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Taxes (Well, Taxes Anyway)
Yup, April is around the corner, and for you American readers that means two things: making sure your tax return is filed and enduring a massive media frenzy about making sure your taxes are filed. While WorldWideWeb Tax (http://www.wwwebtax.com/) can't help you with the latter, they can make sure you get all the tax information you can stand.
This site contains over 1,500 pages of tax information, including a master index of tax topics (an alphabetical list of topics, from 1040PC to Worthless Securities), questions about taxes (divided into several categories, including income, dependents, extension forms, etc.) and several pointers to forms. In addition, every state has an "at-a-glance" page which gives you substantial information about filing taxes in that state. This page is somewhat hard to read, but probably because they stuffed so much information onto one page that most browsers won't need to scroll down.
There is some commercial information here -- the site can file your tax return electronically, and there are some special reports on selected tax topics for sale -- but that's counterbalanced by the loads of useful free information. Absolutely worth a look.
Relaunches State Portal
Wisconsin has launched a new version of their Web portal at http://www.wisconsin.gov/. It defaults to a text version. (At least it does with Opera. With Mozilla it goes to a graphic version.) Hmm. I think I like Wisconsin.
Interesting parts of this site include the directories page (including a local court directory, state employees' directory, and several U of W directories), consumer information (a few more categories might be helpful, but lots of stuff here), and a license and permitting section (just in case you decide you want to become a Christmas tree grower in Wisconsin.)
As you might expect from a government site, there are many PDFs to be had -- be sure your Acrobat Reader is up to snuff. Worth a look.
Power Utilities Database Launched for
Competitive Analysis Technologies has updated "Power Utilities on the Internet," a database for power industry personnel. The site contains links to worldwide electric and gas companies, as well as service companies, industry associations, government agencies and industry periodicals. Also included are pricing sites and "131 databases of power utility information buried in the 'deep web.' " Information is updated every 90 days and is also available in hard copy or as an corporate Intranet "drop-in." Subscription information is available at http://www.catsites.com/publications.html.
I'd tell you more, but I don't have an eight-digit Texas bar number to register with. The press release announcing the site is available athttp://biz.yahoo.com/bw/010206/tx_nationa.html.
Post Delivers E-News
The Washington Post has launched an e-mail newsletter program which delivers only personally-selected content to the reader. It's available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/newsletters.
Content selections include: News Headlines, offering local to international news with politics, business, weather and traffic; News Alerts, breaking stories from news wires and staff reporters; Sports Updates, local and national news and Entertainment Best Bets, with entertainment and restaurant reviews, reservation information and online ticket offers.
Samples of each newsletter are available in popup windows and look to be HTML. (Ick.) Subscribing requires registering with the Washington Post (required information includes e-mail address and zip code; optional information includes date of birth and gender.) I'd like these a lot better if they were plain-text.
ProFusion Search Engine Launched
Intelliseek has announced the launch of ProFusion, a "deep web" search engine. It's available at http://beta.profusion.com. You can do a regular meta-search from ProFusion, but you can also browse for "vertical search engines," and then search with them.
For example, you can check out the news section, pick several news databases, and then search within them for a query. Nice. The problem for something like the news searches is that it's not easy to discern the dates on pages. For non-timely searches, this is less of an issue. Good stuff here. Worth a look.
This is certainly a different mix of people than you'll find over at Celebrity Sleuth, and presented in a less "fluffy" manner. If you like that you'll probably want to try this. Worth a look.
A few notes on Google. Search Monster Chris Sherman notes that Google now distinguishes PDF Files from regular HTMLfiles. Get his article at http://websearch.about.com/internet/websearch/library/weekly/aa013101a.htm.
Google is also now offering free site search to universities. University Webmasters can get more information on this at http://services.google.com/googleuniv/login.
Not surprisingly, Google's University search list has gotten HUGE. Check it out at http://www.google.com/intl/en_extra/options/universities.html.
And the meta-search thing. As I mentioned briefly in ResearchBuzz, Google does not work with most meta-search engines. A Google representative indicated to me that meta-search engines who query Google without having a business relationship with Google are violating Google's terms of service. You may review Google's terms of service for yourself at http://www.google.com/terms_of_service.html.