Friday, November 24, 2006

Password manager

I have been experimenting with a password manager for Mac OS X that I really like and have found quite useful. It is called 1passwd and can be downloaded from You can use the "demo" version which allows 1 identity and up to 12 passwords but I think after doing so, you will find it worthwhile to pay for the full version. In my work, I have several government sites that I frequent regularly and each has a different login and password. 1passwd makes it a breeze for me to sign in without having to look up each of the different combination of logins. The program also come with a built in password generator. Try it out. The developers offer a 30 day money back offer so you really have nothing to lose.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

iTunes analyzer

Potion Factory, the makers of Voice Candy, have a new program in the works. It's called Tangerine. What does it do, you ask? It will analyze your iTunes music library and determine the beats per minute and intensity of the songs, which information can then be used to create playlists of songs with similar characteristics. The program is currently in the beta stage and can be downloaded from the developer site.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Estoppel certificate

These are often found in the context of commercial lease situations where the landlord and a third party are in negotiations for the sale of the real property.  The potential buyer would like to know if there are any potential disputes with respect to existing leases and submits the estoppel certificates for the tenant to complete and execute.

The certificate itself will generally contain the amount of rent, the lease term, the security deposit, a statement by the tenant that it is not insolvent and no lawsuits are pending or threatened against it, that the tenant has not subet or assigned its interest in the lease and an acknowledgement that the statements contained in the certificate will be relied upon by the potential buyer.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

IRS to issue refund related to cell phone usage

Earlier this year the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it would no longer collect the 3% excise tax that, among other calls, was imposd on calls made on cellular telephones.  As a result, the Internal Revenue Service will be issuing refunds of the tax collected from taxpayers over the last three years.  Refunds will be paid in 2007 and can be claimed as part of filing the Form 1040.  Interest will be paid on the refund amount.

The IRS is presently working on a method for simplifying the refund process and the exact amount that each taxpayer will receive is not yet known.  For the official notice click here.

Tax credit for home improvements

Taxpayers who make certain energy effecient improvements to their homes may be eligible to claim a credit for a portion of those expenditures. The improvements must be made between January 1, 2006-December 31, 2007. Eligible improvements include:
  • Insulation systems reducing heat loss/gain
  • Exterior windows and doors
  • Metal roofs that meet applicable Energy Star™ requirements

The maximum credit for both years is $500, of which no more than $200 may be attributable to expenses for windows.

Pension Protection Act of 2006

On August 17, 2006, President Bush signed the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Under the Act, in order to claim a deduction for used clothing and household items, the items must be in "good" condition. Well, that's fine and dandy but the IRS has failed to provide us with a definition of "good". Therefore, I'm not real certain how this really changes things from a practical perspective. Also, under the Act, NO deduction is allowed for cash contributions, chekc or other monetary gifts unless the donor can show by written communication from the donee or bank record of the donor, what the amount of the contribution was, the date contributed and the name of the charity.