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Comment: Why should they? (Score 2, Interesting) 316

by doghouse41 (#47738111) Attached to: For Microsoft, $93B Abroad Means Avoiding $30B Tax Hit

So why this assumption that they should be paying tax on this money to the US taxman?
Presumably it was all earned outside of the US.
As a UK taxpayer, I'd be much happier if they would pay UK tax on it (maybe we should offer them a deal - 1% of something is a better deal than 50% of nothing ;-)
And no doubt French, German, Japanese, Australian, etc tax payers would feel the same way.

So what's so special about the Americans?

Comment: More like 34 years (Score 2) 111

by doghouse41 (#46326867) Attached to: The Ever So Unlikely Tale of How ARM Came To Rule the World

Strange - I can recall discussions of the ARM chip at university back in the early 80's. Either that makes be ten years younger than I though :-) - or someone has their dates wrong.

As I recall (and correct me if I'm wrong) there was a company called Acorn Computer's which produced the BBC Micro - a 6502 based machine.
The 6502 was long in the tooth even in those days (dating back at least to the Commodore Pet ca. 1976).
RISC was flavour of the month in those days, so they set out to create their own RISC based architecture for the next generation of BBC Micro (the Archimedes).

No doubt they had a little help from the local technical college (aka the Cambridge University computing department)

Comment: Re:Mother of BSE (Score 1) 539

by doghouse41 (#43411325) Attached to: Margaret Thatcher Dies At 87

I'm from the UK, but I've lived in Germany in the early '90's. You are right that Germany has a well regulated system. Unfortunately what the UK had in the 70's bore little resemblance to that well regulated German system.

However, as I never tired of pointing out to my German colleagues at the time, unemployment in the UK was actually lower than in Germany (and this was before the merger with the East).

Since that time Germany has been through a lot of deregulation which has brought it closer to the UK model.

I'm not saying that the UK would not benefit from the German focus on good education and training, but it's not all roses on the German side of the fence either.

Comment: Re:Good riddance (Score 1) 539

by doghouse41 (#43411201) Attached to: Margaret Thatcher Dies At 87

You're contradicting yourself:

On the one hand you are saying that the only thing that counts is actually making stuff, and if something was designed in the UK and made elsewhere this does not count (e.g. Dyson)

On the other hand you say "I don't count Jap assembly plants in the UK, because the clever designing is done elsewhere and those plants are just chimps banging things together"

You can't have it both ways!
We live in a globalised economy, get used to it! Or move to North Korea if you don't like it.

Comment: Agree to disagree (Score 1) 539

by doghouse41 (#43393249) Attached to: Margaret Thatcher Dies At 87

I think the only thing that we all agree on is that you either loved or hated her.

To some she wrecked the country, threw millions out of work, destroyed their communities.

To others she freed us from the shackles of socialism, faced down the union barons, and made Britain stand tall in the world again.

We will not see her like again.

Comment: Re:Interesting observation because MS != Apple (Score 1) 391

by doghouse41 (#43378349) Attached to: Apple Devices To Outsell Windows For First Time Ever In 2013

I absolutely agree with Steve Jobs on this one.

Ask a group of people what they want, find what seems like a compromise that everyone likes, and you will end up with a camel. (aka Metro)

Alternatively, you could go out, design what you think a lot of people will want once they see the final product, and you end up with an iPhone (or Linux, come to that). People see it once it's finished, and then say "I could never have imagined something that cool, I want one"

This is where Jobs is coming from when he says "people don't know what they want". It doesn't mean that he is forcing them to take some POS that they don't really want.
He is just stating the fairly obvious truth that the majority of us are not capable of visualising a complex product such as an iPhone in all it's detail. But if you produce something really really good then people will want it, even if they didn't know that they wanted it before they saw it. In the same way that people want Mercedes and BMW cars, or Phillipe Stark watches, or any other beautiful, well designed product. (And while opinions may vary on whether any of these products are beautiful or well designed, at least enough people think that they are to make the companies that produce them rich.)

There's a lot to be said for the benevolent dictator for life approach. As long as they are benevolent. And right.(and called Linus ;-)

Comment: There is no good second language (Score 1) 514

by doghouse41 (#42337607) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: 2nd Spoken/Written Language For Software Developer?

OK, I'm a native English speaker, but when I worked in Germany earlier in my career I did learn to speak German fairly fluently, and I have managed to keep it up over the years.
I'm not sure though that this has been of any subsequent benefit in all the years since (mainly working in the UK for various companies).
Maybe once every couple of years I get asked to translate something from German, or talk to someone in Germany. Probably not even that often, and hardly career defining. It's biggest use these days is on skiing holidays in Austria.

Despite working for some fairly major international firms, I can't really think of any other major language that would have been beneficial in my career. (French/Spanish/Russian/Japanese/Chinese/Hindu/Arabic??) The computing world runs on English (certainly at a technical level) and if you are a native English speaker, you should be able to work anywhere in the world in the industry.
Beyond the point of communicating with native speakers, the only real benefit of learning a language is the intellectual exercise that it gives you, and the fact that it will improve your understanding of your mother tongue.

So if you are going to go to the trouble of learning a second langauge, do not do it for career reasons. Do it because you want to learn that language, because you want to absorb a bit of the culture, possibly to go and work in a country where the language is spoken, or because you have a girlfriend/boyfriend whose mother tongue it is.

Comment: What power supply? (Score 2) 543

by doghouse41 (#41345581) Attached to: iPhone 5 Scorns Standards Promise To European Commission

Actually I think that Apple go one better than the EU standard. A lot of iDevices (such as the nano, touch?) ship without a charger. All you get is a cable to connect your iDevice to a standard USB port on a computer or USB charger wall-wart (which you can purchase separately in the unlikely event that you don't already have one).

Result - no power supply to throw away at the end of life.

As to the change from the old 30-pin connector to lightning - I think that was going to happen anyway at some point. How many Samsung/Nokia/LG/Motorola phones have kept the same connector for the last 10 years? Devices have come down in size to the point where making them any smaller (or thinner) would have been impossible withoug getting rid of the old connector.

What most people care about is that their new iDevice comes with a cable that they can use to connect it to a computer/wall wart for charging purposes.
So long as Apple keep the same connector format for the next 10 or so years, accessoies will catch up quite quickly. I don't see most people having a problem with that.

Comment: Beautiful - but noisy (Score 1) 403

by doghouse41 (#40787715) Attached to: Flight 4590 Didn't Kill the Concorde; Costs Did

I was lucky enough to live about 20 miles out from Heathrow, under Concorde's flight path for the last 10 years of it's operational life. We were more or less under the point where planes started their final approach to the airport and it was not uncommon to have Concorde fly directly over our house.

Most modern planes were barely noticable - the most annoying sound was that of the flaps coming down at quarter past six in the morning as the first flights came in to land.

However, Concorde had a very distinctive sound - and very loud compared to other modern planes. You could hear it, know what it was and set your watch knowing that it was 7:20 in the evening.

It was however a glorious sight, enough to lift your mood on its own if you were lucky enough to be outside when it flew over (either on its way out to the US in the evening, or preparing its approach to Heathrow).
There was no sight quite like a speedbird passing overhead. Pictures and video can't quite convey the sheer elegance and sheer beauty of this plane. Nothing else comes close. And it was so fast. Other planes lumbered overhead - Concorde flashed past like a glorious white arrowhead.

Having also lived on the English Channel I can also tell you that the sonic boom was quite loud and distinctive - enough to rattle the windows from even 30 or 40 miles away.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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