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Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 3, Insightful) 37

The key point is that they are successful because their services help people make (or save) staggering amounts of money - more than Google makes. That is how the economy becomes more efficient and standard of living improves. Someone comes up with an idea which helps people make more money (increase productivity) or save on costs, and sells it for a cut of the productivity increase or cost savings.

If you break this positive feedback cycle, you tank the economy. Which is Google's point - lack of fair use would prevent them from offering these services to Australia. And the only reason Australia is able to partake in the improved standard of living resulting from services like Google is because they're able to place the servers in other countries.

Comment I'm not sure battery size is really the problem (Score 1) 55

I called Google support when my Nexus 5's battery (2300 mAh) began failing (it would discharge normally for about 12 hours to 40%-50% charge, then would die in the next 20 minutes). As part of the diagnostic process, they asked me to put it into safe mode and do a battery run-down test. I didn't even know such a thing existed in Android. It disables all added-on apps. Only the phone functions and apps which shipped with the phone (mostly Google apps) will work - a nifty way for them to determine that a rogue app is not the culprit.

The damn thing lasted nearly 60 hours on a charge in safe mode, despite the defective battery. So it would appear modern smartphones (well, modern as of 3 years ago) are more than capable of lasting a weekend on a single charge. They die early because of all those damn apps which insist on waking up every 5 minutes so they can report your position, calls, texts, sites visited, photos taken, etc. back to their mother ship. Makes me wish there was a feature where you could "jail" certain apps to prevent them from running entirely, unless you specifically launch it.

Comment Re:That's what you get for wording the DMCA that w (Score 1) 79

That's probably why Google is publicizing this. To point out that the DMCA badly needs a disincentive for filing false takedown claims. If only 0.05% of claims are even factually correct (not even considering if they're legally valid), that's a huge problem with the law.

Comment Belongs to the suspect (Score 1) 109

The Echo belongs to the suspect. (Alternate link if you don't trust that site.

You're probably thinking of the San Bernardio iPhone case. Most people think the phone belonged to the shooter. It didn't. It belonged to the San Bernardino County government. They assigned it to the shooter for work use. Apple refused to help the legal owner of the phone unlock it.

Comment Re:We need more unlicensed spectrum (Score 2) 63

The 60 GHz band (57-64 GHz) is open for unlicensed operation. It coincides with the resonance of oxygen gas, which rapidly attenuates any signal so the maximum usable range is about 1 km. That makes it ideal for things like home WiFi use (you can broadcast at higher power without interfering with your neighbors' WiFi at the same frequency), while strongly discouraging companies trying to use it for long-range commercial service like T-Mobile is planning in TFA.

Comment Re:bad study (Score 1) 237

It's conceivable that a parasite that has evolved to control host behavior could have adverse psychological effects on human hosts, thus the research into it.

My theory is that it modifies the behavior of human hosts, causing them to dismiss the idea that parasites from cats could modify the behavior of humans.

Comment Re:scare mongering getting old (Score 1) 77

The problem with freezing your credit is that as of a couple years ago the credit agencies used that lame personal background service to confirm your identity. You know, the one where your bank asks you what high school you went to, which bank you took out a car loan with, what city you were born in, etc. and gives you multiple choice answers. The identity thief usually has the answers to all these questions, or can make a good guess which of the multiple choice answers is correct - they stole your identity after all.

Yes the credit freeze is supposed to be protected by a PIN or password. The thief just calls the credit agency posing as you, and says that they forgot the PIN or password. Then the credit agency asks those lame questions, the thief gets three right, and they lift the credit freeze. (If they're real jerks, they'll change the PIN or password so you can't freeze it again.

Some banks have dumped these canned questions, and are now allowing you yourself to make up questions and answers they'll ask if you say you forgot your PIN or password. I don't know if the credit agencies have switched to this type of question system in the last couple years.

Comment Re:All you need to know if you own a cat (Score 4, Funny) 237

Difference between cats and dogs:

You feed a dog, house it, pet it, shower it with love, and take care of its every want and need. The dog looks at you and thinks, "Wow, he must be a god."

You feed a cat, house it, pet it, shower it with love, and take care of its every want and need. The cat looks at you and thinks, "Wow, I must be a god."

Comment Re:All of this has happened before... (Score 3, Informative) 272

That's the way it looks to enthusiasts, but that's not what Intel has been doing. About a decade ago, we hit the point where processors were "fast enough" for mainstream tasks. People stopped buying i5 and i7 processors, in favor of i3, Celeron, and Pentium. For the last 10 years, only enthusiasts and gamers have cared about improved performance. The vast majority of the market cared more about power consumption. Intel hasn't been worried about AMD, but they were scared to death of ARM. They rushed to bring Atom to market to keep the low-end on x86/x64, instead of moving to ARM.

So they haven't been resting on their laurels. They've been working hard at reducing power consumption. That's what really hurt AMD after they lost their performance lead. For a few years AMD still offered more performance per Watt, making AMD the natural choice for moderate-load servers and systems meant to be left on 24/7. But Intel soon beat AMD there, taking away AMD's only advantage. (That's when AMD used their ATI acquisition to integrate a GPU which could beat Intel's integrated GPU - essentially carving out a spot in the low-price gamer market.)

A Core 2 Duo system would use about 70 Watts idle, 150 Watts under load. A Sandy Bridge system would use about 45 Watts idle, 120 Watts under load. A modern Skylake system uses about 35 Watts idle, 80 Watts under load. Subtract the 20-30 Watts consumed by components other than the CPU, and the reduction in CPU power consumption over the last 10 years has been remarkable.

Comment Re:About time. (Score 1) 272

I remember the heyday where AMD actually overtook Intel. Their CPUs were actually better and cheaper.

Not cheaper by much. I remember comments here asking why if AMD had overtaken Intel, why were their high-end CPUs now almost as expensive as Intel's had been. The replies stating that if you're the market leader, you can set your prices as high as you want.

I think that's where they screwed up. Instead of keeping their prices low so they could gain market share, they raised their prices to try to recoup their R&D expenses. If they'd aimed for market share, that would've resulted in much greater industry support - AMD motherboards, chipsets, compatible memory, retailers stocking their CPUs, brand names offering more models using AMD processors, etc. Instead they chose short-term gains over long-term, meaning Intel had an easy time reasserting its dominance as soon as they managed to convert their laptop CPU cores to desktop use.

If they're keeping the price down at half Intel's prices, it sounds like they learned their lesson.

Comment Re:94% submerged "continent"? (Score 1) 142

This isn't a simple case of whether or not water is on top of land. The Earth's crust is thinner under the oceans than under land masses.

Basically the crust is expanding at mid-oceanic ridges. The molten magma that surfaces in those regions solidifies into thin crustal plates. These plates are pushed apart until they meet resistance (other plates), and begin to bump up against each other. When they do that, the crust squashes and thickens - both above and below the water. The part that thickens above the water form continents and land masses.

The argument here is that the crust under New Zealand is one such thickened region, just that most of it is still underwater. However, every map of the plates I've seen places New Zealand at the edge of the Australian plate (i.e. there is no major tectonic activity between New Zealand and Australia). So it would seem to me to be more correct to say the Australian continent is actually larger than Australia and encompasses New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

If there's a revision to the continents that's needed, Europe and Asia need to be combined into a single Eurasian continent.

Comment Re:Sadly, It's Worse Than This... (Score 1) 174

However, for the "donor" country - i.e. the one that is not collecting any tax revenues from the sales achieved by that company, the problem gets much, much worse. The literally billions in taxes not being paid to these countries still has to be collected from somewhere. And that is exactly what happens - the individual, personal tax payers of those nations end up footing the bill.

If the company is not consuming any resources in the donor nation, it has minimal to no impact on the tax payers in the donor nation. If Apple only has a one-room office in the Cayman Islands with a single employee who sits there doing nothing but signing, scanning, and emailing back paperwork saying that subsidiary received $x licensing fees for y purpose, then it makes almost zero difference to the citizens of the Cayman Islands that he's paying zero taxes.

A population granted this extra income would:-

1. Spend more - thus helping to keep the economy moving
2. Save more - thus helping to reduce the burden on the state for things like pensions
3. Invest more - thus helping UK business to grow and prosper

Taxes per se cannot do any of those things. Taxes are merely shifting money from one purse to another. There is not productivity increase associated with collecting taxes, so it cannot increase the GDP, cannot increase standard of living, cannot keep the economy moving.

How those taxes are used is what determines whether productivity increases. And it can only do that if the way the government spends it increases productivity more than if the tax hadn't been collected and the person/company had been free to spend it as they wished.

Basically, you're arguing with the assumption that taxation is by its very nature always a benefit to the economy. It is not. Just like you have to make decisions regarding which purchases will benefit you more (e.g. food for the table vs. a big screen TV), or a company has to make decisions on what to purchase (new computers for staff, or an all-expenses paid retreat to Tahiti), how tax revenue is spent vs how it would've been spent if not taxed in the first place determines whether or not taxation is a net benefit to the economy. Whichever spending decision increases productivity more is the one which helps the economy more.

In most cases, you can make an argument that tax shelters results in disproportionately greater income (in the form of stock dividends) for extremely wealthy stockholders. And that their purchasing habits are distorted by their wealth towards economic inefficiency (e.g. gold toilet seats). So taxing that money would've been a net benefit to the economy.

However, that reveals the crucial flaw in the concept of taxing corporations: The corporation never pays the tax. It ends up being paid by for by its customers in the form of higher prices. Or by its employees in the form of lower wages. Or by its stockholders in the form of reduced dividends. The corporation is a pass-through paper entity. Basically the glue that allows a bunch of employees and stockholders to pool their labor and financial resources together so into a synchronized activity. The corporation itself doesn't contribute anything, so it generates no productivity, so cannot pay taxes. Any corporate taxes are paid for by people - customers, employees, stockholders.

So instead of playing this unproductive whack-a-mole game trying to stomp out corporate tax havens, just reduce the corporate tax rate to zero and tax those people directly. If you dislike wealthy stockholders making so much profit, increase their income tax. If you think employees at successful companies are not paying their fair share, you increase their income taxes. If you dislike that the money your citizens are paying for Apple products are being shifted out of the country, you increase the sales tax rate. etc.

Comment Re:whose fraud??? (Score 4, Informative) 188

That's not really true in this case. The music industry's U.S. revenue was $7 billion in 2015. The TV and movie industry's revenue was $131 billion in 2014 So about $140 billion total.

U.S. ISP revenue was $97 billion in 2016. The U.S. consumer electronics industry revenue is over $200 billion. The Internet publishing, broadcasting, and search industry's revenue was about $110 billion in 2014. Total is over $400 billion. Nearly 3x bigger than music, movies, and TV. Yet they're made to bend over and comply with the wishes of the studios. The tail is literally wagging the dog.

It already destroyed Sony's audio electronics division. Sony was the top name in audio equipment in the 1970s and 1980s. Then in 1987 they acquired CBS records and renamed it Sony Music Entertainment. SME coexisted with Sony Electronics until 1998, when the MP3 player came to market. Sony Electronics came up with an MP3 player, but SME forced them to add DRM to it. Customers avoided it because it was impossible to take their existing CDs and simply copy the music over to a Sony MP3 player.

Sony's 1998 revenue was 1,128 billion Yen for the audio division (page 14), 660 billion Yen for the music division (page 15).

Their 2000 revenue was 935 billion Yen for the audio division (page 47), 709 billion Yen for the music division (page 498).

By 2003 their audio sales had atrophied to 683 billion Yen (page 20), vs 636 billion Yen in music sales (page 18). Music sales were about the same as 1998, but their audio electronics sales had been cut nearly in half because of SME demanding their products comply with their copyright protection requirements. (In 2004 their music division began a joint venture with BMG, so financials are not comparable from then on.)

Comment Re:Why not blame the manufacturer? (Score 2) 263

This is actually a fairly recent development. When I was putting together a file server in 2012, I really wanted to use ECC RAM. But 2x4GB ECC cost more than $250 vs $50 for regular 2x4GB RAM. Add in the extra cost of a server motherboard that supported ECC RAM and the processor restrictions, and I gave up and just built the file server using regular RAM.

A couple years later, the price of ECC RAM had dropped to only about 50% more than the cost of regular RAM.

. If Samsung started using ECC memory in all their phones, the cost would be nearly the same with the volume they would be ordering/making.

The cost would be 12.5% more. :)

Comment Re:The EU found a solution to this long time ago (Score 1) 274

The difference is that in the EU, regulations are made by stuffy bureaucrats disconnected from what they are regulating. While this has problems, it at least results in consistent laws.

In the U.S., laws are made with special interest input (lobbying). Manufacturers don't care about recycling, so recycling laws are almost entirely dictated by environmentalist lobbying. Consequently they tend to be excessively strict. Mining laws OTOH have a vested special interest (mining and refining companies) who will lobby against the environmentalist lobbyists. So those laws tend to be a better balance of environmental and industry interests.

The net result is that the regulations and red tape for recycling materials are more strict than for mining and refining the same materials. And it thus becomes cheaper to build things out of new materials than with recycled materials, killing the economic incentive to recycle.

While your EU solution would work, it would probably be opposed by environmentalists. By making manufacturers economically responsible for recycling, you create an incentive for them to get involved in lobbying during the creation of recycling laws. This will result in environmentalists losing sole control over the crafting of recycling laws.

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