Any Suckers In California Paying Sales Tax?

This holiday season, I’m not going to pay any California State Sales Tax.  The blood suckers in Sacramento have raised taxes to a wallet-thinning 9.25% here.  I can ship my goods from New York to here for less than that!

Instead there are countless online e-tailers that I can purchase everything I want from.  It hardly takes any effort at all.

I know it is just a matter of time before California (and other states) close the inter-state loophole, but until then – screw ‘em.

And when they do, they’ll just be fuelling to push online e-tailers off shore.  How long will it take before replaces  And you can’t tax that!  Ha!

Arrington and Scams

I don’t usually agree with TechCrunch, but lately I’ve been pretty impressed with Michael Arrington’s pursuit of the online scammers.  This is a problem which a lot of people have been involved with, but it took Arrington’s ScamVille writeup before anyone took action.  As a direct result of Arrington’s article, most of the participants took action.  OfferPal replaced it’s CEO, while  Zynga, RockYou, MySpace, and others all took a chance to tighten their anti-scam policies.  As Arrington notes, it is likely just a matter of time before new scams re-emerge – there is too much money on the table.  But I still think Arrington deserves tremendous credit for rooting this out.

His latest article calls out Video Professor as a scam, and I think he’s right on target again.  If you don’t put your prices on your website, you’re a scam.  Video Professor sucks.  Go Mike!

Are We Ready for Electric Cars?

Electric cars are coming.  Right now, the electrics that you’d want to drive cost too much.  But those prices will come down.  Are we ready to switch from gasoline to electric?

To answer the question, let’s look how States generate their electricity.  The Energy Information Administration has a nice summary table.

On average, ~50% of America’s electricity is generated from coal.  California’s largest source of electric power is natural gas, and generates only ~1.5% of its power from coal.  But, if you buy your electric car in Indiana, you’ll be trading your gasoline for electric power which is more than 90% generated from coal.

Now, I’m just doing fuzzy math, making simple assumptions based on some published statistics.  My numbers could be wrong (perhaps electric cars are charged at night, and the profile of energy sources at night is different than what is consumed today).  Maybe someone smart can correct me on that.

But on the surface, it doesn’t seem to me that switching from gas to electric will make our skies cleaner.  Why do many states and governments offer rebates to switch?

Others have noticed this problem too

Google Writes JS Engine for Internet Explorer

The IE9 team published a video today showing what we can expect from IE9’s JavaScript when it launches.  No, Google didn’t actually write the code for their new JS Engine, but it sure spelled out the roadmap.  In the video, the engineers talk candidly about their new engine, from copying V8’s JIT and polymorphic inline caching, to copying V8’s irrexp optimized regular expression library.  They even politely acknowledge that Chrome is “doing a really good job”.

In the video, IE9 is still quite a bit slower than Chrome.  But it is fantastically superior to IE8.

The great thing about this is that competition works.  Microsoft had the opportunity, but didn’t significantly improve their JS engine performance for the last 10 years.  It took Google Chrome, what Ballmer calls a “rounding error” to finally make Microsoft improve in this area.  In a few years, whether you pick IE or Chrome or Firefox as your browser, rest assured your browser is fast because of competition.