TEH 029: Get Off My Lawn, Punk

In This Episode: We discuss two major tech rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. Twitter “Smytes” a bunch of tech companies. Electric scooter wars. It’s a bad idea to try stealing an Internet domain at gunpoint. The Breach of the Week was not discovered for a year. And Google wants to measure things.

This Week’s Hosts

  • Randy Cassingham, founder of This is True and the Internet Spam Primer.
  • Leo Notenboom, “Chief Question Answerer” at tech education site Ask Leo!
  • Gary Rosenzweig host and producer of MacMost, and mobile game developer at Clever Media.
  • Kevin Savetz, web site publisher and founder of Fax Zero — send faxes for free.
  • Longer Bios on the Hosts page.

Show Notes

  • In the warmup, Kevin is making use of his Movie Pass (Won’t You Be My Neighbor — the Mr. Rogers biopic, is terrific, he says), Randy finished the 24th year of This is True this week (it started in June 1994), Gary updated his Russian Solitare app, and Leo was at “Camp Corgi” — and posted pics just for podcast listeners.
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that states can force online sellers to collect sales tax, even if they don’t have “nexus” (a physical presence) in that state — which was the old standard (ZDnet). But that is a wildly complex problem to solve: every county could have a different tax rate, and food, or clothes, or other specific classes of items might be taxable in one place, but not in another. Still, we discuss why this won’t affect really small online stores.
  • Also, Kevin notes, the Court handed down another ruling of interest to tech: police must generally have a warrant to search cell phones. Randy says he won’t use fingerprint locks for his phone, since the government can compel a phone owner to provide a finger to unlock a phone — but can’t compel us to give up the password to a phone.
  • Kevin told us about Twitter buying “Smyte” — and shut it down, leaving many companies that relied on the service in the cold with little or no notice (TechCrunch.
  • Gary talked about the electric scooter rental companies who suddenly descended on Denver (5280), and the interesting way the city responded.
  • Randy gave an update to a tech story that was weird enough to be covered in This is True: a home-invasion robbery that turned into a shooting over …and Internet domain name? It’s almost impossible to get away with armed robbery of a domain, and sure enough (in the update) the culprit was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  • Breach of the Week: the PDQ chicken restaurant chain had a breach where customer credit cards were exposed for nearly a year! Randy and Leo pointed out the best way to monitor charges to your credit cards is to get real-time alerts from your credit card company, by email or text message.
  • Leo says a neat update to Google Earth allows users not just to measure distances, but to draw a shape (such as around your property line) and get a measurement of the area of that shape. That’s not the only thing Google is letting you measure: Randy says Google Measure app is an interesting application of Augmented Reality.
  • In the next week, Leo will be working on an update to his Backing Up in Windows 10 book, Gary is going to visit family in New Jersey (so he won’t be here next week), Randy is going to be speaking at the Mensa AG (National Convention) (so he won’t be here next week), and Kevin is getting set to go to KansasFest.

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