Wednesday, October 31, 2007

There at it again!

I always thought the threat of a tax for use of the Internet and/or e-mail was a hoax, however the following appeared in yesterday’s news paper

10/30/2007 11:33:07 EST
Internet Tax Moratorium Goes to Bush By JOHN DUNBAR Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A bill to extend a moratorium on Internet access taxes for seven years was approved 402-0 by the House Tuesday, less than two days before it was set to expire.
The House initially approved a four-year ban, but last week the Senate passed a seven-year prohibition, despite considerable support for a permanent ban.
"Seven years is better than nothing, and that's what we're doing today," said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich, during remarks on the House floor.
A House bill that would make the moratorium permanent has 238 House co-sponsors, more than a majority.
The tax ban, first approved in 1998 and twice renewed, is set to expire Nov. 1.
Support for a permanent ban was strong in both the House and Senate, but concerns over the potential long-term impact on state and local governments forced a compromise.
The provision amounts to a moratorium on state and local taxes, said David Quam, director of federal relations with the National Governors Association. And with the Internet changing rapidly, the issue should be revisited periodically, he said.
"The implications could be pretty severe down the road if they got that wrong," he said. "It's actually a decent compromise that state and local governments and industry helped craft."
Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif. called the bill "bipartisan legislation at its best" and noted it was supported by businesses, state and local government organizations and labor unions.
In addition to lengthening the ban from four years to seven years, the legislation also contains a provision aimed at preventing state and local governments from assessing taxes beyond those levied on simple Internet access.
At the urging of Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the legislation specifically prohibits taxation on e-mail and instant messaging services "that are provided independently or not packaged with Internet access."
The extension also exempts some states that approved taxes prior to the original enactment.
Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., supported a permanent ban, but helped craft the seven-year compromise. "Seven years is better than we've ever done before," he told The Associated Press. "I think that's an important place to start."
The bill now goes to the White House for President Bush's signature.

Oh those energy bills are a comm'n

Tis the week before daylight savings and my thoughts turn to my upcoming heating bills.

Here’s what I’m doing over the next few weeks to reduce this winters energy bills.

I’m planning to re-caulk and install weather-stripping around windows and doors, around outdoor faucets, dryer vents, and vents for bathroom and kitchen fans etc.

Install plastic shields around basement windows to seal and reduce air infiltration. Cut and install foam panels inside the basement against the basement windows.

I’ve replaced most bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which they say uses 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb. Supposedly they last up to 10 times longer (providing you’re not always turning them on and off as you might do in a hallway.) I’m told that once I put them on I should allow them to burn for at least 15 minutes before shutting them off. They do not work with certain timer devices.

I’ve already replaced my round thermostat with a programmable one that automatically sets the temperature to suit our living schedule. Why heat the house when no one is in it? They say that an Energy Star programmable thermostat will save me about $150 in the first year of operation. I paid less than $100 for mine so I’ll recover the cost before this winter is over. It’s easy to use. Installation was easy. All I had to do was reconnecting four wires from my old thermostat to the new one (I had to reread the instructions four times before I understood just how easy the installation really was.)

Though we do not have to replace our clothes washing machine they say that you should consider replacing one’s made before 2004 as new one’s with the Energy Star rating may save you more than $100 a year on utilities. Certain washers use 40 percent less energy than standard washers and about half as much water. Interestingly enough they say that you can hang on to the old dryer until it expires -- most dryers use similar amounts of energy, and none has earned the Energy Star rating.

I’m hoping that the utility company will once again offer an energy inspection service. Previously they were helpful in pointing out energy wasters in my home and suggested some inexpensive improvements and they installed an insulation blankets on our hot water heater.
* * *
Tax breaks for installing and replacing energy-efficient doors, windows, water heaters and heating and cooling systems are set to expire at the end of the year.

To encourage homeowners to buy energy-efficient components for their homes, the federal government is offering tax credits that reduce the cost of certain upgrades. But there is a time limit: The breaks expire at the end of this year.

Here are a few of the things covered.
• Windows, skylights and storm doors. Recoup 10 percent of the cost of materials, up to $200 for all qualifying windows, skylights and storm windows.
• Roofing. Install an Energy Star-certified metal roof and get back 10 percent of the cost, up to $500.
• Insulation. Material must meet the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code. If it does, you can get back 10 percent of the cost, up to $500.
• Water heaters. Certain high-efficiency models qualify for a $300 credit.
• Solar power. Install a photovoltaic system to power your home and get 30 percent of the cost back, up to $2,000.
• Heating and cooling systems. Qualified air-conditioning and heating units provide up to a $300 credit.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Bill Comis said...

How do I get rid of the unwanted little icons that come up at the lower right corner? I am told that the slow down start up my computer?

Though the time required for the computer to initialize on startup is affected by the number of programs starting other factors such as procedures scheduled to commence at startup (i.e. virus scans, hard drive utilities, hardware utilities, software utilities, etc.) have a far greater impact on boot up time. The time required to initialize a few software programs should not be that noticeable whereas the time necessary to scan your computer can be considerable. If your computer is taking a long time to boot up investigate the role of any and all utility programs.

Programs stealthily running will have an effect on the computers response time once you are up and running. Some of the programs (shown in the Notification Area) are insignificant users of CPU resources or are necessary. It is recommended that you first experiment by deactivate those unwanted programs for a session or two so as to evaluate the affect and/or importance on your usage. Most programs shown in the “Notification Area” can be temporarily shut down by right clicking directly on the icon and then selecting the appropriate action from the menu. On rebooting the computer these programs will reactivate and the icon will appear.

Certain programs were authorized to start on boot up (and run in the background) when they were originally installed and a shortcut to that program was placed in the STARTUP folder. To remove the shortcut from the STARTUP folder (and from appearing in the Notification Area);
1. Right click on START
2. Select EXPLORE. This brings you to the START MENU in Windows Explorer with the START MENU folder already selected in the left hand panel.
3. In the left panel, left click on PROGRAM (directly below START MENU).
4. In the left panel scroll down and left click on STARTUP.
5. In the right panel, Right click on any program you wish to delete from startup and select DELETE shortcut.
6. Exit from Windows Explorer in the usual manner.

Note that when you complete step 2 above you are in the DOCUMENTS & SETTING. In the left panel (either above or below the highlighted START MENU folder) it will indicate which computer user is being evaluated (All Users, Default User or a common name). After completing all the steps above you may wish to repeat the process for each user in case a STARTUP program is authorized therein. After step 2, click on the user (i.e. All Users), scroll down to and left click on START MENU and proceed with step 3.

To have a program automatically start on boot up, create a shortcut to that program and place it in the STARTUP file of the START MENU.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Ever wonder how long it will take to double your money at any given interest rate?

The number 72 provides a handy simple way to get the answer.

Just divide the number 72 by the interest rate {assuming that the interest rate is compounded annually}

For example; 72/8 = 9 At an 8 percent interest compounded annually it will take 9 years to double your money .

72/5 = 14.4 years to double your money at 5 percent interest. (depressing isn't it?)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The charge will be limited your usual phone call charge.

Using either your land-line or your cell phone dial 1-800-FREE {same as dialing 1-800-373-3411}. You may have to put up with listening to an advertisement but it's better than paying as much as $5.00 for information charge.

Using the Internet go to;

The Internet service provides additional information such as the names and address and numbers of neighbors.

Monday, October 8, 2007


IBM owns LOTUS and includes it in a package called LOTUS SYMPHONY.

The price is's free. (Could that be why it's not on the shelf at you favorite store?)

It is compatible with Microsoft Office files and Adobe PDF and it runs in either Microsoft Windows or Linux systems. At present it does not work with the Mac but they plan to release a Mac version shortly.

Lotus Symphony is a suite of programs including word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs. So far, it appears to be a straight forward program, simple, clean and neat with a quick learning curve.

To download the program go to:

Please let us know of your experience downloading and using the program's.We would appreciate hearing back from you

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Precision when selecting text

I sometimes have trouble selecting precisely what text I want when I click and drag with the mouse. Are there other ways to select text?

Answer. To select a single word double left click anywhere within the word. Double click either side of a single letter word (such as I or a number such as 8) to select it.

To select an entire sentence press and hold the ctrl key as you single left click anywhere within sentence.

To select an entire document either press or hold the ctrl key as you press the A key.

Another way to select text one letter (or one line) at a time is to single left click at the beginning of the desired text and, while holding down the shift key, move the cursor one space at a time with the appropriate arrow key. Other variations of the use of the shift key are to combine its use with the home, end, page up or page down key. Pressing both the shift and ctrl keys while pressing some of the above mentioned keys provides other results.

Anonymous said...
I always liked the Lotus spreadsheet program but I can't find it in any of the local computer stores. Does it still exist and if so, where can I but it?