Category: "General"

Pages: 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... 33

12/08/12

  04:13:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 429 words  
Categories: General, Software, Home, VirtualBox, Quicken/TurboTax

TD Ameritrade, IRS, Turbo Tax and Audit Protection

In what turned into the continuing saga of Finally rolled my retirement to new job... I get notice from IRS that I owned them taxes for my IRA rollover plus interest and that unless I provide document to the contrary, I was to send them payment or arrange a payment plan....

At first I wondered what the heck was up... and why would TD Ameritrade report to the IRS differently than what they had reported to me, and that I had filed in my return. TD Ameritrade reported the distribution from my Rollover IRA, but not that it went to a qualified retirement account. And, reviewing my Turbo Tax data, no other documentation was needed for to document such. And, checking with TIAA-CREF, they said no tax form was needed from them and that they had nothing to issue for it.

I then struggled with how I would file an appeal, when I remembered that I get the Audit Protection service every year I've been filing with Turbo Tax. So, I open up a case with the Audit Protection company (Tax Resources). They then ask me to send some forms giving them permission to access my return data with the IRS, along with the TurboTax data file, and granting them power to represent me on this matter. Plus copies of the forms I had gotten from TD Ameritrade. Later they ask if there's some kind of confirmation letter when TIAA-CREF received the rollover, which TIAA-CREF was able to send me a new copy to forward on.

After many months....I get a call that the matter has been resolved and that I'll get an official letter from the IRS in a couple of weeks. But, we're done and hopefully we'll never have to talk to each other again. &#59;D

Pages: 1· 2

12/06/12

  08:59:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 616 words  
Categories: General, Wireless/iPhone, Travel

Bank of America strikes again

Every now and then, Bank of America would call me to verify charges, which seemed annoying....they most often would do it every time I placed an order with NewEgg.com. Of course, NewEgg.com doesn't charge the card at the time of checkout, so you don't know what's going on when they do process the charge, and telling them to try again doesn't work.

But, recently I found my card wasn't working. I don't use the card as much at the moment (with the current Cash Back promotion on Discover), but still there are occasions...like during Black Friday/Cyber Monday...

I call to find out what's up, and keep getting disconnected from one number that's supposed to be available 24/7. I then call another number, and they tell me that there's a fraud lock on my account and that I need to call the fraud security number. The 24/7 number I had been calling. But, then the customer service rep adds, that they're closed right now and to call back tomorrow after 8am. Huh?

After this I check my caller ID log to see if any Bank of America calls had been received. There hadn't been, but I recognize one of the unlisted 866 numbers. It called at 11:34am on November 29th, and left no message. That hardly counts as a contact attempt, since in the past they do leave messages and they used to be identified as from Bank of America. Though recently Discover did the same thing, where in the past the calls came from an identified number (which I had saved, so it would be recognized when it showed up on my cell...and I changed my phone setup to only pass a specific group of numbers to my cell....at first to limit work calls going to my cell....but later to limit the calls since I'm on a prepaid plan now.

Well, I call this morning to find out what's up. And, they tell me that a number not associated with my account called my card (but associated with fraud), when prompted for identity verification information....like last 4 of social or my zip code, and eventually confirmed by zip code. The number is associated with attempting to access the points balance on cards that have points. (Mine does.) Back on November 27th.

This was after they had me verify with additional questions from my account usage to verify identity.

They check my points balance, and there doesn't seem to be any redemptions and the balance appears right.

Because they had called, once on November 29th and left no message. That constituted a failure to reach me regarding suspicious activity on my account, so they suspended my account on the 29th. My last transaction was on the 28th, and that worked fine. With a upcoming direct charge around December 2nd....which hasn't shown up yet. Though they took my card payment on the 30th.

But, now they are going to go and cancel my account and issue a new card...which takes about 7 days. Unless I'm in a rush, then they can FedEx a new card to me tomorrow. Well, I'm about to go on a business trip...so yeah, I'm in a bit of a rush. Though when I travel, Amex is my primary card. "Don't Leave Home Without It" &#59;D So, they will FedEx me a new card...and add a note on my account of my immediate travel plans.

Darn, and I just setup an automatic bill to my card recently...which I'm going to have to update, or will I? I setup Amnesty International again, which was also right around the last time I with through the card replacement due to fraudulent activity.... just a coincidence?

:hmm:

Wonder how to update those charges?

07/21/12

  07:26:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1104 words  
Categories: General, Travel, Home

Transit Service comes to Manhattan, KS

This was originally going to be a longer, and possibly angrier blog post about transit service finally coming to Manhattan, KS.

But, it needs to come first before another post that I've been writing in my head...so I need to get something out.

The background, is that back when I lived in Medicine Hat, which at the time was about a 35k population...though it has its cyclic population factors....the main being summer army training activities, and the influx of british soldiers. But, it was nice small city with a town like feel...and it had a wonderful bus system....5.5 routes. Well...4 of the routes were really 2, two buses on the routes...and downtown terminal crossings. Then there was a route that ran between the two malls, so didn't ever go to the downtown terminal. And, a part-time route that went to the community by the airport. They were probably 50k population in real numbers...but there's also a large chunk of the population that give their primary residence as being across the border where auto insurance is cheap...being a no-fault state.

One of the ideas that brought me to Manhattan, KS was that its kind of like Medicine Hat. Well...it does have the huge population swing....when the 23k+ students are here and then aren't. And, it was an under 50k population city. But, the big surprise was there is no bus service here....which is kind of problem since I don't drive. Though it did have much better walk-ability than where I was before in Columbus, Ohio.

Anyways...finally being over 50k in the 2010 census....a bus service could finally be created. And, there had been a few proposals on what it would take form of when it started. Eventually, the paratransit service (ATA Bus) expanded into doing fixed route public transit service that has finally arrived. ATA used to stand for "Aging Transportation Agency", but now it stands for "Area Transportation Agency".

The service was started with funding from federal, state, county and private funds. There was originally a proposal to seek city funding, but the city rejected it. So, the service went ahead with private funds....which causes the first problem with the fixed route service in Manhattan, KS.

City wouldn't allow bus stop signs to be put up. So, where the stops are exactly...is pretty much only known to the drivers. And, in some cases...it is only known to the specific driver. There have been numerous times where I was missed or nearly missed, because a driver stopped (or didn't stop) in a different place than expected.

There are like 3 places where the bus driver might stop in the College Ave United Methodist Church parking lot.... two are in front of the church, but one is where the driver hairpins entering the parking lot and pauses only long enough to quickly open and close the doors at the street entrance. And, doesn't really look around to see if anybody is standing running from the entrance of the church screaming because of this.

There are also at least 2 places for the stop in the Ace Hardware parking lot....usually its kind of in front of "Alex's Affordable Eyewear"...but once when it was running late....it just came in straight off Hosteller Dr and went straight to the exit to Bluemont Ave, and then just quickly opened and closed the doors for a split second and then took off without looking around.

Where the bus stops are shouldn't be a game where only the drivers know where they are (and they can move them when its suites them) and penalize anybody that didn't guess right.

Which brings us to the second problem with the ATA Bus service.

While running late could be understood....providing the drivers still stopped in their efforts to get back on schedule, instead of not picking up people waiting for the bus. Even the people that have ridden before, so know where the stops should be.

But, there's also the problem that if the bus is running fast...they don't care. There have been numerous times where I've been waiting at the CAUMC stop...and having an Atomic sync'd watch...know that I was there before the scheduled time....only to have no bus ever show up, because they were probably early. Except to make things worse, if you call to complain...they'll claim that the bus was there exactly on time, ignoring if you tell them that you've been waiting there 5 minutes before that time. Or that the stops have no shelter from the rain or the sun...and its 102 or hotter.

Otherwise...the service has been great, and I hope it gets better.

Pages: 1· 2

06/14/12

  10:06:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1662 words  
Categories: General, Hardware, Computer, Networking, BOINC, Storage, Ubuntu, Windows, Printers

lhaven misstep - nForce4 blows OCZ

So, lhaven was this computer I bought specifically for Stanford's Quake Catcher Network project. This was because when I received my sensor, I found that it only worked on Windows or Mac. Linux would require the older sensor, which they weren't selling anymore.

Things seemed to work...except that the machine would lock up now and then. Well, it is Windows...so maybe I'll just schedule it to reboot regularly.

At first that seemed to help...but gradually, I was rebooting it more and more frequently. Eventually, I was down to rebooting it 5 times a week. Sometimes it would fail to restart, other times it would still lock up between reboots.

Eventually, they came out with Linux support for the sensor and I moved the sensor over to orac. That worked great for a while...and then it got a kernel update, and then starting VirtualBox would cause the machine to reboot. And, not just when I needed up update my Quicken. Because I was also participating in LHC's Test4Theory.

So, it was time to find a new home for the sensor. After moving it back to lhaven.

I looked for various low power x86 dedicated SBC or plug computer to run it. Though these things aren't cheap, so I'd want to do more than just QCN with it.

Then it occurred me...that I was overthinking this whole mess. Why don't I just install Linux on lhaven?

I haven't been looking forward to the leap from 10.04LTS to 12.04LTS. While Orac has a GT440 in it that's not being used, not sure what I would do for box....though I've been eye'ng either a GT218 or an NVS 300. It only has an LP PCIe x1 slot.... there are other concerns.

In the Scheme of things...I had planned to upgrade the video card in zen someday...and take its GT420 and change to an LP bracket and put it in lhaven. Hadn't quite worked out what I'll do about gumby, but it has since died...and when I get around to resurrecting it, I might have a Radeon HD5450 that I'll free up (not sure if it helps with BOINC, but eventually...I want all the systems using DVI....so I can switch to my new 4-port DVI KVM. DVI to VGA through the old KVM was horrible....plus keyboard issues with the old KVM, makes me wonder if I can wait until I can fully make the switch.)

So, I had downloaded 12.04LTS beta1, but never got around to install it anywhere....and when this idea occurred, 12.04LTS beta2 was just starting to appear. Though the question was, would I go with ubuntu, or try one of the other variants. Namely, xubuntu or lubuntu.

I ended up going with xubuntu 12.04LTS beta 2. I didn't hear about lubuntu until after I had started downloading xubuntu...so I envisioned that I would resurrect gumby with lubuntu....though so far I haven't gotten around to that.

Pages: 1· 2· 3

04/04/12

  09:12:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 376 words  
Categories: General, Travel, Healthcare

The Dreamer Claims A(nother?) Victim!

Link: http://remrunner.blogspot.com/2012/04/legs-on-fire-starting-my-training-for.html

What did Julie Flygare do to deserve this? I have no idea....

She ran the Boston Marathon in 2010 for Wake Up Narcolepsy....before I knew who she was and what Narcolepsy is. But, somebody had apparently told her to be on the look out for me at the Narcolepsy Network Conference in Crystal City, Arlington, VA.... but I didn't really learn much about her until I started following her blog and other online presence after that conference.

I learned a lot at the conference, and continued to learn after the conference...including lots of stuff about myself. I'm still a work in progress. (idiopathic hypersomnia, hypnagogia, hypnic jerk, sleep paralysis, automatic behavior, long sleep, etc.)

But, back to Julie.... because I was stalking her online.... about a week and half ago, this post from a few days earlier caught my eye:

In My Father's Footsteps: Trying to Find Registration for Mt Washington Road Race to run in my father's honor on Father's Day for charity

So, I did a little research of my own.... and then wrote this blog entry on my Tumblr site: REM Runner wants to run The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race 2012 -- In memory of her father and to raise money for Narcolepsy Awareness and Research.

I have my Tumblr site set to tweet my posts.

Using the APA Style

LawrenceChen. (2012, Mar 25). REM Runner wants to run The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race 2012 - In memory of her father... http://tmblr.co/ZmWZfwIYfD1N [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/LawrenceChen/status/183999798339313665

Which surprisingly lead to this tweet:

NortheastDelta. (2012, Mar 27). @LawrenceChen Tom Raffio the CEO of @NortheastDelta will be contacting soon. :) [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/NortheastDelta/status/184740188797419520

And

NortheastDelta. (2012, Mar 27). @LawrenceChen - for clarification - we are contacting Julie re the Mount Washington Road Race :) [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/NortheastDelta/status/184745755431550976

Concluding with

RemRunner. (2012, Mar 27). @NortheastDelta @LawrenceChen Thank you so much! REM Runnning up a mountain for my dad would be the honor of a lifetime! [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/RemRunner/status/184749224636850177

And, then it seemed like an eternity passed before I heard anything further...until I spotted her "Legs on Fire" post this morning.... Guess that means my next project is to get her published ;D

Full story »

03/10/12

  07:23:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 287 words  
Categories: General, Quicken/TurboTax

Doing my Taxes for 2011

So, again this year, I bought TurboTax Premier 2011 as a download from Amazon.com. But, then on February 15th, my Windows 7 computer crashed. Or rather it auto updated and wouldn't boot. After a couple weeks of various attempts to fix it, I've written it off. Hopefully, my backups were good...and I'll eventually get around to rebuilding that.

In the meantime, I fired up my XP VM...installed Quicken Premier 2012 and recovered a backup of my Quicken data..and had been continuing to use that. So with likelihood of getting Windows 7 running in my home again anytime soon, being low. I reinstalled the recently purchased TurboTax Premier 2011 into the VM debated when I would make a start.

After the initial update, it noted that on or before March 8th, there would be another update. So I decided I would defer to then. I had intended to pop on to HRIS sometime before then to check something, but I didn't remember that I needed to do it until after I took the system down for planned weekend upgrades. As it was, there wasn't anything I needed from it anyways.

Pages: 1· 2

03/01/12

  09:01:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 133 words  
Categories: General, Healthcare

March is Essential Tremor Awareness Month

Link: http://www.essentialtremor.org/National-Essential-Tremor-Awareness-Month

In late December 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives officially designated the month of March as National Essential Tremor Awareness Month. We invite you to get involved in helping us raise awareness in communities throughout the U.S. and abroad. With 10 million Americans alone affected by this life-altering condition and a general lack of public understanding, we need your help to spread the word.

What is Essential Tremor?
Also known as familial tremor, benign essential tremor or hereditary tremor, essential tremor (ET) is a progressive neurological condition that causes a rhythmic trembling of the hands, head, voice, legs or trunk. It is often confused with Parkinson’s disease and dystonia. Because of stereotypes and a lack of awareness, many people with ET never seek medical care though most would benefit from treatment. Learn more about ET.

Full story »

02/01/12

  06:59:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 276 words  
Categories: General, Healthcare

Restless Leg Syndrome Awareness Week

Link: http://www.sleepassociation.org/index.php?p=rlsawarenessweek

According to the American Sleep Association, this week February 1-7 is Restless Leg Syndrome Awareness week. Or, Willis-Ekbom Disease...which is the corrected name of the condition.

OTOH, according to the RLS Foundation...the awareness week is September 16-22?

Anyways....I've probably had Willis-Ekbom for years....I remember the weird something crawling under my skin sensations back into childhood, and I recall being told that I was a kicker in bed. I used to tuck the sheets in extra tight all around me, in an effort to control things....these days I don't do that anymore, but I need to have the weight of my comforter on top of me to sleep.

I also had a peculiar problem where the area around my feet would wear out faster on my sheets than anywhere else. One year, I put off checking for a long time, and eventually wore through the heated mattress pad underneath. That was a cold winter, with no working mattress pad.

Was annoying, because it is one of the few mattress pads out there that doesn't have the cord connection on the top surface of the pad...where my constant moving feet are going to keep bumping into it all night.

Then last year, I saw a new doctor, and before I said anything, he asked if I was on anything for my RLS. Now I'm on Ropinirole (Requip). I'm using a heated mattress pad that has the cord connection point on the surface, but it doesn't bother me as much and I things seem better. Though sometimes things still do shift. Also, the dose is mainly to treat the condition at night, I still have the sensations in the day time....

01/30/12

  08:33:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 218 words  
Categories: General, Digital Photography, b2evolution

A website is born

Link: http://thechens.ws

Well, I did it. I built the replacement site to http://www.chen-online.net. The site is at http://thechens.ws

The Chen's Web Site

Stumbled on the domain name, by chance....just typing Chen variations that might work as a new site, and .ws (web site) &#59;D was offered as an available suggestion. After mulling it over for a while...and then finding 'cause to move lhaven.net, I threw in the order for the new domain while I was at it.

Full story »

01/23/12

  11:39:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 250 words  
Categories: General, Healthcare

Rare Disease Day 2012

Link: http://rarediseaseday.us/

Somehow slipped my mind that this year would be a leap year.

Guess that makes it appropriate that Rare Disease Day will be on February 29th this year.

About Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day is an international advocacy day to bring widespread recognition of rare diseases as a global health challenge. The day is celebrated on the last day of February every year and this year will be observed February 29, 2012. Learn more about the History of Rare Disease Day, Past Successes or the Goals and Plans for this year.

Anyone can be involved in Rare Disease Day and there are many suggested activities. The day has been established as a grassroots advocacy day and we encourage everyone to participate in some way.

This website focuses on Rare Disease Day activities in the U.S. To learn what’s happening around the world, go to the global Rare Disease Day website at rarediseaseday.org.

What is a Rare Disease?

In the U.S., a rare disease is one that affects fewer than 200,000 people. This definition comes from the Orphan Drug Act of 1983 and is slightly different from the definition used in Europe. There are nearly 7,000 rare diseases affecting nearly 30 million Americans. In other words, as many as one in ten Americans are suffering from a rare disease.

Besides dealing with their specific medical problems, people with rare diseases struggle to get a proper diagnosis, find information, and get treatment. The rarity of their conditions makes medical research more difficult. For 2012, our focus is solidarity.

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Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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