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Comment Re:The offices (Score 1) 542

Huh? Where I work we sell in the EU, and we do not have any offices or even any employees there.

Well, maybe not in the "legally required to" sense (though I think that in some areas those are mandated as well) but but more in the "if you want your business to succeed" sense.

There are lots of reasons for having headquarters of some sort near your customers. The most important is probably having easy understanding the culture of your customers and/or actually getting or retaining customers. The best example I can come up with on short notice is McDonalds, which for a good reason has headquarters in nearly every European nation in order to set the logistics and handle the cultural integration (see; selling beer in France or selling hamburgers with black rye bread in Finland).

Few years back (2005) I was trying to buy an iPod directly from Apple Europe (located from Ireland), and even that was horrible as the Irish customer service didn't understand my problem (the reference number wasn't correctly formated to be used with Finnish bank transfers* and students don't usually get credit cards even if we have savings and steady income from student benefits). The Finnish FAQ-web page didn't load correctly (links didn't work and some of the images were missing). Apple supposedly had Finnish contact phone numbers but they didn't work either; when I send email afterwards with feedback, they claimed that they "work perfectly from line phones", which few households had even back then. If they had had even one Finnish worker, none of these problems would be an issue. Not to mention better translation for the operating system; you still remove CD's and iPods by clicking button titled "Give Me".

And so on.

*these days it's not issue any more.

Comment The offices (Score 1) 542

Ireland's tax rate may be low in European terms, it is not when compared with locations such as Singapore, India and China.

But the companies are in Ireland because it's part of EU: they HAVE to have headquarters on the EU-area to do business there. There already is Apple Singapore, Apple India and Apple China (and probably rather same percentage of the rest of the companies listed), and they very well can't move their European operations there. If the taxes rise, the only thing Ireland has going for it is a large population of native English-speakers (and already having all the infra built on Ireland).

The rest of the states have tax of average of 26% and none under 20%; Ireland has 12% and if I understand correctly, USA has anywhere between 15% - 35%. The companies currently have extremely good deal, and even if the taxes would rise, the deal would still be very good.

Comment Re:lol (Score 1) 288

Few years back, when cutting pirates from the 'net became legal in Finland, one of the first cuts were against the autonomical government of Åland. The newspapers questioned widely if the next target would be hospitals. And that was the last I've heard of THAT business in Finland.

We can hope something similar happens at Eire.

Comment Re:I remember.... (Score 1) 307

Also it was extremely difficult to multitask. If you were running both Word and Excel for example, you had to first minimize the Word window, then locate the icon representing Excel, followed by clicking it. Then if you wanted to switch back, minimize Excel, find the Word icon, and click it. Royal pain in the ass.

Didn't Windows 3.x have Alt+Tab? I distinctly remember using it. Worked like charm, and even today the best way to move between two programs, no matter what OS you prefer to use.

Comment Re:What's the point of this script? (Score 1) 375

Thankyou for clarifying :)

However, there are relatively few programs that spam the news-feeds, and I find that "x became a fan of y"-posts are usually quite useful in later communication with the mentioned person. For this reason I don't see why (1.) the script has been written nor (2.) why Facebook would be interested about script with such a narrow potential user-base, particularly as this doesn't seem to cut into their ad-money.

Comment What's the point of this script? (Score 5, Informative) 375

Facebook has inbuilt "ignore this"-feature. Every post has an X on the top-right corner, click it, and you can choose do you want to ignore application or the user who spams your newsfeed (in case you don't want to lose him/her from your friendlist). I did this months ago, and since then I've forgotten that Mafia Wars even exist.

Comment Re:cash point machine, credit card (Score 1) 494

It's nothing to do with the size of the country, but with population density. I live in Finland, most of the towns are few hundred people in the middle of nowhere, the population density is less than in most of your States, and they still have ATM (usually several). You may recall the earlier "Internet/mobile access in Finland vs. USA" discussions we had some months ago.

Comment Re:Seems easy (Score 2, Informative) 228

There's "Everyman's Right" in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Austria. They allow hiking and camping on areas that aren't obviously someone's backyard. Scotland allows walking in the wilderness freely, but with some heavier restrictions (though what I have seen of the country, they couldn't really enforce if somebody would decide to set up a camp for few days). England and Wales allows hiking, but apparently camping is frowned upon.

From experience, I also note that while camping in forests may not be exactly allowed by law, it isn't really frowned upon in Germany and Denmark, at least if you try to stay out of the way. At least, nobody bugged me when I was too cheap to make a camp at the backyard of a boarding house (I like to travel carrying a tent on a bike).

In a nutshell; the denser the population, the more likely you are to be bothered (if you camp somewhere without asking permission).
Earth

Dinosaur Feather Color Discovered 219

anzha writes "Do you remember being a kid and told we'd never know what colors the dinosaurs were? For at least some, that's no longer true. Scientists working in the UK and China have closely examined the fossils of multiple theropods and actually found the colors and patterns that were present in the fossilized proto-feathers. So far, the answer is orange, black and white in banded and other patterns. The work also thoroughly thrashes the idea that fossils might not be feathers, but collagen fibers instead. If this holds up, Birds Are Dinosaurs. Period. And colorful!"
Privacy

Net Users In Belarus May Soon Have To Register 89

Cwix writes "A new law proposed in Belarus would require all net users and online publications to register with the state: 'Belarus' authoritarian leader is promising to toughen regulation of the Internet and its users in an apparent effort to exert control over the last fully free medium in the former Soviet state. He told journalists that a new Internet bill, proposed Tuesday, would require the registration and identification of all online publications and of each Web user, including visitors to Internet cafes. Web service providers would have to report this information to police, courts, and special services.'"

Comment Re:If True, Fascinatingly Bizarre Logic (Score 1) 720

Think about it - can you feasibly run a car on compressed air?

What I read from wikipedia, the technology seems far better than for electric car. Range of 100 km with a tank, charging the tank costs about EUR 2, and in emergency situation you can probably use manual pump to get enough pressure to get to the next station.

The only problem is that a car with a full tank would be rather dangerous in an accident, but I guess they could work around that. Link. The article (and the related articles) are rather badly written though, going from EUR to USD inside one sentence as comparisons, but I guess we can manage.

Comment Re:EU law (Score 1) 455

Well, the statement didn't pass with a really narrow margin - the chairperson decided. One MEP less on the right, and the statement would have went through.
While Parliament couldn't have forced Berlusconi to step down nor sell his newspapers OR ask him to stop using them as political weapon, it would have been a statement on what the other countries think of Italy's politics - which also affect the other states. Berlusconi has, among other things, tried to block all EU communication from minister councils and commission without the approval of all member states - effectively making it even harder for citizens to know and affect upon up an coming legislation and directives.
If the statement had passed, Berlusconi would have had much harder time trying proceeding on this venue, but.. you know..

"As long as it wasn't Berlusconi.."
If you didn't vote at all, you effectively gave your right to decide to others - who voted Berlusconi (supposing you're Italian). If you aren't Italian, there are quite many bad people you could vote. Remember, the previous EU Parliament was against 138, while the new one much less so. Did you vote? Who did you vote? EU is behind many things.. both good and bad. Most of the "bad things" spring from the Council of Ministers, who are fervently pushing for the good of their own states. Strong parliament is generally a good thing (while examples to the contrary could perhaps be found), and balances things out.

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