Amazon doesn’t flinch. When the revenuer comes a-callin’, they pull the plug, saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
The company continued, “We opposed this new tax law because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It was supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside Connecticut, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.”
Amazon isn’t putting up with it in other states that imposed a sales tax either: Illinois, Hawaii, Colorado and North Carolina. Read the entire letter sent by Amazon to its associates.
Let this be a lesson: Because the good people of Connecticut haven’t been paying attention to their state government, this is what happens. When citizens do not participate in the political process the best they can – and just voting is not the best you can – there are repercussions. In this case, Connecticut citizens lost a revenue stream.
The moral of the story: Let this serve as an example. Copy and paste this item and send it to YOUR state representative with an attached note that reads, “Don’t EVEN think about it.” Then keep a close eye on their legislative actions.
More government intervention – Senate pressure bans DUI apps
Evidently because it doesn’t have more important things to do, Congress is involved in yet another aspect of our private lives. Last spring, a group of U.S. senators wrote to Apple, Google and Blackberry’s maker Research In Motion, asking them to remove driving under the influence, or DUI, checkpoint applications from their app stores. These apps notify citizens of law enforcement checkpoints to catch drunk drivers. For example, DUI Dodger was available at the iTunes store until Apple banned it.
In a letter sent to Apple’s senior VP of iPhone software, Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Harry Reid, D-Nev., Frank Lautenberg, D-Utah, and Tom Udall, D-N.M., wrote that with “10,000 Americans dying in drunk-driving crashes every year, providing access to iPhone and iPad applications that alert users to DUI checkpoints is harmful to public safety.”
So Apple issued iOS guidelines warning developers that apps containing DUI checkpoints not already published by law enforcement agencies, or that encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected. Blackberry’s Research in Motion pulled its apps immediately.
Perhaps they should have issued guidelines to Congress to tell them to pay attention to the $14.5 trillion debt instead? Why is Congress getting involved at all?
Feds want to imprison for “public performances” – copyright infringement
Lip-synching to a song and uploading it to YouTube could land you behind bars if White House Copyright Czar Victoria Espinel has her way. All because the entertainment industry is “freaking out” over potential revenue loss.
It gets crazier. The Obama Administration wants to strengthen a bill introduced by Senators (yes, that august body certainly stays busy) Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Christopher Coons, D-Del., that seeks to include “public performances” as a criminal violation of existing copyright law. Get caught? Go to prison.
Read the details and then contact your taxpayer-paid senator and tell them what you think of their “public performance”.
It’s 5:45 p.m. in Seattle: Social media creating new world of scandal
OhMyGov!, a nonprofit social media group, analyzed shamed Congressman Anthony Wiener’s tweets, noting their frequency, time of day and more, as well as the casual nature of the tweet content, a potentially dangerous proposition when one is tweeting their thoughts to the world.
The OhMyGov! report also revealed the reluctance of mainstream media outlets to cover the embarrassing episode, doing so only after Twitterers created such a viral firestorm, they were forced to.
It was all a hoax
A post by a woman claiming to be the cousin of a lesbian Syrian-American woman living in Syria who was abducted in Damascus by three men was reported to be nothing more than a hoax after a British woman recognized her face as that of the alleged abductee.
A new blog entry on Sunday by the real author – a male – apologized for the fiction, insisting it created “an important voice for issues I feel strongly about.”
View a video interview of the British woman whose facial photos were used in the fictitious narrative.
Wife “hoisted on own petard” in Facebook plot
To be hoisted on one’s own petard means the damage you’ve planned for someone else blows up in your face instead. That’s what happened to a woman who used a fake Facebook persona to lure her soon-to-be ex in a game of “gotcha.”
She thought she had caught him in a plot to kill her and take the children. Not so. Read what happened next when the FBI got involved.
Twitter cancels “Chirp,” developers go rogue
Since its inception, Twitter has been enhanced by features developed independent of its operation by outside application developers.
It seemed to work well, a kind of marriage made in cyber-heaven, so to speak. But Twitter’s latest move has app developers chirping like jilted lovers and going rogue.
Meanwhile, keeping with the meme, Twitter has found a new love – romancing the Apple. Twitter will be wed to Apple’s iOS 5, which means that more than 200 million iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users will be able to post photos, videos and links to Twitter with a single tap. This latest marriage will give Facebook some deep competition in the social networking realm. A Pew report shows about 13 percent of adults online in the U.S. use Twitter.
Speaking of Facebook, its “facial recognition” tool has U.S. lawmakers and European privacy groups concerned.
I use facial recognition with the iPhoto feature on my MacBook Pro, and it’s a handy tool. But the ramifications of public availability through Facebook can be a little scary, and raises a host of legitimate privacy issue concerns.
Turning back to Twitter, another feature users will enjoy is its new automatic link shortening capability, where Twitter will shorten a link of any length down to 19 characters once the tweet is sent. Say goodbye to TinyURL and Bitly? Not necessarily.
But uh-oh. What have we here? Some third-party Twitter apps can access your private messages! Disaster in the making?
One developer is warning users to think twice before authorizing third-party apps on Twitter. An authentication scheduling glitch has allowed third parties to read your private – or direct – messages. Twitter knows about the gap and is fixing the situation, but is advising users to visit their account’s “Applications” page for a summary of third-party apps and to make changes to that list.
And finally, when it comes to fighting a war, Twitter has value as a source of tactical intelligence.
Spencer Ackerman of Wired reports: “NATO officials conducting air strikes on forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi don’t have soldiers on the ground to spot for the warplanes and armed drones overhead. (Well, at least not officially.) But they do have a barrage of tweets about Gadhafi’s troop movements in beleaguered cities like Benghazi and Tripoli, all of which come in handy when picking out targets.”
iPhone, shuttle Atlantis will launch from Cape Canaveral
When two iPhone 4s blast into space aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis next month, I’ll be on a Cape Canaveral beach taking a photo of it with my new iPhone 4. In yet another marvel of modern technology and sad irony, the Apple iPhones will be making their maiden voyage into space on STS-135, the final space shuttle mission.
FCC report: “Information needs of communities” – less government tinkering?
“Now is not the time for public officials to engage in massive media marketplace meddling or to tinker with media business models in the hopes that something new and better can be created,” writes Adam Thierer in an op-ed on Forbes’ blogsite about the FCC’s newly released report “Information Needs of Communities.” “The future of media should be guided by experimentation and innovation, not by Washington regulators.”
The 500-page report surprisingly rejected sweeping regulatory actions that could threaten the important wall separating state and press. This is recommended reading for everyone interested in protecting our First Amendment rights of free speech.
Bits & bytes
- No laughing matter – Online ads get mis-placed. The 12 most hilariously placed online ads.
- The week’s ten best political jokes. Weiner alert!
- Futuristic bike helmet with EMT capabilities.
- Famed guitarist Les Paul stands alone at Google doodle site.
- Amateur musicians create masterpieces.
- “The blogfather” Hoder sets record: gets Iran’s longest prison sentence ever. Chinese blogger gets a year at hard labor.
- $10 Billion by 2016 for location-based service – report. Advertisers on board. Location, location, location.
Getting to know the iCloud; it’s huge, and it’s ready to roll
“What we know about iCloud, and what we don’t. Can Apple do for consumer streaming what it has done for PCs and mobile devices?” Gigaom asks questions.
We do know you will be able to store your music online, then access and listen to it from a number of devices. Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iCloud and introduced the newest Apple products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
“PCs worked smoothly for a decade, he said. But with a slew of devices with photos, music and movies – it’s been ‘driving us crazy trying to keep in sync.’ Here’s the solution: ‘Moving the digital hub into the cloud. It’s not just a hard disk in the sky.'”
Apple introduced its new Lion operating system, which uses many of the same features as the iPad and iPhone, like multi-touch, airdrop and mission control. No more scroll bars: it’s all swipe, tap and pinch as you go.
Watch TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld describe it on this video.
Authorities make arrests in Sony hacktivist disaster
As we reported in last week’s Surfin’ Safari column, hackers have been having a field day running Sony Corp. in circles. But Sony’s recent run of bad luck might be turning around.
Three alleged members of the hacker group Anonymous were arrested by Spanish police, suspected of involvement in online hacking of Sony’s PlayStation network, along with government, business and bank websites. All three Spaniards have been released without bail pending formal charges.
Elsewhere, a 17-year-old student in Turkey showed Apple how he hacked an Apple device. And in one of the largest direct attacks on a major bank, Citigroup was hacked, with personal information stolen from more than 200,000 credit card holders.
Also reported, the International Monetary Fund was hit recently with a large and sophisticated cyberattack, the extent of which is still unknown. The IMF manages financial crises around the world and is the repository of highly confidential information about the fiscal condition of many nations.
The time capsule
“History is philosophy teaching by examples.” – Thucydides, “The History of the Peloponnesian War”
Now playing at the Princess Theater in Urbana, Ill.
Congratulations to WND readers Austin Deland of Chapin, S.C., and Tom Woodbury of Staten Island, N.Y., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Rod Steiger as the Destroyer Commander in the 1962 film “The Longest Day,” the story of the events of D-Day, told from both the Allied and German points of view.
The film won two Oscars, and garnered another five wins and six nominations. It also starred John Wayne, Eddie Albert, Paul Anka, Richard Burton, Red Buttons and Sean Connery.
The quote was: “You remember it. Remember every bit of it, ’cause we are on the eve of a day that people are going to talk about long after we are dead and gone.”
This week’s quote: “Our greatest warrior is a traitor. Can anyone be trusted?”
Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!