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Comment Re:I'm ok with that (Score 1) 57

I agree strongly that using a cloud-based service to print from a phone/tablet to a local printer is all kinds of stupid, but I'd be a bit happier with Apple's AirPrint if they would just provide the AirPrint service as part of the Mac OS. Having to buy a special printer OR paying a third party $$ to add an AirPrint service to my local Mac server is undesirable to me.

Comment Re:So laundering your bitcoin wasn't paranoia (Score 2) 203

It is my understanding that if a US citizen has any income, they are expected to declare it, whether it is identified in data submitted by other parties (such as your employer) or not. If they don't declare and pay taxes on the income, they have probably violated the US tax code. Since buying and selling Bitcoin can result in income, not declaring that income would probably violate the tax code. The US IRS knows the tax code very well. They may sometimes push the envelope on enforcement, and every once in a while they might lose in court, but I think they win far more often than not.

Comment Re:employee improvement plan (Score 2) 391

Process improvement methods like 6 Sigma https://www.isixsigma.com/new-to-six-sigma/getting-started/what-six-sigma/ are not intended to drive individual people to perform in the top x%, they are intended to identify and eliminate defects in processes. That said, methods like that can be misunderstood and/or misused by management, especially when said management thinks the method is a tool that you just bring in and swing around in order to reap the benefits of "improved processes," more productivity, etc.

Comment Re:What does he think this is, Apple?!?!?!?!? (Score 4, Interesting) 391

I can't speak to what Tim Cook has or has not innovated in general, but suicide prevention nets were a "thing" in the 1981 Niven/Pournelle novel "Oath of Fealty" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Fealty_(novel). The story revolves around people dwelling in an arcology just outside of Los Angeles. Due to the size of the building, people were attracted to the roof to end their lives. The building designers included a diving board coupled with hidden nets to a) deter, and b) prevent the death of people attempting to commit suicide.

Comment Re: Worse than the IRS (Score 1) 171

Roads are a service that there can, in general, only be one of in any particular location. E-mail is a service which is open to market forces, where many service providers can compete on the basis of the cost and quality of their offerings. There doesn't seem to be any need to have an "e-mail service" or a "document storage service" that is run by the government; the commercial market is vibrant and healthy with many alternatives. So I don't think your "road troll" comparison is at all apt. If you are unwise or unaware enough to select a "free except for ads" service, or whatever other currency you think you are trading in to use Google, when their stated terms of service explicitly say that can turn off your account at any time, for a service that you yourself deem to be critical, then I certainly don't feel the need for my tax money to be spent to extricate you from a situation into which you have placed yourself.

I understand quite well what the Google terms of service are, including how one is "paying" for those services and what level of service is guaranteed for that payment, and I opted for a different deal. I opted to pay cash for services from a commercial provider where my terms of service are a little more in my favor. I was also careful to choose a provider with a solid reputation and history of providing available services. You had the same set of choices, and you apparently now feel that you may have chosen poorly, and that you should be bailed out by action of the government against the vendor who is providing exactly the quality of service that they promised to you for the price that you were willing to pay. Good luck to you, sir or madam.

Comment Re:Worse than the IRS (Score 1) 171

If you based your "digital life" on freeloading off of Google's services, what else would you expect other than to be under the (possibly draconian) thumb of Google?? If you want Google services to be taken over by the government, you are saying that you want taxpayers to pay for your digital life while you freeload, instead of just paying for it yourself. As a taxpayer, I say no way. If you don't like Google's deal, pay for your own services. Every service that Google offers is available from a commercial provider. I know, because I buy all of those services, or provide them for myself, rather than get them from Google (with the exception of search) precisely because I don't want to be under Google's thumb. Sheesh! Wake up and take responsibility for yourself.

Comment Re:You can already work around this (Score 1) 241

I think just about every domain registrar offers a "privacy" option. The WHOIS data has to lead to identifying the person who bought the domain and runs the domain, but it can do so through a third-party that acts like a privacy screen. Otherwise, everyone who buys a domain name would find their e-mail address(es) spammed to death.

I'm having trouble understanding if the Gizmodo quote was of a "tongue in cheek" statement or not... Network Solutions is the leading domain registrar in the United States, having run the InterNIC under government contract previously. Perfect Privacy is just one of the third-party WHOIS data privacy screens. No unclear relationship there.

Comment Re:Fishing Expedition (Score 1) 124

The government needs money in order to carry out its duties. We can argue about what those duties are, and how much money it needs, and we should, but we can't pretend it doesn't cost money.

If the government is going to acquire money to pay for the government, it can do so using a few different models (assuming the collection will be under the color of law, and based on some rational rules, not just tax collectors riding door-to-door taking whatever they want): a) take a percentage of money as it comes into the possession of an entity, b) take a percentage of money as an entity pays it out to obtain goods and services, c) take a percentage of the value of all goods owned by the entity, or d) divide up all the costs among all entities and charge them each accordingly. Our shorthand for these things are a) income tax, b) sales tax, c) property tax, and d) per-capita tax. The entities may be individuals, or they may be corporations.

Not surprisingly, we have found that each of these models for funding the government has pros and cons, with folks managing to figure out how to game the system under each model in their own economic self-interest, which might then appear to others as them shirking their responsibility to share the cost of government.

I happen to live in a state that decided to *not* have an income tax; this sounds very attractive if you have a decent income that you would like to personally keep more of to yourself. (No worries about taxing tips, either). However, the state government still needs $$ to operate. So... we have a slightly higher property tax (on "real property" (i.e., houses)); a higher sales tax, which includes both a state component, a county component, and a local component; a business and occupation tax based on company *revenue*, not profit; and don't even get me started about the extra taxes on liquor that have us paying close to 50% more on such things than in the state I lived in just prior to this one. Am I coming out ahead with no income tax? Beats me... it depends on how much I buy in goods and services, how nice of a house I have, and how much I like to drink. So I can have a decent income, and pay no income taxes, but if I spend my $$ on anything, I pay more than I might in other jurisdictions for each of those things. The government gets its money through the "corporations", but the corporations get their money though individuals.

When you suggest taxing corporations, which are the legal way of treating a body of people as one entity, and which are used primarily by organizations that provide goods and services to people, you are just changing the model under which the government is being funded, you are most emphatically *not* reducing the amount of money that the government costs. No matter what model is used, the government will set the rates used so that it gets the money needed to fund its operation. And that money will ultimately be paid out of the pockets of individuals, either directly or through corporations. Changing the model may be warranted, and may result in a more or less fair distribution of government costs to individuals (depending on your definition of fair), but it won't eliminate people gaming the system, and it won't eliminate complaints about fairness.

Comment Re:Finalize with a dealer, screw that (Score 2) 59

I bought my current vehicle, a 2000 Toyota 4Runner, on-line in January of 2000 from an outfit called carorder.com. They had built an on-line sales engine, and were trying to establish on-line auto sales as a regular thing. The buying experience was great; they sold multiple makes and models, all of the information was on-line, and it was a fixed price determined by the base car price plus options - no haggling.

Unfortunately for carorder.com, it was very difficult (ultimately impossible) for them to break through total lockout of anyone other than the existing dealers selling cars. I bought my 4Runner on-line, but in order to actually deliver the car to me, they had to work with a local dealer. They would have delivered the car to my house so that I didn't need to even see the dealer, but I opted to go to the dealer to pick it up. I asked the sales guy at the dealership if he felt threatened by the on-line sales model, since it was a much more pleasant way of buying a car, and netted me a better price than I think I could have gotten any other way. The dealer showed me the $4,000 check that carorder.com had written to the dealership in addition to the $35,000 or so that I was paying (my cash going directly to the dealership), and said if this is what on-line sales are then he was all for it. carorder.com had plans to have their own outlets in each state so that they could deliver the cars themselves, but they were unable to make this happen before they ran out of money (not surprising, given that they were probably paying dealers extra money on every sale that they made). What did work for me was that since I had made the deal through carorder.com, I didn't have to sign any extra dealer paperwork - I just wrote the check, handed it over, and drove away in my car. Unfortunately, I think carorder.com only lasted another 6 months or so.

I'm glad that Tesla has been pursuing opening up the car market for their own vehicles, but perhaps Amazon will be able to make inroads where carorder.com was unable to with the broader market. The argument against on-line sales seems to be primarily based on the idea that an on-line seller won't be around to provide maintenance and support. This seems to be a solvable problem, perhaps with manufacturer's having a distributed network of authorized warranty repair vendors instead of/in addition to dealerships.

I would be very happy to see true competitive market pressures introduced to new automobile sales such that buying a new car was a lot easier and a lot more like buying any other commodity.

Comment Re:Honest doubt (Score 1) 95

Yes, it was kind of crazy for the right wingers to be certain that any given year of the Obama administration was the one in which he would "take our guns." After all, not nearly enough groundwork was in place to make that leap. However, when the engines of the government are being employed to root out ideological impurities, it may not be all that big a leap to fear the end game.

"Operation Chokepoint," an initiative to reduce unlawful fraud by "choking" illegal players out of U.S. financial institutions, was turned against legal businesses that the Obama administration didn't like, including gun stores and other firearms-related companies, as described here http://www.forbes.com/sites/frankminiter/2015/01/30/fdic-admits-to-strangling-legal-gun-stores-banking-relationships/#326dcbb327fd and here http://www.infowars.com/holders-latest-scandal-doj-now-pressuring-banks-to-refuse-service-to-gun-stores/ with results like this http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/28/operation-choke-point-forces-bank-to-dump-gun-stor/.

Trump hasn't implemented any policy decisions yet. He doesn't even have the authority to do anything yet, other than start to build his team. So although people may be looking on in trepidation for fear of what he might do, he hasn't (yet) started using the government bureaucracy to further his personal ideology in excess of the law. So let's wait and see what he really does, and judge it whether it's based in law, or based solely in personal ideology.

Comment Re:PLEASE...make a sports car again!! (Score 1) 247

When I was 17 I (briefly) had an early 1970's Chevrolet Vega panel express ( like the station wagon but with steel panels in the rear windows) that had its original low performance motor replaced by a V8 Corvette engine (a 327, if I recall correctly). It had to be driven carefully if there were any obstructions in the road (such as raised manhole covers where repaving was going to take place) because the exhaust headers went very close to the ground. But when you turned the key, a sweet exhaust sound emerged. And when you stomped on the gas... goodbye everything else. Low CG, low curb weight, high horsepower, looked like a cheap economy station wagon. That's a sleeper!

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