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Comment: (Score 2) 382

by crow (#46757749) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

Yup, that's what I've used for the past three or four years. I just print directly from the spreadsheet, and it always works fine. I usually have to file a few extra forms, and I can download the PDFs from the IRS site. The PDFs are nice in that they let you fill in the data and then print them.

I considered buying software this year because it was getting complicated with figuring out accounting for rental property, but I had fun figuring it out myself.

I've set up a separate spreadsheet where I track all my expenses. One is for charitable giving, with a pivot table that gives a total by year. I have one for miles driven for charity, and the pivot table then gets added as an entry on the giving sheet, so I just have one number to copy to Schedule A.

I did the same for all my rental property expenses, adding a column for which line on Schedule E the expense goes on. The pivot table gives me the exact numbers to copy to the schedule.

Now for future years, it's all easy as long as I keep filling in the data every time we save a receipt. (I've considered scanning all the receipts and adding the images to cells in the spreadsheet, but that's too much work.)

Why in the world they don't let you submit PDFs online to them instead of mailing them on paper (only to be scanned back to electronic form), I have no idea other than lobbying from the tax preparation industry.

Comment: What all is included? (Score 1) 721

by crow (#46716839) Attached to: Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

I expect the numbers are right, but the question is what all is included. This wouldn't be just the federal web site. They're almost certainly counting those who signed up through state exchanges. They're also going to count anyone who signed up on paper. All of that is fine, as this is a measure of the program, not of the web site.

But does it include those who signed up for expanded Medicare? Those are people who weren't insured before, and now are thanks to the new law, but it's not what most people think of when they say "Obamacare."

Comment: Like photo printers (Score 1, Interesting) 400

by crow (#46610925) Attached to: The 3D Economy — What Happens When Everyone Prints Their Own Shoes?

Remember how photo printers put photo shops out of business? Not exactly. If you want prints, it's usually cheaper to go to the local drug store or box store and print them out there than it is to buy the special paper and ink yourself. It will likely be the same with 3-D printing. If you don't do it all the time (and most people won't), it will be cheaper to print your designs at a local shop. They'll have the large high-quality industrial printer that you can't afford, along with a wider choice of materials than you could stock.

What it will do is cut into the profit margins for mass-produced items. They will have to compete with the price of printing out your own design, not just what other companies are charging. That will eat into the profits of retailers.

Comment: Crow behavior (Score 1) 87

by crow (#46610869) Attached to: Crows Complete Basic Aesop's Fable Task

I remember in grad school, there was a crow that was often on a branch above the path to the computer science building. After walking past it, he would fly down next to me and screech loudly right when he was next to me, then circle back and cackle after landing on his branch. He apparently enjoyed the reactions he got by startling people.

Birds are very smart. Another reason to be afraid of dinosaurs, I suppose.

Comment: Needed for Digital Cameras (Score 1) 155

by crow (#46419343) Attached to: New Mozilla Encoder Improves JPEG Compression

My digital camera has horrible compression. I can load and save the pictures with pretty much any application, and the size of the files is reduced significantly without any noticeable image quality reduction. (And yes, I am saving it in the original size.) Maybe it's just my old Sony camera, but it's likely a common issue--I expect embedded compression in consumer devices worries more about simple and fast than best quality for the file size.

Comment: Re:XP Works (Score 1) 860

by crow (#46413129) Attached to: Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires

But my point is that Microsoft has nothing to do with this. If they're not already maintained well, they're probably already infected with malware. Lack of support from Microsoft isn't likely to make the problem much worse than it is already.

In other words, keep doing what you're doing, and you're probably at just as much risk tomorrow as you were yesterday.

Comment: Re:XP Works (Score 2) 860

by crow (#46409919) Attached to: Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires

To protect from malware from a web site, you should do the following:

*) Run a good anti-virus program
*) Make sure all plug-ins are current, especially Flash
*) Use a Flash block add-on
*) Remove Flash
*) Use an up-to-date browser (probably Chrome or Firefox)
*) Use an ad blocker (most malware on legitimate sites is from ad networks)
*) Configure private mode to not allow plugins
*) Use private mode for untrusted web sites

None of those have anything to do with whether Microsoft is supporting your OS or not.

Comment: Re:XP Works (Score 2) 860

by crow (#46408589) Attached to: Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires

No, it won't magically break. It will keep doing what it always has been doing. Yes, new security holes might be found that won't be patched. Yes, this means you need to have a good firewall and practice other safe computing strategies. Yes, you should be doing that already.

So essentially, very little is changing.

Comment: Titanium Backup, other Android Apps (Score 2) 531

by crow (#46380813) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?

On a new Android phone, the first thing that I do is root it and install Titanium Backup.

Then there are a few other apps that I must have, though the specifics aren't as important as the functionality:

VNC client: I like Jump (which was a Amazon Free App of the Day a while back) because it has ssh integrated. It's a pain using middle and right mouse buttons, though, and it doesn't use public key authorization for ssh (though I think the iPhone version does).

Terminal: I like KBox ( so that I can write and use some scripts.

SSH Client: I think I use SSH Droid.

Hacker Keyboard: Having a keyboard with both numbers and symbols active at the same time as letters is really nice, even if it does use up half the screen.

When all else fails, read the instructions.