Lion and Quicken Essentials

When Mac OS 10.7 (Lion) came out and Rosetta support was dumped, I had to make a decision about my financial software situation. Having used Quicken since 1996 and now Quicken 2007 (Rosetta required), I needed to either stay with OS 10.6 or move to a different financial application. My first move was to try Quicken Essentials which was not exactly a smooth transition. Disappointed with QE, I tried iBank which I wanted to love but couldn’t adapt to their workflow. So I kept using Quicken 2007 and stayed on OS 10.6.

Last week, I revisited the updated Quicken Essentials and tried to start fresh. Dragging over 15 years or so of data wasn’t really needed (I also have an old Mac Mini which is hardware constrained so it won’t run Lion, hence it’s stuck on Snow Leopard and my Quicken 2007 will have a safe archive). I typed my login information for my credit cards and bank and surprisingly, in came 12 months worth of transactions seamlessly. Sure the categories needed to be customized a bit but I was up and running pretty quickly. Playing around a bit more, I found QE will export a txf file and I can set up tax related categories. I find that downloading transactions every couple of days works well and tedious reconciliation of accounts is done painlessly and without intervention. 

Make no mistake, QE is really quite barebones. Still can’t set up a loan amortization schedule. What’s changed is that I decided that I didn’t need to have all my information at my desktop fingertips like I had to have years ago before broadband connections and online banking/bill pay. If I need to see where my Federal witholding is, I go online to my employer’s finance website and look at my last pay stub. If I need to see how much principal is left on an equity loan, I go to my bank’s website and look it up. If I want to see my investment portfolio, I log on to my broker’s web site and get a look. 

If you still need all the functionality of Quicken 2007 and want to move to Lion, the nice folks at Intuit have decided to make a Lion friendly version of Quicken 2007 sometime in the near future. 

NewEgg Awesomeness

I’ve been a NewEgg.com customer for a long time. Back in December, I got a great deal from them on a Samsung widescreen 23″ monitor. NewEgg usually has a very restrictive monitor return policy. Generally the monitor has to be dead for you to get an RMA. In my case, for some unknown reason, the Sammy did not play well with my first generation Intel Mac Mini. Constant ‘blue screen of death’ issues on boot. The one time I did get it to fire up without a safe boot, the monitor was perfect. I couldn’t live with all the safe booting and monitor tweaking so I was going to send it back to NewEgg. Then I read their return policy and said, “Uh oh, my situation doesn’t apply…time to eBay it.”

After two unsuccessful listings on eBay, I decided to contact NewEgg and tell them my tale of woe. I fully expected the ‘caveat emptor’ treatment but instead, they gave me an RMA, waived the restocking fee and gave me full store credit for the monitor. Thanks NewEgg!!

EventCalendar 3 and WordPress 2.9

I’ve been testing out EventCalendar ver 3.2 beta 2 with WordPress version 2.9 RC-1 for the last couple of hours. Everything I’ve tested/used seems to be working normally without throwing any errors. I haven’t tested every feature but the basic stuff is working ok on my local installation. php 5.2.11, mysql 5.1.41, apache/2.2.13. My setting is to Keep Events Separate. I did not test ‘Events are Normal Posts.’

What works:

  • Add/delete event, including calendar popup.
  • Calendar and Upcoming events widgets.
  • js calendar month scrolling
  • tooltips popups.
  • proper linking to archive templates (monthly, daily).
  • setting ec3 options in the admin back end.

What I didn’t test:

  • calendar feeds via ics.
  • complex ec3 queries.

Overall, I’m comfortable with upgrading WordPress and keeping my essential Event Calendar functionality. Version 3.1.4 seems to be working just fine with WordPress 2.9 as well. As always, caveat emptor.

Updated 6 Jan 10

Looks like EC3.2 beta2 broke my comments feed. I have no idea why. I took it down. No problem with EC3.1.4.

SplashID Version 4 for Mac

My favorite (at least it used to be my favorite) password management software has been updated as a universal binary for the Mac. The good news is that it runs in Leopard (requires Tiger as a minimum) and still syncs with the Palm OS. The bad news is I now use a Blackberry which doesn’t play at all with the Mac desktop.

The Blackberry version of SplashID is horrid but I’m going to pin that on the OS rather than the software. I have no real basis for this claim other than SplashID is/was awesome on the Palm OS and ran superbly on both Windows and Mac OS. There is no way to even export the database from the Blackberry. I figure the only way to keep everything updated is to use SplashID version 4’s ability to sync local files natively so theoretically, since I have a Windows box on my home network, I could sync my Blackberry’s SplashID with it using the Blackberry sync function (Windows only) and then have the two desktop version sync over the network. That should be a good way to waste an afternoon trying to get that to work. I’ll report back if I have any luck or any desire to do this.

Update: May 28, 2008 – Guess what? The Mac’s SplashID database is not compatible with the Windows SplashID database so you can not sync a Mac file with a Windows file. Best you can do is export either one as a vID file and import it into the other application. Essentially having a master and clone but no syncing. About a -100 for this ‘feature.’ Thankfully you only have to by one license and you get all the Operating Systems.

Password Management Software – Password Vault Manager – SplashID

eFiling: How much is postage?

I’ve been using TurboTax to file my state and Federal income taxes since 1990 or so. I started when I had a rental property and the idea of computing depreciation and keeping track of it made my head spin. Fortunately for me, TurboTax started life out (for me at least) as MacInTax. As the years went by, I continued to use MacInTax and then TurboTax and ultimately started to file electronically about 10 years ago or so. The folks at Intuit (who produce TurboTax) used to give me a little coupon in my software package that rebated the electronic filing fee for my Federal return so all I had to pay was $15 or so to file my New York State return. The convenience was worth it.

Last year, dutifully filed my Federal and state taxes electronically and went to fill out Intuit’s rebate form but it wasn’t in the package that contained the software dvd. I emailed Intuit for another copy of the coupon. A couple of days later, I received an email from Intuit that they didn’t provide electronic filing rebates for 2006. Huh? OK. I must have missed that in the updated FAQ so that’s my bad. Turns out the total cost to efile is $36!

So this year, I did my taxes using TurboTax and guess what? I printed my returns out and stuck ’em in the mail. Total cost to me for postage was $1.95 for both returns. Call me a penny pincher but how the heck can you justify $36 for electronic filing fees? Isn’t it supposed to be easier for everyone involved? I’d rather pay a buck or two and keep some nice Federal/state employee gainfully employed by opening the envelope and doing whatever it is that they do with paper returns. About 10 steps backward progress wise but I can’t see why I want to participate in that kind of ‘progress.’