Most of the major carriers are offering free phone calls and texting to Japan. It started with free calls offered by AT&T, now the others are joining in. Each has its own rules, so check with your own carrier.
Amazon is threatening to stop doing business with about 10,000 California companies, if the state starts making online companies collect a sales tax. Currently, Amazon is not required to collect sales tax, because it has no physical presence in the state. Avoiding that sales tax is one of the reasons buying from Amazon and other online retailers is so attractive; savings of nearly 10%. The state could be collecting as much as $150 million dollars more a year in taxes if the state required online retailers to collect sale taxes.
Privacy: Twitter a pat on the back, other internet companies a demand letter. The ACLU is going after internet companies saying they should be more like Twitter. When Twitter is faced with government inquiries it goes the extra mile to protect and inform its users. Here's the letter. They would like you to copy it and send it out too.
Use these tips to tell if a Wi-Fi network is secure:
• If a hotspot doesn’t require a password, it’s not secure. • If a hotspot asks for a password through the browser simply to grant access, assume it’s unsecured. Once on line: • Only send personal information to encrypted websites. • Don’t stay permanently signed in to accounts. After using an account, log out. • Do not use the same password on different websites.
Too lazy to pull out your wallet to pay for coffee? There’s an App for that. Starbucks has announced a smart phone App for iPhone and Blackberry that will allow its customers to make mobile payments through their phones. The App is free and will allow consumers to manage their account through a credit card or PayPal.
The bad guys go where the money is and right now that is the unemployed. They may not be making any money, but they are desperate and desperate people are easier to rip off. Our friends over at the Consumerist have an article on how to spot an employment scam. Check it out and pass it along.