Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Long night last night doing taxes. I bought H&R Block's TaxCut Deluxe Edition. The initial cost is around $50 plus $14.95 to e-file the federal return and $12.95 to e-file the state return. That is about the same cost of using the new web version of Turbo Tax, but I can do my parents and other relatives for no additional cost. Secondly, TaxCut has a full rebate on the state tax software ($24.99), a rebate on the federal tax software ($5), and a rebate on the federal e-file ($14.95). So the bottom line cost will less than $40 to do at least three people's taxes and maybe more. The software seems to work pretty well, although it does have some strange little glitches. None of them were fatal, but the screen does some strange things at certain points. All in all, I think I have a new tax preparation program. It even reads in last year's Turbo Tax data so I don't have to retype everything. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative than the new Turbo Tax rip-off, you could do worse than look at TaxCut.

Taxes consumed my entire evening, so I still have no homework done and I'll be winging it big time tonight in youth group.


Lots of interesting articles on Wired News to take your mind off of Iraq:

Diesels are back in style. Europe has been doing this for years, but the U.S. has been a little slow to catch on. Replacing a gasoline engine with an equivalent diesel immediately improves fuel economy by 25-40% and reduces CO2. Particulates and NOx goes up, so it isn't a perfect solution, but I'm betting that if diesels become popular, solutions will be found for those as well.

People continue to take stories from The Onion as real. This should have been expected when getting on the Internet became something that people on the left side of the IQ bell curve could do.

FDA has given the green light for clinical trials of a brain implant that allows a person to control a computer with their thoughts. It's all to help disabled people, you see. Yea, right; hard-core gamers will be screaming for these things. After we work all the kinks out on the handicapped, of course. When they figure out how to use a chip to stimulate the visual center of the brain so it becomes a two-way interface, then things will get really interesting.

This article needs some thinking about. My personal opinion is that chat rooms are like conversations in any public space. I can record two people talking on the street without their consent. Same thing here. The problem is that technology moves so fast that laws written as little as 2 or 3 years ago have serious unintended consequences.

The next thing after silicon-based computing? Thinking about a computer that uses quantum mechanics is the fast path to making your brain hurt, but if the technical details could be worked out, it will make the advent of integrated circuits look like small potatoes.

Another The Office of the Future-type article. Some of this stuff has been five years away for the entire 20 years I've been working in offices. Still, some of it will show up.

Well, that ought to keep everyone busy. Gotta go.

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