Michael Long’s Techdirt Profile


About Michael Long

Currently I manage the development for ThinkTQ.com, but I also freelance as a consultant for corporations and non-profits specializing in e-commerce, CMS, and scalability/infrastructure.

I'm also a web developer, have been active in applications and systems software development, and have 30 years experience developing for Apple computers (Apple, Lisa, Mac). My long-time familiarity with Apple and their technologies lead me to start iSights.org.

Michael Long’s Comments comment rss

  • Jul 3rd, 2015 @ 10:19am


    The 9% tax on cloud-based infrastructure is the larger issue.

  • Jul 3rd, 2015 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re:

    No fun questions whatsoever. Is the billing address in Chicago? How about the card used to pay for the services? If so, done and done.

    Which doesn't stop it -- especially the internet services part -- from being exceedingly stupid.

    Worse, taxing internet services only impacts smaller businesses and startups, as any larger company or corporation will simply setup things so that any services paid for are done elsewhere.

  • Jul 2nd, 2015 @ 3:06pm

    Re: This isn't just about Netflix

    Can you say "shortsighted" and "stupid" boys and girls?

  • Jul 2nd, 2015 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Local businesses need to pay local and state sales taxes because they use and depend on roads, water, gas, police, fire departments, and other local infrastructure. Internet-based businesses do not.

    Now, Amazon does, in fact, ship things to you... via trucks owned by shipping companies that pay local taxes, and via trucks licensed locally, and fueled locally.

    IOW, that local FedEx warehouse pays property taxes and income taxes. The truck driving down your street is licensed and pays excise taxes. The gas in it is taxed. And so on.

    In short, those trucks that are still "using the roads" have already paid to do so, and taxing them twice over makes no sense at all.

  • Dec 31st, 2014 @ 11:34am

    Re: "Senior VP of Customer Experience"

    And then there's...

    Comcast users in various parts of the country have already gotten (or may soon get) a lovely holiday present from their ISP—a seemingly inexplicable increase in the cable modem rental fee, from $8 to $10 per month.

    arstechnica.com/business/2014/12/comcast-just-upped-its-cable-modem-rental-fee-from-8-to-10-pe r-month/

    Apparently a 12-month "contract" is no such thing whatsoever.

  • Dec 16th, 2014 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Is a warrant still needed?

    Apple's iOS has a little known feature called "guided access" which you can use to lock a phone to a single running app.

    So potentially you could pull up the app, lock it, and hand your phone over and the only thing they could see is that app.

  • Oct 28th, 2014 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The point is that Apple Pay is built on Visa's and Mastercard's standard, not Apple's.

    Or do "standards" not count unless they're "open".

  • Oct 27th, 2014 @ 6:54pm


    That has to be the stupidest article I've ever seen. If a woman leaves her purse behind with a bunch of credit cards in it... SHE'S ALREADY LOST THE CARDS!

    Further, you just need to jot down the numbers to steal them. The phone's not needed at all.

    But since you seem to think that they're equally insecure, let's try this. We both go to a seedy bar. You leave your wallet with credit cards behind, and I'll leave my Apple Pay-enabled Touch ID protected iPhone behind.

    We then wait to see whose card numbers get stolen first, and whose appear second (if at all).

  • Oct 27th, 2014 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, it does go through (not threw) the phone. A token representing your credit card number is stored on the phone in the secure enclave. iOS doesn't have access to the number, it can only tell the enclave to include it in an NFC transaction along with a seemingly random security code.

    Breaking NFC encrypting and capturing the token doesn't do you any good. The security code is one time use, and the token is also tied to a specific device so it can't be used on another phone.

    Oh, and the token comes from your bank, not from Apple.

    Apple Pay, unlike Google Wallet and CurrentC, also works without an internet connection. The only communication made is passing the authorization token to the payment terminal via NFC.

    It would be nice if people bothered to learn how something works before setting up a straw man "it has to work this way" argument they can then proceed to knock down.

  • Oct 27th, 2014 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm glad you added the "As far as I know" qualifier to your statement.

    The tokenization system used by Apple isn't a proprietary system.

    Tokenization is handled, in part, by the Visa Token Service for Visa and the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service for MC. Amex has a similar service. While different in name, the AMCV (Amex, MC, and Visa) systems are in fact standardized, and together they've proposed a common framework to the industry.​

    Apple Pay is built on this standard.

    So much for assumptions....

  • Aug 22nd, 2014 @ 7:45am


    "Such equipment should be forbidden outside of the military."

    Agreed. Now, how do we get them out of their hands?

    BTW, by "their hands", I mean both the cops AND the citizenry, as both are walking the streets with assault rifles (excuse me, modern sporting rifles) at the ready.

  • Aug 14th, 2014 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I never claimed they were racist or bigots, though I could direct you to a few accounts as to what happened when some Hispanic supporters attempted to join the troops.

    I did imply, however, that were predominately white, predominately from the south, and that they lacked common sense in that they rushed out, gun in hand, to "defend" a thief and a liar from the big bad "guv'ment'.

    And your patriotism is noted. But at the moment I'm more worried about the people who happen to think that the problems with this "fucking government" are best solved with an AR-15.

  • Aug 14th, 2014 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So a bunch of white rednecks with more rifles than common sense showed up to "defend" Citizen Bundy -- as well as take out a few WalMart shoppers in their spare time -- and you think that's a good thing?

    Huh. Perhaps it's time for the Black Panthers and other "militia" groups to rise up once more and march, assault weapons in hand, to Ferguson...

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I have to disagree with you on this one

    "If 80% of their workload went away, they would be freed up to give their full attention to the patients who have really difficult problems, leading to a better outcome for everybody, both patients and doctors."

    You presume that hospitals wouldn't simply reduce the number of doctors, nurses, and other caregivers to the point were 20% are now supporting the same workload.

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I have to disagree with you on this one

    I really don't want to start off a counter-argument by saying you're an idiot... but, you're an idiot.

    Should society collapse to the point where your "skills" are needed, you're as screwed as everyone else. Live off the land? Right. We're long past the point of society "living off the land", and you're not going to find anything to hunt or fish when millions of others are trying to do the same.

    Armed? Yep. So are millions of other people, and if a gang of them wants whatever meager food you've managed to grow in your window box , you're also screwed.

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not that simple

    Which part of "as more and more sectors automate" isn't clear? It's not just one type of job. It's jobs in sector A and sector B and sector C and D and E and F and J and K...

    Computerization, software, automation, telepresence, and other technologies are going to have a profound impact on jobs and employment, displacing millions upon millions of jobs and workers. What we've seen thus far is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not that simple

    "Tellers still provide valuable services, but since they're not the only option for most like they used to be, you don't need so many of them per branch.'

    Precisely. Those jobs are replaced by computers and automation.

    "TMs, data centres, call centres, etc. still need to employ people as well to build, maintain and operate them."

    A single data center NOC of 12 people can support thousands, if not millions of online "businesses" and services. ATMs are built in automated factories, and a couple of guys in a couple of trucks can support all of that banks ATMs in your average city. (ATMs report their own status, signal when cash is low, etc.)

    What's so hard to understand here? Automation means you can do more with fewer people. More jobs, at all levels of the economy, are becoming automated, even at the companies producing the machines that do the automation.

    Follow that trend, and you end up with not enough jobs.

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "And if technology is also driving the cost of essential goods down, why are the larger salaries even required?"

    Weel, there's this thin called "inflation". And another thing called "scarcity". Tried to buy or rent an apartment in NYC or San Francisco recently? Buy a house? Even pay the rising property taxes on land? Paid for health insurance or health care?

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I pointed out, automation allows locally located mills to be competitive in the global marketplace. Barely. Mills overseas can use the same exact machines, and have lower costs with cheaper labor. Basically, one saves on shipping and time-to-market.

    Open another mill? Wow. Another 150 jobs. You'd need 13 mills to replace the 2,000 jobs lost in just the first mill alone, much less the 26,000 people 13 old-style mills would have employed. Assuming. of course, that the demand is there to support them.

    Next point: more people can buy "nice" mass-produced stuff only if they have the jobs to support doing so.

    Unfortunately, the economy is contracting in that regard. And this is the point you seem to miss. People displaced are often thrown out of work and/or forced into lower paying jobs, which in turn contract the economy even further. Job "creation" is largely failing to keep pace with population growth.

    And your claim, "We haven't even touched on how automation can support service industries..." simply underscores the point. Automation is moving into those areas as well, with fewer jobs needed as a direct result.

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I pointed out, no one says time to stand still. But adjusted for population, there are fewer tellers. And again, why? We have more people, In a "growing" economy we'd have more money to handle.

    But technology has eliminated the need for tellers to keep up with the corresponding rise in population growth. ATMs, online banking, more credit card readers, etc., mean fewer jobs in that sector.

    And that would be fine, unless we start to see fewer jobs in other sectors, as well. Which we are, and even in service jobs. Scan it yourself checkouts reduce the need for checkers. Tablets being introduced in some restaurants reduce the need for waitstaff. I can renew my plates and drivers license online now, so fewer branches and employees.

    Online services like RocketLaywer are even reducing the need for lawyers and clerks for many routine tasks (poser of attorney).

    And Mike has another point wrong. People who point out these things aren't Luddites. I've been using computers for decades now, and I have no wish nor desire to turn back the clock.

    But we are rapidly reaching an inflection point, and the sooner we recognize that fact, the sooner we can try to do something about it.

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