5 Things - Week Ending 4/26/13

This is the 43rd post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

Social networks offer platforms for us to share everything on the Internet, from our relationship statuses to our political leanings and photos of our pets and children. But some people are discovering that what they share on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms constitutes evidence that can be used against them in a court of law.

In the digital age that we live in you have to super careful of what you post online. This articles gives various examples of people posting things on a social network website and then end up having it used against them in a court of law.

My general rule of thumb is that you shouldn't post anything on the internet that you wouldn't want your mother or the police to see.

Internet sales tax, here we come?

Dara Kerr:

Internet tax supporters, with backing from Walmart, Macy’s, and Best Buy, are hoping a Senate vote will give them enough political leverage to require Americans to pay sales tax whenever buying goods online. This could usher in the first national Internet sales tax ever.

Traditional retailers are proponents of a national internet sales tax so it will help them even the odds against internet retailers. The law currently specifies that internet retailers only have to collect sales tax if they have a physical store in the state. Since Amazon.com does not have a store or warehouse in Minnesota, they don't have to collect sales tax.

People are suppose to self report sales tax at the end of the year when they file their taxes, but many people don't. This new law, if it passes, will force all online retailers to collect sales tax.

Battery Breakthrough Offers 30 Times More Power, Charges 1,000 Times Faster

Charlie White:

Imagine what a battery with this kind of power could do to our world, which is increasingly dependent on energy storage devices. Electric cars could become a lot more practical and recharge in less than the time it takes to fill up a gas tank. Solar power could be stored easily overnight with incredible efficiency, and many devices that now must be plugged in could be powered by these super batteries.

A significant advance in battery technology like the one described above would change the world in a dramatic way. We could decrease our dependence on fossil fuels. Mobile devices would become even thinner while providing enough power to last through multiple days.

I really hope this comes to fruition.

The Only Thing Apple Really Sells

Brian Barrett:

An iPhone isn’t just an iPhone. It’s access to nearly a million apps that only work on Apple products, to 1.5 million books that you can’t read on a Kindle. It’s a remote for your Apple TV, a place to pluck your iTunes music and movies out of thin air. You don’t buy an iPhone for the A6 processor or for iOS 6. You buy an iPhone for Apple, every bit as much as you buy a Chromebook Pixel for Google or an Xbox for Microsoft.

When you purchase an Apple product you are buying more than just a phone, tablet, or computer. You are buying the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, the App Store, iCloud, AirPrint, AirPlay, and so much more.

Apple is one of the very few companies that does the hardware, software, and services. Other companies are starting to see the value in controlling the whole "widget", but they have a long ways to catch up to the ecosystem that Apple has created.

How Technology Helped FBI Narrow Field Of Bombing Suspects

Steve Henn:

In today’s society, there are sensors almost everywhere - and I’m not just talking about surveillance cameras or even things like automatic license plate readers. Most of us walk around with a cell phone in our pocket, and it comes complete with a camera and microphone of its own. So, anytime you’re in a crowd, chances are someone is rolling.

Technology helped investigators in figuring out who was responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings. NPR has a good piece on this topic. Visit NPR's website to listen to the audio.

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