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Comment James Comey is a hero (Score 2) 241

He's totally wrong about this issue. But this is the guy who stood up when Bush administration thugs (Card and Gonzales) tried to get the Justice Department to sign off on their warrantless wiretapping program. He refused, prevented them from going around him and later threatened to resign: You can disagree with him on encryption (and I do), but this is not a guy who has no respect for the Constitution.

Comment Re:Gun nuts (Score 4, Informative) 1374

Umm. The government has taken him to court, many times. The courts have ruled against Bundy repeatedly and demanded that he pay grazing fees and fines. He refuses to pay and says he doesn't recognize the authority of the US government. Washington and Hamilton (who I think count as Founders and had a good sense of the intended power of the government under the constitution) sent troops to Western PA to collect taxes on whiskey. Perhaps the government had other options that would have worked better, but the one they chose is well within the constitution and the history of this country.

Comment Google being sued over use in schools (Score 1) 409

There's a real problem with using Google being used in schools. See They are collecting information that is part of a student's academic record. That looks like a violation of FERPA law. The big surprise in this lawsuit is that Google hasn't agreed not to collect that data, just that they won't use it to present ads to kids (at least, not in school. It isn't clear if Google thinks it's OK to push ads to you on your home account).

Comment Re:Slashdot misunderstands value of patents (Score 4, Informative) 84

When Apple sells an iPhone in, say, France, they pay a royalty to Apple Operations International for use of patents. This reduces the profits on the iPhone sale in France (so saves on French taxes) and shifts the money to Ireland (actually to nowhere - Apple Operations hasn't filed a tax return anywhere in years). But the patent royalty is on an "invention" made in California. Apple US should be making money (and paying taxes) on the patent royalties, but they don't. The true profit on the phone includes the money allocated to patent royalties, but Apple doesn't pay taxes anywhere on that portion.

Comment Slashdot misunderstands value of patents (Score 4, Informative) 84

Whenever a patent story comes out, everyone's concerned about whether the patent will be used to lock up some obvious functionality. That's not why Apple gets patents. It works like this:

1 - Apple gets patent

2 - Apple sells patent to Irish subsidiary for small amount of money

3 - Apple comes out with iPhone that incorporates patented technology.

4 - Apple pays subsidiary royalty on patent for each iPhone sold

In this way, Apple moves profit on iPhone sales from Apple itself to the subsidiary. The subsidiary is incorporated in Ireland, so it is not taxable in the US. The subsidiary's major operations are in the US, so it is not taxable in Ireland.

Profit!! Tax-free!!

Patents are no longer an IP strategy. They're a tax avoidance strategy.

Comment Re:Problem with egos really (Score 1) 525

To be fair, the "NYT" didn't lie - Broder did. The NYT backed up one of their journalists. Which they should!

WRONG. The editor should have read the article, said "You're full of shit" and rejected it.

You don't throw your soldiers out into the enemies tender mercies, just 'cause.

No, the NY TImes did not blindly defend Broder. The NY Times has a "Public Editor" - an independent source who investigates and publicly discusses whether the Times did the right thing on controversial stories. She's been looking into this controversy pretty closely - see her blog. She hasn't finished her investigation, but she does say "I reject Mr. Musk’s central contention that Mr. Broder’s Sunday piece was faked in order to sabotage the Model S or the electric-car industry."

Like any organization, the NY Times makes mistakes. But they have enough integrity to own up to it when they do.

Comment Re:At last an offer. (Score 1) 582

And Apple is free not to license those patents and come up with a new and unique way of doing it.

No. That's the whole point of a FRAND patent. Apple is not free to do it some other way. Apple needs to follow the standard. The deal is that Moto's tech gets to be in the standard because they agree to license it freely and relatively cheaply.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 1) 606

I'm not sure what you think inflation means, but it has nothing to do with whatever it is you think you're calculating. CPI blahblahblah...

Inflation can be measured both in terms of dollars in existence (which he is measuring) and in terms of prices, which the CPI purports to measure.

No. Inflation can only be measured in terms of prices. Tripling the money supply does not triple prices (at least not always). If you haven't learned that from the non-reaction of inflation to QE, then you must believe your "theory" trumps all evidence.

As far as the CPI all being a government conspiracy of some kind, if you don't believe it, just use the BPI. Still no price rise in reaction to expansion of the money supply. But maybe MIT is in on the conspiracy...

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 1) 606

Sure. Inflation will be on us - any day now...

I guess your model is that price changes count when you say they do (VW bugs) but can be dismissed when you think they're not reflective of the "real" price (electronics and jeans).

I agree that wages for many have not kept up with inflation, but I have no idea what that has to do with the level of inflation itself.

Measuring prices for the CPI is hard and there are tons of papers arguing various aspects of the methodology but there's no reason to believe there's some kind of conspiracy to hide inflation. The BPI, which is privately produced and uses a completely different method of measuring prices, basically matches the CPI.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 4, Informative) 606

I'm not sure what you think inflation means, but it has nothing to do with whatever it is you think you're calculating. Also, the CPI absolutely does include housing and fuel - see I guess you're thinking of "core inflation" rather than CPI but, unfortunately for you, neither has increased by anything close to what your "theory" would predict.

Comment Re:I've got a solution.... (Score 1) 83

Sorry, yes it does. Not because of the impact on discrimination, but because the companies now have the added cost of documenting that they do not discriminate. This is one more cost that makes it more difficult for a smaller company to survive in the market.

No. This does impose a cost, but the cost is the same for all companies in the market, so it doesn't disadvantage the small company (well, possibly there are economies of scale in favor of the larger company but that's not necessarily true and, in any case, those economies of scale apply to lots of things that have nothing to do with regulation). In any case, the cost is really small. Documenting non-discrimination is basically documenting how the company came up with the rate. If they don't already document that, then they aren't going to survive long.

I happen to think that it is not the government's business to enforce anti-discrimination practices on private companies. What people seem to forget is that the segregationist policies that lead to the Civil Rights marches were not a result of lack of government regulation, they were a result of government regulation.

I think people seem to forget that because it isn't true. In what way was Woolworth's refusal to serve blacks at their lunch counter a result of government regulation? American General Life charged black customers more for insurance than white. In what way was this a result of regulation?

Comment Re:I've got a solution.... (Score 1) 83

OK, but you said "all government regulation stifles competition", which is complete nonsense.

How about anti-trust laws? They require a whole bunch of regulations for corporate reporting approval of mergers, etc. The whole purpose of these regulations is to increase competition. You might try to argue that you have some brilliant new set of anti-trust laws that would do a better job (and maybe you do, though I doubt it), but you're insane if you think that fewer anti-trust regulations will, necessarily, lead to more competition. We know what happened before anti-trust.

So look at anti-discrimination regulations. Insurance companies, for example, are not allowed to price based on race, even if their research shows that race is a predictor of life expectancy. Does this reduce competition among insurance companies? No - the companies just adjust their tables to price for the average across races. There's an even playing field for the companies, so the industry is every bit as competitive as it would be without these laws. In fact, this is a case where regulation is essential (unless you think that discrimination by race would be OK). If you left this to the unregulated free market, then any insurance company that advertised that it didn't use race in rating policies would rapidly go out of business, as it would attract mostly high-risk customers but would need to price to the average. Government regulations help keep the playing field even.

Comment Re:Oh look... (Score 0) 170

True. The more likely scenario is that he coasts on the momentum that Apple has now. Five years from now, the stock's at $350. He's still there, since he hasn't done anything all that stupid (I mean, look at how long Balmer's at Microsoft?). So, he collects his $175M bonus and gets to play the game for another five years. I still don't see how this puts a fire under him.

Don't get me wrong - I like Cook, and I think he's smart and a really hard worker. But, honestly, do you really think that someone with hundreds of millions of dollars really finds the prospect of getting N hundred million more all that motivating?

Guys like Jobs and Cook work hard because that's what they want to do with their lives. The money gives them bragging rights over other CEOs but, really, I don't think Cook's going to do the job any differently, just because he has the prospect of an enormous payoff down the road.

Comment Apple Data Detectors (Score 4, Informative) 230

Patent 5,946,647 was filed in 1996, when Apple came out with Apple Data Detectors (Mac OS 8). The patent is almost certainly about that.

This article describes ADD, including what its developers considered to be unique and different from other approaches.

My take on this is that ADD did come up with some clever ideas in implementation that solved the particular problems they were addressing (focusing on simple problems and fast detection). It's clear that what's unique is the particular implementation, not the idea of detecting phone numbers and such. They cite lots of other examples of the idea.

So, there are two possibilities. Either the patent covers the idea (and thus is inappropriately broad and will be ruled invalid) or the patent is about the particular implementation, in which case it should be simple to implement in a way that avoids violation. In either case, HTC and Android will be fine.

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