and how do you propose to sell the phone after that?

I would log off from my email account, do a factory reset. Then, after making sure the memory is almost empty (OS excepted), I would leave it to shoot videos of my wall till it was full again. Could even be bothered to change my email password on my laptop afterwards.

Since the most sensitive stuff I have on my phone is pretty much my email access, that should be good enough. Even if you got in, you wouldn't see that much more incriminating stuff because I keep it the heck off my easily misplaced/stolen phone. No banking happens on it, for example.

Now, if I was doing DoD stuff, then that might be different, but I don't have any Bond delusions myself.

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Dubai to get HUGE climate-controlled DOMED CITY and giga-mall

JLV
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Happy

>wall of ice

I woulda sworn an ex-employer's offices were set up that way.

Chilly in winter, but they kept it even colder in summer. It wasn't the servers, they were in their own room, but just stupid management.

Dubai? It would be an ok idea to diversify, if they could bother their own citizens to have the skills necessary to make money from those diversified businesses. Or at least be employed by them.

As it is, a few rich Doobies will scam money out of it, some expats will milk it, many more Indians & Bengladeshis will be treated abusively to build them. The average Dubai citizen will remain on their version of the dole.

Album Elephantum indeed.

P.S.

"responsible for a lot of carbon emissions"

did Lewis really express concern about CO2? Must. Fix. My. Brain. ;-)

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The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

JLV
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Joke

Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

Lemme guess. Not a big fan of CLIs, aintcha?

Too bad.

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'iPhone 6' survives FRENZIED STABBING. Truly, it is the JESUS Phone

JLV
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I do wonder...

One major advantage of iPhones, at least for clumsy oafs like me, are the screen repair costs.

Shop a bit and I could get an iPhone 4 screen replaced for 65$ CAD, wo Groupons. 45 w Groupons. iPhone5 are pricier, probably 90-110, but that compares very well to $200+ for most other smartphones*. Ain't broken my Nexus 5 yet, but I dread what it would cost.

So... does this new material mean that we won't ever get broken screens? I tend to take that with a grain of salt.

Or will it mean $200 screen replacements, by Apple only?

* I think the costs have to do with the fact that each iPhone generation has identical screens, color aside. Other manufacturers have many models, forcing repair shops to hold more inventory, which trickles down to us. Plus, you can order an iPhone 4 screen for $40 from China, supposedly.

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Is there too much sex and violence on TV?

JLV
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8 reasons

Is Imperial TV programming the 9th?

Because I don't see it listed there.

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French Senate passes anti-Amazon amendment

JLV
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Re: >dead in the water

Some best sellers picked @ random.

Katherine Pancol Muchachas 3. FNAC 20 Euro, Amazon.fr 20 Euro, Amazon.ca 20 CAD

Le capital au XXIème siècle - 23.75 Euro Fnac & amazon.fr, 33 CAD Amazon.ca

Éléments Pour une Histoire de L'Informatique - Euro 31.03 Amazon.fr, 41.62 Amazon CA

Un jour je m'en irai sans en avoir tout dit - Euro 19.95, 24.91 CAD

Euro CAD : 1.45 currently

So, slightly more nuanced than either one of us are claiming. I'll admit to that on my end.

As far as the bookstores go, I lived in Paris for 10 years, so unless the bookseller base has had large improvements, I'll stick to my guns. Some of them are brilliant, many of them are not.

If you like bookstores, one example that got it 110% right when I lived there is Griffe Noir. These guys don't need protection, they have plenty of customers. Mostly because they do know what they are selling and are passionate about books. Their display window traditionally had a book sitting on top of a loo (as in "this is a piece of s**t"), usually selected from a not very deserving best seller.

http://www.librairielagriffenoire.com

https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Librairie+Papeterie+La+Griffe+Noire/@48.809541,2.471424,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x513e91c1b16c6d04

Overall, putting a floor on book prices is just not a very clever idea at the macro level. Richer people can absorb the cost but you don't want to make it harder for people to afford books.

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JLV
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>dead in the water

Would be good if it was true. However, never underestimate the French capacity for dumb regulations to protect the vested interests of small constituencies at the expense of everyone else.

As far as books go, the Lang law unfortunately works just fine. It brilliantly manages to keep costs artificially high in bookstores for just about any books in France.

The people who benefit? Mom & pop bookshops, often tiny things with a fairly shabby selection of crappy SAS paperbacks (no, the Brit SAS), other mindless drivel and tobacco products. Many of them would not know a good book if it fell on their head. The overall effect is that of a large distribution of airport bookstore quality level establishments, well away from airports.

As a result, I used to find that French books, imported in Quebec were cheaper than in France.

If one considers reading and knowledge acquisition to be essential to competition in the modern economy, you can see exactly how clever keeping book prices inflated is as government policy.

Mais, vous savez, le Amazon est Amerloque, donc evil. Sacre bleu! Maintenant il faut reglementer le Kindle, because that ees free sheeping too!

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'World’s dumbest' suspect collared in Facebook sting

JLV
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Re: Elephant in the room

Word of warning re on-site backups & making assumptions.

A co-worker had his house broken into. Thieves did nick his computer. And his backup NAS.

All his digital memories down the drain. With a new baby too boot.

My guess is an old laptop may get overlooked, but maybe not a newer one. And if you don't encrypt your important files, you may even experience the pleasure of ID theft, on the off chance the thieves are bright enough to take advantage of that.

Not things insurance will cover.

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REVEALED: Google's proposed indie music-killing contract terms

JLV
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An opportunity to vote with your wallet...

and not sign up for YouTube's premium pay-for music channel.

Not even a great sacrifice for me. Far as I am concerned, minus the independents, I am left with what? Biebers, Celines and Beyonces?

Thanks, but no thanks.

On the other hand, I could see ponying up $5-8/mo a la Netflix, if they did carry good artists and did not screw them. Although, to pay that much, I'd prefer to have an audio-only component as well.

Vimeo should jump on this opportunity.

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San Francisco issues SMACKDOWN on parking spot sale software

JLV
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Re: sounds like

>hipsters riding their segways

I think you're pretty safe. Far as I can tell, SF bans pretty much all skateboards and rollerblades :( so my guess is that they have your back wrt Segways as well.

'sides isn't "the device that will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy" pretty much dead in the water anyway?

Beautiful city aside from that, to each his own.

Far as the app goes, it seems as nice a concept as ticket scalpers. Bad enough to find a parking spot usually, now you can have folks in the business of dinging you extra $ for it.

I'm all for the Ubers and AirBnb, because they add a new supply to an existing demand. This looks like it'll just enrich some middlemen.

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Frenchies' rash cache clash dashed: US courts trash Android patent bid

JLV
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Trollface

Tsssk tssk

>courts disagreed because Gemalto’s patented tech described software stored in the same chip as the processor – as is often the case with microcontrollers – whereas the Android gadgets held code in separate storage

Moronic patent filing. Didn't anyone tell those guys to be vague, avoid specifics and describe nothing while claiming relevance to everything? Like a proper USPTO patent*.

Lawyerese, not techy-ese, pls.

* it probably sucked anyway & I confess no clue either way, don't get me wrong, but a clear disincentive to go into details, neh?

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Code Spaces goes titsup FOREVER after attacker NUKES its Amazon-hosted data

JLV
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Re: Rather irresponsible

Or download a free tfa app to their mobile.

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Hate phone games that make you buy in-app gumble? Congrats, you're a niche player

JLV
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Re: As a niche device owner....

It all depends on the value provided by what you get in the first place:

I have two tablet gaming apps, Battle Academy and Total War, $19.99 and $9.99 respectively. These are extremely fun wargames "out of the box". Battle Academy sells you extra scenarios, Total War sells you XP and sundry. I might buy scenarios, but never XPs. I agree with Battle Academy's model, Total War leaves a bad taste.

Still, why should I care? I can take it or leave the in-apps, but both games are well worth their initial $*.

On the flip side, I installed "Master Your DSLR", a $0 camera manual app that is supposed to tell you how to use your DSLR. At $30 a pop per model guide, with not even a sample model's manual provided. They have a good reason not to provide samples - apparently the manuals suck, once paid for.

This is blatant ripoff-ware, I reviewed it as such and so have many others. Many thanks to the photo enthusiast website that recommended it.

In-game purchases are the same as ads. Most of the time, thanks to other folks' stupidity generosity, I can get stuff for lower prices. Some of the time, the cost is justified to subscribe to extra content that would otherwise not be economical for the developer to provide.

Well-done it's a freemium/premium approach, not a gouge. Badly done, it gets negative reviews. Either way, you're not obliged to pay and app stores should have child-proofing mechanisms in place (courtesy Apple's rather expensive legal loss in that domain).

What's y'all's suggestion? Regulate it out of existence?

* seem expensive? My metric is how many hours of entertainment/$. Both were well worth it. Much better value in any case than a $10 movie with $6 popcorn. Or $29.99 Nintendo DS games. Not quite as good as Netflix $7.99/mo.

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Space station 'nauts will use URINE-FUELLED ESPRESSO MACHINE

JLV
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Coat

PISSpresso then?

I'll get me coat.

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Microsoft C# chief Hejlsberg: Our open-source Apache pick will clear the FUD

JLV
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Happy

@ vgiannadakis & Destroy All Monsters

Oh, you know I'll answer to you and Destroy All Monsters at the same time, since you basically have the same rant anyway.

Ad-hominem much, you two? You've managed to be factually wrong about every claim you've about me, except the incompetence part which we'll agree to disagree on.

>You obviously are, at the very best, an incompetent programmer

If you say so. I've been called cranky, but rarely incompetent.

>compain about LANGUAGE-built-in file copying commands

Seems like a valid thing to complain about. Why waste time on what should be a built-in?

Why would anyone want to self-code or rely on a third party implementation of a local file copy? Self-coding risks missing a lot of edge cases and who knows how well a third party solution is implemented on various OSes? When relying on other people's code let's not forget the boon of Java productivity, Java versions either. How often are code bases stuck on Java 6 due to some incompatibilities? Why, never, of course ;-)

>MILLIONS of Java developers around the globe, many - if not most - of them from developing countries

Ah, an obvious market in which the discerning programmer will want to position herself. Law of supply and demand, ever heard of it? Outsourcing? Too complicated concepts for you?

>Holy shit, there are books! TL;DR everyhwere. There are choices that I must make!!

Oh wow. I never read any computer books. Darn, why does Amazon bill me so much? Grrrr...

>You are probably one of the young ones who have entered IT in the last couple of years

>Uh... yeah? So? This is bad how? Except for the guy who desperately needs to be down with the kids, of course

You are so right! IT is all about tradition and sticking to traditional skills and acquired wisdom. And respecting our elders.

Tell you what, in the early 90s I decided not to go with the flow and get the heck out of Cobol/mainframes. Never regretted it. Except for XEdit, brilliant text editor.

I love computer coding and think it is one of the best jobs in the world, for me. But I don't want to spend 40+ hours a week working on a technology whose philosophy I fundamentally dislike. I felt that way about Cobol and mainframes. I feel that way about PERL, for very different reasons. I feel that way about Microsoft at the system level.

I have the same negative vibe about Java, sorry. Life is too short to be doing something you dislike, unless you have no choice and can't adapt. I do and I can.

Your mileage may vary.

>This coming from someone who prefers a Microsoft solution.

I don't prefer Microsoft. I just dislike Java. One thing I'll freely admit I got wrong with Java is that I used to think it was secure ;-)

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Re: I hope Apple do similar

Agreed. MS has come a long way from the Linux is a cancer and monopoly days of El Gordo.

Windows 8 still sucks and they still sue and badger users for supposed infringements (Android), but they've lost a good deal of their monopoly and their bluster.

Anyone should be very careful to assess what hitching up your code to the C# bandwagon means to your business, but at least it is nice to have the option.

Caveats aside, I think this is really, really, nice of them.

El Reg question: Sun kept a tight leash on Java through restrictions on Java Compatibility Test. Should we understand that this will not be the case because they've released the compiler itself? That would make sense to me, but are there any little devils hiding in the details? Or would they need to release more VM test suites to allow others to fully run with C#?

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JLV
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>Everyone has his own little psychopathy.

Care to explain?

Oracle and MS are about as cuddly each as the other, so that shouldn't matter.

Abstract away that Java is a first class citizen on Linux, Mac*, and Windows. Yes, C# is mostly Windows, Mono excepted.

Forget IDE wars w Visual Studio too. Stick to the language.

Why do you prefer Java? I'll tell you why I loathe it. Java's a spawn of theoretical computer scientists, not people who target productivity. Arbitrary complexity abounds.

Case in point? Until Java 7 was there is even a built-in command to copy a local file? No. How difficult is it for the language to provide a function to call the OS to copy a file? It isn't. Copying byte to byte is acceptable, kinda, in K&R C, because it's so clean and stripped down and came out in '70. In Java's bloated API? No.

What's the smallest code to open a text file and print it in Java again? Oh, what, you need a BufferedReader and a FileReader? Granted, Java 7 and 8 make it easier. Took them, what, 15 years to listen to their users?

For a cross platform language, why do you need to check & code for the underlying os path separator yourself? Python code? os.path.join("temp","test.txt") will get you /temp/test.txt or \temp\test.txt. Difficult? No.

Declared exception throws and catches? What for? So that higher up code can catch(Exception){}? Print a log and pretend everything's A OK? Or repeat all those throws, again and again? How often do you want to fix an exception that you had not allowed for? In many environments, you don't. Once you've closed down local critical resources cleanly, you may very well want to crash at the top level, print out some useful or not debug info, and fix your QA/testing procedures to adjust the bugs before you ship. Why force you to pretend you have all exceptions covered in advance? Granted, many programs can't be used if they crash on unexpected errors. Fine, architect your design around that, don't bugger the language itself from the get go.

Ever gone to see a computer bookstore and looked at the Java section. Bloated with books, each 500pp, of endless Java libraries. Like, can it do anything out of the box on its own?

Java's typed-checked, right? Hmmm, just what we wanted, except.... kinda sucks for any kind of dynamic behavior. I know, let's create Spring and do dependency injection from XML. Now you have two problems - your starting issues + xml files that can't be GREP-ed meaningfully and whose relationship to your code is tenuously declared.

Passing function pointers in Java? Whatever for? No one uses those. Design Patterns to the rescue!

Despite not particularly liking MS, I got the distinct impression C# is just a more clever Java. Start out with the good ideas in Java and there are many of those. But, dump out the theoretical crap and make things productive for coders. Better tools for using outside of Visual Studio would be nice however.

Java, in 2014, shows all the qualities of Cobol in the 90s. Lots of jobs, stodgy, works for business, much used. Just as fun to write as well. Except, more complicated. Cuz, that's like what real computer programmers should aim for - complexity, which we all know makes for better code.

Again, don't like MS, but I'd be curious what you hold against C# as opposed to Java, at the language level. I don't pretend to know all that much about either language, only studied them both for a while, but I know my preferences from my limited exposure.

Last, despite C# coming from MS and being run on Windows, I don't see endless litanies of exploits on the C# VM, do you?

* Having reluctantly installed Java on my Mac to run the wifi config app for a printer, I now find I can't uninstall it. At best, I can turn off the Java applet on browsers. But only for my user, because I need to an admin to turn it off for my kids' users. Oh, wait I am the admin? Still can't. Guidance to remove Java fully? Reinstall Mac OS cuz they couldn't be bothered to write a de-installer.

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Greenpeace rejoices after getting huge renewable powerplant CANCELLED

JLV
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Par for the course, really...

The Economist this week has an article about decommissioning deep-sea oil rigs by cutting off the top till 20m or so under water, then leaving them in place to serve as artificial reefs. Not really all that different from sinking old boats to make artificial reefs, really.

Trouble is, it saves the oil companies money in costs, even if governments usually take a big cut of the savings.

Greenpeace's position? We're against this, not because it is bad ecologically, but because high decommissioning expenditures discourage oil companies from developing oil rigs.

You know, you can be concerned about global warming, but be deeply disgusted at the influence a bunch of unscientific w*nkers have on the mitigation agenda.

What we really need is a new mass movement that encourages regulators to minimize emissions using cost-effective, scientific approaches that make economic sense. Maybe it'll be dams, maybe it'll be nukes, maybe solar (not so much in cloudy Germany). Probably more carbon taxes.

Certainly no corn ethanol and arguably less wind farms until the problems with intermittent output are fixed. Any baseload management through increased use of non-CO2 sequestering coal plants should be ground for summary execution. Looking at you, Germany.

Whatever the mix, it should stop being driven by irrational fear-mongering and hair-shirting by strident minorities like Greenpeace.

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Oracle rewrites 'the brain' of its database to take on SAP

JLV
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>How is this different from what MySQL's InnoDB buffer pool has always done?

Hmmm, how about this?

Run a complicated sql update query through MySQL and it might do something entirely unrelated to what you were asking. That was my experience, with 5.0x. The funny thing, I even had a missing parenthesis, so not only did MySQL run in the weeds, it also ran a syntaxically invalid query. It just got confused, poor thing. Started moving the whole app to Postgres the next day.

Friend of mine calls me up for his ecommerce website. Guess what? Despite his best efforts, read locks & write locks, he kept on seeing the occasional duplicate order numbers coming out of an incremented ordernum column, when two people ordered at exactly the same time. His solution, after my advice also failed? Used PHP to lock a file on the file system when processing an order and releasing it to allow the next db read. Nice. Less than two years ago, with a current MySQL.

For someone who works with complicated sql day in, day out, not something I'd recommend. Loved their initial casual approach to ACID as well - "you know, ACID's just not that important, most of the time".

Say what you like about Oracle, Larry's boats, Java bugs, predatory pricing, Fusion shenanigans, lawyer-heaviness, bloated Java stacks.

But their database kit is top-notch and serious. MySQL is A-OK too, as long as you use for what it was intended to do at first, which is low-fuss, possibly high volume, simple, CRUD for websites.

For anything more serious, I'll take Postgres in OSS. And probably Oracle if money was NO object whatsoever.

Asides from monetary considerations, I'll tip my hat to Oracle on this one. Innovations in SQL should be transparent to applications, as much as possible. And if possible, it should minimize impact to the DBAs as well. We'll see if reality lives up to the hype.

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Piketty thinks the 1% should cough up 80%. Discuss

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Re: JLV sisk

Matty dearest, I really doubt you care how the majority of the world's people live.

Judging by the amount of downvotes you tend to collect, I think most people who have at times followed your rants hereabouts would agree with me. You read like a member of the subspecies of American right wingers who thinks social conservatism and dogmatic laissez-faire automatically results in effective economic policies.

I find Piketty's findings, as reported in the press, intriguing, but I also notice he's a French economist hailed as a hero there for his book. I am trying to keep an open mind, because I agree that inequality seems to be on the rise. But Piketty's background does worry me. Hollande's 75% tax bracket on French high incomes (straight out of Pikkety's playbook apparently), is, as previous French "rich taxes", not even guaranteed to bring in more money than it costs to administrate. This is in line with the French doctrine, inherited from Colbert, that the State always knows better how to manage & make money than individuals.

I am pretty sure we are both in agreement that Hollande is a looney. Where we disagree is that I think you are also a looney, but of the opposite kind. His policies are not clever and unlikely to make his country better off. Your "ideas" have about the same dogmatism and absence of rationality behind them, just in the opposite direction. Outhouses indeed!

Fortunately, your rants are less likely to make a mess than Francois's :-) Partially because it is easier to correct low taxes and low spending than it is to fix high taxes and high spending and erring on the low side is less pernicious economically. Also because few people really take you seriously (your approval ratings may still beat Francois' tho).

BTW, I never claimed third world isn't dirt poor and more so than anything hereabouts. I only called you an idiot for using it as a justification that makes it OK to disregard homegrown poverty. The difference is admittedly quite subtle and apparently lost on you. Let's just stick to the main point then: I called you an idiot and am happily restating that position.

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Re: JLV sisk

Hey, Matt, assuming you're gonna be an American retiree, you will, of course, forswear all that nasty socialist Medicare money, right?

Maybe you can go live in Haiti while you are at it. There's a definite appeal to me about you having limited access to broadband :) And sh***ing in an outhouse too ;-)

> toilet connected to a sewage tank or to the main sewer with a new build home, not that it has to be indoors one

Why the heck would you want to build an outdoor outhouse and then connect to the main sewage? That makes no $ sense whatsoever. Same plumbing, extra building. Even a sewage tank is expensive - I grew up in a house with one, albeit connected to an indoor toilet.

Another Matt-ism, perhaps?

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JLV
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Re: sisk

>Major denial - ".....100 years ago you could cook on your fireplace and have an outhouse...." There is nothing to stop you doing so today, and many families in the developing World still only have that option, but we in the West CHOOSE to insist on a higher standard of living

Matt, I assume your local building codes allow fireplaces and outhouses. Nice place you live in.

And, assuming they did let that happen, 'cuz you know, like rah-rah Libertarianism, those kinda living conditions would not impact the rest of us with their health effect. Cuz like, smog and cholera magically only impact the poor.

Apparently you wish to compare living conditions in say, Haiti, where there is general corruption, massive environmental degradation and pretty much no one can pay, or pays, taxes. Compare to say, the UK, the US or Canada where we have accountable governments, where most people are somewhat well off and where the country's wealth is sufficient to try to address at least some social problems.*

Of course, those brilliant and incisive comparisons of yours are going to win over all those poor deluded jackasses who think that not everything is A-OK with things as they are. Hey, I think excessive taxation causes more problems than it solves myself. I am soooo glad you are on my side, as you obviously have a way with convincing people who might think otherwise 8-). I can see everyone is gonna be lining up at the poll booths to vote for whomever you think worthy come next election.

* I'll even go further: where addressing some types of problems makes sense on a purely economic basis because it will make the country as a whole richer. This certainly applies to public education and health care.

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JLV
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Re: Another "stop picking on the rich" article

>I only feel such responsibility toward other members of the society that have peristently worked as hard

Well, that's a nifty argument. As only 1% of others have worked as hard, by your definition, then you really only feel any responsibility towards your fellow rich.

Now, that is probably not what you meant, but a lack of empathy towards the less fortunate is at least as much a problem as everyone wanting only those earning more than themselves to pay taxes. To the point where the US presidential 2012 tax debate was about raising taxes on >$250K incomes in a country with 65K median income ;-) and even that coming from the Obama camp only.

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JLV
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Here's a thought experiment

Small island nation-state with 1000 inhabitants.

999 citizens make $50K a year each.

1 person (rich _internationally_ selling author) has $5M income a year. This is NOT a realistic scenario, but I would strongly question why his income was 100x his fellow citizens if he made it on-island. I oppose very large income variations myself under most conditions, for example CEO pay levels are totally unfair. This is only about taxation redistribution. Nor is it about increasing wealth going to fewer people which we know is happening right now.

Total GDP is thus $55M. Everybody can vote. The state consumes 30% of the small earner's 50M GDP in services (public sector payroll, education, defense, welfare), which works out to $15M or 15K/person in tax (i.e. 30% income tax). The state can't run a deficit.

Mr. Big Shot can't bankroll everything, but if he is taxed at 80% he can cover 4M, thus lowering everyone else's tax bill to $11K or 22%.

Equally obviously, assuming a fair democracy (no lobbying), everyone else might vote for just that.

But it is still quite possible for everyone to be taxed at 30% income and balance the budget. Even if Mr. Big Shot pulled a Google and had his income declared in a Bermuda tax haven.

Questions:

If Mr. Big Shot's wealth is not due to exploiting everyone else, what are his ethical obligations? Pay 15K$, because he ain't costing the state more than anyone else? Pay 1.5M, because that's 30%, like everyone else? Pay 4M @ 80%, because that still leaves him with 1M, which is 20x everyone else's income?

Is it wise for the majority to vote budgets and taxes based on exceptional incomes? What happens if Mr. Big Shot is taxed heavily but then dies or decides to leave the country? But shouldn't Mr Big Shot's exceptional position be recognized and put to service? How not to kill the golden goose then?

Assuming the 999 citizens are willing to shoulder the general burden of the services provided by their government to themselves, how can Mr. Big Shot be more helpful to his countrymen? Charity? Good, but that is totally voluntary, so it might not happen.

Let's add 100 people who need welfare, due to no fault of their own, and can't pay taxes. What about using Mr. Big Shot's 30% (1.5M) to cover them, but leave the middle class $50K folks to cover their own benefits? I.e. what about the average citizen fending for her own taxes, but the rich supporting the poor?

Again, this is isn't about the ethics of income. It is about the practicalities, and ethics, of taxation levels assuming no differentiation between employment income and investment income.

In real life, Mr Big Shot's tax accountant would probably get him way under the 30%, which I think is totally unethical, as Warren Buffett pointed out before the 2012 elections (http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/04/news/economy/buffett-secretary-taxes/).

Let me be clear: I support neither the French model of high taxation for the few. Nor the US model of not caring for the poor. And I most certainly dislike the fact that you pay less taxes on financial/investment income than on employment income, even in France. I rather like the Swedish model, though I am not sure what works in a country of <10M inhabitant scales up and I am even less sure that public sector rent seekers would not guzzle up the bulk of the benefits like they do in France and in the US. Welfare and public spending is important to me.

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