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Comment Re:All the NASA scientists couldn't think of that? (Score -1, Troll) 238

Shows how much thinking "out of the box" goes on in top engineering circles today...

Why are you surprised? NASA spent millions to develop a pen that could write in space... the Russians used a pencil. Sometimes people look for a really complicated solution instead of going for something cheap and cheerful that gets-the-job-done.

Comment Re:Banking Reform (Score 1) 509

Technically, Luxembourg isn't a tax haven... but it does have some advantageous tax, as does Ireland. US companies use Luxembourg as VAT (sales tax) is only 15% so they use this for e-commerce, which means when selling to consumers only 15% is nabbed in sales tax, opposed to say 21% if they were based in Ireland. Which is a polite way of saying they have reduced their (sales) tax liability. Now, Ireland is used by US companies as they are 'tax friendly' in that to encourage US companies to locate there they only impose something like 5% corporate tax (on profits). The cherry on the cake is that when this profit is transferred to the parent US corp then its not taxed again (I can't remember if this was done as a double-taxation treaty of as a specific get out in the US tax system) So, now you know why people like Apple sell from Ireland but specifically base their iTunes service in Luxembourg.

Comment Re:Reinventing the wheel? (Score 1) 77

Half a billion for reinventing the wheel? I mean, we have USB for a long time already, how hard can it be to reimplement it in military harware?

Quite hard. This is stuff that has to work in space, so it has to work all the time and for usually a longer timespan than originally intended... its not like back on the surface where if your cable/hub/whatever goes futz you can simply get a replacement from the local store and swap it.

Comment Re:here's a crazy question (Score 1) 77

Could it be too much to ask, that this bus conform to an openly-specified standard, e.g., Wishbone?

If it was a well known standard it would probably be known by the Air Force's enemies and they could use it against them. It would be nice to not reinvent the wheel, but I don't think the military puts that thought very high.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, per se, why don't they take a (not-so-secure or safe) open system, add a bit of hardness to it, so everybody benefits (apart from the enemies).

Comment Re:Use Tax (Score 1) 762

It would be equivalent to if the EU told Germany, France, and UK "you are no longer allowed to collect VAT; we will institute a Europe-wide sales tax". How would the member states fund themselves?

Nah... it would be more equivalent to the EU saying to Germany, France, and the UK that "you will now set your VAT levels to 25% and 6% instead of your current levels". In other words, the level of tax would be decided externally instead of by the countries themselves. One of the original ideas behind the EU VAT system was that, eventually, the VAT rates would be harmonized across all countries... but interestingly, Amazon can cope with the current disparate rates and does things correctly, i.e. when I order they always charge me the rate in my country (the destination) regardless of whether I order from amazon UK or amazon DE.

Comment Re:I dont understand ... (Score 1) 501

What grates with me is that the Australian Federal Government is spending money training kids to use MS s/ware - something that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. The MS marketing department must be overjoyed.

Not only Microsoft... don't forget Adobe as it comes with CS4... and Apple get some love with iTunes (at a guess for use with iTunes U)... you can be sure that any bundled software came at a bargain basement price as companies see this as a way of "getting 'em young, then when they go to work they [want|demand] the same software".

Comment Re:How does it correlate with existing measures? (Score 1) 440

just skip the test for domestic applicants.

That's just plain discrimination... and also shows your complete ignorance that domestic applicants can be just as stupid, evil, liars, as non-domestic applicants. On a more serious note, why does the CEO want to hire globally... perhaps he's realized that getting in people from different cultures might actually add something new... I've worked in multicultural environments and they're far more interesting than working with a room full of my countrymen.

Comment Re:large bureaucratic hierarchies like banks... (Score 1) 36

The drones just do watch their told to and move on.

That really depends on the company. I've worked for some where this is very true... people never question anything and do things that are just plain stupid because they don't apply any common sense and check with somebody before they do something they know is stupid or could be just plain wrong.

On the other hand, I worked for one bank where you couldn't sneeze without several line managers signing off a change request. This meant that when things got done, it usually got done right; of course, getting several line managers to sign off is like trying to heard cats.

Comment Re:British TV (Score 2, Insightful) 523

Forgive the youtube link, but a British TV show called "The IT Crowd" did a pretty good anti-piracy warning.

Its not an anti-piracy warning... its satire of the anti-piracy warning that is shown at the start of DVDs sold in the UK. As satires go, its very funny is you know the original warning. (And, to be blunt, one reason to rip your DVDs is to remove the very f*****g annoying anti-piracy warning that is shown at the start of DVDs sold in the UK, especially as you can't skip through it, grrrrr. When I buy a DVD, I just want to watch its content, not get bombasted with crappy anti-piracy warnings and all the stupid trailers they are starting to add now).

Comment Re:Purpose of open software (Score 3, Insightful) 189

The funniest part is that the OP was probably dead serious when he wrote that. If this is a "good example" of anything, it's an example of why having the source code doesn't buy ordinary people diddly squat.

So true! Years ago when I worked at a software house our CEO was paranoid about the source code... he wanted it locked away as he was afraid our "competitors" could get it. Now, there were a few problems with this. Our customers got the source code when they bought our system, since it needed to be compiled on their systems (as no two customers had the same configuration). Also, we didn't really have any competitors. Now, the joke is that even though our customers had the source, and the security blanket that should our company go down they could continue, the customers could do no more than compile the code. The real knowledge was locked in the heads of the programmers who knew HOW and WHY everything was put together in the source code... and, sadly, this is something that is still overlooked. The source isn't everything, but just part of it, and most people don't realize what the missing part is.

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