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Submission + - E.U. Drops Microsoft Browser anti-trust case. (

timrichardson writes: E.U. Drops Microsoft Antitrust Case Over Browsers. The EU is convinced about Microsoft's moves to offers a genuine choice of browsers, and is dropping the threat of fines and intervention regarding the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows. The agreement, announced in Brussels by the European competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, calls for Microsoft to give Windows users a choice of up to 12 other browsers from competing companies, including Google and Apple.

Comment Re:Let the CEO's work from India (Score 1) 493

Yeah, many jobs that have been replaced were highly skilled; even riding a horse is more difficult than driving a car, arguably, and who can thatch a roof to last 50 years these days? As for shoing horses, probably proportionately many more people can change a car's flat tyre than could change a horse shoe in the days of getting around on horseback. You can see the point, but calling it "low-skilled" is not correct.

Comment Re:Let the CEO's work from India (Score 1) 493

Of course they are lower skilled jobs being exported. The rising tide of productivity and economic growth means that "low-skilled job" is a moving target. It's a relative term, and it's an indication that jobs in advanced economies are getting more skilled. Moving jobs overseas costs time and money; it's not done for no reason.

Efficiency is "output/cost". If you get the same output for less money, that's more efficient. A car that goes 100 miles on one gallon is more efficient than an car that goes 50 miles on one gallon.

Calling service jobs not real jobs is an old fallacy. Apparently people had the same reaction during the rise of manufacturing. How could manufacturing be really doing something? It just takes things from nature and rearranges them. Everyone knew that only farming and growing things was really creating value.

If someone pays money for something, then value has been created. Service jobs also include programming the iPod, making movies, designing more efficient road systems, career advice, education, medicine, childcare, babysitting, price comparison, ... to me it seems clear there is a lot of value. Mobile dog washes ... well, I'm not so sure, but it must be of value to someone.

And the final point in Economics 101: stable economies are not healthy. You need growing economies. The bedrock of growing economies is really simple. It's the allocation of scarce resources to the most effective use, and the most important scarce resource is people. That's why it's good that jobs are destroyed (in the long run): it's the only way to free people for better jobs. Meanwhile, the places where the jobs go are also getting richer, and downloading more music, watching more movies etc etc

I am not depressed. What gave you that idea? I know I'm right because the past 500 years proves me so.

Comment Re:Let the CEO's work from India (Score 4, Insightful) 493

The fact is that for 20 years the US has been bringing the smartest and brightest internationals to work in the US: other governments paid for the first 12 to 15 year of educating these people, but in a global economy, they go to where they add the most value. I bet a lot of IBM's US patents have significant contributions from foreigners who live in the US. The same economic forces that attract PhDs means lower skilled jobs get exported. We can all except that manually harvesting wheat or hand-making horse shoes are low-skilled jobs that long ago got swept aside by technology. Perhaps it's hard to accept that this process never stopped happening.

Sorry for any typos, but the typing pool that I normally use to take my dictation seems to have disappeared in the past 50 years.

Comment Re:der takin oar jorbs (Score 0, Flamebait) 493

They are not "taking jobs"; this is a process of reassigning people to jobs where they are worth the salary they want. It's harsh, but the fact is that if someone in Eastern Europe can do the job for $2000 a month, that is what the job is worth. If you force those jobs to stay in the US at $5000 a month, who pays for this? Either the USD get devalued, or through the force of law you rob the customers of IBM of $3000 a month. Get a grip. Don't you see where this would end? What's so special about IBM workers? Why not block every lost job, and ban every foreign import? Why should T-shirts cost $5 and shoes $70? That's way too cheap, damn foreign labor. Make them in the US, ban the imports and pay $25 for a T-shirt and $200 for shoes. That will fix everything. Of course that's too bad for poor families, but let's fix that with price controls. Or subsidises. Gosh, why didn't anyone think of this before? Anyway, where is Eastern Europe?

Comment Re:Will there be no wiki truths? (Score 2, Insightful) 439

Why assume that wikipedia has stopped learning about how it should work? Maybe this proposal is a bad idea. However, it's an attempt to solve a problem, and it's better than the current tool of locking-down pages. Because this will only be used for a small range of pages, I think/hope. What other solutions are there? Peer review is essential in open source projects, why should it be different for Wikipedia? This is a process or technical question.

The problem with Wikipedia is cultural. Peer review can work if the culture is right. Wikipedia is infested with nits. It's has become cliquey and obsessed with a playground-interpretation of "objectivity". I've seen good articles rejected stupidly by people who don't know anything about the topic, but think the application of a few simple "objectivity" rules is a substitute for their ignorance.

Appealing against rejections is Kafka-esque, it is surreal and one of those activities probably best experienced with the aid of mind-altering substances. Extremely demotivating. It's really hard to avoid the conclusion that its deliberately difficult. How sad is that? Is anyone listening?

  Stats on contribution would be interesting. If Britannica gets its act together, good because then Wikipedia will have to get young and fresh again. Perhaps it has entered a mid-life crisis, hesitant, defensive and scared of what it has created. Standing on the shoulders of giants is no good if you're scared of heights.

Social Networks

The Battle For Wikipedia's Soul 471

njondet recommends an article at The Economist that sheds light on the identity crisis faced by Wikipedia as it is torn between two alternative futures. "'It can either strive to encompass every aspect of human knowledge, no matter how trivial; or it can adopt a more stringent editorial policy and ban articles on trivial subjects, in the hope that this will enhance its reputation as a trustworthy and credible reference source. These two conflicting visions are at the heart of a bitter struggle inside Wikipedia between 'inclusionists,' who believe that applying strict editorial criteria will dampen contributors' enthusiasm for the project, and 'deletionists' who argue that Wikipedia should be more cautious and selective about its entries."

German Police Raid 51 CeBIT Stands Over Patent Claims 191

LeCaddie writes "Last week German investigators raided 51 exhibitor stands at CeBIT, the German information technology fair in Hanover, looking for goods suspected of infringing patents. Some 183 police, customs officers, and prosecutors raided the fair on Wednesday and carried off 68 boxes of electronic goods and documents including cellphones, navigation devices, digital picture frames, and flat-screen monitors. Of the 51 companies raided, 24 were Chinese. Most of the patents concerned were related to devices with MP3, MP4, and DVB standard functions for digital audio and video, blank CDs, and DVD copiers, police said." In the US there are no criminal penalties associated with patents, and such a raid could not be conducted, especially in the absence of a court ruling of infringement.

Submission + - Attacking hashes used to prevent document changes (

timrichardson writes: "A supposedly cast-iron way of identifying digital documents, known as a hash function, is looking a bit rusty. You could, for instance, present your boss with a document to sign. If this all happened electronically, the document might then be hashed to make sure it was not altered after the signing. But if you have a suitably prepared collision attack at your disposal, and have created two very different documents with the same hash, then your boss is at your mercy. Now that could come in handy, says the Economist. Read more, including a fool-proof prediction about who will win the US Presidential election."
The Courts

Microsoft Internal Emails Show Dismay With Vista 662

bfwebster writes "Microsoft is currently facing a class-action suit over its designation of allegedly under-powered hardware as being 'Vista Capable.' The discovery process of that lawsuit has now compelled Microsoft to produce some internal emails discussing those issues. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has published extracts of some of those emails, along with a link to a a PDF file containing a more extensive email exchange. The emails reflect a lot of frustration among senior Microsoft personnel about Vista's performance problems and hardware incompatibilities. They also appear to indicate that Microsoft lowered the hardware requirements for 'Vista Capable' in order to include certain lower-end Intel chipsets, apparently as a favor to Intel: 'In the end, we lowered the requirement to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with 915 graphics embedded.' Read the whole PDF; it is informative, interesting, and at times (unintentionally) funny."

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