06 May

Senate passes Internet sales tax in final vote, 69-27

The US Senate passed an online sales tax in a vote this afternoon after a heated final round of debate. A small group of anti-tax Republicans, as well as Democratic Senators from states without sales tax like Montana and Oregon, argued vociferously against the bill—but to no avail.

The final vote was 69-27, not much different than the 74-20 procedural vote that took place two weeks ago. The proposal has hardly changed at all in two weeks. The Marketplace Fairness Act, S.743, would allow states and localities to make Internet retailers collect sales tax from their customers if they do more than $1 million per year in out-of-state online sales.

The bill would allow states to write laws that would force e-commerce businesses to collect sales taxes. Right now consumers are supposed to keep track of any online sales and then report them to their state government and pay sales tax on the purchase. It still has to go through the House where passage is a little more rough but don’t be too shocked if in a few months you have to start investigating adding sales tax to any e-commerce software.

12 Apr

CNET News – Democratic senator wants Internet sales taxes

A Democratic senator is preparing to introduce legislation that aims to end the golden era of tax-free Internet shopping.

The proposal–expected to be made public soon after Tax Day–would rewrite the ground rules for Internet and mail order sales by eliminating the ability of Americans to shop at Web sites like Amazon.com and Overstock.com without paying state sales taxes.

via CNET News – Democratic senator wants Internet sales taxes. I know it’s going to happen, it’s just an incredibly hard problem to solve. Tax laws from state to state much less city to city vary a ton in not just amount but what is taxed. When this goes through (though possibly not this year) some business is going to make a mint providing a back-end service to know how much taxes need to be applied towards a purchase. Amazon/PayPal/Google Checkout should start building that now, if they haven’t already.

26 Mar

Technologizer – Swoopo Quietly Files for Bankruptcy

The site that put the concept of pay-per-bid auctions on the map is now apparently in financial trouble, Technologizer has learned. Although the company’s front page claims “technical issues,” documents from a Munich, Germany bankruptcy court indicate its parent company — Shopping Entertainment AG — filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday.

The company is asking for protections from its debtors, and it has named a liquidator to start divesting its assets.

I’ve done a little bit of research across the Web and it seems as if some Swoopo users have been waiting for their items for quite a while, and the site has been down for about a week now. But at least we’re finding out why: Swoopo’s run out of gas — not at all surprising since its business model is built on the willingness of bidders to lose money on lost auctions. If you don’t win, you still paid for every bid you made.

via Technologizer – Swoopo Quietly Files for Bankruptcy. So happy to see this company fail, this was a despicable business model.

02 Feb

Scottish Ruby Conference – Ticket Sales Close Monday 7 Feb, at the latest

The longer form is a tale of annyoyance and frustration with PayPal. This is the fourth year that we have run this conference, and every year PayPal have restricted our account. Each year they have asked for pretty much the same information and documents that they asked for the previous year. This time, we have decided that we are as mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore.

The situation is similar to the passenger revolts against the TSA in the USA: while we appreciate that PayPal have a duty to guard against fraud and money-laundering, their apparant lack of record-keeping leads us to conclude that they cannot be doing this effectively; it is hard to escape the conclusion that we are being picked on to provide Security Theatre for the financial authorities. We could bend over to be probed by PayPal again, but have decided to opt-out this year.

via Scottish Ruby Conference – Ticket Sales Close Monday 7 Feb, at the latest. PayPal has to be one of the worst payment processors for business it seems on the internet. One of the most widely used but one of the most frustrating it seems.

31 Jan

TechCrunch – Egypt Shuts Down Noor, Its Last ISP

We’re hearing reports on Twitter that the coverage of Noor Group’s DSL service, Egypt’s last standing ISP which powers the Egyptian Stock Exchange as well as sites of major brands like Coca Cola and Exxon Mobile is being shut down, meaning the nation will lose nearly all the remaining high-speed links to the outside world.

via TechCrunch – Egypt Shuts Down Noor, Its Last ISP. This is so weird and disturbing the idea of a political entity being able to just disconnect itself from the internet.

31 Dec

Rough Type – Same shit, different medium

What you see depends on where you stand, and from one viewpoint – a high one – Poe is absolutely correct. He puts his finger on a tragicomic fundamental of human existence: Whenever we come upon a wild new frontier, we jump up and down and say we’re going to restart history, and then we proceed to do exactly what we always do: build houses, shops, brothels, bars, gaming emporiums, churches. And then more shops. Modern electronic media, from this view, simply allow us to do all the same stuff with less physical effort. Lots of big boxes collapse into one small box, but the contents of the box remains the same.

The problem with a high vantage point is that you can’t see the details, and if you stand there long enough you begin to believe that the details don’t matter. But the details do matter. The texture of our lives is determined not only by what we do but by how we do it. And that’s where media play such an important part: they change the how. Which is what Poe misses. Just as the dishwasher (along with the washing machine, the vacuum cleaner, and all manner of other electrified household appliance) altered in profound ways the rhythms and roles of home life during the last century, so the internet changes, in ways small and large, everything it subsumes. The same shit, when routed through a different medium, becomes new shit.

via Rough Type – Same shit, different medium. I love that last sentence it defines very precisely how the medium is an important factor in differences existing while the high level appears to be the same.