Archived entries for Culture

A Step Toward Internet Sales Tax?

Will be interesting to see how this case shakes out: filed a lawsuit on Monday to fend off a sweeping demand from North Carolina’s tax collectors: detailed records including names and addresses of customers and information about exactly what they had purchased.

via Amazon fights demand for customer records | CNET News.

It seems that Amazon’s case is somewhat unique because the purchase of books carries certain court-protected privacy protections. Of course, they sell more than books. Regardless, it’s hard to see how the “no-sales-tax-online” situation can be maintained forever. I’m not fundamentally opposed to paying taxes, but I don’t want a pure, complete, and identifiably record of my purchased passed along to the government. I’m curious what compromise arises over the coming years (decades?).

Update: Thanks to Patricia Clausnitzer from PC for translating this blog post into Belorussian.

Walking for Farm Animals

This weekend, Aimee and I are taking part in the Walk for Farm Animals 2008 to raise money for Farm Sanctuary, a national non-profit that works to end cruelty to farm and food animals through rescue, education, and advocacy. It’s a great organization that, to me, is way more palatable than more confrontational organizations such as PETA.

We hope you’ll support us by donating $5-10 (or more) via our FirstGiving page (a secure way to send directly to Farm Sanctuary, and they’ll mail you a tax-deductible receipt).

goat at farm sanctuary

We visited Farm Sanctuary’s California farm in Orland last weekend (they have one on NY, too). We stayed in the farm’s guest cabin and were able to spend a lot of time with all the animals (Aimee discovered I’m something of a turkey whisperer). It was fun to see them in action and we had a chance to volunteer a little by preparing food and feeding many of the animals and brushing the goats.

Aimee posted a set of photos (ad 2 vids) from our time at Farm Sanctuary on Flickr.

happy pig at farm sanctuary

Also, if you vote in California, please join us in supporting Prop 2 (sponsored by Farm Sanctuary) with a “Yes” vote in November.

Prop 2 is a modest measure that would allow farm and food animals the ability to stand up, stretch and turn around. Through the reduction of these inhumane caging/crating practices (most commonly used by factory farms) will improve the health and safety of our food, support family farmers, and reduce the environmental degradation caused by these unnecessary practices. The NY Times has endorsed Prop 2 in a thoughtful and straightforward article.

We hope you enjoy our pictures and hope you’ll consider helping us raise money for this important organization.

Thanks and love,
nate & aimee

DJ Z-Trip Mixtape for Obama

DJ Z-Trip (with designer Shepard Fairey) has thrown some fundraisers for the Obama campaign called the “The Party for Change.” A few days ago he made the 54 minute set available as a free mp3 download.

You can read more about it and grab it on his site, or save him a bit of bandwidth and grab it from me (.zip, 85mb). (It’s public domain and he encourages its wide distribution!)

Here’s a great DJ with a great ear and premier turntable skills that pulls music from across genres. This mix is no exception.

I agree with his signoff:

I honestly feel if we make our voices heard, this time WILL be different.

Gotta Agree

Installing software people didn’t request erodes trust. It’s especially repugnant when it hitches a ride with a security or version update. Marshall Kirkpatrick’s right: downloading software has to be opt-in, not opt-out.

As technologists, we want up to date users. Beyond the real user-safety issues, it frustratingly holds us back. The oldest browser is the lowest common denominator and holds us all back. But sneaking new software into the sacred realm of auto-updating flows is unwise. We cannot take advantage of users at the exact moment we want them to trust us blindly and reflexively.

Multiple Apple products are within arm’s reach. My first technology experience several decades ago was on an Apple product. Love ‘em, but they should know better.

I’m glad John wrote his post.

Live on Yahoo! Live

New York Delft on Antiques Roadshow

“New York Delft” is a hip placesetting designed by my cousin in New York. They were recently “featured” on Antiques Roadshow:

For more information (or to order a set) visit his firm’s web site at

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