Anyone who submits an invoice as a DOC rather than PDF deserves all they get! Especially if the invoice date is a macro that expands to today's date.
409 posts • joined 13 Jun 2007
IT exec sets up fake biz, uses it to bill his bosses $6m for phantom gear, gets caught by Microsoft Word metadata
Wait, what? Who pays VAT? Who pays tax on wages and salaries?
Are you being deliberately obtuse? There is a 20% tax on turnover on EVERYTHING Apple sells in the UK. It's called VAT. And they have Apple Stores and other back off office staff, so they employ lots of staff in the UK, all subject to national insurance and so on. So Apple's UK operations pay UK tax. And the profit goes back to where the parent company is registered subject to US corporation tax.
It's a US company with (mostly) US shareholders. They make things people like to buy and sell them all over the world at a profit. They pay local sales and other taxes (VAT, business rates on their shops, salaries, tax and NI on local employees, and so on), but the profit goes back to their owners and is taxed where the company is registered. What's the story here?
The only anomaly is that for years US corporation tax rates were widely regarded as uncompetitively high (nearly twice the rate in the UK, for example) and they've been talking about reforming the system for decades. Apple, in common with most other US corporations with signficant overseas earnings, temporarily kept their overseas revenues in a holding bin waiting for the date of the much promised reform so they could finally repatriate the earnings where they belong. That day has now come.
Re: It's too Black and White
Bangem is absolutely correct. Don't you ever have to do boring long motorway and dual carriageway journeys when you wish you could just switch off and doze, or do some work on your laptop, or something? I don't mind taking over and doing a bit of driving round town at the beginning and end of my journey. It would be like travelling by train, and I love going by train if I can because the time isn't wasted and I can get on with some work, but there isn't always a good connection to where I'm going, or I might need my car at the other end or have a lot of stuff to take. Hybrid self driving cars like the Tesla are here already and will soon be licensed for self driving operation. In a few years we'll all wonder what the fuss was about and how we ever did without them.
Re: Anything that reduces use of Java, no matter how little
Don't be melodramatic. Java is still (by far) the most widely used programming language in the world, with millions of commercial (especially enterprise) applications written in it. It's no more of a security risk than any other programming language.
What you're talking about is the Java web plugin, and yes, it makes sense to disable that and not run random Java applets on web sites you don't know. But that's just applets, nothing to do with Java as a whole.
Err, not quite. Apple Records sued Apple Computer and they reached an out of court settlement that Apple Computer could use the Apple name but only in fields NOT relating in any way to music. Then Apple brought out the iPod and ITMS, so it was all set to go to court again but then Apple (Computer) paid Apple (Records) handsomely for the Apple name. And changed their name from Apple Computer to Apple Inc. So, no dispute that the name originally came from Apple Records, but Apple paid fair and square for all rights to use the name.
First, Google did a lot more than copy the APIs (ie. reimplement the class libraries from scratch against the published interfaces). In many cases they directly included decompiled versions of the original class files.
Secondly, as to whether APIs are or should be copyrightable, consider an analogy in literature. If the source code is the novel itself then the APIs are the character names, chapter titles, and plot synopsis. Clearly a lot of creative and original thought processes go into designing a good API and so ought to be protected by copyright. The real question, to which there's no simple answer, is whether writing something compliant with those APIs ought to be exempt as "fair use".
"but have no idea how Linkedin associated you with them."
I'd hope most people round here can work that out, as it is largely by tracking multiple common contacts. If you know Joe, Steve, Helen, and those three all know Kevin, it isn't a bad guess that you might know Kevin.
Facebook recently suggested I knew somebody I used to work with about 20 years ago and I have absolutely no idea how they found the link. I was posted to work on a client's site for a few months and I was the only one from my company who was there and so knew this person. As far as I know therefore we have no other acquantances of any kind in common, I don't have their phone number or email address in my phonebook, and I've changed my contact details since I knew them!
The only thing I can think of is that maybe they searched for me by name within Facebook, but it's certainly more than a bit spooky that Facebook thinks there's a connection!
Re: Why is it that...
"It simply doesn’t make sense for emergency services to have different premises, different back offices and different IT systems when their work is so closely related" ... "Since when did the fire or ambulance services need custody suites and rooms for recorded interviews to evidential standards"
You're right that it may not make much sense for the police and fire service to use exactly the same IT systems, but I'm guessing that the needs of fire and rescue in Glasgow or Newcastle aren't all that different at a fundamental level from those of fire and rescue in Bristol or Birmingham?!
I'm curious at a practical level how knowing what someone's fingerprint looks like can help you empty their bank account. I mean, every time you go touch something you leave a fingerprint, so if they wanted to someone could dust it off and photograph it and perhaps even transfer it to a rubber mould or something. But then what? They'd need physical possession of your mobile phone wouldn't they?
Assuming I was a malware author and had remote access to someone's phone half way round the world how does reading the fingerprint image by itself help me in any way? On the other hand, if I've got control of their phone then logging all the user's password and PIN key presses, and monitoring their email in box for password reset emails and redirecting those to my account, would seem a lot more fruitful.
An interesting article, but as the article itself points out, such behaviour is illegal.
Lots of things are possible but illegal. If I can commit insurance fraud by falsely filling in a few paper forms and faking a signature and popping them in the post, or by falsing filling in an online form and using a fake email address and pressing the submit button, well, I don't really see there's a big difference.
Don't get ADSL at all
Ok, so what are you supposed to do if you get a POTS telephone service but BT are unable to provide broadband of ANY kind at a property? Never mind 20 Mbit/s and FTTC... I'd be happy with 500 Kbit/s! Possibly too far from the exchange but after one unsuccessful engineer visit they can't be bothered to investigate further. Are they under any sort of internet service obligation?
"There's a new exploit found in software developed by X. X is crap, I hate X, it's a virus, I can't wait to remove it from my computer." Blah blah blah. For X substitute Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Oracle, Google, Java, etc.
I've read that so many times on the Reg forums that it's getting a little bit boring! Find me any large software product that's been around for a while from any manufacturer that doesn't have bugs in it (or which isn't doing "unethical" stuff like infringing your privacy or charging you for things you think ought to be free).
Open source isn't the answer either. First, you can guarantee there'll be tons of old unpatched versions of libraries still being used long after a fix may have been checked in the repository. But most of all, you can bet your bottom dollar that there are lots of well funded teams of developers in places like China, North Korea, Israel, NSA, and elsewhere who are poring over obscure open source code looking for exploits, and not reporting them when they find them. The fact that they have the source code only makes their job easier!
No one should be complacent, but mindlessly bashing manufacturers and developers just for the sake of it isn't being particular clever or contributing to the debate.
Let's stick to nice round numbers and say Apple make something with a list price/RRP/MRP of $100, plus 20% or whatever local VAT/GST or sales tax is, and it costs them $55 to develop and manufacture it. Further, assume that Apple will sell it wholesale to distributors for around $80 or $85.
Apple USA make it for $55, sell it to Apple Australia for $80, who then sell it through shops or direct to customers for $100+tax (ie. customer pays $120). Apple Australia's $20 go on advertising, localisation, tech support, warranty replacements, channel training, retail outlets' slice, etc. US government charges Apple Inc a high rate of corporation tax on $25 profit.
Apple USA sell it to Apple Singapore for $60. Apple Singapore sell it to Apple Australia $80 and costs are as above. US government charges Apple Inc corporation tax on $5 profit. Singapore government charges Apple Singapore neglible tax on $20 profit. Apple keeps cash reserves stashed away in Singapore for a rainy day in case it needs them. If and when it brings the cash back to its shareholders in the USA it will pay corporation tax on the profits then.
How is scenario 2 defrauding Australian government of tax compared to scenario 1, and how is either scenario particularly immoral? Who is being cheated out of what?
Re: Tax corporate revenue, not profits
Company A (say Apple) develops their own products and software and let's say 50% of its revenue goes on R&D and manufacturing costs and 50% is profit.
Company B (say Amazon) buys books and DVDs from publishers, pays for warehouses and delivery vans, and 99.5% of its revenue goes on costs and less than 0.5% is profit.
Are you seriously suggesting you can tax both the same based on their total turnover...?
Re: Let's flip it round
Absolutely, if an Australian company retails the goods then they pay corporate tax on the profit they make, which may only be a small part of the overall profit (they might be 3rd party reseller and the bulk of the profit goes to the manufacturer, or they might be a subsidiary and the bulk of the profit is transferred to the parent company). In each case the parent company/manufacturer will be subject to taxation in its home country.
In the case of someone like Apple selling to Australia through a low tax country like Singapore (or to the UK through Ireland) then the crucial question is precisely *whose* tax do we think they're avoiding? The assumption everyone seems to be making is that it's to avoid tax in the the final destination country Australia (or the UK) but surely that's bollocks as each country charges its VAT or GST on the actual amount sold. It's actually to avoid taxes in the *USA*!
If Apple Australia or Apple UK actually bought their products directly from Apple USA, and paid the USA for them, then there'd be no argument about transfer pricing and Australia or the UK wouldn't get a penny more in taxes, but the USA (and/or the State of California) would. In common with most other US multinationals, Apple have virtually no choice but to keep their international earnings off shore rather than repatriating them to the USA. This is because the USA currently has punitive tax rates in place for companies that do repatriate these earnings and there's talk of reforming the US corporate tax laws to bring them into account with norms in other developed countries. Until then, companies like Apple, Google, etc. would be insane (and get sued by shareholders!) if they didn't keep their spare cash in offshore tax havens.
Let's flip it round
Assume I'm a UK company developing some product (let's say software, but could be anything) and exporting it to Australia (or Russia, or South Africa, or Mexico, or France, or wherever). I sell for £100 (plus whatever VAT or sales tax Australia charges), and of that £100, £50 is my development and manufacturing costs and cost of sale (reseller's margin, advertisting, etc.) and £50 is pure profit. All the profit is returned to the UK (assuming that's where I'm based) and corporation tax is paid there in the UK (plus income tax on any dividends that are paid, PAYE & NI on the salary of employees developing the product, etc. etc.). I don't pay any Australian corporation tax... should I be?
Re: Java - not suitable for enterprise applications
On the contrary, Java is eminently suitable for enterprise applications. I have worked on not one but two real time trading systems which had entirely deterministic and predictable performance. With a bit of care in tuning your garbage collector parameters and using a pool of objects it's not too difficult to ensure that the JVM never does does a full GC run. (I was part of a large team of developers so I'm not trying to claim credit for the performance, just pointing out it's eminently achievable.)
Mobile communication is a joke
I don't care about penny pinching, if the mobile operators could just provide ANY kind of service it would be a start. People are encouraged to waste huge amounts of bandwidth by promoting pointless things like streaming video while most of the time I can't even send a sodding 40 byte text message reliably!
I wish some of the networks would progressively throttle the bandwidth so that the first 10MB a day say are at full speed and after that it progressively drops back the more you use. (Actually, you might make the throttle calculation period shorter like 30 minutes, but you get the idea). If any of the networks could GUARANTEE a certain basic level of service by throttling excessive bandwidth usage I'd switch to them like a shot.
Re: RE: Rolf Howarth @ Red Bren
"Suppose the police use RIPA powers in an investigation of a charity that is suspected of secretly using donations to fund terror groups abroad, only to find they are actually just criminals conning their donators and embezzling the money instead - do you suggest the police just ignore the second crime? That would seem patently stupid."
It depends how many rights they are infringing in the process. If they have evidence funds are being misused and they suspect it might for terrorism but is for criminal purposes instead then surely they can investigate that with their normal criminal investigation powers. But let's say they invoke extraordinary powers (say a hypothetical right to read all the private emails of anyone who's ever had any dealings with the charity) because they claim a threat to life "might" be imminent, and in the process discover that someone totally unrelated to the investigation was guilty of lying about who took some speeding points, then no, that shouldn't be admissible. In fact, even making enquiries or tipping a colleague in the local traffic division off about that unrelated offence should be sufficient to ensure an acquittal in any trial.
There has to be a VERY strong deterrent against fishing expeditions and using strong emergency anti-terror legislation for anything other than the very strict purposes for which it was intended.
Re: @ Red Bren
The police can already look up anyone they want in the Police National Computer, but I'm sure they are well aware that doing something like looking up the new partner of their ex so they can snoop on them is an extremely bad idea and very likely to end them up in jail. I'm sure that everytime they do a search they will need to enter what investigation it is required for and there will be no end of internal audits to prevent misuse of the system.
One could easily do the same for investigations under anti-terror legislation. Restrict acess to officers working in counter-terrorism, insist they enter precisely what they suspect and are looking for when logging that request, all of which probably happens already, but they key difference I'm proposing is to pass a law that any information so obtained using extraordinary powers can ONLY be used for the purpose stated. And all access requests using these powers would be audited under the auspices of the independent reviewer of terror legislation, the ICO, or the relevant parliamentary committee (probably all three) to prevent use beyond their intended purpose.
@ Red Bren
Aren't you saying the same thing as me?
Using extraordinary powers that were originally granted for one purpose (fighting terrorism) for something else (eg. seizing assets of Iceland) just because it's easy and convenient to do so is totally unacceptable. And no, no senior people (whether police, civil servants, or politicians) were punished for that abuse of these powers. I'm saying they *should* be punished.
And if the police are tempted to go on fishing expeditions looking for evidence against someone they happen not to like, any evidence so found should be inadmissible in court unless they can demonstrate they had solid grounds to suspect an offence had been committed before their intrusion. In the USA they have the Fourth Amendment and concept that illegal "fruit of the poisonous tree" evidence is inadmissible, but we have no such restriction here. As a result there's nothing to stop such fishing expeditions.
I don't have a problem with giving the police extraordinary powers to infringe people's privacy to tackle what they see as genuine terrorist threats. If lives are genuinely at stake then obviously that comes first.
But, and here's a big but, any abuse of those powers beyond the limited scope of what parliament granted them for should be severely punished, and any evidence so obtained should be completely inadmissable in other cases. By all means let the police intercept and read any email or other communication they feel they need to, as long as they're absolutely confident they can legitimately justify having done so after the fact, otherwise all hell will let be loose.
The Apple-Irish deal isn't about avoiding paying UK or other European taxes (which they do pay - ever heard of VAT?) but about avoiding, or rather delaying, US corporate taxes, currently the highest in the developed world and with punitive terms on companies bringing revenue into the US.
Virtually all US multinationals (not just Apple) are doing everything they can to avoid repatriating their non-US revenue until the US sorts out it tax system, which they keep talking about doing but still haven't managed to get round to. Apple just happened to have registered their non-US business in Ireland rather than somewhere like the Bahamas.
The question is whether Ireland offered Apple special terms that weren't available to other multinationals, which would constitute illegal state aid, not whether it's a bad thing that Apple pay taxes in Europe rather than the USA.
Market share or profit share?
You're perpetuating the old myth that Apple care about market share. They have absolutely no interest in a race to the bottom where everyone goes for market share above all else at the expense of user experience and quality on the one hand, and the manufacturer's profitabilty on the other.
Apple are more than happy making a premium quality product that users actually want and are willing to pay for. As a result Apple are the only ones making any profit in the business. RIM, Sony, Motorola, HTC, Nokia, Samsung... which of the other manufacturers, even the ones who aren't in the process of going bust or been bought out and are supposedly "winning" because they have the market share, are making any money at all on smartphones?
"I find it odd that someone who was actually able to break into a bank is not using it for making immediate profit."
What does "breaking into a bank's system" actually mean? Getting on to their Intranet so you can read their HR policies and company wide phone directory, and maybe the personal emails and project documents of the one or two individuals whose account you've hacked, or being able to transfer arbitrary sums of money from one account to another? Believe it or not, even people who work within a bank and have full access to their internal systems aren't able to do that!
Re: Phone signals
The largest GSM cell radius is 22 miles and the plane is flying at less than 6 miles up. Obviously base stations are designed to transmit horizontally rather than up into the sky but I think a phone at that altitude would certainly make intermittent contact. Remember we're not talking about whether you can make a reliable phone call, just whether the phone communicates with a base station long enough to register, and for the base station to check with the phone's home network whether it's allowed to roam.
I thought that remote areas in developing countries often have pretty good cellphone coverage, because that's a much cheaper way to provide telephone service over a large area than having to lay lots of cable.
On any passenger flight there must always be a handful of passengers who have left their cellphone in a jacket pocket and forgotten to turn it off. These would automatically search for a roaming network to connect to, so if the plane flew over land at any point (eg. Vietnam or Indonesia) that should have been logged, even if no-one on board tried to make a phone call.
Re: There is only one thing a text editor needs
You don't know how true your statement about vi running everywhere. I was won over by vi when I absentmindedly tried launching it to edit something when logged on via an ASR-33 teletype..... and IT STILL WORKED !!
Ok, so it had switched to ex mode and was printing out one line at a time, but all the commands and shortcuts worked as normal and it was completely usable. Quite brilliant I thought (especially as I'd never used ex prior to that, or probably since either).
Get the old one
Luckily they still have the old version available, so I shall be getting one of those before they finally disappear. 1680x1050 yes, but retina display? My eyesight is no longer good enough to tell the difference. I do want the option of HDD though (even 768GB SSD isn't really enough, and the price is prohibitive), plus I still use CDs and DVDs, FireWire, and Ethernet, all of which you need an extra adapter for on the new one.
Re: So what?
I saw UltraHD in action a few years ago and it does look quite stunning on a huge screen when you can see the faces in the crowd at a football match or whatever, but will it work at home? Unless you're going to sit with your nose 6 inches away from the TV set you'd need a floor to ceiling screen and it still might not be big enough!
As the article points out, someone else already has a patent on the basic idea of wireless charging. In order to be able to do anything in that area without paying exhorbitant licensing fees Apple therefore has to try to refine and improve on what the other patents say and patent that improvement, however minor a detail it might address. They can then use their patent when negotiating cross-licensing deals with the other patent holders. Effectively it just gives them a bargaining chip to sit at the Consortium for Wireless Power table, it doesn't mean they're planning a patent war.
"Anyone who views Apple as anything but another evil company needs their head examined."
Certainly, it's another company, with shareholders and the objective of making a profit, but so are ALL companies.
The companies that are evil are those patent trolls that never invent or make anything of their own but just buy up obscure patents and then make a living by blackmailing companies who can't afford to defend an expensive lawsuit, whether or not there's any merit in the claims.
Apple isn't remotely like that. First, they clearly do invent their own stuff, and manufacturer it, so are using patents in the way they're intended. They're the victm of infinitely more patent claims from people who see a big fat cash cow, and just see dollar signs lighting up in front of their eyes, than they are the aggressor.
Re: Typical journo rubbish
What you say about P/E ratio makes no sense. That the P/E ratio is low is good isn't it? It means that the value of the stock is based on actual performance, not an inflated hyped up value that has no bearing to reality (compare with Facebook with a P/E of 111, even after its embarassing price drop).
Put it another way, if Apple were as hyped as Facebook, their share price could go up another 7x or 8x what it is now, even without any increase in revenue. Or put it another way still, most investors are rubbish at judging the true value of stocks.
>Bank stops possibly fraudulent transaction: Bank is in the wrong
>Bank allows possibly fraudulent transaction: Bank is in the wrong.
Disagree completely. If they reject a payment, it's you the customer who is emabarrassed or inconvenienced. If they pass a fraudulent transaction, it's the bank's problem, not mine.
My bank makes thousands each year out of me and my company but I swear the next time they reject a £20 card payment at the station that means I missed my train home I will close all my accounts with them (or insist they pay me a £150 "administration fee" for the inconvenience every time they incorrectly refuse a payment).
Brand not product
Remember they're talking about the value of the BRAND, not the quality or price of the product or the company. In other words, to what extent will people base their next purchase decision on the name of the label rather than on the product itself.
You can read that two ways. You could argue that means that there are a whole load of stupid fanbois who will buy whatever rubbish Apple produces at whatever price, just because it says Apple and they were fooled by the marketing. Alternatively, that there are a lot of extremely happy customers who were so satisfied with their previous product they're sure they'll buy Apple again next time. Either way, it's an enviable position to be in.
Re: Of course APIs are copyrightable
"neither the functionality of a computer program nor the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program in order to exploit certain of its functions constitute a form of expression. Accordingly, they do not enjoy copyright protection."
How does that contradict what I said? I didn't say programming languages, file formats or the functionality of a computer program enjoy copyright protection. Of course they don't. I said that the class and method signatures of your program do. If you're a C++ programmer, your header files are just as much part of your copyrightable source code as any files you write.
Of course APIs are copyrightable
Of course APIs are copyrightable, just like any other non-trivial body of text is. If you break an application down into fine enough components and give all your classes and methods nice descriptive names, ie. self-documenting code, then the class and method signatures encapsulate your entire design and represent a sizeable chunk of your entire code base. How can that not be protected by copyright? Otherwise it would be like taking a novel, keeping the title and character names and chapter names and plot the same but rewriting all the paragraphs, then claiming it as your own original work.
As several people above have commented, I think the key goal here is LONG TERM archive. The caddy system may be Sony-proprietary but the discs themselves are standard ISO Blu-ray images, so even if Sony as a company are long gone 50 years from now it should hopefully still be possible to find a drive that plays the individual discs, just as any computer today can still read audio CDs using a 30 year old standard. Or so the theory goes.
Perhaps in 50 years time we'll all be using quantum holographic cubes or something, and the only place to find a spinning platter (or tape!) of ANY kind will be in a museum, but until then I guess a system such as this has as good a chance as any of succeeding as a reasonably long term archive.
Isn't the point that Apple should be praised for allowing non-App Store apps to be signed? The alternative to Gatekeeper is that App Store apps can be installed without a warning, and *all* other apps display a "warning, this application is from an untrusted source, are you sure you want to continue?" message. How is that better?
The question isn't whether it's possible to commit cross-border crimes but by whose standards you ought to be judged, your country of residence or the country where the offence was supposedly committted.
Let's say you post a humorous pornographic email to your mate who just happens to be working overseas in Saudi Arabia at the time, are you saying it's right for you to be extradited so you can be publicly flogged?