TEH 048: A Taxing Situation

In This Episode: Election coverage goes increasingly high tech. “Ballot selfies” are illegal in some states. Drone swarms will soon be deployed in search & rescue emergencies. The burden on small businesses having to collect sales taxes: it’s going to be very complicated, and may force many out of business.

This Week’s Hosts

Show Notes

  • In the warmup, Gary binge-watched Season 3 of The Man In the High Castle, based on a Phillip K. Dick novel, and we discussed alternative universes. Randy just switched his phone browser to Firefox Focus (Android, iOS), which seems to be tighter code than the regular Firefox and all about a more private browsing experience: it has tracking protection, erases all cookies/history immediately upon exit, and more.
  • Gary started off mentioning how ABC News is going to try something new with their election night coverage using augmented reality, which led to a discussion of some of the tech behind the idea. And Apple News will attempt live coverage of the election inside the News app (TechCrunch).
  • Another election-related topic is whether or not you can talk a selfie with your ballot. The answer depends on what state you’re in: CNN has a chart. It reminded Randy of an XKCD comic on the idea last week.
  • And that moved to a discussion of selfies in general: an Indian couple (living in the U.S.) died last week trying to get a dramatic photo at the edge of a cliff in Yosemite. India leads the list (by far) of the nation with the most deaths during selfies (London Teleraph. It reminded Gary of three Canadians who died this summer doing much the same thing (The Verge. Randy was fascinated by how the trio were described: as “Youtube Travel Influencers” — and how that is an interesting new “job title.”
  • Gary likes how MIT is researching how drones can be used to find lost hikers, where terrain poses challenges, which led to a short discussion on the tech from commercial drone applications is being used in emergency services. Randy noted that his Drone Pilot Wings are now being increasingly purchased by police and fire departments.
  • And Randy is worried for small businesses (in Colorado, but it’s eventually going to apply to businesses in every other state): Colorado will soon require online retailers to collect sales tax according to the recipient’s address — and there are 683 tax districts in the state! (Denver Post. This all goes back to a Supreme Court decision in June allowing states to collect sales taxes from out-of-state businesses, contrary to previous decisions.
  • And in the wrap-up, Gary is about to launch a new course related to his WordPress Tips and Hacks site, while Randy, who is a volunteer medic in his rural community, will be participating in an “active shooter” exercise — yep, that they happen in small towns too. Randy talked briefly about doing a two-day training on the subject a few years ago, which was followed the next day by a “multi-casualty incident” (not a shooting); that’s written up in his blog.

2 Comments on “TEH 048: A Taxing Situation

    • No, we never have, and never would, just repost a re-run of an episode. However, when I saw a typo in the title of last week’s episode, and fixed it, the notification system took it as a new episode and re-sent last week’s notification. 🙁 This week’s is #49, and it’s posted here.


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