* Posts by Tom 13

7608 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

HP multiplies Meg Whitman's salary by 1.5 MEELLION

Tom 13

Re: Whether it's right

Pay should be based on performance not whether or not someone else has money. Employment should be continued based on performance and need, not whether or not the person needs the money.

I've been RIFFED twice and dodged it another time*. It's never fun going through it, but if you keep your wits about you you can land on your feet. This last time it was actually a blessing. I'd been too lazy (and the exorbitant leave [by US standards] was nice) to go hunting for something better but when I had to I landed a better paying job.

*I'd probably have been kept through the resolution of the bankruptcy, but left before the last RIFF before they filed for it.

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Drawers full of different chargers? The IEC has a one-plug-to-rule-them-all

Tom 13

One other thought

One thing I learned in my 3.5 years working for the outfit before they filed for bankruptcy: it's not really the device manufacturers driving the market for the different connectors; it's the connector manufacturers. So this standard is pointless because they'll never sign onto it.

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Tom 13
Paris Hilton

Whenever someone starts talking about a universal connector for anything

I recall my second real job when I was a wee lad. It was for an outfit called SMART HOUSE, LP which was an offshoot of the National Home Builders Association here in the US. Their mandate was to devise a method for putting cabling into a house that would enabled distributed communications amongst electronic widgetry in the home (even the gas stove).

At some point one of the engineers pulled out a 12" circular saw that had an odd angle bracket attached to it. The angle bracket ran parallel to the direction of the blade. He explained it was an early idea someone put together for an installation tool. It seems they started with the idea of a single cable that would include everything from 6 pairs of 22/24 for communication, a couple of cables for 5V DC, a couple for 12V DC, the three for 120VAC and even the cables for 240VAC, plus coax up and down for the video phone system and I think 4 twisted pair for the phone subsystem. All in a flat ribbon cable. The idea for the circular saw was that you would use one hand to hold the bracket on the wooden 2x4 stud in residential unit, and with the other swing the circular saw into place to cut a grove into the stub. That way you could pull the big-ass cable through the middle of the stud. And yes, everyone except the guy who built it looked at it and thought it was an update on a medieval tool to enable self-amputation.

Paris, because even she has more clue than that guy did. And probably more than the eggheads pushing this idea.

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Beauty firm Avon sticks spike heel into $125m SAP-based sales project

Tom 13

Re: Avon should be publicly applauded

Agreed.

If I were a CEO in a big company I'd be head hunting at Avon. People who own up to their mistakes and fix them are a rare commodity.

Sadly, knowing this is probably part of why I am not a CEO at a big company.

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Go on, buy Bitcoin. But DON'T say we didn't WARN YOU

Tom 13

Re: Makes your choices and takes your chances

Actually if you have your money in a bank that was closed down for illegal activity you WILL get your cash back so long as you weren't part of the illegal activity.

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James Bond's 'shaken not stirred': Down to trembling boozer's hands, claim boffins

Tom 13

Re: The cart's gotten ahead of the nag here

Ahead? I don't think there's been a nag anywhere near that cart in at least a decade. Or any other type of 4-legged critter for that matter.

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Tom 13

Re: Will he also have a vasectomy?

No need for that after he's been castrated, which would be required to achieve that particular character update.

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Tom 13

Re: More to the point

When I first read reports about this study (maybe on El Reg, maybe elsewhere) I kept having this recurring vision.

I'm sitting on a plush leather chair stroking a white cat as my secretary escorts one of my minions into the office. "Jaws, I have a job for you," I begin as I toss him photos of the doctors who authored the report.

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SpaceX beats off Bezos' rocket for rights to historic NASA launch pad

Tom 13

Re: Ominous.

Don't confuse your hatred with real facts and not DNC talking points that have been filtered through the LSM. I'm a Republican and I'm for basic research funding IF the rest of the budget is in order. So are all the rest of the actual Republicans I've met.

Military spending if one of the few EXPLICITLY allowed federal expenditures. Basic science research falls into the gray area just like the Louisiana purchase. Everything else you're spewing is just YOUR hatred, not real facts. So if you really want to be tolerant and diverse, pull your head out of your nether region and start EDUCATING yourself.

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Tom 13

Re: Ominous.

You really ought to stop getting your daily intake of misinformation from MSLSD. You have such a mishmash of conflicting information I'm not sure I can sort it out for you, but I'll give it a shot.

1. Republicans aren't anti-science. They are anti-politicizing science. If the rest of the budget is in order, they're up for funding the next gizmo after the latest particle Large Hadron Collider. To the extent we have a gripe with NASA it is that we need to get the government out of NASA and let private enterprise begin to drive space exploration and development. The one function of NASA that probably needs to remain with government is a regulatory function similar to the FAA as private development proceeds.

2. Neither Libertarians nor social conservatives are in favor of subsidies to corporations. RINOs might be. We both favor reducing tax rates to the minimum necessary to provide for the constitutionally permitted functions of government. We regard taxes on business as inefficient and constitutionally questionable because no business actually pays taxes. They pass along the cost to the consumer and reduce output of whatever good it is the business would otherwise be producing.

3. The primary source for taxes is something of a topic for debate. The two primary camps are a flat national sales tax (not a VAT) or a flat national income tax.

- The national sales tax proponents claim they'd manage to gather revenue even from illegal operations such as drug smuggling. More importantly as a tax on consumption rather than income it would be economically efficient. The claim is also asserted that such a system would be less invasive than our current tax collection process. Libertarians tend to prefer this option for what I think are obvious reasons and are joined by some conservatives in support of this system.

- Flat tax is seen by others as somewhat easier to implement and less disruptive. This view holds that the problems with income tax are more to do with its redistributive functions than the tax itself. Particularly pernicious‎ to a democratic republic is excluding too large a group of people from the tax. They hold that while there would be some simplification from the sales tax route, you'll still wind up with invasive regulation by government. Given the risk is the abuse of government power the best remedy is to place all citizens equally at risk of the abuse rather than insulating a faction from it.

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'Disruptive, irritating' in-flight cellphone call ban mulled by US Senate

Tom 13

This all makes it sound like

there was never any real safety issue with cell phones in the first place.

I'm willing to grant a blanket rule against using cell phones for safety reasons. But if the cell phone or no cell phone rule is all just down to personal preference, let the airlines sort it out for themselves. If there's a competitive advantage either way they'll find it.

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US military's RAY-GUN truck BLASTS DRONES, mortars OUT OF THE SKY

Tom 13

Re: Ask The Physicist

Efficiency was always a function of the laser type. As I recall way back when I was a lad the rates varied from 1% for your standard ruby laser through 50% for certain types of diodes. At the time you tended to get more raw power from gas because you could pump more power into it. Promising work at that point was on liquids. I would imagine quite a bit has changed since then. And a quick Google search leads to this article for a 74% solid-state device being worked on by the military:

http://phys.org/news/2011-05-scientists-high-efficiency-ceramic-laser.html

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NSA alleges 'BIOS plot to destroy PCs'

Tom 13

Re: Info you don't share is useless

CIA and NSA were operating under DoJ rules that prohibited sharing the data. Democrat administration passed the rules to protect US citizens from intelligence agency spying.

Yes, it was overly broad. Yes smaller changes could have fixed it. But that doesn't change the fact that the same people screaming about intemperate spying now are the same ones crying about it then. In other words, the people who enabled the rules that got 3,000 American civilians killed during 9/11. And that's a real inconvenient truth. Here's another one: it's a brutal world out there, so you won't get by without some blood on your hands. The best you can do is try to make sure it's the right blood.

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Tom 13

Re: less than 4 years after the Pearl Harbor attack,

1. Pearl Harbor was an attack on a military base not a civilian building. For better or worse we deem that members of the military have accepted the risk of dying for their country and treat their deaths differently from civilian deaths.

2. Four years after Pearl Harbor we had closure. The bastages that ordered it were mostly dead and the few that were left had surrendered. They were in no position to launch any further similar assaults ANYWHERE. That is not true of the current situation.

I'd also note that in the intervening four years we also had something the world hasn't seen since: total war. Most people regard that as a good thing. As for me, I'm willing to risk it. I think we're on the brink of another such conflict and the longer we wait the higher the chances that we move too late. But I'd wager a year's salary you disagree with me on that.

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Tom 13

Re: It's called the 9/11 Rule:

It actually had a good bit to do with connecting the dots. Most specifically DoJ regs that prevented intelligence and law enforcement from sharing certain data. But admitting that would squarely blame the failed policies of a Democrat administration. And we can't have that.

Yes, corrective action didn't require the massive rewrite of laws and the creation of a new leviathan within the big leviathan. But then that wouldn't advance Statist purposes either.

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Tom 13

Re: How it ought to be,

I actually prefer the Gigabyte dual BIOS system. One ROM that never gets over-written and one CMOS that can be easily updated without opening the case. If the update gets borked for any reason (power failure in the middle of the update) you can still revert to the ROM and redo the upgrade.

But absent the dual BIOS, yes it ought to be a locked setting (dip or jumper doesn't matter to me).

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Cardslurping kingpin caged for 18 years over Carderplanet forum

Tom 13

Re: Who appointed America as the world's policeman, judge and jury?

Because we're the only ones willing to do the heavy lifting of finding, capturing, prosecuting, and punishing them.

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Tom 13

Re: We Brits used to do a good line

Just to clarify, I wasn't meaning to ask that you'd perform the actual hanging. I'm quite willing for us to do that. It's just that The Tower has a certain historical gravitas that nothing here in The States quite matches. The point being to focus the minds of others on where they don't want to wind up. And I'd be quite willing to grant exclusive coverage rights to the Beeb with the caveat that they aren't allowed to provide commentary on the proceedings, only record them to the world to see.

I'd accept your counter-proposal in the current environment but still think The Tower is the better option for the reasons stated above.

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Tom 13

My only complaint about this decision is

it was way to lenient. To me a suitable punishment, with you Brits providing concurrence for us to do so, would have been to hang him until he was dead at The Tower and leave the body there until the crows had picked it clean.

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Tom 13

Re: domain of the FBI rather than the Secret Service

While the Secret Service has become best known for protecting the President, it's original purpose dealt with ensuring the money supply. As such, they would have been the lead agency on a multi-agency task force. Not usually my choice for references, but Wiki confirms my fuzzy recollection:

With a reported one third of the currency in circulation being counterfeit at the time,[14] the Secret Service was created by President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, the day of his assassination

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Yahoo! boss! Mayer! sez! soz! for! lengthy! mail! outage!

Tom 13

Re: 99.9% uptime?

It's still 99.9% up time over all users. Remember only 1% of users were down in the initial outage. And usually those sorts of things dance around real uptime by excluding scheduled maintenance.

It's one of the reasons I don't regard 99.9% uptime as a valid performance criteria, there are too many ways to massage the numbers to make yourself look good.

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You gotta fight for your copyright ... Beastie Boys sue toymaker over TV ad

Tom 13

@ bigtimehustler

Either parody is fine or it isn't fine. As soon as you try to differentiate profit vs non-profit you get into regulating speech for political purposes. Because political purposes are what define what is and is not non-profit. I've been in and out of US non-profits for the better part of 30 years. Helped form one when I was 17, and another when I was in my 20s. Even worked as a paid employee for one for about three and a half years. They all dance around not admitting they are political, but they are. The only thing that makes it even sort of okay is that everybody knows everybody else is lying.

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Tom 13

Re: It seems an odd definition of "parody"

But in the US that is pretty much the legal definition of parody because humor itself is always in the eyes of the beholder.

Maybe it isn't fair. Maybe the law ought to be changed. But at the moment it is the law. And that's all the principle the EFF needs.

Honestly, I've always been uncomfortable with this definition. That same group I referenced earlier has held a major event every year. And every year one of the most popular program items rests entirely on that definition. That program item is fan parody music videos. The group pays the fee for the music. The videos are all remixes cuts of various videos to the music, sometimes for humor, sometimes for drama. But the only thing original in it is the arrangement of the clips to the music. You'd probably say that isn't earning the group or the fan artists money. But legally that doesn't matter if it dilutes the value of the original work. And when the non-profit has a multi-million dollar budget they are quite actionable in court. And yeah, that one of the things I'm happy I no longer have to worry about since I'm no longer affiliated with the group. But while I was there I became intimately familiar with some of the finer points of this US law.

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Tom 13

Re: Take 'em for every penny you can boys.

Except they can't actually as they will soon find out. There's a very, very broad parody exception in the US.

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Tom 13

@ SolidSquid

Both sides are playing a PR game. Having once been twice embroiled in trademark disputes for a non-profit, I can tell you that the lawyer always writes the letter to the accused and always mentions court action - even if you as the rights holder LIKE what they did. If the accused responds appropriately (sorry, what can we do to make this right?) you can negotiate an amicable deal. In the first instance the accused did so and we said all they needed to do was note we were the owners of the trademark. We may have charged them a nominal $1 fee at the lawyers insistence. Something about needing an actual exchange of monetary value before the agreement became enforceable.

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Home Office clumsily LEAKS data of 1,598 immigrants, blames 'transparency'

Tom 13

Re: "Staff have been told not to hide columns in spreadsheets."

Cool! That'll save me a couple of clicks the next time I want to see the data.

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Why America is no longer slurping electricity from Russian nuke warheads

Tom 13

Re: I don't see why it was so quiet

It was so quiet because it was one of the rare instances in which war hawks and doves agreed. With no ongoing food fights the media couldn't sell papers/get eyeballs by reporting the story. Or at least, that's what they thought. I was aware of the program back when it started, but honestly thought it had expired long ago.

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Shivering boffins nail Earth's coldest spot

Tom 13

Interesting,

but I think we need to send some people there with actual thermometers just to confirm it.

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ESA readies Rosetta for next year's comet touchdown

Tom 13

Re: fix a leak in helium tank?

Me thinks that without the Force in the script, the R2 unit would be more prone to mechanical problems than the helium tank.

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PayPal 13 plead guilty to launching DDoS attacks

Tom 13

Re: What is the difference (if any) between the following:

The brick balanced on the F5 key could later be usefully re-purposed as a bookend.

The brick balanced on the f5 key could be sold at yard/garage sale for 5 cents or the equivalent thereof.

The brick could be usefully re-purposed to fend off an actual physical attack if you encountered one.

You would actually support the local economy by buying more bricks to balance on other F5 keys.

The brick could be used in a live demonstration of the laws of motion and gravity. (Cool be really cool if paired with a Raspberry Pi and some other electronic gear.

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NASA invites you to sleepover: Stay up and watch 'FIREBALL RICH' Geminid shower

Tom 13

Re: Leonids

The Leonids are known to be a highly variable event. It's been ages since I looked it up but as I recall the rate ran somewhere on the 3/hr - 300/minute range. Theoretically peaking around the time the comet makes its appearance. IIRC 1999 should have been the most recent storm burst which would make the next peak season still about 15 years off.

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Submerged Navy submarine successfully launches drone from missile tubes

Tom 13

Re: Why bother?

Because Army/Navy/Air Force are now somewhat archaic divisions in the unified military services outside of a bit of competitive camaraderie and personal pride. So a Navy's submarine launched drone might well be supporting an land action being taken by any branch of the UMS.

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Tom 13
Joke

Re: Recovery?

Nah, no need for scuba guys. You just open the the front recovery module on the sub a-la James Bond and bring it to the Captain's spacious quarters where his curvaceous assistant begins the refueling process.

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Industry group blames 'outdated' kit for stock-market tech disasters

Tom 13

Re: I await your down-votes.

Not a down vote so much as a nit. While some banks did misrepresent their risk, I think the bulk of them were just fuzzing the numbers the way the government told them too. But you noted political blame later. I put it all down to political blame, mostly in the form of the politicians wanting to give free stuff to people, not wanting to pay for it, and setting up the bankers as the fall guys.

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Tom 13

Re: Better Idea

I don't typically agree with Don, but for this one he's spot on.

In fact, I'd let the sub-second traders time stamp their bids accordingly, but at the exchange the prices gets set every second. You take the whole range of sub-second trades, randomize the processing order and process until all matched orders are filled, and post the new price.

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EC antitrust cops raid offices of Philips, Samsung, others

Tom 13
Headmaster

Re: Price fixing?

From a theoretical economic standpoint, "price fixing" is easy to describe. It occurs whenever you have sufficiently small producer segment that they can set prices to garner an economic profit instead of a normal one.

The trouble is, when you get to practical economics, absent government granted monopolies, an economic profit is indistinguishable from a normal profit. So for practical economic purposes "price fixing" is indistinguishable from the market pticing mechanism.

So what we've tended to do is make it a strictly legal problem. It is okay if the only three bakers in a community charge $2.00/£1 for bread so long as they don't talk to each other about setting the price of the bread. But if they all talk to each other and set the price at $1.50/£0.70 that's price fixing and they need to be strung up from the nearest yard arm/tree as is convenient.

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Mexican Cobalt-60 robbers are DEAD MEN, say authorities

Tom 13

Re: To the hard hearted it is indeed funny.

Not funny, just well deserved.

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'Copyrighted' Java APIs deserve same protection as HARRY POTTER, Oracle tells court

Tom 13

Re: why specs are often written by industry bodies

I'm not sure about Europe, but in the US there is another way to do it. You write the spec, copyright it, and leave it unpublished and protected as a trade secret. Companies and people who then want to use the spec sign specific legal contracts providing them access to the spec.

But that doesn't apply to Sun/Oracle either.

Quite honestly, given the necessary outcome for the IT ecosystem to survive, what I would most like to see happen at the conclusion of the case is Oracle getting bitch slapped: paying Google's costs as well as a fine to the court for pursuing such a frivolous case in the first place.

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Tom 13

Re: if it was old Sun instead of Oracle

Yes, I would. And honestly I blame Sun as much as Oracle. Something is either open source or it isn't. You only wind up with these nutty lawsuits when some idiotic company/person tries to straddle both camps.

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Tom 13

@ Ian Michael Gumby 05-12-2013 20:39

There is one true statement in your post. Unfortunately it is this bit:

its more than likely the judge will get it wrong.

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Tom 13

Re: Has the US ceased to be a common law country?

Red herring.

There are no common law countries and there are no Roman law countries. For the most part we have a mix of both, except in those countries following Conan law.

Given the mix of both, the relevant legal topic, patents, falls under Roman law.

Moreover, according to our Constitution and subsequent legal decisions (most noticeably Marbury v. Madison), the US Supreme Court makes final decisions about law for the US. That means that the US constitution sets the primary boundary and US court decisions, not prevailing sentiments in European courts, set the secondary boundaries.

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Tom 13

Re: You do realize that US based judges and courts rule based on the following:

Meh, sometimes. If we were that consistent we'd have fewer problems. The fact that one of the judges has shown anything other than skepticism about Oracles claims shows at least one of them isn't willing to follow precedent.

Your example with the bolt is extremely flawed. First up, nuts, bolts, screws etc are too old a concept to be covered by patents. What has been covered is novel ways in which to drive them or perhaps physical makeup to eliminate some other problem (galvanized nails come to mind). Hence you could patent the Philips head on the basis that the cross pattern prevented slippage which was an issue with flat heads. But if I use a flat head screw where you've specified a Philips head it's all legit. I'll have to match your diameter and thread rate, but those aren't patentable. What Google did was match the diameter and thread rate of the interface and put a flat head screw instead of Philips.

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One-minute Koch-blocking earns attacker two years, massive fine

Tom 13

@ Thunderbird 2

The phrase is "joint and several." It means if the other guys can't be found and/or can't afford it, whoever has the cash does. At the moment he is the only one convicted, so he bears the full cost. And yes, this is standard practice when suing for damages in the US.

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Consumer disks trump enterprise platters in cloudy reliability study

Tom 13

Re: obvious consequence of the engineering brief.

Except the engineering brief is for enterprise drives to be more reliable because companies employ bean counters to watch expenses and consumers don't. Companies also have the large number of drives over which the bean counters can calculate those numbers.

Kudos to Backblaze for continuing to publish their data.

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Tom 13

Re: Size?

I've heard similar claims but the apocryphal claim for the improved reliability is that the edge of the platters isn't subjected to the higher stresses of the larger platter at the same rpm. While it sounds plausible, I'm skeptical until someone releases hard data and publishes their rigorous test protocol.

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Hear that? It's the sound of BadBIOS wannabe chatting over air gaps

Tom 13

Re: I just do not believe malware could infect a computer that way.

Yep.

Especially since none of my desktops have microphones.

How come I can never find the link to the obligatory Bloom County cartoon for these things. You know, the one that ends with the teacher proclaiming "But Oliver, gerbils don't like peanut butter." and Oliver thinking to himself "Another beautiful theory slain by an ugly fact." I think he'd just worked out a formula for nearly limitless, pollution free energy production.

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MINING in SPAAAACE! Asteroid-scoopers? Nah - consumers will be the real winners

Tom 13

Re: There is no such thing as a natural right.

Thank-you sir for exposing your total abandonment of the rights Englishmen once fought to establish and revealing your complete conversion to the Marxist corruption.

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Tom 13

Re: private property doesn't exist up there in space.

That most governments infringe on that natural right does not make it any less a natural right. It only indicates the extent of corruption within the government.

If the people likewise do not recognize it as a natural right, that only indicates the extent of their corruption. Time to start some self-assessment and work to correct your mistakes before you tread further down the path of darkness.

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Brits won't have to pay for thieves' enormous mobe bills any more

Tom 13

Re: They plan to jack up the price

Maybe, maybe not.

Maybe they calculated their margins thin on the basis that they can raise the prices to match actual cost increases thereby minimizing what customers are charged over the life of the contract. This new agreement undermines that legitimate business model.

The earlier poster was correct: the headline may feel good, but it is wrong. All this does is spread the cost of stolen phones over the entire customer base. Yes, retail establishments do something similar. But in the case of a retail establishment, they have a fair amount of control over the security of goods in their stores. That's not true of cell phones where the physical security is all up to the phone owner.

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PC market staging a RECOVERY. (Only joking, it's through the floor)

Tom 13

@ Charles 9

You've got a decent synopsis except like everybody else you've danced neatly around the heart of the problem:

Vista was the upgrade out of XP. And just like they are doing with Windows 8, they weren't willing to admit they screwed the pooch and provide a usable path out.

Yes, XP doesn't migrate to Win7 because the code base is different. But the same was true with the XP-Vista path. What they needed to do was rework the XP-Vista tool to allow XP-Win7. What's really ironic is they are repeating the mistake with Win8 to Win8.1, which should NOT have been an issue.

Even at that, MS have a serious issue they've been unwilling to confront. Businesses and consumers want a stable platform that just works. They don't want to redo their entire software inventory every 3 years. Their cars last 5 to 10+ years, they expect their software to as well. They want incremental updates, and they expect their data to move seamlessly from one system to the next. They'd like it if their programs moved seamlessly as well, but they are more willing to tolerate issues there.

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