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Comment Re:At last an offer. (Score 1) 582

And Apple is free not to license those patents and come up with a new and unique way of doing it.

No. That's the whole point of a FRAND patent. Apple is not free to do it some other way. Apple needs to follow the standard. The deal is that Moto's tech gets to be in the standard because they agree to license it freely and relatively cheaply.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 1) 606

I'm not sure what you think inflation means, but it has nothing to do with whatever it is you think you're calculating. CPI blahblahblah...

Inflation can be measured both in terms of dollars in existence (which he is measuring) and in terms of prices, which the CPI purports to measure.

No. Inflation can only be measured in terms of prices. Tripling the money supply does not triple prices (at least not always). If you haven't learned that from the non-reaction of inflation to QE, then you must believe your "theory" trumps all evidence.

As far as the CPI all being a government conspiracy of some kind, if you don't believe it, just use the BPI. Still no price rise in reaction to expansion of the money supply. But maybe MIT is in on the conspiracy...

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 1) 606

Sure. Inflation will be on us - any day now...

I guess your model is that price changes count when you say they do (VW bugs) but can be dismissed when you think they're not reflective of the "real" price (electronics and jeans).

I agree that wages for many have not kept up with inflation, but I have no idea what that has to do with the level of inflation itself.

Measuring prices for the CPI is hard and there are tons of papers arguing various aspects of the methodology but there's no reason to believe there's some kind of conspiracy to hide inflation. The BPI, which is privately produced and uses a completely different method of measuring prices, basically matches the CPI.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 4, Informative) 606

I'm not sure what you think inflation means, but it has nothing to do with whatever it is you think you're calculating. Also, the CPI absolutely does include housing and fuel - see http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpifaq.htm#Question_7 I guess you're thinking of "core inflation" rather than CPI but, unfortunately for you, neither has increased by anything close to what your "theory" would predict.

Comment Re:I've got a solution.... (Score 1) 83

Sorry, yes it does. Not because of the impact on discrimination, but because the companies now have the added cost of documenting that they do not discriminate. This is one more cost that makes it more difficult for a smaller company to survive in the market.

No. This does impose a cost, but the cost is the same for all companies in the market, so it doesn't disadvantage the small company (well, possibly there are economies of scale in favor of the larger company but that's not necessarily true and, in any case, those economies of scale apply to lots of things that have nothing to do with regulation). In any case, the cost is really small. Documenting non-discrimination is basically documenting how the company came up with the rate. If they don't already document that, then they aren't going to survive long.

I happen to think that it is not the government's business to enforce anti-discrimination practices on private companies. What people seem to forget is that the segregationist policies that lead to the Civil Rights marches were not a result of lack of government regulation, they were a result of government regulation.

I think people seem to forget that because it isn't true. In what way was Woolworth's refusal to serve blacks at their lunch counter a result of government regulation? American General Life charged black customers more for insurance than white. In what way was this a result of regulation?

Comment Re:I've got a solution.... (Score 1) 83

OK, but you said "all government regulation stifles competition", which is complete nonsense.

How about anti-trust laws? They require a whole bunch of regulations for corporate reporting approval of mergers, etc. The whole purpose of these regulations is to increase competition. You might try to argue that you have some brilliant new set of anti-trust laws that would do a better job (and maybe you do, though I doubt it), but you're insane if you think that fewer anti-trust regulations will, necessarily, lead to more competition. We know what happened before anti-trust.

So look at anti-discrimination regulations. Insurance companies, for example, are not allowed to price based on race, even if their research shows that race is a predictor of life expectancy. Does this reduce competition among insurance companies? No - the companies just adjust their tables to price for the average across races. There's an even playing field for the companies, so the industry is every bit as competitive as it would be without these laws. In fact, this is a case where regulation is essential (unless you think that discrimination by race would be OK). If you left this to the unregulated free market, then any insurance company that advertised that it didn't use race in rating policies would rapidly go out of business, as it would attract mostly high-risk customers but would need to price to the average. Government regulations help keep the playing field even.

Comment Re:Oh look... (Score 0) 170

True. The more likely scenario is that he coasts on the momentum that Apple has now. Five years from now, the stock's at $350. He's still there, since he hasn't done anything all that stupid (I mean, look at how long Balmer's at Microsoft?). So, he collects his $175M bonus and gets to play the game for another five years. I still don't see how this puts a fire under him.

Don't get me wrong - I like Cook, and I think he's smart and a really hard worker. But, honestly, do you really think that someone with hundreds of millions of dollars really finds the prospect of getting N hundred million more all that motivating?

Guys like Jobs and Cook work hard because that's what they want to do with their lives. The money gives them bragging rights over other CEOs but, really, I don't think Cook's going to do the job any differently, just because he has the prospect of an enormous payoff down the road.

Comment Apple Data Detectors (Score 4, Informative) 230

Patent 5,946,647 was filed in 1996, when Apple came out with Apple Data Detectors (Mac OS 8). The patent is almost certainly about that.

This article describes ADD, including what its developers considered to be unique and different from other approaches.

My take on this is that ADD did come up with some clever ideas in implementation that solved the particular problems they were addressing (focusing on simple problems and fast detection). It's clear that what's unique is the particular implementation, not the idea of detecting phone numbers and such. They cite lots of other examples of the idea.

So, there are two possibilities. Either the patent covers the idea (and thus is inappropriately broad and will be ruled invalid) or the patent is about the particular implementation, in which case it should be simple to implement in a way that avoids violation. In either case, HTC and Android will be fine.

Comment Re:First sale doctrine (Score 2) 775

Dred Scott was both immoral and wrong as a matter of law.

The decision went well beyond the constitution in ruling that descendants of slaves could never become citizens, even if they were not and never had been slaves. The issue of descendants was irrelevant to the Dred Scott case (Dred Scott was a slave) and, in any case, the judgement that the constitution forbids descendants of slaves from becoming citizens was and is a bad interpretation of the constitution.

To make it clear that this stupid decision was, in fact, stupid, we passed an amendment. But the fact that we needed to pass the 14th amendment to correct Taney doesn't mean that Taney was right.

Comment No content (Score 5, Insightful) 180

Lest you be deceived by the article summary, let's run down the content:
  • Turner Broadcasting and NBC Universal: No, they're not providing shows. They're just updating their websites, so that you can view them on your TV.
  • HBO: Yes, you get HBO shows on demand. If you already subscribe to HBO. This is perfect for all 10 people who went for the high-end cable package but who don't have a DVR.
  • Netflix and Amazon on demand: Just like pretty much every internet-connected box produced in the last 3 years.

I don't want a web browser on my TV. I do want a way to ditch my cable TV and still get access to shows on demand. So far, at least, this doesn't get us any closer than Apple TV, Roku, Boxee or anyone else.

Comment Re:Finally? (Score 4, Insightful) 151

Do you really think that improving education doesn't fall under "promote the general welfare"? It has just as much justification as "provide for the common defense". Especially since Jefferson and other founders believed so strongly that a representative government would fail without educated citizens, you could also argue that support for education is necessary to "secure the blessings of liberty."

"I have indeed two great measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in strength: 1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds, of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1810. ME 12:393

Comment Re:Naysayer (Score 2, Interesting) 221

You can say that Apple's approval process for the iPhone is unnecessary and capricious and therefore evil.

You can say that, in the long run, locking down the iPhone will stagnate innovation and Apple will therefore never dominate the smartphone market.

But you can't say that "independent application developers have a difficult time getting anything published and widely available." There are over 100,000 apps available, and they've been downloaded 2 billion times. The model has been, so far, enormously successful. You can wish it wasn't so, but it is so.

Comment Re:Ah Good 'ol United States (Score 1) 1100

No, that'll just send the Chinese economy into the crapper. And the American one as well. And the European one...

And you base that on what? Free-market sloganeering or an understanding of economics?

Actually, the House bill (or, at least, one version of it - I haven't kept up) does impose trade penalties on countries that don't limit greenhouse gas emissions. Economists who have studied this argue that this is not only sound economics but that the WTO would consider this to be fine under international trade laws.

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