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Apple Faces Large Penalties In EU Tax Probe

ConfusedVorlon Re:I would like to see a return... (120 comments)

you could socialize medicine in the USA with the taxes you currently collect.

The cost of medicare in the USA is about the same (as a proportion of GDP) as the cost of universal healthcare in the UK.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

ConfusedVorlon There is no should. (182 comments)

Should is meaningless in this context.

Unless you have it written into your contract, they don't have to pay for this.
If they do - then you might consider that a valuable perk.
The value to you may be less than the ticket/travel/accommodation price (or even negative if you hate conferences and are required to go).

Ultimately - it just weighs into your assessment of whether you are getting a good deal at work, and whether you want to stay.

-how much do they pay
-how much holiday do you get
-how much are you learning
-what are the benefits like
-etc, etc, etc

Asking who should pay for your conference is like asking who should pay for your coffee. Nice to get it for free - but just one factor in the mix.

about a month ago

A DC-10 Passenger Plane Is Perfect At Fighting Wildfires

ConfusedVorlon Also great for skydiving. (112 comments)

They're also great for jumping out of. The outward opening rear ramp is a lot of fun.

Sadly, the Perris Valley Skydiving DC10 is currently out of service...

about a month ago

New Details About NSA's Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden's Emails

ConfusedVorlon Re:Again? (200 comments)

hardly: If he sent mails about these issues, then he would be complaining in good faith, and would have sent them on the standard internal network.

If he had sent emails alleging impropriety from secure external system, then that would
a) probably count as leaking confidential info (sending confidential info on an external service)
b) raise every red flag in the organisation and probably result in him being fired (why are you trying to keep external records of this secret matter???)

about a month ago

AT&T Says 10Mbps Is Too Fast For "Broadband," 4Mbps Is Enough

ConfusedVorlon Re:We really need (533 comments)

sorry - typo on the upload speed. It should have been 12.4mbps

certainly not amazing, but most of the marketing focusses on download speeds, so I don't think upload is taken terribly seriously.
For most users, that probably reflects their priorities.

about a month and a half ago

AT&T Says 10Mbps Is Too Fast For "Broadband," 4Mbps Is Enough

ConfusedVorlon Re:We really need (533 comments)

If it was just about population density, then the USA would be rocking decent internet in any large urban-ish area.

I live in the UK in a suburb of the 10th largest city. shows me
ping 8ms
down 127mbpx
up 1.4mbpx

this (including my phone and cable tv) costs about $70/month
obviously that includes 20% sales tax so a USA equivalent should be about $60.

does that sound like what you'd expect to get in a USA suburban area?

about a month and a half ago

The Man Responsible For Pop-Up Ads On Building a Better Web

ConfusedVorlon If only he'd taken out a patent... (135 comments)

A very expensive patent that was litigated aggressively...

about 2 months ago

EFF To Unveil Open Wireless Router For Open Wireless Movement

ConfusedVorlon Re:Problem #1: Usage Cap (184 comments)

> in my country, the owner of a router can be held liable for the data transmitted throught it.

what country is that?

about 4 months ago

EFF To Unveil Open Wireless Router For Open Wireless Movement

ConfusedVorlon Reckless (184 comments)

Nonsense. There is no law that makes you responsible for what other people download. (at least, not in any sane first world country)

It is a disgrace that you are so terrified of your government that you think sharing your bandwidth with a stranger is dangerous.

I have been helped many times in the past by the kindness of strangers who left their wifi open - and I will continue to leave my wifi open for other strangers to benefit in return.

Many (most?) modern routers support this safely by allowing you to provide a guest network which is isolated from your own wifi network.

about 4 months ago

Patent Troll Ordered To Pay For the Costs of Fighting a Bad Patent

ConfusedVorlon Re:Sounds awesome except.... (191 comments)

Whilst I agree that a lot of bad patents are certainly granted, I actually think the systemic problem here is actually the review process after the initial grant.

Even if USPO was a lot better, then it is safe to assume that some crappy patents would get through when an examiner was having a bad day.

It's ok to have errors like that if you have a decent fast review process to fix mistakes.

This might be something that a judge could request before a case went to trial.
The patent would be re-reviewed by a senior patent examiner who would make an new judgement:

1) this probably should not have passed. (Inventor can appeal, but legal process assumes that patent is invalid until the appeal).
2) this is a solid patent that probably should have passed. (the infringer can appeal, but legal process assumes the patent is valid until the appeal).

given that only a tiny fraction of patents will ever get taken to court, this isn't adding a huge amount of re-work to the USPO, so they can handle this stream as a high priority.

This does somewhat reduce the certainty of the initial patent grant, but that is no bad thing.

about 5 months ago

Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan

ConfusedVorlon mmm competition (114 comments)

Here's an idea.

Rip up all the local monopoly deals and enforce (via legislation) meaningful competition.

That'll bring prices and service more into line with the rest of the developed world.

That'll get people (even the poor) signing up.

about 5 months ago

McAfee Grabbed Data Without Paying, Says Open Source Vulnerability Database

ConfusedVorlon Re:McAfee in trouble (139 comments)

agreed - entering negotiations doesn't show they needed the licence.

However - assuming the requirement for a licence is real (e.g. terms and conditions on the site are clear and forbid taking all the data for commercial use) - it makes it hard for McAffee to claim that they didn't realise they needed one.

Given that they seem to have been deliberately trying to avoid security restrictions (by rapidly changing user agents) - then it is even harder for them to claim an innocent error.

about 5 months ago

McAfee Grabbed Data Without Paying, Says Open Source Vulnerability Database

ConfusedVorlon Re:McAfee in trouble (139 comments)

If the site is clear about it's terms up front, then this seems like a serious issue.

McAfee clearly knew they needed a licence; They asked about getting one. Presumably, they just didn't like the price.

Plenty of software licences are the same; Free for personal use, paid for commercial use. The fact that the company does the world a favour by offering free access for some people doesn't make the commercial theft of the whole database less serious.

about 5 months ago

Comcast: Destroying What Makes a Competitive Internet Possible

ConfusedVorlon Free Net Union (227 comments)

Any company can join the union.
The union appoints independent observers to assess whether ISPs are acting in accordance with principles of net neutrality.
If the ISP is not net neutral, then the union has a series of escalating sanctions which are deployed in a pre-announced schedule

Sanctions might be
-provide slow service to users of ISP
-cut off service to users of ISP for one hour per week
-cut off service to users of ISP for one day per week

Union members are required to implement the sanctions, or they are expelled from the union.

The message here is simple; The ISP claims that their customers (users) haven't paid to access the web, and that the ISP must charge internet companies(businesses) to send content to the users.

So - let's see how that plays out when the businesses stop providing service to the users. Are the users still happy to pay the ISP?

I wish Netflix had had the balls to say 'ok, we're not renewing any new comcast customers, and stopping any new signups with a big red 'comcast sucks' warning'.
It's easier to be ballsy if google, facebook, yahoo, netflix, bing all act together.

about 5 months ago

Microsoft, Google, Others Join To Fund Open Source Infrastructure Upgrades

ConfusedVorlon Re:Sure they do. (101 comments)

You post as if their enlightened self interest is a bad thing.

Sure they benefit. But each of them could sit tight and wait/hope for someone else to pay for this.

I say good for them. This deserves praise, not contempt.

about 6 months ago

WRT54G Successor Falls Flat On Promises

ConfusedVorlon Re:Firmware (113 comments)

It sounds like they have released some driver sourcecode - but it is hacky, and not useable by Open WRT

From the mailing list:

There are also still some pieces missing: Since this driver does not use
standard Linux Wireless APIs, it can only properly function with custom
hostapd/wpa_supplicant hacks. I don't see those in the release.

about 6 months ago

Kickstarted Veronica Mars Promised Digital Download; Pirate Bay Delivers

ConfusedVorlon Re:What is the issue? (243 comments)

agreed - they got a digital version. People complained for various reasons, and Rob decided to do his best to 'Make it right'. All credit to them up to this point. They could have argued that they had met the legal definition of the offer, but they didn't.

At this point, they had two obvious choices

1) give people a link to a drm free file
(which they could download anyway for free from TPB)
2) give them back some money

The interesting fact for me is that rather than give people what they want, they're so scared of DRM-free files, or so wedded to ultra-violet that they would rather give money back.

the story for me isn't 'kickstarter backers got screwed' - it's 'look at the irrational choices the studios make out of fear of piracy'

about 7 months ago

US Drops Link Sharing Charges Against Barrett Brown

ConfusedVorlon Re:What more could you ask for? (40 comments)

Yup - a promise about future behaviour would be good.
Perhaps formal guidance to prosecutors that posting an http link should not generally be seen as 'republishing'

In the UK, there has been controversy around various twitter cases (particularly the bomb joke case).
The end result is that the director of public prosecutions has issued new guidance on how and when to charge people with crimes based on what they say on Twitter.

new guidelines:

relevant section:

"... [they are] like contributions to a casual conversation (the analogy sometimes being drawn with people chatting in a bar) which people simply note before moving on; they are often uninhibited, casual and ill thought out; those who participate know this and expect a certain amount of repartee or 'give and take'."

Against that background, prosecutors should only proceed with cases under section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 where they are satisfied there is sufficient evidence that the communication in question is more than:
Offensive, shocking or disturbing; or
Satirical, iconoclastic or rude comment; or
The expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, or banter or humour, even if distasteful to some or painful to those subjected to it.
If so satisfied, prosecutors should go on to consider whether a prosecution is required in the public interest.

about 7 months ago



Windows App Store reduces developer share from 70% to 56.1% for some sales.

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  about 5 months ago

ConfusedVorlon (657247) writes "The Windows App Store originally offered developers a 70% revenue share (like the iTunes store and Google Play).
They have now introduced the 'Commerce Expansion Adjustment' whereby some sales are made through methods such as carrier billing and the developer will only get 56.1%.

There is no option for developers to opt out of this type of sale; Microsoft suggests that 'You may want to consider if the Commerce Expansion Adjustment applies in a country/region where your app is available and factor that into your market pricing strategy'

As a veteran of the store pricing wars on Palm OS, I have seen how this plays out. Stores competed to sell through new partners, and offered increasingly large shares of revenue to those partners. Inevitably, that came out of the developer share.

I would be very happy for Microsoft to offer me an option to make additional sales at a lower revenue share — but I'm not happy at being forced to suck it up."

Link to Original Source

Kickstarted Veronica Mars promised digital download. Pirate bay delivers.

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  about 7 months ago

ConfusedVorlon (657247) writes "Backers were promised 'You will receive a digital version of the movie within a few days of the movie’s theatrical debut'.

Warner Bros are providing a non-downloadable ultra-violet coupon (although Veronica Mars is available for download through other stores).

The download is already available on the Pirate Bay. The download is even available on commercial stores. The users have already passed over their $35+
But rather than meet the demand for a DRM-free download, Warner Bros would prefer to return the original pledge to backers who complain (no doubt pissing them off even more).

What does this tell us about how movie studios view the world? There can't be a better indication of willingness to pay than 'they have already paid' — are these the pirates WB fears?"

Link to Original Source

Broadband company buys football rights. Attempts to duck 'dumb pipe'

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  more than 2 years ago

ConfusedVorlon writes "BT has secured the rights to broadcast live Premier League games for the first time, securing the rights to 38 matches a season from 2013-14 to 2015-16.
Broadband providers really don't want to compete on the basis of providing fast internet at reasonable prices. They'll keep trying to charge content providers to send data, they'll keep trying to find new ways to charge customers, and now they may have hit on a way to compete by providing content that isn't available on other ISPs."

Link to Original Source

IGDA warns against Amazon's app store

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ConfusedVorlon writes "Amazon reserves the right to control the price of your games, as well as the right to pay you 'the greater of 70% of the purchase price or 20% of the List Price.'

The IGDA's bottom line is simple: under Amazon's current terms, Amazon has little incentive not to use a developer's content as a weapon with which to capture marketshare from competing app stores."

Link to Original Source

EU about to vote on copyright extension

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ConfusedVorlon writes "Christian Engström (Pirate MEP) writes : Monday or Tuesday this upcoming week there will be another round in the fight against prolonging the copyright protection term for recorded music in the EU. Now is an opportunity to contact MEPs, Members of the European Parliament, and persuade them to vote against the term extension."
Link to Original Source

Louis Vuitton – the symbol of corporate bull

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ConfusedVorlon writes "Bag manufacturer Louis Vuitton has unleashed its lawyers on Danish artist Nadia Plesner. Her crime is that she has tried to draw attention to the situation in Darfur by making a painting called Darfurnica which includes a handbag that looks like a Louis Vuitton handbag."
Link to Original Source

Passenger not guilty despite annoying the TSA

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ConfusedVorlon (657247) writes "A six-woman Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court jury has found Phil Mocek “NOT GUILTY” of all of the charges brought against him following his arrest in November 2009 at the TSA checkpoint at the Albuquerque airport.

Annoying the TSA is not a crime. Photography is not a crime. You have the right to fly without ID, and to photograph, film, and record what happens. Your best defense is your own camera and microphone. Ordinary jurors know, and are prepared to recognize with their verdict, that the TSA and police lie about what they are doing and why."

Link to Original Source

What rating for the Web?

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  more than 5 years ago

ConfusedVorlon writes "My app Fast Web which is currently live in the iTunes store with a rating of 4+ just got an update rejected.

Fast Web is just a web browser, it presents any page on the internet, but uses Google to optimise the page so that it downloads more quickly.

Unhelpfully, Apple told me that they can't approve the current rating, but don't say what rating might be appropriate.

the categories are:

Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Realistic Violence
Sexual Content or Nudity
Profanity or Crude Humor
Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References
Mature/Suggestive Themes
Simulated Gambling
Horror/Fear Themes
Prolonged graphic or sadistic realistic violence
Graphic sexual content and nudity

Each has to be rated as "None", "Infrequent/Mild" or "Frequent/Intense"

However if the web contains even infrequent/mild 'graphic sexual content and nudity' then Apple won't allow the app at all.

I can conclude from the fact that Mobile Safari _is_ available that the web must be free of 'graphic sexual content and nudity'.

By the same logic, I can conclude that the web must be free of 'Prolonged graphic or sadistic realistic violence'.

Regarding such elements as 'Profanity or Crude Humor' and 'Sexual content and nudity', how would Slashdot rate the web? None? Infrequent/Mild? Frequent/Intense?"

Correction: uk can't hold people for 42 days!

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ConfusedVorlon writes "re 'UK Can Now Hold People Without Charge For 42 Days'

-this is not true. The house of commons has passed a bill which would allow this, however it would have to be ratified by the lords to become law.

The lords is very unlikely to ratify the bill and the house of commons will not be able to force it past the
lords for a year.

Please post an update. This is a terrible day for UK rights, but the story you post is not true."

Link to Original Source

Id theft leads to job loss and prosecution

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ConfusedVorlon writes "Here is one for the 'Done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' brigade. The BBC reports: Simon Bunce had his credit card details stolen. They were used at a child porn website that was part of Operation Ore which resulted in him being prosecuted in the UK. He has now proven his innocence, but he still lost his job and it took him six months to find another at a quarter of the salary. Pedophiles and terrorists are used to justify many extensions of legal powers. Here, the power to seize all of a man's computers and drives before anything was proven cost him dear."
Link to Original Source

Nuclear Hacking Pranksters Acquitted

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ConfusedVorlon writes "It's good to see the courts in at least one land have a sense of proportion. When the artistic group Ztohoven hacked the tv weather report to show a nuclear explosion in the background they say they were showing how the media can influence perception. Czech TV were not amused and took them to court for 'Spreading false information'. The courts acquitted them yesterday."
Link to Original Source

ConfusedVorlon ConfusedVorlon writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ConfusedVorlon writes "Storing DNA records of people who are arrested and never charged seems like an infringement of civil liberties.
However I have lived in a country where crime is out of control so I'm sympathetic to an initiative that does solve rapes, murders and other crime.

Franklin's statement that 'Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.' seems too trite for me. How should we weigh the risks versus the benefits of an initiative like this?

The Independant discusses the UK DNA database along with it's Big Brother Britian feature."


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