Archive for the ‘review’ Category

Quick review: H&R Block At Home Tax Software

This is a preliminary review of H&R Block’s tax software (deluxe edition).

Let me start out by saying I’ve been a TurboTax user for 10+ years and intended to use them again for my tax preparation this year. Then a couple weeks ago, Amazon ran a one day special for the H&R Block At Home software (formerly known as TaxCut) for less than half of the cost of TurboTax Deluxe version. After reading that H&R Block’s software will import last year’s data even from TurboTax, I decided to try out H&R Block for the first time and save a little money in the process.

Since I’ve used TurboTax for so long, I’ve become accustomed to how they lay out the questionnaire and information finding in their software. They have tweaked it over the years but it’s generally remained the same. H&R’s questionnaire and flow are very similar to TurboTax. All of our personal information was indeed ported over from last years tax return that I had saved on my laptop so that was a timesaver. Employer info, interest income, and mortgage interest were all imported as well. All I had to do was update the amounts and make any necessary changes.

I live in an income tax state so the version I purchased included a state return. After the federal questionnaire, H&R Block took me to the state portion where all I had to do was confirm which state to download. Then it ported over all the information I had entered for the federal return and took me through each section for accuracy and applicability.

I decided to test out H&R Block At Home software support when I had a question about where to enter an IRA contribution. I went to the website and clicked on chat support. The support representative took my question, had me hold for a while and came back with an answer. He was professional but it did take a while to get an answer.

So I’ve got my returns all completed but due to Congress passing new tax laws so late in the year, electronic returns can not be submitted until the software is updated. I’ve read of a target date of Feb 14 so I am pretty much on hold right now. There is a feature built in to the software to alert you when an update is ready for download.

I’ll follow up on this review once I’m able to e-file. For now though, I have no issues with recommending H&R Block At Home for tax preparation. There are various versions available for both purchase (CD Rom) and download depending on complex your tax situation is.

 

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Product Review: Shark Steam Pocket Mop

Periodically I will share my views/opinion of products that I’ve recently purchased and used.

With hardwood and tile floors throughout our home, I have plenty of non-carpeted area to keep clean. I’ve been looking to replace the Swiffer WetJet mop that I’ve been using for a few years now. The cost of the chemical solution and replacement pads was starting to get to me.

Enter the Shark steam pocket mop. It’s a product I first saw on an informercial. Now, I’m not a big infomercial watcher. Once in a while, something catches my eye as I channel surf and I’ll watch it for a little while. The Shark steam pocket mop is one such example.

So I proceeded to read a few reviews online from people who had purchased this mop. I like to see if the item I’m interested in lives up to the hype. This seemed to have mostly positive reviews so I placed my order with Amazon.com and it showed up at my door two days later.

Unpacking and setting it up was easy enough. In no time at all, I was steam mopping away. No chemicals needed with this mop. The water reservoir holds quite a bit of water. I had to refill it one time to complete all my floors. There is no button to turn it on. Once you plug the 25 foot cord in, it starts heating up. The niftiest part is that it steams on its own. The motion of pushing and pulling the mop back and forth “pumps” the mop and creates the steam. As I was mopping, I could see a very thin film of water on the floor but it dried streak free in less than 30 seconds. Dried water spots on the hardwood disappeared with a couple passes of the mop. The pad can be used on both sides so I flipped mine over halfway through. When I finished, both sides of the pad were dirty which told me that it did the job. All I had to do now is throw the dirty pad in the washing machine for reuse next time. (An extra pad is included as well)

I have no idea how much sanitizing it’s actually doing but I can tell you that the floors came out really nice. I truly could feel a difference on my bare feet. Maybe it was because my floors were that dirty? 🙂