If your federal or state taxes are easy to figure out, it hardly makes sense to pay someone else simply to file your returns. One option is Liberty Tax Service's eSmart Basic Service, which offers some advantages over other e-filing options we've tried, starting with the obvious one: It's free. The Basic online filing service has other things going for it, as well, including the ability to import data from competing tax software such as TurboTax, H&R Block at Home, and TaxAct; free technical support via Chat; and free CPA support if you're audited. … Read more
Reviewers have fawned over surround-sound speakers from Energy, a unit of the Klipsch Group.
Two years ago, CNET's Matt Moskovciak dubbed the Energy Take Classic 5.1 system "the best budget speaker system we've reviewed." The sound from the speakers is incredible, he wrote, and the $399 price tag unbeatable.
It was, anyway. A few months ago, upstart online retailer Monoprice debuted its 5.1 Hi-Fi Home Theater Satellite Speakers & Subwoofer system at $249. The speakers aren't just similar to the Energy system, and they don't just have the same dimensions and sound … Read more
Yelp has a new tool in place for business owners to gauge the value of its service.
The company yesterday announced a new tool, called "Revenue Estimate," that helps business owners determine the amount of revenue they're generating from their Yelp listings. The free tool multiplies the number of customer leads from Yelp each month by the company's average revenue per customer lead.
Yelp's Revenue Estimate follows a study released last week by the Boston Consulting Group, which found that local businesses with a free Yelp account saw revenue rise an average of $8,000 … Read more
Online storage provider RapidShare is expanding what it offers for its free service -- but it's also scrapped its earlier unlimited plan, even for customers who paid in advance for a longer-term period.
The Swiss company, with more than 50 employees, more than a thousand servers, and the capacity to store several petabytes of user data, announced the change March 12. Paying customers get a choice between a 250GB plan costing 10 euros ($12.96) a month and a 500GB plan costing 20 euros a month. The previous unlimited-storage option vanishes Wednesday.
The change reflects a reality for cloud … Read more
Web app Padlet calls itself a "multimedia friendly, free-form, real-time wiki." Which is to say, it's a blank canvas where you can throw ideas around with a virtual group. Each participant can post his or her thoughts, along with any files, photos, videos, and links that pertain to the discussion.
I hosted a Padlet conversation between me, myself, and I using a MacBook, a Windows laptop, and an iPad. Padlet worked flawlessly on each device. Let's take a look at how it works.
To start a Padlet session, head to its Web site and click the … Read more
Google's decision to sunset its Google Reader has proved a wildly unpopular one, and users of the RSS reader have turned to popular medium for effecting change: the online petition.
Google announced this afternoon that it will shutter the service in July. In a company blog post today, Google said the decision was based on declining usage of the RSS reader, which was launched in 2005.
Many turned to Twitter to express their disappointment with the decision. While some said they relied heavily on the service, others admitted their use had become less frequent. Still, others said Google greed … Read more
A California state senator plans to introduce a bill tomorrow that would make California the first state in the nation to require its public universities and colleges to award academic credit for faculty-approved online courses.
The bill, to be submitted by California Senate President Darrell Steinberg, comes as state budgets for higher education are being slashed across the U.S., resulting in fewer spots for students in courses required for graduation. Credit for online courses would help students who are unable to register for impacted classes, possibly preventing expensive extended stays in school.
"We want to be the first … Read more
A new bill intended to grant more privacy protections to Internet users was introduced today by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller.
Dubbed "Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2013," the bill would make it law for all Web browsers, online companies, and app makers to give users a choice of opting out of being tracked online, according to The New York Times. Advertisers and data brokers commonly track users to collect information on sites visited, search queries, purchasing patterns, and more.
"The privacy of Americans is increasingly under assault as more and more of their daily lives are conducted … Read more
After months of speculation, Facebook today agreed to buy Microsoft's Atlas online-advertising platform, boosting the social-networking giant's ability to compete against Google in the display ad business.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The companies also didn't disclose the number of employees the deal affects, but Facebook noted that Atlas' employees will remain in Seattle.
Facebook and Microsoft, already partners in several businesses, began talking about a deal for Atlas, which helps advertisers buy and manage ads, late last year. The deal could help Facebook develop its own one-stop shop for advertisers and agencies to buy, … Read more
The long-rumored sale of Microsoft's Atlas online advertising platform to Facebook is scheduled to close tomorrow, according to AdAge.
The trade publication reported on its Web site that "two people briefed on the plans" said the companies will likely announce the deal tomorrow, though it acknowledged some chance for delay.
Microsoft and Facebook both declined to comment on the report.
Microsoft acquired Atlas as part of its $6 billion acquisition of aQuantive in 2007. The software giant wrote off most of the costs of that deal last July. And it's reportedly been trying to sell Atlas … Read more