TaxAct

16 04 2007

So, Iam just done with my 2006 taxes using TaxAct (http://www.taxact.com).

Positive:

  • Cheap ($16 with both Federal and State efile)
  • Web based
  • Tech support is timely and reasonably ok
  • Adequate online help

Cons:

  • Clumsy interface: Despite the tabs, the navigation is essentially linear.
  • Buggy? : In State Property Tax, my NJ tax would switch from $209 credit to $5 I owe with no explanation. I had to repeat the whole state and enter the property tax in a column that TaxAct computed automatically to make this work.
  • Why do I get warning that IRA contributions exceed limit? After entering IRA contribution, Traditional IRA is presented before Non deduct able. If you entered something in ND, went back and entered Traditional, there is no means to delete the ND part if the Traditional exceeds limit ($4000 per person)
  • Why is my State taxable wages higher than my federal? Because this is pulled off Box 16 from W-2. But the s/w does n’t tell you that.
  • Why did you not getDependant credit? Because your income is > 100K. But the s/w does not explicitly tells you that. You need to get this from Help
  • Why did you not claim Dependant Care expenses? Because you used the money from Flex spending. Again, guess from Help. The explanation screen was utterly confusing and useless.

Verdict: Down. Try something else for 2007

In my earlier years, TurboTax had been quite OK I guess (not stellar). H&R’s s/w was also OK. H&R block accosting service was quite disappointing… basically its too costly. In one instance I remember paying $200+ for nothing. This year Ravi (neighbor) said he paid $500+. He says the fee is proportional to your income.

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Sony Camera Error

5 04 2007

Sony CybershotAfter the FL trip, while downloading the the images to the PC, I rebooted the machine in frustration since it was taking about 5-10m per image (think of downloading images from 2G stick… you get the idea). Now, after that that, the camera would not read the stick. Not just the 2G stick, any stick. I get the error

C:13:01 Memory stick error.

Tried Sony troubleshooting site, it lists several solutions

  • Remove and insert the stick several times
  • Take batteries out and insert after 5 min

Now websites, offer several creative and hi-tech solutions.

  • Erase the stick tip (golden end) with a pencil for 30s and reinsert
  • Give the camera few hits, (gently ofcourse). <– Hey we have a winning solution




Desktop Blogging Clients Review

4 04 2007

drivel : (**)

I had used in past and I think this was comparitively complete. unfortunately this is not included in PCLinuxOS when I tried installing from tarball, there were tons of missing dependencies for bonono stuff. My brief experience with PCL with these was not always pleasant. Giving up for now.

Moved back to Ubuntu and got this client from repository. To access wordpress blogs, select MovableType & apppend /xmlrpc.php at the end of URL.

I still see no WYSIWYG editor. see html (or some) tags embedded. Not good!

BlogGTk: (**)

Simple interface

(use MovableType to connect to wordpress blogs).

Shows raw html in editor window (has a separate preview tab)

Gnome Blog Poster: can only post new entries (doesn’t retrieve older posts). But, shows formating.

Drupal: Probably much more than a blogging client

gnome-blog (applet)





podcatcher review

4 04 2007

PodNova

Good

  • Has a webaccess (podnova.com) that is in sync with the client
  • Neat interface
  • Fast

Bad

  • OMPL Site (podnova.com) is down sometimes
  • Can’t delete old blogs automatically (using mediamonkey)

jPodder (www.jpodder.com)

Good:

  • Cross platform (Windows & Linux) Java based client
  • Neat sleek interface

Bad:

  • Had issues connecting to OMPL dir (ipodderx?)

ZenCast http://zencast.com/

This seem to be Creative Zen specific catcher/player.

Juice

Good:

  • Interface very similar to podnova
  • Inbuilt directory — slow?

Bad:

  • Did I say the interface is simiar to podnova? There you go 🙂




Blogging site comparison

3 04 2007

Here is a nice review of blogging sites.

http://alternativenayk.wordpress.com/2007/01/03/which-blog-service-is-the-best-wordpress-vs-blogger-vs-livejournal/