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Comment Re:Double Irish (Score 5, Informative) 825

The problem is that this money is not exclusively earned abroad. Large companies can easily setup shell "holding" companies that own their IP licensing and use transfer pricing to pull fund legitimately earned in countries where they would owe tax out to the tax havens by use of internal licensing fees. And since the US corporate taxes are on profits and not revenue, this internal transfer of funds is heavily abused by anyone with a half-way competent accounting department.

Overly Simplified Example:
Revenue: $100M
Fictitious Licensing Cost of already developed internal system: $80M
Staffing Costs: $10M
Taxable Income: $10M instead of $90M
Effective Tax: $3.5M instead of $31.5M
Evaded Tax: $28M

Comment Re:No general consensus (Score 1) 35

"There is a general consensus that ultimately photons will replace electrons running through wires in most of our microelectronic devices."

No there isn't.

We know that for silicon CMOS, Moore's law is starting to slow down and further miniaturisation is becoming much more expensive. We know that if the complexity and efficiency of microelectronics is to continue improving at its current or past pace, we'll probably have to move to something other than silicon. There are multiple possibilities, including carbon (graphene or nanotubes), semiconductors other than silicon, titanium dioxide memristors and other more exotic things. Maybe one of these technologies will enable us to push computing closer to its physical limits. Maybe more than one. Maybe none of them will, and eventually we'll just have to be satisfied with gradually refining and optimising silicon CMOS techniques even further. Optical computing has attracted some criticism about its prospects: http://www.nature.com/nphoton/... (sorry for the paywall).

There is no consensus at this point that any particular technology, optical or otherwise, is one of the next major steps in microelectronics.

I think the point that was being made is that optical will eventually replace all electrical connections. It was not saying the only jump to be from Silicon -> Optical, but rather will ultimately be replaced by Optical as a faster medium just like the advances we saw by deploying Fiber Optic cables (and the more recent push for optical-based network switches to replace existing electrical). Realistically the full Optical transition is still years away and you are likely correct that we will move to on of the other transitional architectures that are still electrical-based in the mean time.

Comment Re:historically inaccurate (Score 1) 513

My internet is never gridlocked like the government roads are.

Really? My internet through Comcast is great and I get the speeds I pay for, but only during non-peak times much like non-rush hour traffic on the roads. However, the speeds are abysmal on nights and weekends much like rush hour traffic to and from work.

We can add as many lanes as we would like to the expressways (internet backbones, e.g. cogent) to try and ease congestion, but at the end of the day it is the exit ramps (ATT/Verizon/Comcast/TWC/etc cross-carrier connections) and the local "last mile" roads (ISP to home) that still trigger contention within the system. Unless we improve the infrastructure at all levels, we will always encounter a bottleneck.

Comment Re:So much for competition (Score 1) 189

"Linksys (...) devices are made by Sercomm, meaning that Cisco, Watchguard, Belkin (...)"

It reminds me that scary graph where half a dozen companies control almost all the stuff you see on supermarket shelves. I remember reading nice fairy tales in school about open markets, and fair and diverse competition being paramount to the western economic model...

Sorta like these conglomerates? Just to name a few :)

Comment Re:Someone important *should* take the blame (Score 1) 118

Bullshit. The President doesn't write code.

His staff was saying, in the week before the website went live, that everything would be great. That's on him, for not knowing (or lying?) about the state of the website.

Perhaps that was in part due to CGI Federal SVP in charge of the Healthcare.gov project, Cheryl Campbell, testifying before the House of Representatives September 10, 2013 that the project was still on track [video - Testimony starting around 36m20s.] & [pdf]. While some of the other organizations present during this testimony were flagging issues, the primary contracting organization was communicating that the project was still on track and would be ready for the October 1, 2013 launch.

If the key players in the project are communicating an "all clear" up the chain, it is difficult for anyone outside of these organizations to ascertain possible issues as they are not receiving information about the regular day-to-day. The Government's response (contracting Google/Redhat/Oracle) to the situation once they learned the truth was a management-base response to them finally receiving real information. Had Middle Management (Read: CGI Federal) properly communicated the issues earlier, the Government may have been able to enact a gauged response earlier that could have avoided the debacle.

Comment Re:Obamaphone (Score 5, Informative) 298

Apple will be quick to inform you that all profits are made by their Irish subsidiary and are not subject to US corporate taxes.

So why do they pay so much in US taxes?

Umm... they don't. According to their 2012 10-K Annual report Apple paid $12.2B in Federal taxes, this was most at a 35% rate applied to securities that their foreign-based subsidiaries (e.g. ireland-based) owned in the US since these values are not considered revenue. These were cashflows that occurred in the US and could not be avoided. Apple also paid $1.2B in foreign taxes at a lower rate (which lowers their effective US tax rate) and avoided $6B in US taxes all together by keeping funds in foreign subsidiaries. So if it were not for their subsidiary, they would be on the line for almost 50% more in taxes than what they are actually paying into the system.

Comment Re:Sure, it's good today (Score 2) 415

Eventually? The sooner the better, if you ask me.

I currently have several devices that are nothing more than paper weights now as they are no longer chargeable due to broken micro USB ports.

It's not a terrible design for something like an external hard disk or other device that generally just sits there. On a device that is designed to be handled constantly, however, it falls flat on its face. The connection is simply too fragile.

If the EU really wants to reduce waste, they would mandate a connector that didn't break so easily, thus bricking the device. This is less of a problem nowadays with laptops, but they too have suffered this problem long enough that at this point the only reason you would keep releasing devices with fragile power connectors is that you are engineering obsolescence.

There are micro-soldering repair shops that can reseat the ports with new connections to the board that will fix that issue. A friend of mine needed it done for his Galaxy S3, I think the total cost was around $45 including shipping and guarantees on the work being done.

Comment Re:Is there really any point to this? (Score 3, Funny) 326

Here's the facts. I am a resident of British Columbia. I pay about $127 per month in Medical Services Premiums. For that I won't be given a bill at any hospital or any doctor if I have a medical issue. If I need a scan or some other diagnostic test, I will not be billed. Furthermore, if I end up needing healthcare in Prince Edward Island, I will still be protected.

Shoot, that sounds fantastic! Why can't we get something like that here in the U.S.?

Because we got FREEDOMS!!!!

Especially the freedom to bend over and take it...

Comment Re:some are more equal than others (Score 2) 207

Isn't that Animal Farm

To be fair, I don't recall Animal Farm specifying in what year it took place. Maybe it also took place in the year 1984, albeit in an alternative dimension where animals talked and Oceana wasn't at war with Eastasia.

Pretty sure he meant the quote, "Some are more equal than others," was from Animal Farm, not the year that Animal Farm took place.

Comment Re:Outraged! (Score 1) 345

Why the fuck don't they do what any reasonable company does... contract out that stuff to someone who is good at it... like ADP.

As a taxpayer, I am outraged.

I really hope that was sarcasm... ADP is one of the most incompetent companies I have ever had the displeasure of working with.

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