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Comment If corporations are people, do they get cancer? (Score 0) 442

If corporations are, indeed, people they should be accorded the rights and privileges of people. For instance, corporations might get to vote or get a drivers license.

But they should also suffer the various ills which befall organic people. For instance, people die in accidents or develop horrible diseases or get murdered or mugged. People commit crimes and go to jail or get executed - and sometimes even innocent people have that happen to them.

My proposal to extend full "personhood" to corporations is that, chosen by some random process and accurately reflecting what happens to organic persons, each year some percentage of corporate "persons" are declared to have been involved in accidents or were the victims of violent crimes. And are instantly and without warning terminated - disincorporated - killed off as it were.

Some other percentage are deemed to have developed a disease and are rendered capable of only limited activity for a time with most of those inflicted recovering but with the balance dying.

Some die at birth, some die in infancy, some live to ripe old ages. But they all die. And they die in ages as do organic persons - some statistical percentage die at different ages according to actuarial tables. And so should corporations. The oldest real person is maybe 115 years old so no corporation should be older.

Corporations which break laws should be prosecuted and, if convicted, suffer the same fate as would an organic person. Probation, jail time, or even execution. With some percentage of those being unjustly convicted and innocent of wrongdoing but suffering the punishments anyway.

We might even consider tax laws - why should a corporation get special tax laws? Make them do their taxes using form 1040 and the standard tax tables. And no multi-nationals. Do organic persons get to declare citizenship and residence simultaneously in multiple countries?

Or basic laws against slavery? If a corporation is a person, no corporate person should be allowed to own another corporate person. No wholly or partially owned subsidiaries allowed.

We need to do so much more to bring the rights of true organic personhood to corporate persons.

Comment Re:No-tech, old-school, sure-fire method (Score 1) 480

Bingo! Right answer! Zero technology, instantly understandable and accepted by even the most techno-illiterate among us. And essentially certain to prevail in court for just that reason. Suggestions to use the wayback machine or on-line source/version repositories are useless as evidence because they require that judges and juries (or even HR reps) understand what they represent.

Of course, all this technique will do is prove that you had access to the materials at the time they were mailed. Not that you own them or wrote them or invented them or whatever else may be your concern. BUT (and its a big and a good but) this will PROVE how the materials/project/invention looked at some time prior to the mailing date. So, if somebody who doesn't know you and was hired by the client some time after you mailed the package claims to be the author/inventer of the package contents, that claim will not pass any sort of scrutiny.

My wife used this very technique before she went to work as sales manager for a software vendor and took her extensive rolodex (aka contact list) with her after mailing a copy to herself. When she was moving on after an ugly commission dispute, that software vendor tried to claim that her contact list had been developed while she was in their employ and was therefore their property. They made dire legal threats about what would happen if she didn't give up her contact list or ever tried to use it again and had their attorney make threats of a lawsuit. Our attorney contacted their attorney, told him what my wife had mailed to herself prior to her employment, that the package was in a secure place, and would be produced as evidence if necessary. About two weeks later we got a letter from the other attorney suggesting that it all been a misunderstanding and then no further action would be taken.

Comment Product idea for Microsoft support? (Score 1) 323

Why doesn't Microsoft Support make available a downloadable ISO (or a program that creates one) of a bootable CD. After burning, that CD would contain a minimal operating system, something like System File Checker, and the name, path, and hash of every current system file for the OS to be tested.

Users would boot from that Microsoft-provided CD and let it diagnose their system. Files failing the hash would be noted and reported to the user who might then be offered the opportunity to download known good copies directly from Microsoft. A simple installer would place the good files where they belong and then allow the user to re-boot from his now clean hard drive.

Does this already exist and I've just missed knowing about it? I know that I'd use it if I had one. And not just for infestations, as it would also be very useful for repairing file corruption from degrading disk drives.

Comment Hulu is what we're waiting for... (Score 2, Interesting) 117

Living in an area with poor over-the-air digital TV reception, my daughter had to make the financial choice between broadband and cable TV. Wisely, she chose broadband. I bought her a Roku unit and she loves it.

With Roku for Netflix and Amazon access and her laptop plugged into her TV for Hulu access she doesn't really miss cable - but she'd really like to have a single set-top unit that provides both Netflix and Hulu.

I've been looking at the Myka ION as a possible Roku replacement/upgrade for her but it seems more capable than necessary and at least $100 over-priced. When something appears that provides Roku capability plus Hulu for around $200, I'll buy one for her. If it also provides access to the websites of CNN and broadcast networks, I'll pay $250 for it.

Note that if it also provided optional access to BBC America, Discovery, TLC, History, and NatGeo, I'd be willing to pay a reasonable subscription fee to each of those companies, buy a unit for myself, and drop my own cable TV serice in a heartbeat.

Now that I think about it, if TV broadcasters were streaming their own content to such a device, I'd also be willing to pay each of them a monthly subscription fee. How much? I don't know. But the fact that Fox was asking Time Warner $1 per month per subscriber tells me what a subscription should cost. $1 each month to each of the probably ten content providers I care about would be perfect - and save me over $60 per month compared to my current cable bill. Buying a new STB for $250 with a 4-month ROI looks like a good deal to me.

Comment Leave the wire in place, change the technology. (Score 1) 426

As there is no way that phone companies would want to (or be allowed to) abandon millions of miles of copper wire and the tasty franchises and monopolies that went along with their installation, there will be no switch to a wireless-only phone network. Phone companies aren't suggesting any such thing, don't have and don't want to build the required wireless bandwidth, and have invested a ton of money in digital switches and fiber connections between their facilities.

I'd guess that the switch-to-subscriber last-mile connection is probably about the only analog left in most phone systems. However, changing that last mile from analog to digital would be the way to go - and would be hugely less expensive than replacing wire with fiber.

Each current subscriber would receive either a new digital handset or an A-to-D converter if they wanted to keep their current handset. Note that this seems to have worked out OK for the TV switchover.

The new system would continue to provide DC current to power the customer handsets or converters so should continue to work even in case of AC power outs. The new digital handset/converter would provide some sort of packet-based transmission to the (probably already digital) switch where it would enter (certainly already digital) long distance system.

Why bother to do this? New markets for new products from the phone company; new features on your newly-digital POTS handset. Why fire up a PC to get VOIP service - or non-voice communication? How about email directly to grandma's phone? A real videophone? Digital service to every home with universal Internet access? Multiple subscribers in remote areas on a single piece of wire without party lines? Multiple concurrent phone calls from/to your home phone with only one phone number?

A pile of new products and services to sell. Big profits. If I owned a phone company, I'd want to do it. Especially if I could get the A-to-D converters subsidized by the government.

Comment Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (Score 1) 565

If we're concerned about the public expense implications of municipal broadband, perhaps it's time to eliminate some of the entries in tax codes that allow some individuals (or entities) to avoid paying their fair share. For instance:

1) Income tax exemptions for having children. Is there any reason for this? Does any one think that people won't reproduce without tax incentives? Even should such exemptions be deemed acceptable, should there be an upper bound? Perhaps exemptions for the first two children, but not for the third and beyond? Families with large numbers of children not only pay less in income tax, but they are a significantly larger burden on the local school systems. These people are, in essence, getting paid through income taxes to increase their neighbor's property taxes to support government spending on schools.

2) Property tax exemptions for "religious" institutions. OK, let the actual place of worship be tax exempt. And maybe even the church-provided residence of the minister/shaman/rabbi/whatever. But no properties beyond those two. Starting immediately, it should be a requirement that tax assessors annually publish the complete roll of tax exempt properties, their owners, the assessed valuation of the property, and the taxes lost through the exemption. Having some small amount of firsthand experience, I can assure you that you'd be astonished to see how much money is lost through these tax exemptions - and on what sorts of properties. Probably more than enough to pay for public broadband.

3) Income tax exemptions for interest on home loans and property taxes. Especially for rich folks. Any compelling reason why the guy with a $500K income buying a $3M house needs to be able to write off all the interest and taxes? If prefered, why not simply cap the write offs at some reasonable amount? Perhaps only allow a write-off of the first $20K in interest expense and $5K in taxes? These numbers are reasonably consistent with purchasing a $400K home. Being rich enough to pay more means being reach enough to pay your taxes.

4) Income tax exemptions on donations to a religious institution. No reason for this whatsoever. None.

The point being that any tax policy isn't necessarily bad, but neither is it fair or equitable. If because of tax implications we decide not to implement programs that benefit the public, we should also consider the tax implications of rewarding the behavior of some individuals.

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