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Comment Re:Not for any definition of "real time" that I kn (Score 2) 140

Has anyone collected all these dispatches from the Martian Council over the years? Every time the Earthlings throw a probe at the homeworld, there'll be an update from the Speaker regarding the success or failure of the defences. I've actually come to anticipate the next entry - they're generally quite funny.

Comment Re:Editors: This is March 1st, not April 1st (Score 2) 186

You're new around here, aren't you? All they have to do is add some tangible, meaningless incentive for the customer and they'll have people signing up in droves. Free storage, free email, maybe a social site with some music and games - they'll get tons of takers. Add in some real prizes, say, a monthly random drawing for a car or a vacation, and stand back.

The lesson of Facebook is - a very large number of people either don't value their privacy, or don't recognize when they're giving it away. They'll happily trade some potential future negative outcome for the shiny bauble here and now.

Comment Re:Added burden for small businesses :( (Score 1) 413

And *you* obviously have never run a tiny Internet-only business. I sell a couple of apps. Kind of the "in" thing to do these days, and it brings in just enough to pay for an occasional new device to write new apps for. I do my bookkeeping by hand with spreadsheets and a small database, because that's all it really needs.

I pay my state's business taxes, and sales tax on in-state purchases. By check, once a year. Manually. Last year, I remitted $.41 (that's 41 *cents*) spread across 5 different tax zones to cover the in-state sales taxes. It probably cost the State and those taxing areas hundreds if not *thousands* of times more than that just to process the payment. But, the law's the law.

Now say I have to track and pay sales taxes in *all* of the States. Not every state has an online lookup for all local taxes. A subscription to one of the commercial services would wipe out most of my profit for the year. Then there's the cost of mailing checks for a few cents to at least 50 taxing authorities (assuming that all of them even *take* checks).

If Apple, Google, Amazon, and all the other app stores don't pick up the burden of collecting the exact sales tax on each paid download, then most of the U.S. app developers are probably going to be forced out of business by the overhead.

Comment Re:The Little Guy (Score 1) 413

Tax rates don't follow zip codes at all. A given taxing area may span multiple zip codes, and a zip code may (and probably does) cover multiple different tax areas. Furthermore, each taxing district may have it's own special rules and exemptions - it's never a simple percentage.

Got the tax code for every little county/town/tax district in the entire country handy? As a very small app seller, it's going to be a nightmare.

Comment Re:Wow... (Score 2) 166

Oh, there's an issue with the radio side of it also. The more data you are shoving over the radio channels and the more devices you have in the field, the more spectrum you need. That's simple physics. This is why all those people hoping to get fantastic speeds on Verizon LTE are in for a big shock, once the number of units in the field gets past the miniscule level. They just don't have the radio bandwidth to support lots of 4G users, and it's going to fall over badly.

Comment Re:Or the prying eyes of.... (Score 1) 304

Data theft from phones is a very real possibility - just look at that recent Ars article. This is what I wrote my LokPix Android photo encryption app for - keeping pictures private in case my phone is stolen. I have scanned images of documents (ID, medical cards, etc.) that I need access to away from home, but I don't want freely accessible. So they get the full AES treatment, and no unencrypted bytes hit the SD card - thus no forensic recovery from there.

That should stop an info thief, but a police agency can always try to force you to divulge your keys (if they realize that there are secured images). Encryption systems aren't automatically all about hiding unlawful activity - there's a very strong case for legitimate use as well.

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