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Go Amazon! The State of North Carolina Has Totally Lost It

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Remember the Amazon tax? Seems like the state of North Carolina really doesn’t have its head on right. Amazon is suing them due to privacy violations since obviously from the interest of Amazon’s is to protect its buyers. NC State however couldn’t get the millions they had thought they could get (and might I add spent already) from the “Amazon tax” so now they’re trying to chase the consumers.

Long story short? Here’s a quick synopsis of what has happened:

  1. State wants money. State sets up “Amazon tax” to throw the sales tax book at Amazon due to affilliate connnections.
  2. Amazon terminates all NC State affiliates.
  3. State keeps budget of “Amazon tax” in, even though Amazon has taken out any link.
  4. State spends the money in the budget even though there was no money there.
  5. State now worried about money spent, so goes to Amazon to try to get the consumer to pay the sales tax end.
  6. Amazon sues.

Now here’s where someone at NC State DOR isn’t thinking at all. As a NC state citizen, I have to say that if you’re going to backdate taxes that you couldn’t collect or enforce at the time of the law, then I have a real problem with that. Mainly because there are plenty of other types of things that living here for almost ten years has taught me that no one enforces certain laws even though that they exist. How about the tint laws? I have yet to see that enforced since there are people with darker than thirty-five degree tint everywhere. License plate covers are illegal in this state, but never saw that enforced either. In fact, you could probably hire a multitude of state troopers just by the amount of people you could fine from those two things. What about emissions? Commercial tags? Trucks that are tagged as “farm equipment” that I’ve seen decked out with custom pipes and several inch lifts? Seriously now.

If you’re going to pass a law that requires consumers to pay taxes, then do so. That means that it sucks for you for past events but that’s just tough. It doesn’t take a genius to see that NCDOR requested since 2003 because statute of limitations is seven years and they’re looking to bust down on their own taxpayers. Which is fairly amusing since as a taxpayer, I actually like paying taxes…. if they were doing something to help get more taxpayers (eg. fixing unemployment). I actually like living in this state, but the politics and laws are completely whack. Don’t believe me? Let’s not forget that this is also the state that had the “two hundred plus year old no cohabitation law.” Oh yeah, that wasn’t enforced.

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Why Politicians Need To Wake Up and Smell What They’re Shoveling

HALF THE POPULATION PAY NO FEDERAL TAXES WHATS...
Image by roberthuffstutter via Flickr

“Seriously. What the hell, Mr. President?” , is the question I want to ask.

It’s funny how in several years, the United States will take all the progress its done and piss it all away. Truthfully, I don’t think the Republican Party could have asked for a better screw up as the health care reform, but even the consideration of VAT tax is the nail on the coffin.

Here’s the key. In living in one of the states with the highest unemployment rates, I’ve found that the government really doesn’t care about me. Or you. Or anyone else. It’s not really that crazy, all in all I believe that GOP has solidified November and will continue to grow stronger as long as they don’t open their mouths and say something stupid. That’s still a possibility, but overall the Democrats have really shot themselves in the foot with this one.

First, you don’t pass something that you know you can’t pay for. Especially in times like this. If we could pay for it, then why are we considering the VAT tax option? And second, the point of VAT is to replace the antiquated sales tax. It’s not an additional tax. I’ve been working in financial markets for long enough to know that the value-added tax is just a multi-tiered system that allows the percentage of tax to be collected at multiple levels throughout the product cycle. This ensures that the government gets more of the percentage in case someone skimps on paying sales tax instead of a all or nothing scenario which is what we have in the United States currently.

The state of government seems to be screwed up by politicians that don’t take the time to understand basic concepts before they start pushing them. Which is not only frightening but also very sad. The fact that I read last night where there was an amendment to the Whistleblower Act in 2009 from the Senate that capped compensatory damages as opposed to punitive damages just made me extremely annoyed. I mean, seriously? You don’t know which word means what and for what logic? Whistleblowers serve a purpose and capping the loss compensation basically would remove any reason to blow the whistle on bad behavior. I thought the point was to protect the little guy when the big guy is doing something inherently wrong. Guess not.

I suppose I should have known better when I myself got sick of the financial market ruin created by bad laws passed by the GOP majority. Which means this stupidity problem falls on both sides of the aisle. Politicians need to start removing their heads from wherever they are and start realizing that you actually need to know what the hell you’re talking about instead of being the salesperson. Looking good for the camera doesn’t help you when you can’t understand basic concepts that even “I” can understand. And I don’t claim to be a graduate of any Ivy League or an expert in anything legal or political. If Joe the Plumber understands that you’re screwing up somewhere, doesn’t this mean that you need to stop to think before you pass something stupid instead of gunking up the toilet? It’s time to wake up.

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Thoughts on Skype Mobile for Android

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

This is funny as hell. I mean seriously. Does this guy even understand how power works? Less trips to the charger? WOW. Okay… a little lesson on how telecom radios work folks. It’s a really easy concept actually. A base station is usually located somewhere between one to two miles away. Ideally. Sometimes farther, sometimes closer. But the amount of power it takes to generate a signal that far is a lot more power on the forward channel than any WiFi signal. Ever.

So buying into the whole … Verizon is the best 3G network so we’re making use of their network thing is total marketing mumbo jumbo. I would know, considering I’ve worked on the infrastructure. What’s funny is that someone at Verizon made this call on banning WiFi which I have no clue about because from a telecom business perspective it makes absolutely no sense. Probably a sales guy that didn’t do his bean counting correctly.

So if you have a Verizon smart phone, you have to pay for a line and a data package. You don’t have a choice in this matter. And more than likely you use it for way more things than Skype. Believe me, the last thing I consider use for my data package for is voip. So why would you ban voip? Because some brilliant guy somewhere thought that it would decrease sales in lines, without actually thinking through who actually uses Android phones.

Here’s food for thought. The point of Skype is voip, but RF spectrum is actually expensive to run. Why not allow people to do their voip on WiFi but still pay for their data packages? You’re basically allowing more spectrum available for both actual data and voice use (depending on how the channels are configured). It’s the most optimal use of your current network from a business perspective and network perspective. Again, something else I’d know since I spent over ten years optimizing network traffic and analyzing KPIs.

It seems that Skype couldn’t break their full client in to Verizon and they didn’t know the telecom lingo to actually sell it. What’s amusing is that it makes them look bad in throwing the Skype Lite out since it really doesn’t help with those of us that run SkypeIn numbers or allow us to conduct business the way Google Voice does. Oh right, Verizon isn’t afraid of Google Voice which makes connections over the voice lines? That’s more traffic taken up for no reason when it doesn’t have to be routed as such.

All in all, both of Skype and Verizon Wireless need to revisit how their technologies work and why one thing is superseded by another when they’re two different things. I get the whole Verizon wants to make money and are afraid that they would lose subs. But come on… are you serious? Releasing a product that half par is worse than not releasing one at all. It just makes both ends look terrible from a public relations perspective and becomes a marketing nightmare. In the end, you’d spend more money trying to fight the non-existent problem instead of just letting the thing through.

Right now? I can say that as a telecom veteran, I have to say that this application might as well have been left in beta. In fact, the beta was better since it didn’t disable the wifi. That’s a little sad. There’s nothing great about the final Android version and continues to win subpar remarks because of bad decision made on both ends.

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