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.

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.

14 Jan

Manton Reece – App Store 30% cut

The massively-popular Camera+ from Tap Tap Tap sold 78,000 copies on Christmas day, but no one else I know sees numbers like that. My own $10 Tweet Library fell a little short of 1000 copies in its first launch month… and unfortunately continued to drop since, but let’s use that to keep the math simple. Selling direct via PayPal would be $590 in fees. To Apple? About $3000.

Apple provides a unique service and it’s their right to charge whatever they want. Developers can choose to pay it or restrict development to more open platforms. I’m inclined to think the 30% is high but not unreasonable for everything Apple hopes to provide.

But here’s where everything breaks down: for $3000 I expect someone at Apple to tell me what the $%!# is going on.

It’s not just review times, or emails that go into the void, unanswered for days or weeks or ever. It’s that Apple isn’t able to communicate about the fundamental issues that will make or break businesses.

via Manton Reece – App Store 30% cut. That’s a ginormous difference in fees, especially with the complaint of not knowing anything about anything.

07 Dec

Electronic Frontier Foundation – Join EFF in Standing up Against Internet Censorship

Let’s be clear — in the United States, at least, WikiLeaks has a fundamental right to publish truthful political information. And equally important, Internet users have a fundamental right to read that information and voice their opinions about it. We live in a society that values freedom of expression and shuns censorship. Unfortunately, those values are only as strong as the will to support them — a will that seems to be dwindling now in an alarming way.

On Friday, we wrote about Amazon’s disappointing decision to yank hosting services from WikiLeaks after a phone call from a senator’s office. Since then, a cascade of companies and organizations has backed away from WikiLeaks. A public figure called for the assassination of Assange. PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa axed WikiLeaks’ accounts. EveryDNS.net pulled Wikileaks’ DNS services. Unknown sources continue to cripple WikiLeaks with repeated denial of service attacks. Even the Library of Congress, normally a bastion of public access to information, is blocking WikiLeaks.

There has been a tremendous backlash against WikiLeaks from governments around the world. In the United States, lawmakers have rashly proposed a law that threatens legitimate news reporting well beyond WikiLeaks. We expect to see similar efforts in other countries. Like it or not, WikiLeaks has become the emblem for one of the most important battles for our rights that is likely to come along in our lifetimes. We cannot sit this one out.

via Electronic Frontier Foundation – Join EFF in Standing up Against Internet Censorship. What more do you need to know?