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Archive for June, 2008

PostHeaderIcon ‘Tis the End

If, like most of the people we know, you are a Windows XP fan, well, then, today is a day or mourning. Today is the last day that you will be able to order a new computer with Windows XP, and that is only through selected manufacturers (HP, Acer). Dude, if you wanted a Dell with XP you’re out of luck, they stopped selling them back on the 18th of this month.

All the manufacturers are offering a downgrade options with higher end versions of Vista. This means you can still get XP, but you have to pay for uber Vista first. On the plus side of this deal, once they finally (we hope!) get all the hideousness out of Vista, or you upgrade your video and RAM to handle the system hogging OS, you can upgrade to it for free. Or at least for “already paid for it.”

PostHeaderIcon Intuit’s New Look

Intuit is quietly re-branding with a new logo design.

The Duct Tape Marketing guy likes it.

The guys at The Inquirer don’t.

Under Consideration’s “Brand New” column is still on the fence, but the column is old so maybe they’ve made up their mind? I mostly added this one because it was the first place the old and new logos side by side so people could compare for themselves.

I will say, it’s a logo. The thinner lettering is a little less imposing to me, and while the case changes bug me a little, it’s a logo and they don’t have to follow the same grammar rules the rest of us do.

PostHeaderIcon Fair Credit Protection… For Whom?

My feelings on this are ALL over the map, so I’m just going to say my piece and refer people to the accountingweb article.

Basically, people are in a tizzy because some merchants incorrectly interpreted some of the 2006 FACTA changes to the Fair Credit Reporting Act and printed both truncated card numbers and expiration dates on receipts. Woah! Stop the Presses! Emergency!

Please. Have any of the 300 people suing merchants over this had their identity stolen? I have, and having this info on my receipt doesn’t worry me.

What does worry me is that Congress passed the (I love the silly names of laws sometimes…lol) Credit and Debit Receipt Clarification Act. It’s good in that it clarified the requirements for merchants. The worrisome part is the way they made it retroactive so all the people with frivolous lawsuits no longer have a case. One stupid law that scarcely made the news when it passed on May 20, 2008 has set a precedent by which Congress can pull the legs of a lawsuit out from under the plaintiffs. I personally think it was a frivolous lawsuit, but the precedent it sets is scary.

For a little legal clarification on the whole subject, read this.

PostHeaderIcon IRS Announces New Mileage Rates Effective 7/1/08

Read all the skinny in the IRS newsroom, here.

The short and sweet? Mileage rates for business or moving/medical are each going up $0.08/mile, effective July 1st.

Charities?

Well, I’m thinking it’s obvious the government doesn’t give a fig about how people are giving less money in lean times and more time. And gee, wouldn’t it be nice to reward those people giving their time and using their own liquid gold gasoline to do it? Apparently not.

New business mileage rate is $0.585/mile; medical-moving will be $0.27/mile; charity, well, it’s still a chinchy $0.14/mile.

PostHeaderIcon It’s Been a Week… Did you Download?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well, you either don’t hang out with any open source fans, or have been stuck in an elevator for a while now.

What I’m talking about is Firefox 3! Yes, the best got better and the new version was available for download last week. In fact, Mozilla was encouraging people to download the new version in an effort to make the Guinness Book of World Records. People listened, and crashed Mozilla’s servers for a while as a result! For current status on the world record chase, check out Mozilla’s blog.

If you want to know a little more about the new version before making the switch, check out this First Look video from c|net TV.

PostHeaderIcon Cool Gifts….


Austrailian
Originally uploaded by CandyTX

One of my clients is a magazine publisher. One of the authors is from Australia and recently we worked out some payment issues he had. Imagine my surprise to find a neat little gift from him. A music CD and a “cheesy” boomerang. How cool was that? It’s stuff like this that reminds me that people still do appreciate someone going the extra mile for them. It’s less about the gift and more about the fact that he remembered that I was able to help him sort stuff out. That, I think, is what is missing in business, in general, these days.

PostHeaderIcon Options for Going Green in Your Business

AccoutingWeb recently had a great article about simple ways to go green by safely recycling electronics and reducing the waste paper in the office by eliminating unwanted junk mail. Check it out here.

OffAssist has been moving toward a paperless office since January of this year, and we encourage others to go green for everyone’s future.

PostHeaderIcon Taken for a Virtual Ride

Well, the VA industry has made it.

How do I know? Because people finally know enough about VAs to create scams targeting them.

The Austin BBB had a good, if brief, article on the subject last week. Check it out here.

I get a couple of these a year, and I get calls and emails from newer VAs asking me about offers like this when they receive them and I always tell them to run screaming.

PostHeaderIcon Tweet, Tweet

In honor of Candy’s new Twitter addiction (yes, I am kidding) :

Micro-blogging is all the rage. Ad Week has a nifty story on micro-blogging by businesses here.

I have no objection to general commercial use of a service like Twitter, but I am a bit creeped out by the people who “Follow” thousands of people. How can they keep up? It’d be like being a mind reader in a shopping mall, too much information and no way to filter it…

I admit it, I’m on Twitter, mostly to use it as a wide-open IM/whiteboard with friends, but I do occasionally, if obliquely, discuss my work, but it is far more social than networking to me. I also rigorously screen my followers. I’m boring like that.

For more variety, check out Candy (candieb) , Tom (tombeau) , Lanel (lanelt), or our friends at Linux Journal (linuxjournal) on Twitter.

PostHeaderIcon Hands On!

I am a notebook user. In fact, outside of my backup systems, I use a notebook computer exclusively. I haven’t owned a desktop computer since sometime around 2000, 2001. (speaking for myself, Dy, not OffAssist as a whole on this one).

Keep that in mind when I tell you that even when traveling, I have almost NEVER used my notebook in the position required for IBM’s new patent to have any relevance in my life.

See what I mean here.