* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

EU VAT law could kill thousands of online businesses

Tom 13

Re: ...VAT for 28 different states...

And yet whenever I've posted the reasons for the internet sales tax exemption (figure 28 different rates * 50 states) in the US, I've been assured that if ONLY we STUPID 'Merkins would adopt the simple VAT tax, the whole problem would go away.

I'd say I feel your pain, but not only would that be Clintonian, it also wouldn't be true since I'm not an online retailer. So I'll just claim I fear for your pain, and do have some sympathy for the problem.

Tom 13

Re: VAT is a "Value Added Tax",

and the whole idea of is is that at each stage in a production process where value is added, it is taxed.

No, that's just the bullshit they tell you so you'll accept it as a fair and reasonable tax. The whole point of the VAT is to hide from the typical punter exactly how much money the government is extracting from them while at the same time allowing them to blame greedy global corporations for the insane prices the punter pays for things.

Put me through to Buffy's room, please. Sony hackers leak stars' numbers, travel aliases

Tom 13

Re: It's the first thing you do, surely?

And that assumption is exactly why you are not the PHB with the 7 figure salary.

The correct first thing to do is contact the PR department to get the spin ahead of the inevitable leak. The second thing you do is find the appropriate scapegoat. Actually fixing the problem is way down the to do list, and might not actually happen if you get enough of the top half done quickly enough.

Tom 13

Re: Real names are used infrequently

Real names in Hollywood is a 50/50 thing. Some are, some aren't. In the 1950s yes, they were mostly fake. These days, not as much. Pr0n is a different story, for obvious reasons.

FCC to smack Sprint with $105m fine over 'cramming' – report

Tom 13

Re: then they'll play nice (or get even more creative!)

That kind never play nice, so sadly you second option will be the rule.

Doesn't mean they shouldn't implement the changes you have suggested.

How does the US government run the internet? This is how

Tom 13

Re: I'm still suspicious

No secrecy, just bog standard government red tape coupled with the standard government employee superiority complex.

'Turn to nuclear power to save planetary ecology from renewable BLIGHT'

Tom 13

Re: How convenient...

I'm not a crazy environmentalist, and I think Yucca was a bad option. I'd much rather we kept it in places we need to monitor and maintain than somewhere the pols can forget about it because out of sight, out of mind.

Granted you're spot on about them objecting simply because it's nuclear and they want all that techie nonsense stopped the day before yesterday. I wasn't aware of the IFR. Killing that was just plain stupid.

Full disclosure: I lived close enough to Three Mile Island at the time of the accident that my mother was worried we should evacuate. At about the age of 12 I was the one with the sense to ask "But how do you know which way the wind will carry the cloud if it does escape? You could be driving right into it instead of away from it." As events turned out, we were about 5 hours past the critical point in the incident when she was worried about packing us up and driving away.

Tom 13

Re: protect those cables from being switched off by local governments

Sod that. Before you get there you have to solve the problem of the non-government locals stealing the live cables for its scrap value.

Tom 13

Re: Dunno about warming

It has been middling so far but it's a very immature technology. Unlike wind and biofuels there are a lot of good reasons to expect it to improve rapidly over the next decade.

The 1970s called. Your license to use their mantra has expired.

HORRIFIED Amazon retailers fear GOING BUST after 1p pricing cockup

Tom 13

Re: "E&OE" caveat that meant such blatant errors

Even with that sort of an exception, the question becomes, "is it a blatant error?" At this time of year a 1p item could be a loss leader, or an attempt to clear merchandise.

For example, and one that will strike most of you Brits as bonkers, I've never much paid a great deal of attention to the price I've paid for turkeys as Thanksgiving. Typical cost for me has been in the neighborhood of $20 for a 20 pound turkey if frozen, about 30% more if "fresh". This year without thinking I pre-ordered from a seller at a local farmers market and put down a $10 deposit. When I picked it up, I had to add another $44 which was initially a bit of a shock. But I thought about it, and considered that they weren't running loss-leader pricing because they ONLY sell poultry, I decided it was fair.

Tom 13

Re: Shurely

So for a 50 pound per month service, you expect to receive the vendor to hold in escrow funds equivalent to what is being offered for sale?

Yes, we do. The insurance cost is negligible when properly allocated across time and all clients. Unless of course your company develops a history of such mistakes, in which case you have far more significant problems anyway.

Win Server 2003 custom support: That's NOT going to be fun

Tom 13

Re: Microsoft staff...

Serviced? No. However, even twelve years after buying the car, if there is a manufacturing defect in a part of the car that is not normally serviced, I actually do expect the manufacturer will replace it at no cost to me. And you know what, just last Friday when I took my 14 year old car to the service shop, one of the things the customer service rep said was, and I quote "No active recalls on your vehicle."

Sony to media: stop publishing our stolen stuff or we'll get nasty

Tom 13

Re: "arms length" defense?

That works right up until you get the official letter from Sony. Once Sony give you official notice, arms length is no longer a defense. Unless you can first invalidate the official notice.

Tom 13

Re: Journalistic Truth

No it's worse than that. You can print just about anything as long as somebody else said it, at least on this side of the pond. You Brits thankfully throw in a bit about not knowingly publishing defamatory claims, but even that is sometimes a low barrier.

Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return

Tom 13

Well at least someone at Google is keeping up with their Kipling

We never pay anyone Danegeld,

No matter how trifling the cost;

For the end of that game is oppression and shame,

And the nation that pays it is lost!

Sony Pictures email hack: The bitter 'piracy war' between Google and Hollywood laid bare

Tom 13

Re: so if they can automate the moving it down the ranking

Yes, but what's the difference between downgrading a torrent site and just blocking it? According to the law (good or bad it's the law and we as a society have agreed to follow the law or change it, not simply break the ones we don't like), the sites being downgraded are engaged in piracy. Therefore search sites ought to be blocking, not simply downgrading. Except that we granted aggregators an exemption to that for bulk processing data because it would be too burdensome to make them edit the lists.

This is a bit of a game changer as far as Google is concerned. This tacitly admits that the legal safe harbor provision they've relied on for protection against prosecution is pure fiction. Much as I don't like the way the RIAA and the MPAA have handled their part of copyright protection, I'd say this makes the case that the safe harbor provision needs to die. You either do no evil or you do evil. There is no try.

Tom 13

Re: Johnny Depp and Keira Knightly brought to LA in chains for a show trial.

For the right price I understand Depp will do just about any kind of show they want and possibly even an encore!

Blast-off! Boat free launch at last. Orion heads for space

Tom 13

Re: Don't mix measurement systems?

We don't. It was the bit we outsourced to you Europeans that got all frelled.

Orion Space shuttle wannabe preps again for test flight

Tom 13

Re: It's just not cricket, old boy...

No, no. Cricket is a lighter! (for $1.49) You definitely want matches for this.

Crack open more champagne, Satya, XP's snowballing to HELL

Tom 13

Nice try on the positive spin, but... See icon

First up, Win 8.1 hasn't exceeded XP, only Win8 + Win8.1. And while on some level that's a valid comparison, the two combined barely exceed an OS that is supposedly long dead.

Next up we have this little nugget at the end of the article:

At about US$100 per machine, that's a lot of new Surfaces and perhaps the moment the worm began to turn for Windows 8.1

Now, maybe I just didn't look in the right place, but the last time I bought a copy of Windows to install on a just built PC, prices were running around $95 to $179 depending on what you bought. Seems to me the profit margin on that was a lot higher than on a piece of hardware that includes a license.

VCs say Uber is worth $41bn... but don't worry, we're not in a bubble

Tom 13

Re: on earth makes over $50 worth of taxi travel

Actually, if you assume:

- it's just everyone in the US

- use your $50 figure

- 10% of gross revenue gets to Uber

They make the $41 billion in 27.33 years. But since they don't operate only in the US, and that $50 will be translates to 50 pound GB because we all know 'merkins only do monetary conversions when calculating profits and never when pricing, they'll make it in far less than the 27 years.

Back when I studied the market for a bit and investments were sane, a P/E ratio of 20 was considered high but reasonable.

Tom 13

Re: alike got wiped out during dotcomboomandbust1.0

[waves hand slightly]

These are not the busts you're looking for.

[waves hand again slightly]

You can invest safely now.

Microsoft remote code exec killjoys to dump seven fixes next week

Tom 13

Re: update process torturous as Windows update

I've been running MS software on my home computers for ages. Only time updates were an issue was back when I was being ultra-paranoid about them and insisting I had to authorize them. These days they install in the background and when I shutdown they configure. One reboot is all that is required, and it is part of my normal routine.

Maybe you need to upgrade your wetware?

Apple deliberately wiped rivals' music from iPods – iTunes court claim

Tom 13

Re: Apple has lots of money, that is the sole reason

I wouldn't say the only reason. Certainly a primary one. You might be able to argue that Apple had a monopoly position and as such owed consumers the equivalent of a browser choice.

The problem is, that's not the suite Real filed. And when they filed it, they skipped right past half and went full arsed.

Tom 13

Re: oooops! no plaintiff = no case

Most of the time I hate that kind of rules abuse. But in this instance I have to smile. Because when you are the plaintiff and you've got millions of dollars riding on the suite, those are the kinds of mistakes you're supposed to not make.

Tom 13

Re: whoever put it there manages to corrupt the iPod file system.

It's not so much corrupting the drive system per se, the problem is that what Real did circumvented the DRM thus circumventing the provenance of the music which at the time was a contractual requirement between Apple and the music vendors.

Would consumers have been better served had Apple and Real reached a mutual licensing agreement? Probably (on the order of 90% likely). Was Apple required to make such an agreement? I don't think so. And frankly I don't think this lawsuit addresses that question in anything resembling a sufficiently direct way to be valid. Real essentially engineered a malware vector to install their music on Apple's system. This case is claiming they were entitled to engineer the malware. It's too many of these shenanigans that got us to the DCMA here in the States.

Tom 13

Re: Confused about this case

Almost. At the time there was no communal DRM in the sense of the Blueray DRM. Each vendor produced their own and therefore inherently mutually exclusive DRM scheme. Real created a way to circumvent Apple's DRM and put their music onto the iPod. Real is asserting that because of Apple's monopoly position in the music player market, Apple had no right to keep them out, regardless of any contracts Apple might have had with music vendors. Which when put simply looks pretty damn silly and is why companies hire lawyers to confuse the issue.

Does this mean Jobs didn't use it as an excuse to viciously subdue competitors in the market space? No it doesn't. It means that because of other grants of monopolies (specifically IP rights to music), this vicious monopolistic behavior was perfectly legal. You can argue on moral/ethical grounds about whether or not that initial IP right ought to have been granted, but once the legal system accepts that such grants are legal, this is where you wind up.

Orion 'Mars' ship: Cosmic ray guard? Go. Parachutes? Go. Spacerock shield? Go!

Tom 13

Re: all this amazing slingshot actions with satellites

The tradeoff there is time spent exposed to higher radiation levels. The sorts of things we do with satellites aren't as sensitive to that as humans are.

US retail giant Target fails to get banks' MEGABREACH lawsuit slung out of court

Tom 13

Re: How is this one in particular the banks fault?

You don't maliciously harvest data without using it. Given the way banks monitor cards for fraud* and the amount of fraud generated by each part of the breach, the banks should have quickly identified Target as the source of the breaches.

*Roommate recently made a trip from Maryland to Texas to visit parents. Roomie makes this trip every year at the same time. CC company denied her a purchase and shut off the card because it wasn't in MD. Then called the house and left a voice message I got about the fraud attempt.

Tom 13

Re: good news everyone

I have to disagree. If it's the PLC it can be swept under the carpet. What we need is a case that establishes that for something this big, the corporate veil is necessarily pierced, and the executive officers are joint and severally responsible for the damages. In fact, not only are the Target exexutives at fault, so are the same banks that are suing Target, and by the same logic.

THAT will get their attention.

Dead Steve Jobs accuses Real Networks of 'hacking' iPods

Tom 13

Re: removed Real's DRM and added faked iTunes DRM.

So what you're saying here is that Real is the reason we now suffer under DCMA?

Because you've admitted Real intentionally broke the DRM on Apple's product.

Tom 13

Re: Huh?

Personally I've always considered Jobs to be a complete butthead. But I don't see a monopoly issue here.

Is EU right to expand 'right to be forgotten' to Google.com?

Tom 13

As you Brits have so often noted when we 'Merkins make a stupid law about the internet.

Our servers are in our country, so bugger off about it.

That's the problem with the internet, it doesn't respect national boundaries, but laws do. Unless you have a treaty that unifies those laws across countries.

Fort Lauderdale websites DDoSed after Anonymous threats over feeding ban

Tom 13

Abbott wasn't arrested for feeding the homeless

He was cited for creating a hazardous situation in the city and the fascists have been lying about it ever since.

Abbott organizes 500+ events where he puts out tables and food, but doesn't provide job johnnies or facilities to wash. Furthermore he needs a license to prepare food for that many people. It's just standard operating procedure for any public food facility.

The ordinance, approved by the Commission 4-1, codified a list of rules for outdoor food distribution, including that sites must be 500 feet away from residential areas, have bathrooms or portable toilets, equipment for hand washing and consent of the owner. The law allows indoor feedings at houses of worship.

"You have to balance the interests of everybody in the community," Seiler told PolitiFact Florida. "What we always try to do is make sure everybody gets to enjoy our parks. Every single thing we have done with the ordinance is a balance."


If the COMMISH says block that email account, BLOCK IT!

Tom 13

Re: there is nothing to stop it demanding to see Larry Page’s email account

Not quite. While it is true that they might not get the email, they can still hit them with sanctions. The point is that the inquiry is legitimate, the police/commission have the legal right to examine the materials, and not providing them constitutes obstruction of justice (not claiming all of these legal devices OUGHT to be legal, just recognizing that under the current system they are). Once you've got obstruction of justice you can slap the company, through whatever branch is local, with the fine. At some point the fines will become noticeable, especially when they start per day fines.

One year on, Windows 8.1 hits milestone, nudges past XP

Tom 13

Re: Windows 8 irrelevant

It's not just the lousy interfaces. It's also the plumbings (pl intentional) behind the lousy interfaces. First you've got the lousy plumbing that insists on putting your data in "the cloud." While I might under duress consider backing up my data to "the cloud" I generally prefer that my data live on my drives. Next up you've got the all apps, all the time, and always from the App Store approach they want to take on the software. I expect to purchase a perpetual license that lets me move my apps from one OS to the next.

Orion: To Mars, the Moon and beyond... but first, a test flight through Van Allen belt

Tom 13

Re: Competing with Soyuz...

While he was full-arsed about it, at the heart of his comment is the same criticism I immediately thought of and which has already been posted: This is a lousy way to plan the Mars mission.

A proper mission should come in three phases:

1. Surface of Earth to Mars transport vehicle.

2. Mars transport vehicle to Mars orbit.

3. Mars orbit to surface of Mars.

Then reverse it all to come home.

Doing it this way saves the trouble of landing a 10 ton object traveling at moon shot speeds on the surface of the planet. You just use a Dragon or Soviet lift vehicle for which the tech is already proven. The basic R&D work could then focus on the Transport vehicle, which is where the real challenges lie. And, if you construct that outside of the Earth's atmosphere and gravity well, a fair number of obstacles go away. You can trade mass for shielding without the fuel load for lifting from Earth. Maybe you can work with some of the exotic thrust ideas that have been proposed where you generate continuous low thrust for the entire journey, reducing total time because you don't spend 90%+ of the journey coasting. I'd think the essentials for the Mars lander are already solved from a combination of the lunar landers and the Dragon vehicles, but there might still be some scale issues there.

Blade Runner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it

Tom 13

Re: They became clichés AFTER Blade Runner

No, they were cliches before Blade Runner too. But in fairness to the movie, they didn't feel cliched in the movie.

Also in fairness to the movie, I'd read the book first and the deviations from the book made me hate the movie even though I liked the special effects and atmospherics.

Tom 13

Re: Replicants with no termination date?

Deckard had a very definite termination date in the PKD book.

Tom 13

Re: based on a book which was based on a deep philosophical

If by based on in the same sense as a Sean Connery James Bond film was based on the Ian Flemming book, yes.

Otherwise, epic fail.

Tom 13

Re: "Always leave them wanting more"

I thought that was the whole point that Rachel was a new model that had a normal human lifespan so Deckard could fall in love with her without the 'Highlander' syndrome and her implanted memories cushioned her from insanity..

See, this is why I HATE the movie. That was not the whole point. The whole point was to question what is the nature of being human. Deckard was human but might have failed the test he applied to a subject to determine if it was a replicant. Rachel was a replicant, but right up until she blew Deckard's brains out, seemed more human the he was. No she was not a new model. She was an illegal production. One with the safety of the limited lifespan removed.

Tom 13

Re: "Always leave them wanting more"

The movie does. The book doesn't. At least not the one PKD wrote as opposed to the one what's-his-name wrote as an adaption from the movie. The movie should have played with the same themes PKD does in the book. In some ways it is almost a better medium for it. But the theme is too dark to attract the kind of attendance Hollywood looks for in a movie.

Tom 13

Re: @AC "Even though the two follow up books weren't by PKD

PKD lived in his own very weird world. I find most of his novels painful to read, his short stories work better for me. DADES was one of the few that wasn't painful for me. I enjoyed it all except for the end, but the end was proper and supposed to be a gotcha moment.

All of which is just a lead up to saying:

I don't see how anyone can inhabit PKD's weird world for long enough to write something that meshes with what he's done. Hell, they couldn't even stick with the original ending in the first movie adaptation of his book. (Which actually made it quite clear Deckard wasn't a replicant.)

Chromecast video on UK, Euro TVs hertz so badly it makes us judder – but Google 'won't fix'

Tom 13


Netflix doesn't sell you hardware devices. It comes embedded in other hardware. Netflix therefore side steps the entire issue. It is either your PC, your DVD/Blueray, Xbox, PSx.x, etc device which presumably already knows the correct signal rate for your display device.

Businessman takes Google to High Court to block online abuse from search results

Tom 13

include allegations that he is

"a murderer, a Nazi, a Ku Klux Klan sympathiser, a paedophile, a corrupt businessman who has accepted bribes from state officials, an insider trader, and that he has laundered money on behalf of the Italian mafia"

Wait, I thought Google wasn't indexing comments on blogs. I mean, that's just your standard round of comments on Politico, the Huffington Post, and (I'm told) Anonymous.

'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described

Tom 13

Re: there's more to AV in the world than Symantec & US companies.

Yep. But you forgot:

All ur AV bazes belong to US.

BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity

Tom 13

Re: I think it's the other way around

I doubt he'd shoot you. That would be a waste of a perfectly good bullet.

I think he'd opt for an old fashioned public hanging. First, the rope reusable if additional corrective actions are required to keep the workforce in line. Second he could also sell tickets to the event and make a video recording to sell DVDs and streaming rights to make a bit of extra dosh.

Tom 13

Re: Put down the pie

About 1/3 of my current body weight is excess. I haven't greatly changed my eating habits from the time when I was a teen and my weight was considered normal or a little under. What has decreased is the amount of exercise I get as part of my daily routine.

Tom 13

Re: Worth mentioning

I'm not sure what the situation is in the UK, but here in the US the solution I have to the smoking issues is:

1. Eliminate all tobacco specific taxes. (For those areas where it is applicable, I'd leave it in the regular sales tax regime.)

2. Eliminate all tobacco specific farming subsidies.

3. Eliminate all government regulation related to the buying and selling of tobacco, especially the bit where the tobacco companies get to hide behind government "safety" studies.

4. Let the markets and the courts sort it out.

I'm pretty sure after the courts ruled everyone involved in the tobacco selling chain was liable for lung, throat, and mouth cancers that were linked to tobacco use, it would cease to be an issue.

Tom 13

Re: New study shows dietary fat doesn't cause problems

I thought diabetes was always associated with carbs, not fat. Fat however has been associated with heart disease. So in order to reduce heart disease the health nazis went on a jihad against fat, which tended to increase diabetes. Diabetes does tend to lead to people being fat although I've never explored the exact relationship.

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