2005-04-18

Software Notes: TurboTax, etc.


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Some interesting recent run-ins with software:

The frustrating thing about programs like Turbo Tax and Tax Cut is that they make tax time easier, but not by a lot. If we can put a man on the moon (probably have to come up with an update for this age old contemplation), why can't we come up with a way to automate the tax process without me having to indicate that I didn't buy anything on an Indian Reservation last year, I don't grow corn, and I don't drive a car that burns old newspaper?

True, the tedium and confusion of a multitude of IRS forms is eliminated by these programs. Unfortunately it is replaced by the tedium and confusion of an endless barrage of nonsensical questions. Normally I would brush most of these questions off without a second thought ... unless you ask them of me at tax time. Then, suddenly I have all the decisiveness of a former President trying to explain his sex life. "... well that all depends on what your definition of the word, 'is,' is."

-- B --

I was removing WeatherBug from my laptop in preparation for sending it to its new owner. It's a decent little app, but also a spyware magnet I suspect, so I'll let the next person make their own choice on that one.

It's a nice program. I enjoy having a forecast at my fingertips, especially during motorcycle season. It's kind of annoying having to re-choose a sponsor every three days, but what do you expect for free? Anyway, as nice as it is, I'm not installing it on my other machine. I've got the NWS bookmarked. That's good enough.

Anyway, their "are you sure?" message is interesting: "Are you sure you want to uninstall this program and miss out on all the life-saving weather tips ...?" Life-saving? Yikes! So, if I die in some weather-related mishap in the near future, don't cry for me. I brought it on myself.

-- B --

To be fair to Blogger - they must have done some major upgrading or something, because suddenly they are running smooth, and pretty much glitch-free. One funny thing, though. They've got a couple of Blogger blogs - one to talk about all the cool stuff, and one to talk about the problems.

As Murphy would have it, they had some issues with the problem blog last week. And so, whenever you logged in, there was a note at the top of the dashboard about the problems over at the problem board.

Now, I think that if you are going to have a blog to talk about how you are dealing with problems, you need to make sure that it stays up. "We'd tell you about the problems we are fixing, but we can't seem to get the problem board working," just isn't going to cut it.

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