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Comment Re:Let see one implement their motto... (Score 1) 116

Man, I hesitate to reply to ACs but I see this meme a lot. The simple truth is that truth isn't simple: Some regulations are good and useful, like the ones that say food distributors can't poop in the food; others are anti-competitive or purely fee-driven, like requiring licensing to practice interior decoration; and some are both, like requiring banks to have a certain amount of cash on hand. The only way to avoid the bad and keep the good is to elect honest, thoughtful representatives instead of demagogues and fools. Which is t'say, it can't be done.

Comment Re:Rewrite the Constitution or face default! (Score 1) 1042

Affect and effect are not the same. Affect is a verb, while effect is a noun.

Except, of course, for the times when "affect" is a noun and "effect" is a verb. You might effect to have less affect, if you were so inclined. The actual reason they aren't the same word is the same reason "now" and "new" aren't the same word.

Comment Re:5 Over (Score 1) 717

But what really grinds my gears is when some asshole pulls into the space that I'm purposely leaving open.

If you consider the times when you've had to force your way into a lane, turn across a lane, or miss a turn because traffic was too tight, then it may bother you less. Just think of the space as both a safety margin for braking and to allow folks to shift lanes. Sure, you have to adjust your space, but if more folks did it, driving'd be a lot more pleasant.

Comment Re:I live in Seattle. (Score 1) 650

If you eliminate income tax, sales tax will have to increase considerably.

You. . . you understand that Washington has no personal income tax, right? It does have a fairly steep sales tax, but not as high as the number you pulled out of your ass. Taxes on businesses and property are where the difference gets made up. You're right in that people often slip down to Oregon, which has no sales tax, to do shopping, especially if they live near the line. But I want to make it clear that nobody's talking about eliminating income tax in Washington, they're talking about creating it, so you can skip arguments about why eliminating it won't work.

Comment Reminds Me (Score 1) 70

That's reminiscent of a Mexican mayor who required his officers to regularly read books (and write short reports) in order to be eligible for promotion. I've been curious for some time how well that worked out. The LA Times story is archived here (behind a paywall but there's an abstract).

Comment Re:Wish it would, but ain't never gunna happen... (Score 1) 70

Every time we hear the police complain that "Civilians don't understand what it's like, it's a lonely dangerous job, you could never do it, you could never understand"

This is no dig on you, but it's worth pointing out at this point that cops are civilians. And likewise worth pointing out while I'm here that cops are citizens. Folks on both sides of the badge have a nasty tendency to forget that. I'm not sure why.

Comment Re:$1000 a PC? (Score 1) 606

Even after accounting for their profit margin and your time spent re-imaging the machines with a clean version of Windows, the cost from Dell compared to DIY for standard beige-box business machines should be somewhere between slightly cheaper and slightly more expensive; if it's the latter, a single point of contact for warranty issues is still perhaps worth the money.

I hate to admit it (because I despise Dell's business practices), but this is true 'nuff. In addition, if you're getting any kind of bulk discount from Dell, you'd lose the ability to use that, which will raise your costs for notebooks and peripherals even if you can assemble desktop boxen more cheaply. At a thousand machines every couple of years, you should be getting a discount; if not, shop around.

Even better, shop around anyway and be willing t'pay a little extra to a company that isn't quite so abjectly evil.

Comment Re:Copper broadband? (Score 2, Insightful) 282

There's a simple explanation to that: In the 90ies it was discovered that the maximum carrier frequency of fiber optics is around 1-2 GHz, while there's new milestones been reached over copper wire every couple of years.

This may surprise you, but some time has passed since the 90s. DWDM has been demoed to carry 400Gb/s on one fiber and Lucent's making noises about raising the bar to 600 Gb/s. 20 Gb/s multiplexers for fiber are relatively cheap and are becoming ubiquitous.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 779

Please see the Laws of Thermodynamics (specifically the 2nd law).

That's the least sane thing posted in this thread so far, and the competition for that honor is stiff. The second law of thermodynamics addresses the distribution of energy in a closed system. It only implies determinism if you apply it to a system consisting of you and the voices in your head, given a value for "entropy" that is equal to "crazy".

On another note, determinism and free will aren't the only choices any more, because of the possibility of non-deterministic but random events.

Comment Re:Just great!! (Score 1) 176

companies will spend 90% of their revenue filing or defending dozens of lawsuits, get nothing done anymore

Except that giant corporations love time- and money-wasting processes, as long as everyone has to play. It limits competition by forcing startups to have years and millions of dollars handy just for idiot patent suits before they can even think about revenue.

Comment Re:Yet another clever marketing gimmick (Score 2, Insightful) 119

Same story with "price gouging" laws. Here's a hint: there's no such thing as price gouging.

Yes, raising the price of food or medicine a hundredfold following a disaster that limits supply and access to alternatives is exactly the same as reselling an iPhone for profit. Because in both cases lives are at stake.

While I would never hope there will be a disaster, they happen from time to time, and I truly hope you find yourself in a position in which you must give up your car, home, and life savings to get a few days' clean water for your kids. Maybe then you'll see the difference between that and paying fifty bucks over retail for a toy.

Comment Re:Fair market price (Score 2, Insightful) 215

In the US, SCOTUS was apparently fine with municipalities using eminent domain for the benefit of developers. Had Apple decided to be evil, they probably could've gotten it for a small fraction of what the property was really worth.

The first part of what you said is true, but the Kato ruling doesn't prevent state and local governments from restricting eminent domain from benefiting private development. Many places did so after the fallout from that case.

Assuming the GP is correct and NC did that thing, Apple would have to take the time and money for a massive lobbying campaign to change the law, then ask for the land to be force-bought. It would've been much more expensive than the price they paid, very time-consuming, and very risky. There would've almost certainly been some degree of public backlash as well. Since Apple isn't in the property development business, there'd be no future benefit to them. Buying the land for a couple of million made a lot more sense.

Apple doesn't get any not-evil points for this, sorry; it was easily the more pragmatic choice. In the "corporations not being as evil as they could be" race, they're still pretty much in the middle of the pack, but losing a bit of ground each time a factory worker producing iStuff components jumps off a building because his death benefits will feed his family but his paycheck won't.

Comment Re:Illegal (Score 5, Interesting) 245

If you do what you want based on what you feel is right, we might just not have any laws at all. There is a reason why the laws are created by the society as whole and not a single person or a group with single interest.

So, just as an analogy, if the police decided to stop enforcing laws against auto theft, you believe it would be wrong for others to do so. I don't think that holds water. What this guys is doing is indeed illegal, but not immoral; when our government is unwilling or unable to enforce or prosecute laws it becomes incumbent upon non-sanctioned individuals to protect society by doing so. The simple fact is that the government is not able to even begin to scratch the sheer volume of spam, nor is it interested in going after spammers unless it can wrench a large settlement and some headlines out of the deal. If we wish to preserve the Internet as a medium for the exchange of ideas, some of us must take action to protect it from those who exploit it at a very real, monetary cost to innocent people.

Comment Re:Happy and satisfied (Score 1) 298

As much as Apple annoys me, this is one case in which I actually have gained a skosh of respect for the company. Good for Apple for limiting the placement and visibility of ads! If left to themselves, ad companies would essentially reinvent the screaming, flashing pop-up ad at every opportunity. I frankly have no idea what an iAd is supposed to be, but it's nice to hear that Apple's trying not to let 'em take over whatever it is they subsidize. If advertisers are gonna be whiny babies and complain to the media because Apple won't let 'em have everything their own way, then this should be a rare positive story for Apple.

Comment Re:Sure it is! (Score 1) 156

Shoeprints being part of a future police investigation is about as hypothetical as my claim that should I throw a rock in the air it will fall back down.

I think you're misunderstanding the point. Jurisprudence does not, in general, recognize a future hypothetical case as being equal to a current actual case, regardless of the likelihood (the exception, it seems, being American 9th Circuit lawsuits against future John Doe copyright violators, but that's not jurisprudence so much as an unholy cross between corruption, politics, and insanity). To permit otherwise would be akin to allowing police to use investigative powers for any imaginary future purpose, and nobody wants that, except police.

The correct answer is for the police to ask nicely. I honestly can't imagine more than a bare handful of shoemakers would deny them a limited license to make use of the prints for internal investigative purposes. I'm not sure about Swedish law, but in most places fancy-pants lawyerese isn't even needed; just a "sure, use our prints for that purpose, signed, authority person" letter on record. No need to adjust the laws when any decent administrator armed with Internet access, a handful of stamps, and a printer can solve the problem.

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