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The Internet

Hungary To Tax Internet Traffic 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-to-kill-your-youtube-habit dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Hungarian government has announced a new tax on internet traffic: 150 HUF ($0.62 USD) per gigabyte. In Hungary, a monthly internet subscription costs around 4,000-10,000 HUF ($17-$41), so it could really put a constraint on different service providers, especially for streaming media. This kind of tax could set back the country's technological development by some 20 years — to the pre-internet age. As a side note, the Hungarian government's budget is running at a serious deficit. The internet tax is officially expected to bring in about 20 billion HUF in income, though a quick look at the BIX (Budapest Internet Exchange) and a bit of math suggests a better estimate of the income would probably be an order of magnitude higher.

Comment: Re:Boil it down to cost (Score 1) 100

by plover (#48200901) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

You have essentially lead them into making the decision that you want them to make.

I agree with everything except your conclusion. It's not a contest, with a winner and loser. Everyone at the table needs to be trying to serve the users and business interests. Once the goals and requirements come out, it may turn out his initial decision was not the best. It's about cooperating to deliver the best fit solution that meets everyone's requirements to the maximum extent practical.

To that degree, it often helps not to look at it as a process of compromise; it's better to think that you're all agreeing to deliver the most important stuff.

Comment: Boil it down to cost (Score 5, Insightful) 100

by plover (#48197639) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

A couple of years ago, I was asked to be the registration chair for a national event, which we successfully held this spring. All previous events had been run strictly on paper-and-pencil mail-in forms, but that involves a lot of manual work, including a lot of last minute work at the event door. I looked long and hard at various open source and commercial event management offerings, and I spoke to other people who ran similar events. Based on recommendations from other event organizers, I landed on regonline as a good blend of features and customizability, even though it was a bit expensive (though they offer a discount for a 501(c)(3) organization.) What it came down to for me was effort. I wouldn't have time to set up all the hosting needed, to install and configure the software, or to integrate with a payment gateway, and I got a lot of really valuable features from their system. I didn't want us to make our attendees suffer through hour-long lines at a registration booth. And I was able to provide instant reports to the conference chair, who used them to help run the event smoothly.

Something it sounds like you need to do here is figure out "who is the Registration Chair"? If it's you, your only question to the Event Chair should be "what is my budget?" Base your solution on the bottom line. If your budget is $5/registrant, and it includes lanyards and ID cards, your options are wide open. If your budget is $0.50/registrant, and you have to use a box of old "Hello my name is..." stickers, your options are a bit more limited. The important thing is: the Registration Chair is in charge of registration. He or she decides how to best solve the problem, not "here are some random developers, you must write us a site."

One thing that still isn't clear is why you would have to "write" a new site. It sounds like you created one a few years ago, and then another, and then another. I realize your group is a precious snowflake, completely unique in the world, but events really are just events. They all have web sites, registrants, admins, venues, agenda items, merchandise, travel, lodging, taxes, payments, receipts, badges, volunteers, and reports. And there is nothing in that list you can't get from the marketplace. Ultimately, if you absolutely can't use a packaged solution because of [illogical rationale], you should only need to have someone reconfigure the existing site. That's a lot less effort, perhaps not much more than c/2014/2015/g

Finally, if you're taking payments on line, you're going to run into extra effort and risk to interface with them. No matter what, you really, really don't want to be responsible for someone else's credit cards. Not these days. The risk is more than you can imagine. If that's something you can foist off on a third party, you'll keep a ton of liability out of your organization.

Comment: Re:Water frequency interference (Score 4, Informative) 51

by schnell (#48182899) Attached to: Gigabit Cellular Networks Could Happen, With 24GHz Spectrum

You're correct. The wavelength of Ka-band frequencies (26-40 GHz) happens to line up nicely with the size of a raindrop in flight. That leads to more atmospheric signal attenuation, but isn't necessarily a deal-breaker; it just means you need a bigger dish to receive it and a more powerful transmitter for the return channel. (The new generation of high-speed satellite Internet services all use Ka band, despite the "rain fade" issues, because the higher frequency enables higher data rates.) In the past, the satellite industry tended to rely on lower frequency bands (such as Ku and C) to save costs on dish/transmitter size because of this concern.

For a cellular service where you're looking laterally at a tower instead of straight up into the sky, the weather issue should be less of a big deal. However, you should note that any frequency that high up will have a very very hard time penetrating indoors through anything thicker than a single-pane window. So expect that this will be used for fixed home Internet applications where a receiver can be permanently mounted outdoors or near a window, rather than traditional cellphone usage that can happen anywhere you go indoors or outdoors.

Comment: Re:And meanwhile (Score 2) 85

by plover (#48178153) Attached to: India Successfully Launches Region-Specific Navigation Satellite

Yes, many of India's people are impoverished. That condition has existed for thousands of years. Instead, look at the rate at which India has been lifting her people out of poverty. Forty years ago, less than 5% were wealthy, and she had virtually no middle class. Today, about a third of the people are middle class or wealthier. That means that about 400,000,000 people are a whole lot better off than their grandparents.

They won't ever be able to eradicate poverty with the signing of a law, or with a "government cheese" kind of program. Instead, they know it takes a long time, and a strong competitive nation to provide her citizens with opportunities to lift themselves up. India has not been squandering her new independence. It's not perfect, it's not corruption-free, it's not smooth, and it's not fast. But what they have done in the last few decades has been nothing short of amazing.

Comment: Re:GPS (Score 2) 85

by plover (#48178115) Attached to: India Successfully Launches Region-Specific Navigation Satellite

I think we can safely assume that since Indian engineers are designing and building the chips they'll be using in their own system, it would certainly be possible for them to build their own GPS receivers that aren't subject to the American munitions export restrictions on velocity and altitude. They are doing this strictly for independence from all foreign influences.

Comment: Re:Region-Specific (Score 4, Interesting) 85

by plover (#48178031) Attached to: India Successfully Launches Region-Specific Navigation Satellite

You jest, but it's a real problem they are solving by creating their own Indian standard time infrastructure.

The entire system is being designed, built, launched, flown, and operated in India, by Indians, with absolutely no foreign dependencies. Having been burned more than a few times in their short existence by various nations who disagreed with their internal decisions, they take their independence very seriously. This is slightly different than the average American who pretty much takes their own independence for granted these days.

Comment: Re:Why not? When you have kids.. (Score 1) 322

by plover (#48170273) Attached to: Court Rules Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook

Civil disobedience is an option, but it generally requires popular support. When Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus, there were a lot of people who agreed that it was an unjust law, and supported her. If he tries that with libel and slander laws, he'll likely find that most people would rather not be lied to, they would not like granting random strangers the freedom to post photoshopped pictures of them smoking crack and costing them their jobs, and ultimately would not support repealing the law.

The Supreme Court has found many cases of unprotected speech, including threats, extortion, incitement, and this goes way back. They have long held that freedom of speech is not absolute.

Now, the laws regarding intentional infliction of emotional distress are new, and are pretty awful. There are other laws that could used to prosecute harassment, and so I can see those eventually being challenged. But libel and slander? Those go all the way back to English law, and at least as of today, they help keep a civil society.

So when I suggested he run for office, that was really my way of saying "go away, and spend your time fruitlessly in pursuit of this nonsense."

Comment: Re:Or a simple way to fix it. (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48168471) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

As I stated in my other post, I am not proposing the fair tax, it is most aggressive and does exactly what you say it does. I am proposing a tax system that shifts the burden upwards so that the more income one makes, the more taxes one pays. Fair tax usually is a consumption tax, which is a glorified sales tax. Almost all fair tax proposals includes some kind of payment to the poor to help them out with it. However, if it were truly fair, there wouldn't be a need for this payment.

In the 1960s, when the US had some of its greatest increases in GDP, the tax rate was pretty high. What drove the economy was the purchasing power of the middle class. However, since the 1980s, tax law has shifted more and more of the tax burden onto the middle class, pushing many downward and for those who remain, they have less spending ability because of the higher tax burden. As such, the economy has faltered and for the most part has been sustained by consumer debt to make up for the reduced purchasing power. However, debt financing can only go so far before it catches up to you, like it has now, which is why we have companies reporting record profits, paying record dividends and high unemployment.

The mantra "Don't tax the job creators" is a fallacy. Taxing the wealthy doesn't hurt jobs, if the tax burden is lifted from the middle class. Demand for goods and services creates jobs and most of that demand has come historically from the middle class. Policy in the US should be to restore the middle class, at least if we want a strong economy. No "job creator" is going to higher people if there isn't a demand for the goods and services that the employees provide. On the other hand, they will regardless of the tax burden if there is somebody to consume those goods and services. That's the whole idea behind supply and demand.

The "fair tax" is anything but fair. We need to return to a system that taxes people based on their ability to support the needs of the society they are in. That is the system that built America and made it strong.

Comment: Re:Or a simple way to fix it. (Score 1) 832

by Dcnjoe60 (#48168011) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

How is that increasing the burden on the middle class? It actually balances the burden between middle class and wealthy so that Warren Buffet's secretary no longer pays more taxes than he does.

It's increasing the burden on the middle class because it's decreasing the burden on the poor and on the wealthy. Tax revenues aren't going to appear out of thin air, they're going to have to come from the middle class. The Fair Tax would effectively eliminate any taxes paid by Mr. Buffet, as he only actually spends a tiny, negligible proportion of his income, and that is the only portion of his income that would be taxable under a consumption tax. Proportionally, his secretary spends a much greater share of her income (nearly all of it), so unless she's hovering very near the poverty line, a larger proportion of her income would be going towards taxes.

It is not decreasing the burden on the middle and upper classes. If anything, the lower to middle middle class will see a slight decrease. The upper middle class will be about the same as they are now. The upper class, however, will see an increase because the many loopholes and deductions that allow for them to have a lower effective tax rate than the middle class would be eliminated.

Let's say Buffet's secretary makes $60,000/yr and is in a family of 4. Deduct the $36,000 from that for the poverty level plus 25% portion and she pays tax on $24,000. She is being taxed on 40% of her income. Say one of his managers makes $200,000 with a family of 4, after removing the poverty level, she is taxed on $164,000 on 82% of her income. Buffet, making millions would be taxed on virtually all of his income. But the reality is that everybody gets the same poverty level allowance, so everybody gets the same break.

That is also the main reason such a proposal is unlikely to pass -- the upper class is the ones that politicians cater to and it is unlikely they will go for a plan that increases their taxes, no matter how fair it might be. (It also explains the overwhelming support for the "fair" tax by the upper class, because it actually reduces their tax burden further).

Comment: Re:Wonder How Much? (Score 3, Interesting) 292

by schnell (#48165521) Attached to: Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales

uh... have you seen the state of Detroit lately?

"Detroit" is only nominally the home of the auto industry, and is maintained by Ford and GM as a brand of sorts to evoke classic American cars.

Other than executive offices, all the big auto manufacturing plants are situated - and nearly all the workers live - well outside the city itself, in the suburbs where (other than being impacted by Detroit's implosion and the overall Great Recession decline) things are pretty good.

So when you hear someone say "Detroit is fighting Tesla," thats not the case. Detroit couldn't fight Pawnee, Indiana and win two out of three. What they really actually mean is "Detroit" the brand/region, i.e. the corporations that employ hundreds of thousands of Michigan voters - and the suppliers/subcontractors/vendors to those companies, who probably employ as many if not more Michigan residents. So don't take Detroit's colossal f***up as any indication that the power of Ford/GM, its ecosystem and perhaps most importantly the UAW as being diminished in any way.

"We are on the verge: Today our program proved Fermat's next-to-last theorem." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982