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Comment Re:It won't matter (Score 1) 242

After I switched out the cartridges, I shipped the empty cartridge back in the same box as I got the new cartridge, print out a shipping label and drop it off at the post office. Hence, I "rented" the cartridge and kept the ink.

You're not renting the cartridge; it belongs to you. You may or may not get a credit towards the purchase of a new cartridge if you return your old one for recycling, but there is no penalty for simply keeping it. If you were renting the cartridge you would be obligated to return it eventually, whether or not you wanted a new one.

There are cases where the container for a consumable really is rented; for example, if you need a small quantity of liquid nitrogen you'll generally want to rent a dewar to carry it rather than buying your own. (Liquid nitrogen is relatively cheap, on its own, but the dewars start at several hundred dollars.)

Comment Re:Liability (Score 1) 487

And then just at the moment BigCorp starts to loose [sic], they settle out of court.

Settlements are voluntary and must be accepted by both sides. If the plaintiff doesn't want to settle there isn't anything BigCorp can do about it.

To me, out of court settlements should not mean that the case should be dropped.

What else would it mean? A settlement is nothing more or less than an agreement to drop the case in exchange for some compensation. You could prohibit settlements entirely, but it makes no sense to have an out-of-court settlement where the court continues to hear the case. Even prohibiting settlement would be somewhat problematic since the court relies on the plaintiff to argue their side of the case convincingly—it doesn't really make sense to punish a plaintiff for withdrawing their claims in response to a better offer by the defendant, and the enforcement necessary to prevent the plaintiff from deliberately losing would be difficult at best. Ultimately the court is there to see to it that disagreements are resolved, not to create new ones. If the plaintiff and defendant can resolve their issues on their own with an out-of-court settlement, why should the court interfere?

Comment Re:This is bullcrap (Score 1) 516

The password (like a key to a safe) ...

I think you mean "like a combination to a safe". Passwords aren't like physical keys—they're something you know, not something you have. And unlike physical keys, which can be seized with a warrant, there is no precedent for requiring a suspect to divulge the code to a combination lock.

Comment Re:Destroy code? (Score 1) 516

I doubt that would work in this case as I'm sure LEO images the media and tries to decrypt the images.

You don't wipe the drive itself, you wipe the key stored in the TPM or equivalent (which is tamper-resistant and not easily cloneable). Even with the master password, no one can decrypt the contents of the drive without the active participation of the original TPM. An image of the encrypted drive will not help at all if the TPM can be persuaded to delete the sole copy of the decryption key, for example by providing it with a duress password.

Comment Re:A conundrum for small government (Score 1) 164

But: you are agreeing with me. The thing which is preventing local municipalities from proliferating regulations is state government telling the municipalities what they can and can't do.

But the state is not telling individuals what they can and cannot do. A higher level of government overruling a meddlesome lower level is not a problem for "small-governmenters" provided the net effect is that decision-making becomes more local—in this case, moving from municipalities down to the level of individual property owners. A government that does nothing but prevent all other levels of government (and non-government criminals—an arguably lesser threat) from interfering in the rightful actions of the individuals within their domain is pretty much the small-government ideal.

There is a big difference between regulating the free exercise of property rights by individuals and restricting the powers local governments hold over the individuals within their jurisdiction. The former interferes with the actions of individuals, the latter prevents interference.

Comment Re: sorry, no (Score 1) 447

To be fair the overall company is turning a profit on every one of those phones sold in NZ. They just aren't showing the profit in NZ by hiding it with high license fees.

If that is the problem then there is a very simple solution: just do away with IP. No more IP means no more writing off licensing of foreign IP on tax returns. As long as IP exists as a legal concept this scheme of transferring profits to a foreign IP-holding company will be impossible to eradicate. As far as the law is concerned, those licensing fees must be considered true costs of doing business, and they do indeed result in zero net taxable income to the licensee. The only sound way to prevent such profit-transfers would be to stop allowing IP licensing fees to be deducted as business expenses, but if you did that and failed to eliminate the requirement to license IP in the first place then every major business would instantly spiral into bankruptcy—their profit margins could not support the increased tax burden.

Comment Re:Careful what you wish for... (Score 1) 447

Apple does not pay VAT. It merely collects it. End users pay VAT.

A technicality. Either way, the VAT is coming out of Apple's profit margin. You don't think the end-user price would be any lower if there were no VAT, do you? In a competitive commodity market, perhaps, but Apple has a natural monopoly on Apple-branded products—given their customer's well-known brand loyalty, they aren't really competing on price against non-Apple devices. The end-user price will be set at whatever the market will bear, independent of VAT.

Comment Re:Preventing Ludited (Score 1) 164

In a Hotel the quality of the rooms, the safety of the Hotel, and the honesty of your hosts are all regulated so they are at least at a minimal level

That acceptable "minimal level" is for the guests to decide, not for the government to set by fiat.

Generally it will not lower property values but raise them, as people who cannot afford the house on their incoming supplement it with AirBnB pricing you out of the market ....

If having AirBnB available increases the property value, that just means that the residence would have been underutilized without AirBnB—an economic waste. The house is worth what buyers are willing to pay for it with that AirBnB supplement. If you payed less for the same property because AirBnB was prohibited then your profit came at someone else's expense.

Comment Re:I am curious if people think this is good or ba (Score 1) 164

Federal government -- enumerated rights. State government -- unenumerated rights. Local governments -- enumerated rights.

Two problems with this. First, the word is "powers", not "rights". People have rights; governments have powers. Second, state governments should have only enumerated powers, just like federal and local governments. Carefully delineated boundaries on the use of power are a good idea at all levels of government.

Comment Re:A conundrum for small government (Score 2) 164

On the other hand, small-governmenters want return of control to local governments. So a rule telling communities what laws they can't pass is bad.

That is really a mischaracterization. The "small-governmenters" are not trying to empower local governments. They simply hold that the damage of externally-imposed rules becomes greater with increasing distance from those affected (i.e. the property owners). So the federal government should not interfere in matters which can be handled by a state, states should not interfere in matters which can be handled by municipalities—and municipalities should not interfere in matters which can be handled by individual property owners. This prohibition on municipalities interfering with property owners' use of their property for AirBnB is merely a logical extension of that principle, in the absence of strong evidence that something about the situation (for example, property rights being violated) requires the municipality to get involved to minimize the overall harm, keeping in mind that the municipality's interference is itself a form of harm.

Comment Re:Capitalism is killing everyone and everything (Score 1) 110

After all there are many ways communism could be implemented without requiring central government control of production, and yet somehow the only methods that have ever been "attempted" are those centrally-controlled approaches that concentrate enormous economic power into the hands of a small cadre of insiders.

Other approaches have been tried, such as communes. The problem with communism is that it simply doesn't scale. Sure, it can work well enough in small, close-knit groups where members' goals are more-or-less aligned, but the larger the group the more disagreement there inevitably is over how the shared resources should be used. Beyond a certain size governing by consensus becomes impractical and you can either take the command-economy route, with increasingly concentrated decision-making authority, or divide the resources up among the members of the group and transition to a market economy.

Comment Re:Tough shit -- welcome to the real world (Score 1) 283

But we as a society have made the decision that we aren't allowed to tell them "ok, you didn't buy insurance, so just die."

And herein lies the problem. You made that decision "as a society", so you should pay for it. Leave the rest of us alone. Sometimes people just have to live with the consequences of their own decisions, even if that means dying. That includes choosing not to buy insurance and subsequently being unable to afford a necessary medical procedure. If you want to interfere in that process, do so at your own expense.

Comment Re:Tough shit -- welcome to the real world (Score 1) 283

Seriously, dude, this is how insurance ... programs work. We all pay in.

The way that real insurance programs work is that we all pay in proportion to our individual risk. Real insurance is not a charity program or a wealth-transfer scheme. It is a stable arrangement in a voluntary and competitive market precisely because the premiums are balanced with respect to each customer's actuarial risk. Coverage and premiums are negotiated before risk is realized (real insurance does not cover "pre-existing conditions"). You are not subsidizing the other customers, and they are not subsidizing you. Instead, you are entering into an equal trade with the insurance provider, a premium payment in exchange for alleviating your risk. This trade has zero net impact on the other customers. The presence of a risk pool does allow the insurance company to operate without massive amounts of liquid assets, but to the customers that is nothing more than an insignificant detail of the insurance business model.

Like when you crash your car....all those other people who aren't crashing their cars are paying for yours to be fixed.
Like when your house catches fire...other people whose houses haven't caught fire are helping to pay for yours to be rebuilt.

Only if by "those other people" you mean your insurance provider. Their other customers aren't paying to fix your car or rebuild your house; they're paying the insurance company to fix their own cars and rebuild their own houses in the event that something should happen to them—none of which has anything to do with your policy. Those other customers don't owe you anything.

Of course, if you compel everyone to buy an "approved" insurance policy the the prices of such policies will increase, transferring wealth to the insurance providers. And if you make the mistake of also mandating coverage (at the same price) for pre-existing conditions, ignoring actuarial risk, costs and prices will rise further. At this point you no longer have insurance, you have a vestigial insurance system overshadowed by a mix of social and corporate welfare, with heaping helpings of bureaucracy, regulation, and regulatory capture.

It's gotten so bad that people don't even know what insurance is any more. Some think that insurance is how you get health care. No, paying health care providers is how you get health care. The insurance company is only a middleman. Some think that insurance is a social program to ensure access to health care regardless of ability to pay. No, charity is how we provide health care when someone is unable to pay for reasons out of their control. Insurance—a product you can't actually find anymore (in the medical field) because it's been regulated out of existence—is how you protect yourself against unrealized risk: things that are unlikely to occur, but if they did occur would be large enough to wipe out your savings and perhaps put you deeply in debt. If an event is not unlikely, such as a condition you already have or a routine event like an annual checkup, then paying for it through insurance will only raise the total cost.

Comment Re:Same thing with manhatten island. (Score 1) 147

The fact that the actual value was of the exchange was inequitable and one of the parties in the contract didn't even understand what property ownership meant, is of course irrelevant? Isn't it?

Whether the value exchanged is "equitable" is for the parties to the contract to decide. The fact that some outside party thinks the exchange was "inequitable" is not sufficient cause, by itself, to void the contract.

Of course, if one party doesn't believe that land can be owned then any contract which involves them turning over title to land is void. How could they sign over something they don't believe that they own? Either the contract is fraudulent or it lacks the essential element of "meeting of the minds" (or both). But that is completely different from the situation at hand, where individuals are merely giving these corporations permission to use their data—something they do understand, even if they fail to consider all the implications. Participants don't need to understand all the potential consequences for a contract to be valid. They only need to comprehend the terms of the contract, and the terms in this case are exceedingly clear: in exchange for your use of the service, the company gets to passively collect and use any data you happen to reveal while using the service for its own benefit. (Some ToS might set restrictions on how the data is used by the company, but the default assumption should be that the use is unrestricted unless proven otherwise for a specific service.) There is no room for the user of a service to claim that they didn't know what they were allowing the company to do.

Comment Re:Finally a bit of sanity. (Score 1) 28

The original ruling is not "the right to be forgotten", it is just confused with that by journalists. The ruling basically amounted to that laws apply to the internet.

The original ruling was an attempt to apply a horrible local law to entirely new circumstances and on an international scale. No one cared about the so-called "right to be forgotten" until they tried to apply it to major international web service providers. It was an equally bad idea before that, of course, but at least the impact was limited. The Internet has the effect of amplifying the global impact of misguided local laws outside their original jurisdiction. As a result, the world now has a stake in fighting these decentralized attempts at censorship, lest the promise of a single, global Internet be replaced with isolated enclaves divided along geopolitical boundaries.

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Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!