Amazon Opens Full-Scale Brick and Mortar Amazon 4-Star Store in Colorado, New York, with Berkeley on the Way

This week Amazon opened its second 4 Star by Amazon store (the first is in New York City) at the Park Meadows shopping center in Lone Tree, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. It’s interesting to note that Denver got its Amazon 4 Star store even before tony Berkeley, California, which is slated for the third 4 Star store in the near future. (List of Amazon 4-Star store locations below.)

Amazon Quietly Starts Collecting Sales Tax on Colorado Orders

This week, with no announcement or fanfare, Amazon quietly started charging sales tax on orders being shipped to Colorado, making Colorado one of 28 states for which Amazon collects sales tax. Amazon charges tax for orders shipped to Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A Somber Reminder to Not Text and Drive: Heartbroken Family Shares Son’s Last Fatal Text

We all know better, but so many think that they have it under control, and can sneak “just this one text message” in while behind the wheel. And you know, you could get away with it. But you might not. That’s the hearbreaking lesson that the parents of Alexander Heit learned this month, when their son fatally crashed his car while sending that one text message. In fact, the crash happened with that last text half-written, waiting to be sent. Now Alexander’s mother, Sharon Heit, has released a photo of that text, in hopes that it will help people realize just how dangerous a practice it is.

Companies Invited to Mine Massive National Database of K-12 Students’ Personal Information

It’s bad enough that Facebook is exploiting the data of minors who have accounts on Facebook. Now, the newest assault on childrens’ privacy is the recent decision to allow marketers access to the data in a massive databsase that contains the private data of millions of children – k-12 students – incuding their name and address, test scores, attendance records, sometimes even their social security number, and which lists whether they have learning disabilities, and more. So far New York and Louisiana have expressed their intention to enter the data of nearly all of their students, and Massachusetts, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, Delaware and Colorado have said they will enter data from “select districts”.

Geek Squad Now Available at Target

If you walk into a Target store and see someone from the Geek Squad hanging out, don’t worry, you didn’t inadvertently walk into Best Buy. Chances are you’ve walked into one of the Target locations that has their very own Geek Squad. A joint venture between Best Buy and Target, the new program will put Geek Squad agents in 29 Target stores, to start, with the first one wave concentrating heavily in the Denver, Colorado area.

Google Rolls Out Backpack Cam for New Google Street View Trekker

Google is going beyond Google Street View and rolling out the backpack cam operated Google Street View Trekker, a wilderness cam that offers a wilderness view of all the corners of the world that Google Street View has previously left untouched, namely woods views and forest views. The backpack cams can be carried by hikers and campers who are on foot and already headed to spots where cars and planes cannot easily go and Google is starting with the Grand Canyon.

Using the Internet to Get the Word Out: Wolf Sanctuary Burned Out by Colorado Wildfire

Every once in a while we get to do something that is really meaningful, worthwhile and, above all, helpful to those truly in need. As the Colorado High Park Fire wildfire near Fort Collins continues to burn out of control – currently up to 43,000 acres with just 5% containment – buildings, and one life, have been lost. And the Wolf Sanctuary, a non-profit dedicated to rescuing captive wolves and wolf hybrids, and giving them a forever home that understands and meets their unique needs, has been burned out.

Yelp Filtering Out Legitimate Yelp Reviews, Making Good Reviews Disappear and Artificially Affecting Business’ Ratings

We’ll bet that you thought that the posting of Yelp reviews on Yelp was an open system, allowing legitimate users to post a Yelp review – whether good or bad – without being censored. Well, if you thought that, you were wrong, as we ourselves learned, all too frustratingly, this week. It turns out that while Yelp claims to only filter out reviews “to protect consumers and business owners from fake, shill or malicious reviews”, in fact they filter Yelp reviews with no apparent rhyme or reason, based on a criteria which they coyly demur to explain, saying “It’s a bit of a Catch-22, but the more we describe how the system works, the easier it is for people to game the system and write fake reviews.” Moreover, this is exactly the sort of shenanigans that got them in hot water just a year ago, resulting in a class action Yelp lawsuit last year. The Yelp lawsuits last year claimed that Yelp would only remove a bad (and demonstrably fake, shill or malicious) review if the place that received the bad review paid for advertising on Yelp. In otherwords, Yelp was accused of extortion.

New Colorado Texting Law Goes into Effect – No Texting While Driving and No Calls if You’re Under 18

A new Colorado “texting while driving” and “yakking on the phone while driving” law goes into effect at midnight. Starting on the 1st of December, under the new law, it is a criminal offense to text or otherwise enter data into a mobile device, from behind the wheel, while the vehicle is in motion. The new law also prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a cell phone at all while behind the wheel, hands-free or not.