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Comment Re:Never attribute to malice ... (Score 1) 180

No, this is not your point exactly, it is exactly the opposite. If the BIOS was set to RAID Windows would simply fail to load. It wouldn't search through the BIOS to see whether there existed a AHCI setting and then flip it. Making the setting inaccessible only fucks the user, it doesn't change anything else.

Comment Re:Never attribute to malice ... (Score 1) 180

This doesn't make any sense. This was a BIOS setting, Windows wouldn't be able to change it even it if wanted to.

And AHCI causing battery life issues, really? This standard is old, and widely used. It is extremely unlikely that the chipset would be made just to work with RAID and AHCI remain untested. Most likely they just took some chipset that had been working with AHCI for years and added RAID support. I'll believe your claims about battery life if I see a benchmark.

Comment Re:Never attribute to malice ... (Score 5, Insightful) 180

If the issue was only that Linux lacked drivers for their SSD configuration that wouldn't be a problem (even though a bit of a dick move from their side). The problem is that there was BIOS setting to change the configuration from RAID to AHCI, but this setting was locked down. The person had to go through some pretty heroic lengths to unlock it.

Not having a Linux driver? That's explainable by stupidity.
Not having a legacy compatibility mode? Could have been explained by stupidity if it were the case.
Having a legacy compatibility mode, but making it inaccessible without a soldering iron? That's just malice.

And frankly, if the company is even considering locking down the BIOS like this, it shows that they have a very weird idea about who owns the damn laptop, and they're never getting my money.

Comment Re:Tweets = "scaling up his ambitions"? (Score 1) 289

Thanks for the detailed answer. Could you provide a citation about this research on ballutes? A quick google didn't reveal me anything, and I find really surprising your claim that one can simply use one as an aeroshell.

I'm not really concerned about the mass of the propellant for the return rocket; once we can do complex one-way robotic missions as we do in Mars it is time to worry about that. While I find the idea of a research station floating in the Venusian atmosphere really cool, I care most about what we can do now. Which brings to another question: we managed to put a 21 kg balloon in Venus in the 80s. Well, 21 kg is chump change as mass budgets go. We could fill Venus with balloons right now if we wanted to, and I bet the sensors we have would me orders of magnitude better than anything we put there in the 80s. Why aren't we doing that?

If I were China, for example, this is exactly what I would do. Easy, cheap, cool, new. What's there not to like?

Comment Re:Tweets = "scaling up his ambitions"? (Score 1) 289

I'm a bit skeptical of this landing in the atmosphere thing. You have to aerocapture the probe, let it slow down to a manageable speed, and then INFLATE A BALLOON? Balloons here on Earth are rather sensitive even to moderate winds. I guess during reentry you would have a much more unstable/violent environment. Do we really have anything that could withstand that, and carry a nontrivial amount of cargo?

Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 564

Surprising as it may sound, the EU doesn't give a single fuck about what laws municipalities and states in the US follow.

According to EU law, it is illegal to give a tax break to a company and not the others. You disagree? Well, I guess you understand EU law much better than the European Comission, so I should follow your wisdom.

Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 564

This is not what happened. Read here a description of Apple's scheme.

The problem was not that Ireland had a tax rate of 12.5% whereas France had 30%. The EC said explicitly that they did not investigate this. The problem was that Apple was not paying Ireland even this 12.5%, it was paying less than 1%. And this is illegal, Ireland must charge all companies the same tax.

Comment Re:Why should Ireland get the money? (Score 1) 564

How is the British government demaning companies to pay tax in the UK? I hadn't heard of it.

Let's see what Theresa May will do. I simply do not know whether she is corrupt or not. What I was sure was that David "my father had millions in Panama" Cameron would never do anything against tax havens.

Comment Re:Why should Ireland get the money? (Score 1) 564

Why is step one forcing standard corporate tax rates? This is never going to happen anyway, the EU member states will not give up their taxing authority.

Note that this is unrelated to transfer pricing, as there is only one subsidiary involved here, Apple Sales International. What is necessary to end this scam is simply to require sales made in Germany to be reported as sales made in Germany. Very easy to do, if there is political will for it. In this way Ireland can set its corporate tax rate to zero, and it will only bankrupt itself.

And thanks for pointing out the first positive aspect of Brexit: the UK was who was blocking every attempt of the EU to deal with corporate tax dodging. Now that they are out (politically speaking) I think we are finally going to get something done.

Comment Re:Why should Ireland get the money? (Score 1) 564

You are not actually believing Apple's fiction that its subsidiaries are separate companies with their own revenue and expenses.

And this is not even how Apple has structured itself. There is no Apple Germany. There is a company based in Ireland, called Apple Sales International, that buys phones from the manufacturers in China, and makes payments to Apple headquarters in the US to fund R&D. When you buy an iPhone in Germany you are actually buying it directly from Apple Sales International, so there is no German revenue or profit to be talked about. Apple Sales International, on its turn, makes a healthy profit, which is taxed at less than 1% by the Irish government.

All this legal fiction is completely irrelevant. iPhones are actually sold in Germany, and Apple does make a healthy profit from them, otherwise it wouldn't bother setting up operations there. And this profit should be taxed in Germany, as it would be if our politicians were not corrupted to the core. Instead it goes to Ireland, and from there to some tax haven in a tropical island.

Comment Re:Why should Ireland get the money? (Score 1) 564

Is this a serious question? You seriously don't know how Germany is losing out? Let me spell it out for you: Apple reported 50 billion dollars revenue in Europe in 2015. Since Germany's GDP is about 20% of Europe's GDP, let's say that 20% of this revenue came from Germany (of course, Apple will not reveal the true numbers), so 10 billion dollars. I guess Apple's profit margin is a fabulous 15%, so 1.5 billion dollars. Germany's corporate tax is about 30%, which would make 450 million dollars. So this is what Germany is losing out. 450 million dollars. Every year.

And come on, do you seriously believe that the G8 would have any difficulty in stamping out these tax scams if it wanted to? It knows Apple's revenue, and it knows Apple's expenses. The only reason it falls for this creative accounting is because it wants to. As the US just made perfectly clear, it is radically against Apple paying any tax.

Comment Re:SubjectIsSubject (Score 1) 564

You are talking as if Apple was simply paying their taxes innocently as instructed by the Irish government. Maybe you just don't know how the scheme worked; read here a description, it is concise and straightforward. It is tax fraud pure and simple. And it was obviously designed by Apple together with the Irish government. There is just no way that this scam would just be generally allowed by the Irish government and Apple just took advantage of it. If this were the case no corporation in Ireland would ever pay tax. This was a scam designed by Apple, for Apple. And you should also take into account that Apple's revenue is larger than Ireland's GDP. The corrupting influence of such a huge amount of money is hard to overstate.

Now, about the EC's powers: it is a simple matter of fact that they can make the states recover illegal state aid, as it had done several times in the past (which you would know if you had read the link I sent you), and it is a simple matter of fact that the EC can punish Ireland if it defies its ruling. It is just inconceivable that Ireland will tell the EC to go pound sand. What Ireland will do is appeal to the ECJ, which will deny its appeal, and then Ireland will comply with the ruling. Otherwise it risks economic sanctions.

It is true that the EU has no taxation power, but this doesn't mean that the member states are allowed to use their sovereign taxation powers to fuck each other over. Otherwise your nightmare scenario of the EU falling apart from "beggar thy neighbour" policies would be true.

Comment Re:SubjectIsSubject (Score 1) 564

Have you even read what I wrote? You completely missed my points.

I guess you are so angry because you believe this is a EU vs US thing. It is not. Several European companies have been fined as well for exactly this same scam. Fiat, BP, InBev, among others.

And frankly, you shouldn't be angry at the EU to make Apple pay its taxes. You should be angry at the US for letting Apple get away with tax dodging. Last time I heard it had about 200 billion dollars hidden in tax havens.

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