Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Contracts (Score 1) 307

Standard contracts for routine purchases can't contain completely unexpected things in the fine print. If the contract said check-out is 9:30 in the morning, that would be surprising, but wouldn't be out of place. If it said that checking out later than 9:30 would automatically add a day to your billed visit, that would be completely unexpected, and the hotel would have trouble enforcing it unless it was in boldface and underlined so it couldn't be missed. There is a difference between a contract negotiated between lawyers, and something that the client has reason to expect is boilerplate standard. Isn't the legal term "an idiot in a hurry" or something similar? IANAL, but the Trading Standards office seems to think the contract was of questionable validity.

Comment Re:If you can't do, sue! (Score 4, Interesting) 124

They didn't threaten him for studying the algorithm, the note is about publishing code that implements their proprietary encryption algorithm. It seems more likely that they are worried about a competitor building compatible devices. If they allowed a freely published GPL implementation to be distributed without challenge, somebody might say that was implicitly approving of its distribution and therefore permitting compatible devices to be legally sold that interact with their proprietary system. I'm not sure whether that would hold up in court, but it would certainly drag out the proceedings.

From the letter, this isn't shooting the messenger so much as normal protection of a proprietary product. If somebody eventually convinces the public that it's insecure, they will deal with that later; maybe they will even have fixed their systems by then. The important thing for now is that whatever systems are out there are all genuinely from INSIDE Secure.

Comment Re:Of course they're giving a 6-year transition (Score 1) 259

For a more typical example, Starbucks is still fresh in public memory. They sold a lot of coffee in the UK, but made no profit there because their income and expenses were the same, so no UK tax. On the other hand, their Swiss coffee bean distribution business was very profitable. You might say they were paying too much for the beans in order to artificially boost the profits of their Swiss company (low tax) at the expense of their UK company (high tax), but they say that if you want good beans, they cost money, and the high profitability of their bean distribution was because it was a slick, high-quality operation.

Obviously, that's over-simplifying but, even for this version, how do you fix it? For your Microsoft example, who decides how much would be a fair price for Dublin to pay the Redmond business, given that there is no chance of an open bidding process with the single supplier who also happens to own the Dublin company?

Comment Re:Of course they're giving a 6-year transition (Score 2) 259

Taxes should always be paid where the revenue was generated

That's an argument for the U.S.A. closing loopholes that allow companies not to pay tax there. Higher taxes in Ireland won't change the amount of tax due in the U.S.A. It may encourage some companies to declare income differently, which may indirectly cause more tax to be paid in the U.S.A., but if you want the taxes paid where the money was earned, don't look at where it was sent; look at what allowed the companies to claim it wasn't domestic income in the first place.

Comment Re:He wasn't thinking of Google... (Score 1) 124

Why not? I'm pretty sure it was my search engine of choice by some time in 1998. It was just better than Yahoo! (exclamation point is theirs, not mine). Not sure I ever remember liking Alta Vista. You couldn't trade shares in a company called Google, but something called Google was clearly gathering a lot of information and sorting it effectively.

Comment Re:but that's the problem with the turing test... (Score 1) 309

I don't think a chat bot was what Turing had in mind in any case. A bot that was intelligent enough to be able to LEARN and SPEAK well enough that another human couldn't tell the difference between it and another human is the point.

That's why it will be very hard to pass. In the '80s the trick was to ask anything about current affairs because the computer had no real access to information about the world. Now that we have the web, the trick will presumably be to spot someone who is too well-informed. The computer will need to learn how to pretend to know less than it does in order to fit in, which might actually be an appropriate final test to identify intelligence. Unfortunately.

Everything we see now is trying to win the letter of the turing test and ignoring the spirit. Turing's point was that if we can make it able to reason as well as we can we no longer have the right to deny it as intelligent life. Scripts that skip the reasoning and learning part and just try to con the judges are just attempts to cheat at the test.

Thanks for saying it. +1 Insightful.

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.