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Comment Bendix G-15 (Score 1) 620

The oldest computer I programmed was a Bendix G-15, a computer that used a drum for memory and vacuum tubes for logic. I stumbled on it at Cal Poly, a college in California. They said they had traded a jet engine for it.

The documentation for the computer ended with a letter from Bendix saying that Control Data had taken over responsibility for the computer line, and it was henceforth to be known as the CDC Bendix G-15. When I returned to the main part of the campus I told some students that the engineering lab up the hill had a Control Data computer..They were very impressed—they were making do with an IBM 360, whereas Control Data Coropration was well known for their fast comptuers.

Comment I too get someone else's e-mail (Score 1) 213

My name isn't very common, but there is a retired medical professional in California who shares it. I occasionally get e-mail on my gmail account directed at him: I have watched him retire, visit resorts and get his fancy car serviced. I once printed out some correspondence directed at him and sent it to his home address using the US Postal Service, but nothing changed. Sometimes I reply to the e-mail explaining that I am a computer programmer in New Hampshire, not a medical professional in California, and once I got a very polite response thanking me for pointing out the problem. Usually, though, I get no response.

Comment Re:There is another possibility too.. (Score 1) 188

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.'"

International law firm ReedSmith does not appear to have had experience with New Hampshire. When Massachusetts leans on providers who operate in both states to collect Massachusetts sales tax when a Massachusetts resident buys something in New Hampshire, the New Hampshire legislature leans back, making such reporting by the New Hampshire branches illegal.

Some years ago Massachusetts stationed an observer near the parking lot of a New Hampshire liquor store. He would write down the Massachusetts license plates of cars in the lot and relay them to a state trooper just across the state border. When the cars reported would cross the border they would be stopped on a pretext, and fined for having untaxed liquor in the car. New Hampshire stopped this practice by busting the parking lot observer for running a numbers racket.

I predict this case will be similar. The providers will resist collecting the Chicago tax, and if Chicago leans on them, other jurisdictions will lean back.

Comment homes are costly even without a mortgage (Score 1) 940

I live in a modest home in suburban New Hampshire. I've lived here over 40 years, so my mortgage is paid off. Government in New Hampshire is mostly paid for by property taxes, so I probably pay more than homeowners do in places where government has other sources of revenue. My home is worth about $350,000 and I pay a little over $8,000 per year in property taxes. In addition, maintenance, including replacing furniture, averages about $8,000 per year, and fire insurance another $1,800. The furniture replacement cost is highly variable: the average over the last few years has been about $3,500 per year but in 2013 it was less than $1000. You get that kind of fluctuation when you have an old house.

"Suburban" in New Hampshire means you have paved roads which are plowed by the town in the winter but you are not within walking distance of stores and restaurants. "Urban" means you don't need a car for shopping, and "rural" means you plow your own unpaved roads.

Comment Re:Bill Hadley is going to be disappointed (Score 1) 233

I definitely agree that the ability to make commentary anonymously is, and should be protected. I do not agree that intentionally dishonest commentary should be protected, whether it is anonymous or not.

The problem, from the point of view of the accuser, is that he does not trust the court system to judge his intentions. Even though he is honest, he fears that the powerful person he has accused will hire a skilled lawyer like Paul Bergen to persuade the court that he is lying.

Comment Re:Bill Hadley is going to be disappointed (Score 1) 233

Even though I tell the truth, I am still subject to extra-judicial retaliation if someone powerful is hurt by the truth.

Not via libel laws, you're not. And that's what this discussion is about. In the U.S., truth is often described as an "absolute defense" against libel.

Perhaps I misapprehended the subject of the discussion. I was discussing the value of anonymity when issuing accusations.

Comment Re:Bill Hadley is going to be disappointed (Score 1) 233

In any case, even if malice were certain, I do not think it is a good idea to unmask anonymous speakers, even if a court decides that the plantiff would likely prevail in a defamation suit. I feel that the privilege of anonymous criticism of the powerful is precious to our freedom, and I would rather let 1000 liars go unpunished than chill the speech of one Deep Throat.

But this is what I have already said several times: anonymous criticism IS perfectly legal. It's anonymous LIBEL that is not. Criticize all you want, as long as you are telling the truth. But you don't get to legally call somebody a murderer, or a pedophile, or even a thief if you know it isn't true. You keep failing to make the distinction between real criticism and lies.

Even though I tell the truth, I am still subject to extra-judicial retaliation if someone powerful is hurt by the truth.

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid