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Archive for April, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Microsoft Going the Way of the Megalosaurus?

If you are, like many of us, not a fan of MacroSoft (you know who I mean!), then this recent Linux Journal blog post may intrigue you as much as it did me.

There’s no denying the Big Company is having a bad year. The Europeans picked on them and fined them a bunch and Vista is, frankly, a disaster.

I remember the fuss over 95, because it was such a change from 3.11 (gee, my geek is showing!), and again from 95 to 2000 (uhnother mistake!), but it was nothing like the antipathy generated by Vista. I wonder if we’re just all a little braver now that open-source has become so much more user-friendly for those of us who are not programmers and need easy-to-use GUI. Heh… GUI. I just like to say it, typing it isn’t as much fun.

PostHeaderIcon More from the IVAA Summit

Stephanie Frank presenting

PostHeaderIcon From the IVAA Summit

Candy is at the IVAA Summit this week, so she is sending all of us that couldn’t go some pictures to entice us for next year!


Dave lieberman is speaking… Very funny guy.


Tawnya Sutherland talks at the summit.


Award to Candy for being Slave Driver of the year! Gratz Candy!


Close up so we can “ooh” over the inscription. Wait! Whats that behind the trophy? Ah-ha! Looks like a pink handball…thought you guys were “working”???

PostHeaderIcon Ohh… getting excited now!

I’m so not ready to leave work-wise and have at least 25 things on my “to-do” list that I have to get done, but I fly out on Tuesday afternoon for the IVAA Summit. People have posted on a few forums and now I’m finally starting to be excited. I’m glad because so far I was excited, but I was more like “whatever”. I’ve been walking around in a semi-fog over the past few weeks. Turning over the Presidency reins on 4/1 was wonderful, but time-consuming and add that to the insanity that is tax season plus a child having some issues with bullies in school (all fixed), and I’ve just been feeling pretty wrung out.

BUT I’m almost caught up with work, have a new team member (wow, there’s 8 of us now that work pretty regularly!), and things seem to be settling down again.

I will try to send some pics to Dy or Tom to post like I did last year.

In the meantime, Tom is coaching our daughter’s soccer team and I’d better start getting everyone going. It’s going to be a busy weekend, soccer, friend’s birthday party, AND trying to finish up some work so I can leave without working while I’m there!

See ya in Charlotte for those that are going!

.

PostHeaderIcon No Love for the Vista

Yep. It’s true. Vista is so overwhelmingly popular that Microsoft is making XP Home available for another couple of years.

If I understood the article at arstechnica.com right, the main reason is because of Vista’s heavy-duty graphic requirements. Some of the new uber-budget-friendly systems that have been coming out, usually around back-to-school time, just can’t handle the OS without doing major hardware changes that would adversely affect their price point (read that as not cheap anymore).

In my non anti-Microsoft moments I wonder if this is what it was like when the big switch was made from MS-DOS to Windows, or maybe from 3.11 to 95 (that was a HUGE change, I am, sadly, old enough to have been a working grown up when it happened)? Are we all going to look back in 5 or 10 years and wonder how we ever worked on XP?

PostHeaderIcon Tax Realities in Virtual Worlds

Okay, I confess. A lot of this goes beyond my ability to understand since while I am a virtual assistant, I don’t interact in any of the big virtual worlds.

I tried Second Life and, well, it was slow and kinda boring–if I want a virtual life that can be as tedious as the real thing I’ll play the Sims 😉 I don’t play any MMORPGs, and, even during the brief period when I did, I would never dream of spending real money on virtual stuff, beyond the monthly game fee.

Instead, I refer you to this spiffy physorg.com article about taxing profits made in virtual worlds. From what I can see, it is mostly aimed at Second Life, since most of the money in the MMORPGs goes to offshore “gold farmers”, but what do I know?

As long as they stick to gaming, we’re good. I am a little leery of the implications of taxing virtual activity since, well, I both work and get paid virtually. I pay income tax and self-employment tax, if they add another tax, well, that would be bad.

PostHeaderIcon They Can’t All be Amazon…

High end online retailer redenvelope.com may well be going the way of high end brick and mortar retailer the Sharper Image. I’m always sad to see a business close up shop because, as a business owner, I know that someone is behind the scenes watching their dream die and wondering how it came to this.

Check out the story at TechCrunch.com for more info.

PostHeaderIcon Why do they make it so hard?

Really.

It seems like last Spring all I did was post endless rounds of updates and Q&As; for the stupid telephone tax deduction.

Now it’s the “economic stimulus payment”. Wonder what new stupid thing the IRS will throw at Americans next year?

If you are one of the many people confused by the economic stimulus payment, there’s a great article at accountingweb.com that helps clear things up.

For those of you who just want the gist, here it is:

  • Everyone with a social security number if eligible for the stimulus payments, whether they normally file a tax return or not.
  • For those who normally do not file a tax return, the IRS has created an expedited method to get them in the system so they can receive their payments.
  • This is not a rebate or refund. It is Advanced Payment of a taxpayer’s estimated 2008 refund.
    • This means that when you file your 2008 taxes in 2009, if the rebate amount is, say, $2000 and your economic stimulus payment was $1200, the actual rebate you will get next year will only be $800, or the difference between your rebate and the advanced rebate you already received.
    • On the other side, if your 2008 taxes show that you owe money, or your refund is less than the amount of the payment you receive this year, you don’t have to pay back the difference.
  • This is not taxable income. You will not have to claim it as such, though I am sure there will be extra hoops to jump through next year because of it.
  • If you haven’t filed your taxes, you can’t get a stimulus payment.
  • If you had your 2007 tax refund direct deposited in more than one account, you will have to wait for a check, which will be issued after the direct deposits, beginning in mid-May.

Those are the high points. More details are available at accountingweb, and at the IRS page I listed last week.

Honestly, what a pain!

I don’t the “Fair Tax” is a workable solution, but I loved the Flat Tax notion and wish someone would revive it. If only so I don’t have to post about the IRS so much every Spring! 😉