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Archive for March, 2008

Delicious Library is Yummy

March 21, 2008 Leave a comment

A new software company called Delicious Monster has created a program for the Mac which has occupied a lot of my free time lately. It’s called Delicious Library, a digital catalog for your personal collections of books, movies, video games and music.

Just by perusing their web site, I was tantalized by look of their software. It’s obvious that they have put a lot of effort into the look and feel of the software. In the case of Delicious Library, this results in great functionality. The items are displayed like they are sitting on a shelf, organized in whichever way I choose, and the detailed information (mostly from Amazon’s database) will appear to the right for each item when selected:

The feature that brought it home for me is the ability to scan titles to add them to my collection. They recommend an iSight camera from Apple, but I have a DV camera, which plugs in via firewire and works just as well. It is as easy as holding the bar code in front of the camera, and watching DL gather the title and all kinds of great info from Amazon. So far, the only books that wouldn’t scan and bring a correct title were the obscure books that aren’t a part of Amazon’s database. These I entered manually. DVD movies were even more compliant for me. Out of 105 titles so far, only 5 movies didn’t bring results after I scanned them. I entered the titles manually, and this brought the results I needed.

Having a catalogue of all your books, DVDs, games, and CDs makes it easy to lend titles to friends and family without losing track of who has what. There is a “borrowers list” which auto-fills with names from Address Book, so its easy to allow anyone you know to “check out” your stuff from your library.

The only items I won’t catalogue are my CDs. iTunes does a fine job of keeping up with that, so I don’t feel compelled to duplicate that effort. Delicious Library is only $40, and if you have any interest at all in cataloging your media collection, I highly recommend it. You can peruse their web site and download the trial version here.

Filing Taxes Online

March 13, 2008 Leave a comment

For the past two years, I’ve used Liberty Tax Service to file my taxes online. It was cheap and easy, though not completely robust. I decided to make a change, so this year, I had the “privilege” of trying two other sites to file my taxes.

I started with TurboTax Online and I would have gladly stuck with them except for a bug which gave me an incorrect calculation at an important part of the process. I was entering the amount of money we withdrew from our HSA for medical expenses, and TurboTax was taxing me for that even though it is tax exempt.

Others on the forums reported the same problem, and after waiting a month and starting over, the problem was not fixed. So I checked out MacWorld’s review of the most popular online tax preparation sites, and decided to give TaxAct.com a try.

I was not disappointed. I moved through the process relatively quickly, thanks to an intuitive interface. I filed a 1040 form for free and had no problems entering information about investments and a couple of special situations we had.

If you are looking for a affordable, error-free, easy-to-use interface for preparing your taxes online, I highly recommend TaxAct.

Obsessed With Stickies

March 8, 2008 1 comment

I’m experiencing a personal inner conflict due to the fact that I despise paper sticky notes, yet I love the Stickies that are in the Dashboard app in Mac OS X.

To resolve this torment in my soul, I am facing it head-on by placing as many sticky notes on my Dashboard as possible. If you can’t beat them, become obsessed with them.

Lately, I’ve eliminated various dashboard apps, one by one, in favor of adding another Sticky. As you can see above, they have begun to take over all my Dashboard real estate.

Guess it’s time for a larger monitor. 😉

The iPhone is Still Launching

March 2, 2008 Leave a comment

Two articles this week reinforced my belief that the iPhone is still in launch mode, and will be for a long time.

The first was by Eric Zeman at Information Week. He was one of the many bloggers who noticed Apple COO Tim Cook’s comments at a Goldman Sachs event for investors. Cook said that Apple is “not married to any business model” when it comes to selling the iPhone. He also admitted that “being exclusive might not be in our best interests.” This clearly indicates that Apple is willing (and ready?) to open the iPhone to other carriers.

The second article is by Carl Howe at Seeking Alpha. He answers four key questions about the iPhone’s continued growth.

  1. Has the iPhone wave peaked?
  2. Are iPhone unlockers hurting Apple?
  3. Does Apple need to cut prices on its iPhone?
  4. Is Apple going to make its iPhone goal of 10 million phones by the end of 2008?

His answers provide a strong case for the idea that the iPhone is primed for continued success over the long haul. Here’s a clip:

Apple changed the mobile phone market worldwide with its first and uncertain effort in a new market. Just as it did with computers, Apple isn’t playing a market share game; it’s building mind share.

Apple has never been about trying to rapidly take over a market. They simply make a great product, market it well, and watch the viral-like effect take place.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the iPhone is upwardly mobile.

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