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Comment: Re:Google doesn't have a monopoly on ANYTHING. (Score 1, Informative) 334

by don.g (#48439119) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Silly question, but is a company which tries very hard to pay no tax on its profits a "legitimate business" or a leech on society?

Yes, I know they do neat stuff, as do many other companies. Yes, many other large companies legally avoid taxes. They're leeches too.

Yours sincerely, someone who likes his tax-funded healthcare and education systems. [can you guess I'm not in the US?]

Comment: Re: Thanks for the fraud, Turbotax (Score 1) 410

In New Zealand most people don't need to file a tax return at all. If you ask the tax department they will send you a Personal Tax Summary which states what they think you earnt and paid in tax. If it says you paid too much they will automatically issue you with a refund.

The only paperwork I do for personal tax is to sent in my donation receipts to get a tax credit. I did this yesterday, took less than half an hour.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 225

by don.g (#47528273) Attached to: Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

I have a similar experience, although there is some stuff I would like to do that's a pain:

* Photo managment with Shotwell -- not enough local storage
* Video editing with PiTiVi -- not enough local storage or horsepower (not that I've tried, don't think crouton/xephyr support video acceleration)

I was going to leave an old PC on to remote into for stuff like that, but it's deciding to be unreliable and I need a way to automatically suspend it to save power.

Comment: Re:It won't matter anyway (Score 1) 78

by don.g (#47249987) Attached to: EU, South Korea Collaborate On Superfast 5G Standards

Wow. I'm in a small city (43,000 inhabitants) in New Zealand, and have fibre at home. NZD99/mo, 30Mbps down, 10Mbps up, really unlimited, no "fair use clause." I could pay another NZD30/mo if I wanted 100Mbps down, 50Mbps up, and those prices are likely to come down pretty soon. The government is funding a rollout of the fibre network to most of the country's urban population.

If I wasn't in a fibre area there's a 50% chance (providing I was urban) I could get VDSL. And if not, I'd still be able to get 10Mbps ADSL2 unless I was somewhere semi-rural, at which point the speeds degrade to what you're getting in Seattle.

I've been to the USA. Your cellular networks have terrible reception -- I remember having no reception in a restaurant in downtown San Francisco -- and are far too expensive. Just as your ISPs are capping your previously unlimited fixed-line connections, ours are uncapping theirs.

Comment: Re:Double, triple, quadruple charging (Score 2) 74

The carrier "2 degrees mobile" in New Zealand does this. They call it "shared data".

It's only available on a pay-per-month plan (which you can get without a term contract). So I can have a phone on a plan, and share with other SIMs/devices that are on prepay, which is $0/month if you don't make calls, or send SMSes.

Comment: He patented the microprocessor, too (Score 4, Informative) 258

by don.g (#46384081) Attached to: Inventor Has Waited 43 Years For Patent Approval

As Wikipedia ( says:

    Gilbert Hyatt was awarded a patent claiming an invention pre-dating both TI and Intel, describing a "microcontroller".[9] The patent was later invalidated, but not before substantial royalties were paid out.[10][11]

And from

    "This patent was later invalidated in a patent interference case brought forth by Texas Instruments, on account that the device it described was never implemented and was not implementable with the technology available at the time of the invention. "

I know that 1990 (when that microprocessor patent was granted) is pre-Slashdot, but srsly, what's happening when patent trolls' whinging is front page news here?

Comment: Re:The key here is "Conference Proceedings" (Score 2) 62

by don.g (#46331343) Attached to: Publishers Withdraw More Than 120 Fake Papers

I have no mod points, so take this as a "me too". CS conferences have prestige and a high impact value -- and the papers in the proceedings are full papers, not just abstracts.

In some other fields (a friend of mine tells me this is what biology is like), conference talks may be submitted with just an abstract, and the proceedings may not contain much more than Powerpoint slides. I've never seen a CS conference where that would be considered remotely acceptable practice.

Comment: Re:riiiight (Score 1) 361

by don.g (#46280645) Attached to: Killing Net Neutrality Could Be Good For You

ISDN has two 64kbps B channels, for audio/data, and one 16kbps D channel, for signalling. You can run a data call using either one or two B channels.

Claiming the service is either 144kbps or 78kbps is pure marketing, as the D channel will not be used for the data portion of the call -- you won't be able to push more than 64kbps or 128kbps of PPP through.

Comment: Re:Let them merge then split (Score 3, Informative) 187

by don.g (#46271939) Attached to: Krugman: Say No To Comcast Acquisition of Time Warner

The trick is to have the lines providers wholesale to the retail ISPs/etc, who then provide CPE. If the service doesn't work, the end user's contract is with their retail service provider, who has to sort it out, no matter where the problem is. That's how it works here in New Zealand on our fancy new fibre network that's slowly replacing the old copper phone network. It's mostly how it worked on the old copper network, too.

My ISP (Orcon) provide CPE (a router with voice ports) that plugs into the fibre company's ONT. If the internet or phone doesn't work, it's Orcon's problem. I don't have a contractual relationship with the fibre company so if it's the fibre that's down, it's still Orcon's problem as far as I'm concerned.

Slowly and surely the unix crept up on the Nintendo user ...