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Comment: There is another possibility too.. (Score 3, Insightful) 181 181

International law firm ReedSmith weighs in on this point as well: '[O]nce the Department begins to audit and assess customers located within the city, many of those customers are likely to demand that providers collect the tax going forward. As a result, many providers will likely feel the need to register to collect the taxes, despite lacking nexus, and despite having strong arguments against the Department’s expansive interpretation of its taxing ordinances.'"

When the government starts auditing people and dunning for money, their first reaction is going to be, "how do I throw these clowns out of office?", they are not going to make a hue and cry and demand their service providers to collect taxes. These providers are also savvy, they will spend a little on lobbying, fund a few challengers and some incumbents ...

Knowing Chicago it looks more like another shakedown to get some campaign cash than to collect a new tax.

Comment: There is a bug in google SMS+hangout? No! (Score 1) 61 61

Whoever thinks that mess has just one bug? In my android phone it merged SMS and google. Some contacts will allow me choose sms or hangout. Some will give me only hangout and some only MMS. Google, and probably all the small screen players, keep introducing new icons, new clickable, touchable, swipable interfaces. And it is not obvious or intuitive at all. May be the younger generation that seems to be texting all the time get it. But it is quite frustrating to someone who is used to the desktop and mouse for ages, since the days of MicroVAX workstation.

Comment: How did Rockefeller protect his pipe lines? (Score 4, Interesting) 192 192

Rockefeller built up Standard Oil in the era of unfettered capitalism. It was a no holds barred fight. He had secret agreements with railroad companies to undercut his competition in transportation costs. As his oil competitors went bankrupt he picked their properties on the cheap. Then he bypassed the railroad companies by building his own pipelines to transport oil. He had enemies in the oil business, railroad business and his workers. His enemies hounded him for decades and eventually that billionaire was reduced to fleeing in a rickety car dodging federal subpoena. But they did not sabotage his pipelines.

You could understand the railroad companies not sabotaging pipelines because the railroads too have long equally vulnerable railroads and they did not want to trigger retaliatory sabotage from Rockefeller. But his disgruntled bankrupt oil competitors, the labor they would not be above sabotage. It was really war. Carnegie hired the Pinkertons to kill agitating workers. His henchman was shot, and survived, by one of the workers. Corrupt sheriffs would break up labor organizers and the anger and hatred was mutual and ran very deep.

Still, mile after mile of tin pipes traversing and crisscrossing Ohio, Western PA and later Indiana were left unmolested. How was that defended? How could one defend the fiber optic lines?

Comment: Quite understandable. (Score 4, Interesting) 176 176

These people bet their lives on a very risky venture. They must have higher than normal anxiety. It is only natural. Most of the startups fail. A few succeed spectacularly and a few more give non trivial returns. But majority of them face the prospect of closing shop and getting into the daily grind, but five or ten years behind their batch mates. It would be depressing.

Also 7% being depressed in general population is definitely an underestimate. Till Obamacare came along some 40 million Americans had no access to healthcare. (Now that number is believed to be 25 million). Among the rest mental health screening is not covered for most of the lower end plans. Further given the taboo associated with mental illness even those with access do not get checked for depression. It is possible I myself would be diagnosed with depression, if I give the shrinks half a chance. Tech founders typically have enough resources to make it to college. They would get tested more than general population.

I think depression is more prevalent than assumed. And logically there are lots of reasons why most people, young ones more than others, should be depressed.

Comment: Should set the incentive correctly (Score 1) 122 122

When UK used private companies to transport convicts to Australia, it initially paid a lump sum per convict. The voyage and conditions were appalling and a huge percentage of them died at sea. No amount of rule making could prevent it as it was nearly impossible to enforce the rules. Then the government changed the mode of payment. A simple change. It started paying only for the convicts reaching Australia alive and well. Suddenly the trends reversed and the ship captains delivered almost all the convicts alive.

NYC should have tied the payments to Verizon to the number of homes wired up or number of customers signed up.

Comment: Pros and Cons are comingled and inseparable (Score 1) 125 125

Any career choice is a bundle of pros and cons. Choose the one that suits your temperament and talent.

You can't get MBA's pay if you avoid meetings like a techie. You can have the freedom to work on what is interesting to you only when you are an academic working for wages far below prevailing industry wages.

If you have some skill/talent where programming/coding acts as force multiplier, you are set. You can be techie all your life. If your only skill is generic programming, be prepared to ward of the young and unwashed masses gunning for your job, try to move out of the way to management.

Comment: It is doing it the wrong way. (Score 5, Insightful) 190 190

What the New York company should do is to create a foreign shell corporation. Then sell the "Work Better" franchise to its own wholly owned foreign subsidiary. Now that foreign investor has standing to sue the federal government for the "loss of potential profits". Best of all the suit will be arbitrated by a council of lawyers, one selected by its cronies in Washington, one by the foreign subsidiary and the third by mutual consent. The same panelists might work as lawyers for other trade disputes at the same time. The lawyers pleading before them could be sitting in other arbitration panels where these panelists are pleading as lawyers. It is all done in a chummy atmosphere with clinking of champagne glasses, silver cutlery on bone china dishes and with Chef Anatole doling out Migonette de poulet petit Duc and Neige aux perles des Alpes with Salade d'endive et de celeri

You can't lose a case there if you tried. And it is not reviewable or appealable to any court in the USA including the Supreme Court.

You think it is a parody from The Onion? It is what TPP does. Only foreign investors can sue the federal government seeking compensation for any change in the law or its implementation by any body (federal, state or local). They can demand compensation for not just actual losses, but for loss of hypothetical future profits their business plan assumed.

Instead these dim wits are appealing to US patent and trade mark office as a domestic investor. Such pointy haired bosses bring shame to all MBAs.

Comment: Re:What Wu does not write: (Score 1) 133 133


When it comes to standards, agreement to follow the standard is as important, sometimes more important than what the standard is. Width of twin beds, or diameters of hose pipes etc, half in inch? or 12 mm? INBD. In more complex products, be it engine lubricant temperature vs viscosity profile or HDTV protocol, we need some impartial body which has no dog in the race to set the standard. SAE for lubricants, ACM for ASCII codes, or IEEE for communication protocols. Further the standards should be free, as in beer, unburdened by IP/patent liability.

What Microsoft did in OO-XML was to encapsulate its old binary data files inside XML tags. Some of the old Word file formats do not have any explicitly defined structure or behavior. If you feed that binary data to old Word executable, what it does is what the standard is. No one else can implement that data without having the actual old Word binary executables. Even if Microsoft agrees to release all the old binary executables for all to use, it still would not run in Linux. Microsoft has lost its original source code, and it could not be recompiled in linux, it looks like. Even Microsoft is not able to get a fully compliant MsOffice for Linux.

It is completely to wrong to claim OO-XML is a "standard" in any definition of "standard" we engineers have come to understand. But Microsoft muddied the well, employed very articulate lawyers to confuse the issue. It was all pointy haired bosses and lawyer talk.

Those days it was difficult to believe that Microsoft could be tamed. But eventually it was

Comment: Re:Taxi licenses are crazy expensive (Score 3, Interesting) 327 327

According to TPP pushed by Obama and supported by GOP, if foreign company invested in these medallions and they lose value because of some change in the law/regulation they can sue the federal government for compensation. This bail out is not available for domestic investors. Only foreign investors can do this. And only the foreign investor has the standing to sue, not unions, not labor activists, not local governments. And they will be judged by fellow lawyers who could be representing other parties at the same time.

Comment: Re:I use bing because I don't want there to be one (Score 1) 133 133

I felt they were just as good as google in the old days. I don't know why google ultimately dominated altavista. They talk about their magical algorithms but every time they're explained in detail it turns out they're neither mysterious nor especially different from what anyone else was doing.

No they were not as good as google in the old days.

It is not mysterious once the algorithm has been explained.

It was significantly different from what others were doing.

If you searched for "battle of midway" in all other engines, they would count how many times the phrase "battle of midway" appears in a web page and rank it based on that number. Google would search all the links in all the web pages that have the phrase "battle of midway" and find the most referred to site for that phrase. That is how it ranked a site. This was radically different. It earned Ph Ds for the founders. That was why Google's "I am feeling lucky" hit was better than first 100 results returned by Altavista.

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." -- Ford Prefect, _Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy_