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Comment Re:Something is wrong (Score 1) 311

If the problem is wealth inequality, then you don't make it an explicit cap, you make it a ratio. Say, no person should be able to control more wealth than 100 times the median. That would mean, today, that a wealthy person would be in a position to live comfortably and never have to work again, which sounds like it's sufficient incentive for the people whose only motivation for doing things that benefit society is collecting personal wealth (I've never met any such people, but according to posts above they exist). And, if someone really wants more, then the incentives are set up so that they can get a lot more by increasing the median wealth a small amount...

Comment Re: I can't wait to see this battle (Score 5, Interesting) 716

Uh, no. An API is not subject to copyright, and so you can't sue someone for writing code to an API or reimplementing that API. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether you can use a specific service in a specific way. Google could not stop someone else implementing the YouTube APIs on a different media hosting site.

I think Microsoft has been quite clever here. They're now in the situations where they're giving their customers something that they want, and Google is telling them that they can't. They can't really lose: if they can keep offering the app in the same format, then they can provide a better experience than other platforms. If they can't, then they have some good material for their next round of anti-Google adverts.

Comment Re:Damned if they do... (Score 3, Informative) 275

It's a distinction between a federated and a proprietary network. When you make a telephone call, your mobile operator may or may not be the responsible for the far end. They are selling you access to a world wide telephone network, parts of which are operated by many companies even within a single country. The rules for this network are defined in part by the ITU and in part by the national laws of the various participating countries. In most of the western world, these place limits on who is allowed to listen in to messages. In contrast, Microsoft is selling you access to a private network that is owned and operated entirely by them.

The laws apply to federated networks because you may not have a direct business relationship with the carriers for a potentially large part. They do not need to apply for non-federated private services, because you have a direct business relationship with the supplier, in this case Microsoft.

Comment Re:Damned if they do... (Score 1) 275

I very much doubt the law says that, if a person sends up to a service that will relay messages for them and explicitly states in the ToS that it may read those messages, that the service is not allowed to read the messages. It's not a service like the post or the telephone system that is regulated under common carrier legislation, it is a proprietary service that stores and forwards messages between subscribers.

Comment Re:Q&A (Score 1) 668

Liberals like you never ask yourself how much more efficient it would be if people would not be taxed and instead donate even 10% of what they would have been taxed to the causes they believe in

It's an interesting thought experiment. You can see a lot of what happens from the current tax exemption rules for charities in the US: most people with surplus income give to things that will directly benefit themselves (educational trusts that run schools predominantly for wealthy people, heart disease charities, and so on). Of course, most people wouldn't donate anything. There's a reason why economists have the term 'the tragedy of the commons' and it's not because they invented a hypothetical scenario, it is based on large numbers of historical examples.

Comment Re:O'rly? (Score 2) 339

There's a difference between hiring artists who are good programmers and hiring artists who understand the basics of programming. It amazes me how much time commercial artists waste doing grunt work that can be trivially automated. If you hire only the ones that know a tiny bit of programming then they'll spend a tiny bit of time writing some crappy code instead of a lot of time doing everything by hand.

Comment Re:confused (Score 2) 329

The loan was for two years, with interest payments of £150 (so, £75/year) on a total of £450. That works out at about a 17% AER. On other words, you'd have been about as well off to get the first credit card offer that came through your door, buy the phone outright, and pay back the money at the same rate. You'd have been a lot better off if you could afford to pay back £50 on your credit card bill every money. A quick search tells me that the Sainsbury's credit card has a 7.8% APR, so if you got one of these, you'd be a lot better off to buy the phone on the card, and then paying back as much as you could afford.

If you're in a situation where £450 is an unaffordable expense, I'd imagine that you already have a credit card that you pay off every money, so you postpone paying for your regular expenses by 14-45 days, in which case just buying the phone on the card you already have would be cheaper and no more effort.

And it sounds like you actually got a comparatively good deal on your phone. Most 'subsidised' phones are equivalent to a loan with an APR of 20-50%. I'd love to see the regulator say that phone companies had to sell phones at the same price whether you had a contract or not, but could include a loan for phone purchasing with the contract as long as they stated the terms with the same detail required of other lenders.

Comment Re:Not a smart idea (Score 1) 251

If you only care about email and calendars, then something like SOGO is a much cheaper alternative than Exchange and removes the requirement to run Windows on the server. It's also mainly developed by a Canadian company, so should keep your government contracts very happy. If you're already employing system administrators for Exchange, then the costs shouldn't change much.

Comment Re:Photo synthesis is not all that efficient. (Score 2) 80

Photosynthesis isn't very efficient, but it is very convenient. If you want the maximum possible conversion rate from solar energy, it's a terrible choice. If, however, you want something that can be cheaply deployed, then something that can self-assemble from light, water, atmospheric carbon dioxide, and a few trace nutrients is quite attractive in comparison to photovoltaics.

Comment Re:misuse of the term redshirt (Score 1) 147

If you're telling your students that grades don't matter, then you're lying to them. Their grades are going to be important when they try to get their first job. The education is more of a long-term investment - it's something that will benefit them over their entire life. It's important to balance both at university. Make sure that you do enough work to get good grades but, as Mark Twain said, don't let it interfere with your education.

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