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Comment: Re:$3500 fine? (Score 4, Interesting) 224

by whoever57 (#48217023) Attached to: Tech Firm Fined For Paying Imported Workers $1.21 Per Hour

It's not clear to me that it was willful avoidance of paying minimum wage - they had a job to do, they got help from some of their existing employees from overseas, who continued to receive their regular wage (in their regular currency) during the time that they were here

It's almost certainly a violation of immigration law. I assume that these people came to Fremont on visitor visas that don't allow the visa holder to "work". Even if the foreign workers were here on H1s or L1s (which I doubt), they would have been violating the salary requirements for that type of visa.

Comment: Re:Third World America (Score 1) 284

by whoever57 (#48210147) Attached to: Will Fiber-To-the-Home Create a New Digital Divide?

Ultimately what counts is economic output.

Is it? If the economy were to grow by 5%, but all of that extra money then went to a tiny slice of the population (less that 0.1%), does that growth really matter?

If the vast majority of a society gets poorer, while a tiny, tiny slice of the population gets vastly richer, has that society improved?

+ - Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage for 11 Million People

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Brian Fung reports at the Washington Post that earlier this year emergency services went dark for over six hours for more than 11 million people across seven states. "The outage may have gone unnoticed by some, but for the more than 6,000 people trying to reach help, April 9 may well have been the scariest time of their lives." In a 40-page report, the FCC found that an entirely preventable software error was responsible for causing 911 service to drop. "It could have been prevented. But it was not (PDF)," the FCC's report reads. "The causes of this outage highlight vulnerabilities of networks as they transition from the long-familiar methods of reaching 911 to [Internet Protocol]-supported technologies." On April 9, the software responsible for assigning the identifying code to each incoming 911 call maxed out at a pre-set limit; the counter literally stopped counting at 40 million calls. As a result, the routing system stopped accepting new calls, leading to a bottleneck and a series of cascading failures elsewhere in the 911 infrastructure. Adm. David Simpson, the FCC's chief of public safety and homeland security, says that having a single backup does not provide the kind of reliability that is ideal for 911. “Miami is kind of prone to hurricanes. Had a hurricane come at the same time [as the multi-state outage], we would not have had that failover, perhaps. So I think there needs to be more [distribution of 911 capabilities].”"

Comment: Re:Perfectly-timed? (Score 2) 250

by whoever57 (#48177093) Attached to: Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

Take a look at Samsung's sales figures and profits. They're both tanking. I'm not saying that's a result of the iPhone 6 though, they'd already started doing that before the iPhone 6 launch.

For the most part, Samsung doesn't really compete with Apple, Samsung competes with the many other manufacturers of Android phones. It's only in the flagship products (Galaxy, Note) where there is competition with Apple, but I don't think that these represent the bulk of Samsung's sales outside the USA.

Comment: Re: Perfectly-timed? (Score 4, Insightful) 250

by whoever57 (#48177063) Attached to: Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

Apple hasn't really innovated much since Steve left the scene.

And for a long time before Steve left the scene. Apple has been a success by letting other companies release new types of devices and then execute their own version of that type of device. Apple did not create the first portable music player, the first smartphone, the first WIMP interface, etc.. Apple's success has largely been down to executing arguably better versions of devices that already exist in the marketplace. Now, Apple is also benefitting from being perceived as a luxury brand.

+ - Chemists Grow Soil Fungus On Cheerios, Discover New Antifungal Compounds->

Submitted by MTorrice
MTorrice (2611475) writes "Many drugs that treat bacterial and fungal infections were found in microbes growing in the dirt. These organisms synthesize the compounds to fend off other bacteria and fungi around them. To find possible new drugs, chemists try to coax newly discovered microbial species to start making their arsenal of antimicrobial chemicals in the lab. But fungi can be stubborn, producing just a small set of already-known compounds.

Now, one team of chemists has hit upon a curiously effective and consistent trick to prod the organisms to start synthesizing novel molecules: Cheerios inside bags. Scientists grew a soil fungus for four weeks in a bag full of Cheerios and discovered a new compound that can block biofilm formation by an infectious yeast. The chemists claim that Cheerios are by far the best in the cereal aisle at growing chemically productive fungi."

Link to Original Source

+ - The Guardian reveals that Whisper app tracks 'anonymous' users->

Submitted by qqod
qqod (799432) writes "After visiting the offices of Whisper to discuss future journalistic collaborations, from the article:

"The practice of monitoring the whereabouts of Whisper users â" including those who have expressly opted out of geolocation services â" will alarm users, who are encouraged to disclose intimate details about their private and professional lives.

Whisper is also sharing information with the US Department of Defense gleaned from smartphones it knows are used from military bases, and developing a version of its app to conform with Chinese censorship laws.""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Awesome quote (Score 1) 232

Here in New Jersey, we deregulated the energy industry 15 years ago. There are indeed many companies offering to sell electricity to me.

I think that you will find that the infrastructure owner is still regulated and required to cooperate with the generators of electricity (who are deregulated).

The situation that you have is very similar to what many people on /. have called for: companies can own and operate the local loops or provide Internet access (using the local loops), but not both. Alternatively the local loop owners should provide access to the local loops to competitive ISPs, who would ocmpete with the local loop operator to provide cable TV and Internet. This did happen briefly in parts of the USA, but the large cable companies were able to make the system break down.

Comment: Re:Awesome quote (Score 4, Insightful) 232

by whoever57 (#48156467) Attached to: Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

That is how free markets work. When there is good competition, you have the highest available quality, and the lowest cost, the market will bear.

If you think that there is anything like a free market in providing TV and Internet to consumers, then I have a bridge to sell you. Other countries have forced the owners of the local loops to offer (at near cost) access to alternative suppliers. This has resulted in competition and far lower prices than in the USA.

Cable companies have received both direct and indirect subsidies to build out their infrastructure. The chance of an alternative (other than another incumbent) to that is close to zero.

Why isn't there another company offering to sell electricity or gas to me?

Comment: Re:Take the money and run (Score 2) 54

by whoever57 (#48154107) Attached to: Tech Workers Oppose Settlement They Reached In Silicon Valley Hiring Case

He pointed out the defendant's legal budgets are essentially infinite, and they are more than willing to fight the case to the supreme court. Once you get there, a victory by the plaintiffs are not assured. Remember, these are the guys who handed down Citizen's United. Do you want a new TV now, or a very(!) small chance to get a new car 5-10 years from now? That's what it comes down to.

That's a very good arguement for why the lawyers don't want to argue this further. Not so much for their clients. $5000 is not very much money for each person affected by this, but the millions that the lawyers will get is a lot of money. Furthermore, the lawyers may have to put in 10x the effort to get 10x in damages, which means 10x the fees. As a lawyer, would you:
1. Take the money now and find another lawsuit to work on, or
2. Put in 10x the effort, for the chance of getting 10x the rewards?
Obviously you choose the former.

for the clients, though, the question is rather different: Would you
1. Take a small amount of money now, or
2. Gamble on getting 10x the money, just by being prepared to wait for the money?
That's a very different equation.

Comment: Re:Why..... (Score 1) 259

by whoever57 (#48146941) Attached to: "Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

National security letter shenanigans would mean that I wouldn't even have any management staff physically in the USA, there would be no staff in the USA to deliver a NSL to.

While NSA letters are bad, what make you think that the same (and worse) isn't already going on in most other countries?

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.