* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

World's richest hobo (Apple) has worked 'tax-free' in Ireland since '80s

Tom 13

Re: demonstrate lack of social responsibility.

I am socially responsible. You're the one who is socially irresponsible.

The law isn't supposed to allow either of us to impose his concept of social responsibility on the other. Only impose responsibility for following the law.

BBC suspends CTO after £100m is wasted on doomed IT system

Tom 13

Re: their own eminently capable techies in the first place.

But wouldn't that route cost an even larger fortune? I mean, first you have to fly them in from the other side of the world, and then you have to put them up in a hotel for a couple of months. And then you have fly them all back home again.

Judge: Evidence will likely show Apple DID fix ebook prices

Tom 13

My understanding of American Law is weak but a couple of things spring to mind

Obviously as some of my responses will show.

If all of them settle for millions of dollars where does that money go?

You'll never know because not only is the settlement out of court, it is also sealed. All to protect the innocent you understand.

IE will my ebooks get cheaper/ will I be partially refunded for those I purchased in the past?

No, but it is important that you think this will be the case. It maintains the illusion that this is all about justice and not just shaking down corporations for filthy lucre.

The wonderful thing about ebooks is they are generally purchased electronically so someone must have records.

Actually, not necessarily so. In fact, certain information is likely to be required to be destroyed within a 30 (90?) day period after you make the purchase. Information that makes it impossible to refund the money directly to you. You understand of course, don't you?

If the government gets the money id be tempted to say they don't need it but we all know that isn't true!

Actually not true, but again, it is important you continue to think that. It justifies future shakedowns of corporations for filthy lucre.

<-- the irony of a digital copy of Fahrenheit 451 is not lost on me

Tom 13

Re: @Roger Stenning

Yes that is common sense. However I would say there is a world of difference between

"If the following evidence can..." and "I believe the government will..."

The first leaves open the possibility of impartiality. The second one? Not so much. She's supposed to have the good sense to know the difference.

Daft tweet by Speaker Bercow's loquacious wife DID libel lord

Tom 13

Re: Unacceptable decision

Being a 'Merkin, I'd draw the line at "know or ought to know to be false" with the reasonable man standard. But I'd say she still crossed that line. And I wish we held public officials on this side of the pond to that standard. So given a choice between our law and UK law, I'd have to pick UK on this one.

Tom 13

Re: An honest question...

Increasing traffic.

For example, more and more people are searching for "anonymous coward" and "trending" on Google.

Tom 13

Re: Britain is pathetic

As I stated above, in the US this would be par for the course in politics. And as seems to be the case in this example, it is usually a leftist insinuating something about a conservative. So for me the expectation in this case would be that the accused has to take it like a man, denounce the libel/slander in public, and defend himself as best as he is able given that the media will also be against him.

So I have to applaud the UK on this one. Here in the States we had a far worse case. We had a District Attorney go after a couple who ran a day care center. The children were coached on how to testify. The couple was convicted and at the time the public was of the opinion that at the very least the key should have been thrown away. Some years later after one of the children had grown up, for some reason they revisited the case and realized what happened. They were legally exonerated, but their lives were ruined. Charges of pedophilia are (thankfully) serious matter to serious people. Those kinds of charges shouldn't be thrown around lightly.

Tom 13

Re: How is it defamatory

You'd need to be a 'Merkin who was unaware of the reports (like I was before reading this article) for any chance at it being an innocent question. And if I were a 'Merkin claiming that as a defense and I included an "innocent smiley face" or worse "angelic smiley face" in my tweet, you'd pretty much have me for perjury were I to make such a claim in court.

Tom 13

Re: The Law is an Ass

The trending topics section is accurately reporting on what people are tweeting. It therefore has a large measure of protection. I expect that for the UK site the result would be an letter/notice requesting possibly requiring a court to issue a take down notice if the tweeting itself was libelous. Normally the point of the UK law seems to be to sue all those who are involved in promoting the libel. This is course the plaintiff was headed until he realized what a horrendous cost it would be to pursue.

Little of that would apply in the US, where the standards for libel are much looser (almost non-existent in some cases, especially public figures and as far as I can tell, none for elected public officials).

Tom 13

Re: That tweet read like a question?

Given the "innocent smiley face" yes, that moves it from question to dig.

Of course, being from the other side of the pond, this is all very strange to me. That innuendo accusation was par for the course for explicit accusations over here.

What I find more offensive is that the so called news agencies which are the actual source of the accusation seem to be being held to a much less severe standard. But that's true on this side of the pond as well.

US Senator introduces 'Patent Abuse Reduction Act'

Tom 13

Re: no working prototype to support the application, no frakking patent.

While I emotionally concur with your impulse, given that it was once required to do just that, I think there are practical reasons outside of the law. IIRC the patent office was running into storage issues related to processing patents when the requirement was still in place.

Perhaps a better place to start would be requiring that the patent clerks examining a given application need to have an engineering degree directly related to the patent request at hand.

And I'd personally like to see some patent categories (business process would be top of my list) eliminated. Not so big on software patents as I think they actually make more sense than software copyrights in most instances (OS/word processors/spreadsheets seem more machine like while Everquest seems more copyright), but concur that having both is a recipe for disaster.

Tom 13

Re: encourages the party that would eventually loose out

You really need to remove the rose colored glasses.

The loser won't necessarily be the troll.

Tom 13

Re: Real substantial reform

Particularly given that while there may be broad agreement that the current system is broken, there is likely to be a great variety of opinion about the proper method of correcting it.

For instance, I generally agree with the proposal as presented in this article, but think the bit about loser pays has a great deal more risk than its proponents think it does. I think that because they can initially afford the better lawyers, the abusers are likely to still go after the small fry and score a bonus in that not only do they get money from the small fry, they also get to decrease their expenses for lawyers. I'd much rather see the system be corrected by granting judges more latitude in granting those damages if they have cause to believe the law is being abused. Even at that I would be worried the judges would still show too much deference to either not awarding lawyers expenses or would favor the trolls over legitimate organizations.

'Catastrophic failure' of 3D-printed gun in Oz Police test

Tom 13

Re: Being afraid of things you don't understand is counter-productive.


Having stuck their heads in the sand, the rubes were feeling much better until you posted that.

Tom 13

@AC 24 May 13 14:28 GMT

Yeah, but since it showed up under Eadon's name it will get a lot of down votes as a result of Pavlovian down votes from low information reg readers.

Tom 13

Re: @Don Jefe A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

Probably the instant background check with the NCIC.

Contrary to hoplophobic rhetoric, the NRA isn't against keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, and this is a means that has been endorsed by them. The key components are that the feds don't get to keep the record and they aren't legally allowed to convert it to an electronic database.

Tipsters exposed after South Africa's national police force hacked

Tom 13

Re: Not so fast you lot....

The tactics and complete disregard for possible mushrooms (that would be innocent bystanders to most of us) are completely in keeping with previous behavior attributed to the collective.

Tom 13

Re: Arizona laws requiring immigrants to carry documents at all times

If you live in the US, you pretty much do have to carry "papers" all the time that would prove who you are. I expect it's mostly the same in the UK, only you don't think of it that way. Over here we mostly call them 'drivers licenses' although a few states have opted to issue them to illegals and thus undermined their validity. You need them to drive a car, buy alcohol, cigarettes and usually to cash a check. If you apply for a job, you not only need one of these*, you also need your Social Security Card*.

These things are known by those who denigrate others as "cockroaches," but they don't like to let facts get in the way of their two minute hates.

*There are alternates for each of these, but the noted option is usually the easiest to supply.

Penguin pays $75m to settle ebook price-fixing case

Tom 13

Re: no wrongdoing...

I've been in the board room when the lawyers layout the road in front of you on a litigation issue. In my case the presentation went something like this: 'Right now it's going to cost X just to get started. If they're smart they'll settle quickly. But if we have to press the issue it is going to cost 1.5 to 3X before we get to a point where they might actually settle." And finally "If we have to take it to court it is going to cost 10 to 20X and even though I think we should win, once you get in front of the jury there are no guarantees."

At which point everybody in the board room has to do a gut check and we were pretty sure ours was a slam dunk case. If you get the option to make the case go away for .5X and your lawyers say you are in an at best 50-50 position on winning, you'll probably take the deal if you don't have to admit guilt.

'Leccy car biz baron Elon Musk: Thanks for the $500m, taxpayers...

Tom 13

Re: China has two advantages,

You forgot their third an most important one:

Their government doesn't really care how many people they kill getting it done.

I don't see that as a good thing.

Tom 13

Re: Why are people so against innovation in the US?

It's simple:

against government funding of private corporations =/= against innovation

And that won't change no matter how many times you and Herr Himmler assert its reverse.

Tom 13

@Thomas 4

1) If you're claiming government profitability from Musk because of a government "investment" you have to count all the government "investments" before you tally the profit. Because that's how it works in REAL investment companies.

2) Your point is completely irrelevant. The relevant point is government picking and choosing winners. Like they did with IRS tax exempt groups.

3) If I could power a car with unicorn farts I could make a fortune. I don't have a supply of unicorn farts and you don't have supply of cars saving a wad of cash for anyone. In fact, you've got a lot of cars costing wads of money from tax payers who aren't necessarily rich, even if it is progressive to meet your perverted definition of fairness.

4) ---

5) No, you don't get to ignore bad results and only count good ones. Doesn't work that way at the blackjack tables either.

Tom 13

Re: I'm pretty sure profit means, well, profit.

Yeah, that's what Meatloaf thought too.

Then he got screwed over by the record companies, had to declare personal bankruptcy. Fortunately he learned how to read the financials and contracts for his future gigs, but I understand it was a hellishly painful experience.

Tom 13

Re: with GM's biggest problem being its finance business.

I suppose I should say two out of three ain't bad, but that wouldn't be true. GM's biggest problem was not it's finance branch, and in fact has not been fixed even at this point. GM's biggest problem was and still is it's unfunded liabilities for retirement benefits. This has simply been papered over to protect The Big 0's union cronies.

Tom 13

Re: When TVs were first invented

TVs, phones, CDs were all generate from private venture capital from people who had money they could afford to put at risk. These car loans are coming from people who are living paycheck to paycheck and could probably better spend that money if government weren't taking it from them under threat of physical violence for non-compliance.

Tom 13

@Nick Thompson

1) An expensive car would be a $20,000 car that because of the new tech cost $40,000 instead. Not a $50,000 car that goes up to $90,000.

2) Economics is about the efficient allocation of resources. Please tell me you haven't consumed so much of the Kool-Aid you think ANY government program is efficient.

3) And as long as they do that without pilfering from the little guy first, I'm fine with that. But give point #2 above how exactly is it that you know the loan wouldn't have create 10,000 direct jobs elsewhere in the economy with even more indirect employees and worldwide shipping? Hell if OBozo would stop blocking the Keystone pipeline you'd have real investors willing to risk that kind of money you'd get at least the 10,000 person level of employment at no government cost at all.

4) Stop projecting your own faults onto others.

Tom 13

Re: Note that difference *loan* (with interest) versus old car maker (2nd or 3rd) bailout.

Ford wasn't part of TARP. Technically, neither was Chrysler who were sold off to Daimler unless you're going all the way back to Reagan for the Chrysler loan (and that one was actually paid off with interest from profits). GM was the one that needed the most recent bailout.

And TARP changed everything. Nobody is really putting their money where their mouth is anymore, because we now have a permanent expectation that if you are politically well connected, your losing bet will be protected by the government.

Tom 13

Re: talking about George Bush's TARP program

George may have been forced to sign the papers, but it was a Democrat plan all the way. With The Big 0 making all of the important decisions about how it was spent.

There was crap W did that I didn't like. In fact bending over for the Dems on this issue is one of them. But I do recognize that he was acting in what he deemed an honorable fashion. He deemed that he lost the argument about what government was supposed to do when the Dems took over both houses in 2006, so he should implement their fiscal policy. I said then and maintain now that policy was a huge mistake. But I don't fault the man for trying to uphold his personal code of honor.

Tom 13

Re: You may have a problem with the rich paying through the nose

I've got no problem with the rich buying whatever they want to with their money (check my posting history). I have an objection to somebody picking my pocket to finance a high risk venture to create those toys. If Musk had done it wall with venture capital from those rich who want the toys I'd have fewer problems. If we hadn't had the bailouts [ (Chrysler + GM) and TARP ] at the point where it was all venture capital I wouldn't have any problem with it at all.

Okay, I might point at the tree huggers and make fun of them, but I wouldn't actually have an objection about how they spent their money.

Tom 13

Re: The article says it was paid back with interest.

They said the same thing about our supposed investment in GM. That was a lie too. If Musk's bet starts to fumble, I expect there will be yet another bailout with my pocket getting picked for it again.

Tom 13

Re: Seems the US is far keener on electric cars than us Brits.

If you are getting your impressions from media coverage I suppose you might get that impression. The actual people in the US aren't as demonstrated by the abysmal sales numbers for electric cars, even with huge government subsidies. Most of what I know about actual UK thinking I get from El Reg comments an certain news site blogs, so I don't know about actual British thoughts on electric cars. They might well be more interested in them than the UK press is.

Tom 13

Sorry Mr. Musk, but I'm not impressed. In fact I'm not even happy about this.

If you had paid it back from profits then I would have been impressed.

I'll grant I would have been happy about this BT*, but we are now AT**. So I don't see that I'm not still at risk for getting my wallet lightened if your business suddenly starts to falter. Not exactly your fault, but that's where we're at.

*Before TARP

**After TARP

Feds slam hacker-friendly backdoors in jalopy, grub factories

Tom 13

@Andrew Jones 2

Yeah, cause that worked so well to stop Stuxnet.

I do sympathize with the vendors. You send out the kit and some clueless git calls you after they've bolluxed the system wanting you to remote in to fix it. Only they don't know a working access code so what do you do? If you have a backdoor, you have an avenue for repairs.

But the security daemons are correct, it's a huge gaping hole. And while it might not be bright neon lights to your typical Anonymous LUser, it is for the threat you really should be concerned about: state entities or groups sponsored by them.

US power grid the target of 'numerous and daily' cyber-attacks

Tom 13

Re: It might help if anyone really gave a damn!

And that should probably start with the biggest problem in this story:

Congressmen Ed Markey (D-MA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA)

Those two are barely capable of tying their own shoes let alone tackling securing the power infrastructure. Somebody on their staff must have told them they'd get good press out of pushing the issue. And now they have.

Tom 13

Re: Working OK?

That was one of my thoughts. Here are some others:

How tough are the minimal NERC standards?

A soldier might only meet the minimum Ranger physical fitness standards, but that's still probably a hell of a log higher than the Surgeon General's recommended minimum fitness standards. Of course NERC's standards might be the same as Homer Simpson's minimum physical fitness standards too.

If I were implementing tougher standards than NERC, would I necessarily want a Congresscritter knowing that?

Corollary question: would I want world + dog to know that? Because if Congresscritter does now, they will soon.

What constitutes an attack?

Do they have threat levels for attacks?

If they do have threat levels, what does the distribution of attacks look like?

One generally assumes that if you are meeting and exceeding published standards or Industry Best Practices, that you are safer than places where it is ignored. But I have worked in places that didn't have the official certs that were pretty secure and I worked at places that had the certs and were quite the opposite.

Prenda lawyers miss sanctions deadline

Tom 13

Re: failure to comply will result in additional sanctions

I wonder how far down that list disbarment is?

More than half of Windows 8 users just treat it like Windows 7

Tom 13

Re: criticising Microsoft for creating a market opportunity

It's the correct application of the word "required" that presents the problem. Stacker wasn't required for Windows 3.x to work, but some users thought it made the software better. QEMM wasn't required for Windows 3.x to work, but it was a pretty handy tool for most users, even as MS kept breaking it to kill it because their tool was crap.

Press exposure of Federal data security hole leads to legal threats

Tom 13

Re: Obama surprisingly is right up there

Nothing surprising about so long as you aren't one of the ones who was blind in the first place.

We told you these were the sorts of tactics he used to run unopposed in Chicago. You said we were just whining.

We told you he would do the same in the White House. You said we were racists.

We told you he lied in Fast and Furious. You said we were neanderthals and deserved no attention.

We told you he saw nothing wrong with Wright's "sermons." You said we were backwards Bible thumpers.

We told you he was using the IRS to harass his political opponents before the election. You said we were cry babies and should man up.

We told you he was covering up something in Benghazi. You said he did nothing of the sort and we were just trying to politicize something that ought not be politicized.

Open your eyes and smell the freezer burn for a change. Because there are two important differences between Nixon and The Big 0:

1) Nixon didn't cause someone to die as part of his coverup of the Watergate break in.

2) The press were trying to give him the boot from the day he was elected instead of cover for him because he was their messiah.

Tom 13

Re: "Sophisticated"....

Well in all fairness I've heard there are some pretty sophisticated algorithms backing the Google search...

Tom 13

Re: Beware Sophistication

Maybe the spellchecker fixed the original input:


James Bond inspires US bill to require smart guns for all

Tom 13

Re: there will be a black market where crims can trade stolen/illegal weapons

Why black market the weapons when it is probably easier and safer to black market in ID cards?

Except of course for the weapons you couldn't buy with an ID card.

Sony's board debates breaking up with Spider-Man

Tom 13

Re: People under the age of 30 today

I'm well over 30 and the only thing positive I associate with Sony is the Walkman, which is long dead technology.

I suppose something in the PS/x series might qualify for some people, but frankly I associate that with those damnable game controllers that don't work for me. I want a big honking joystick/rollerball (or more) and lots of big friendly red or yellow buttons like Atari use to put in their arcade games.

Tom 13

Re: Companies are generally better off being focussed on a core set of operations.

Your mileage may vary depending on the definition of 'core operations.'

For instance, a division that grows kidney beans, chilli peppers and beef might integrate well with a division that cooks, cans, and distributes US style chilli. Whereas it wouldn't work well with a division that makes white wine.

The real key is whether or not within your organization you have levels at which core operations are the focus. Even within a company diversification can help stabilize short term problems. The issue is, when you are "borrowing" money from your profitable division to tide over the unprofitable one, you have to be fixing whatever is broken at the unprofitable one. If not, you have to either close the unprofitable one, or spin it off to someone who thinks they can fix it.

IBM puts supercomputer Watson to work in ROBOT CALL CENTRE

Tom 13

Re: Call Centre Evolution

Under mid 2000s you forgot the bit where after the 4th transfer (and you think you are finally headed to the level 3 tech who can ignore the scripts) the phone goes dead.

Irish deputy PM: You want more tax from Apple? Your problem, not ours

Tom 13

Re: dont buy their products

What, and miss out on the lowest priced opportunity on cool tech?

/end sarc

Tom 13

Re: Why can't governments use import duties to discourage this?

Also, import duties like sales taxes tend to have maximum limits in the neighborhood of 12%. Much above that and smuggling or other avoidance becomes common place and nullifies your revenue increase. In fact, without automatic withholding it is doubtful any country could maintain their confiscatory income tax rates. Similarly, the most valuable thing about the VAT tax is it hides the real cost of government and allows the pols to blame price gouging corporations for the high cost of goods.

Tom 13

Re: what prevents the government of country A

the same thing that thwarts states from collecting sales taxes from stuff bought on the internet in the US: it costs more to enforce the law than it would generate in revenues. You have to go after each and every offender and successfully prosecute them.

Tom 13

Re: would it have covered the £5 billion we gave Ireland last year?

Start from a false premise and you can't prove anything.

The UK can't recover "the taxes due" because if it wasn't Ireland it would be some other low tax country. That's why the socialists keep chasing the chimera of unified international tax policy.

Tom 13

Re: No, no

Well-known, yes. Clearly intended, not necessarily.

For instance, the easiest way to solve the corporate tax avoidance problem is to set the corporate income tax level to zero. You would then plan to get all of you money via sales, vat, or personal income taxes, or some combination thereof. The new problem is that you get some yahoo (saw him on a morning news show way back when I was in middle school) who doesn't take a salary, lives in a hotel room paid for by his company and has conducts business at all of his meals so he can eat on the company dime as well. The end result is he lives in the lap of luxury and pays no taxes. Now maybe I could construct some test so that if you don't have taxable income your company expenses become taxable income, but I expect we'd soon be past the second side of your sheet of paper.

Now, I happen to be a proponent of the no corporate income tax plan and would prefer a flat income tax with a single fixed exclusion at the bottom. If pressed I could write several pages about why. But I don't have any illusions that what I'd like to see would easily fit on a sheet of paper after you are done working out enforcement considerations.

Tom 13

Re: accountants and lawyers fail to achieve a substantially reduced rate

That's what Apple did and what the loons are kvetching about.

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