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File your taxes for free*

beehive_logo.gif * You can file your taxes for free if you meet a few requirements with the Beehive and H&R Block.

  • Have valid social security number or ITIN number.
  • Have an email address.
  • Your adjusted gross income is $54,000 or less.

The Beehive is a resource portal that is aimed at bringing households information on money, lifestyle, and other types of useful tidbits of information. Ran by the nonprofit One Economy, it actually comes in handy every so often like the tax filings if you meet the requirements.

WordPress plugin: All in One SEO Pack

wordpress.jpg One of the most interesting plugins and one of the most popular is the All in One SEO Pack.
This WordPress plugin optimizes not only the title (of which you can override if you don’t like it) but it also generates meta tags for you. Useful? Dfdffffffffffefinitely. In fact, since you can fine tune everything, but it’s still backwards compatible with most tagging plugins (now more obsolete with WP2.5…. ) then it makes it a lot easier I would imagine to rank higher.
What you really need though? A lot of trackbacks.

Bravo to WordPress 2.5

wordpress.jpg So far? I’m thoroughly impressed.
WordPress 2.5 just released and I’ve upgraded one of my blogs with it and the interface is MUCH cleaner. In fact, it’s one of the reasons that I had stayed with Six Apart’s MT due to the easier to use interface. This changes everything.
In fact, there were a bunch of look and feel changes which in the end I believe is a customers’ dream come true. It’s all about how easily accessible things are and how easy it is to understand. The Automattic team has come to that same realization and have gone forth and conquered.
While I might use the gallery feature, the one big thing that I love next is the fact that visual editor now doesn’t screw with the code. You wouldn’t believe how annoying it was to go from one to the other editor, then find that visual editor went in and changed what you had just painstakingly edited in html. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I have visual editor turned off in my profiles.
Much of the development features are all backside things. Database opto, shortcode API, salted passwords, secure cookies, and easy taxonomy. A lot of it you probably won’t use unless you happen to write plugins, but it’s there which is a nice feature. The actual code was compressed as 1 lousy megabyte which made things absolutely great.
As usual, WP is the super easy install/upgrade. Dump and Pump. Basically, you just upload the thing and upgrade the database, and it’s done barring some things like making sure that your themes weren’t overridden if you used a default theme and such.
Would I change anything? Sure. It’d be nice if you could backup your install and directly upgrade from WordPress servers instead of having to mess with downloading, uploading, and all this other stuff. Makes it a lot simpler if you could click a button and perform upgrades (and seeing how their upgrade architecture is designed, I don’t see how this would be impossible to perform).
I don’t believe I’ll switch to WP here only because it’s been customized to the point where I know where everything is at, but Automattic sure has me seeing future ease of blog deployment without the ugly interface. And all I can say is “Bravo!” to that.

Engadget behind the times on E-911?


Ick. I just read two posts by Engadget author, Darren Murph, and I’m thoroughly disappointed.
A couple commenters also mentioned this fact, but in both this post on Japan’s move to run GPS in their phones and then this later one on South Korea, it just reeks of misinformation.
Here’s the problem with the post:

“Taking a note from Japan, it’s being reported that South Korean police are backing a highly controversial plan …”

Hate to say it, but just because South Korea is close to Japan, doesn’t mean they South Korea used Japan as an example. Nothing in the XinHua (China View) news report states this nor does it from from textually.
On top of this, back in 2001, I had worked on getting the customer (one of the US vendors) into compliance with both CALEA and E911. By the early 2000s, all mobile handsets in the United States were required to be equipped with a GPS chip for 911 emergency. As far as I know for most of the mobiles I’ve ever tested, this is on by default unless you specifically tell it to only be on for E911.
Furthermore, there are numerous reports of how E911 works, such as this one back in 2004 when a Tennessee boy prank called 911 services from his school bus. Based on some background, I would have expected a little more seeing that the author had worked for a corporation that is one of the domestic three cellular infrastructure providers.
Bad choice of words, Engadget. Perhaps poor research. Either way, it doesn’t look good when the written word makes the assumption that the US doesn’t have similar technologies in place already for emergency services. Especially when those that are not in the know-how have the expectation that you know what you’re talking about.
Photo Credit: (Milica Sekulic)

iTunes Saturday

Apple iTunes Apple iTunes

NoStrayClicks

NoStrayClicks.gif How many times have you worked on a document on your laptop and then suddenly…. BAM.. your mouse cursor jumps and you’re like… “what the….”
No more. NoStrayClicks keeps that mousepad in check, by locking it. Just double click the tray icon to turn it on when you need the mousepad off, and double click the tray icon again when you’re done. Doesn’t get any easier than that. Freeware for Windows.

The laziness of tweet posts

Maybe it’s just me.
But a couple blogs I follow happen to have installed the Twitter Tools plugin for WordPress.
Now first on the tool. I see the point, and Alex King writes some incredible stuff. In fact, if you’re using a Twitter purely from a marketing standpoint, I could definitely see the merging between Twitter and a blog. This is something that is a great use of Twitter Tools.
Unfortunately, the things that I’ve been reading have been tweets that basically bolster posts. It’s almost as if people don’t have enough time to write a post, so they throw together every single tweet they did this week as a overview post. Pretty uneventful, pretty useless, and it’s a plain waste of my time to read.
This differs slightly from overview posts that some blogs manage over a week since they crank out over hundreds of posts and show the most popular. In that sense, I could see why people would want to rehash. Not really my cup of tea, but I can see the perspective. But tweets wise, I really don’t care to read what’s on your mind on Monday, when it’s Friday. In fact, there’s really not too many reasons to even bother with these automated postings.
Point of all this? Twitter is a archived pseudo real-time tool. It’s background noise that you can bring to the forefront like irc when you want it to do so. Let’s just keep it that way.

Movie Review: The Condemned

Somehow a bit morbid, a producer of an Internet production has created a reality show where ten condemned criminals that were on death row are to fight it out on a tiny island outfitted with cameras and microphones. The last man or woman standing will get to live after thirty hours, or else they all die.
So pitting insane criminals against crazy lunatics, Jack Conrad (Austin) is placed on this island to take on some brow-beating hardened killers. Little do the folks watching for the Internet and the others know…. Conrad has a little something up his sleeve.
And what’s funny about it is that I didn’t expect much of anything for this movie at all. Mainly because outside of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, there hasn’t been many WWE stars that have made it onto the big screen in a great way. But I was pleasantly surprised in this film.
Don’t get me wrong. The Condemned (Widescreen Edition) is probably only a B-rated film in my book. It was good, but the acting wasn’t spectacular. But it was action packed at every turn and with that, it kept your eyeballs glued to the screen. In that sense, it did what it was to do, which was entertain me with a lot of guns, fights, and explosions.
Personally, I would probably rank this a little above say…. Mortal Kombat on a Sunday afternoon. Not a bad film, but I was right to rent instead of go to the theater for it.

ProcessGuard

ProcessGuard.jpg ProcessGuard is a great little program that basically allows you to watch the processes. When they go above a certain threshold then you can either kill the process, or start an application, or shutdown, hibernate, … all sorts of crazy things.
This configuration is done via an ini file so you can edit it and relaunch the application whenever and wherever. Freeware for Windows.

Metal Gear film in works

This is one movie that I can’t wait to see out. One of the best storytellers and producers is Hideo Kojima, the mastermind behind the Metal Gear series.
So it seems that Sony Pictures is going to be releasing a movie, and Mike De Luca is the producer. Personally, I think that Kojima could handle producing it as long as the script was written well (bring in the Metal Gear script team). All in all? The entire movie can totally be realized even without game play.
Hopefully they land someone that can totally be like Snake too. My pick? Hugh Jackman. His Wolverine is classic for the rough looker, and he’s definitely got the tough look in the X-Men series that could totally pull off Solid Snake.
Have no fear. If Kojima has his hand in it, I would hope that it would not disappoint just as every single game in the series has not to the delight of loyal fans.
Photo Credit: (Akiraman)