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By JULES ALLEN

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 31, 2000


Tax help

www.TurboTax.com/turbotaxweb99/

If you're like many procrastinators, it soon will be time to line up at the post office to see those studly enough to get the 11:59 p.m. April 15 stamp on their tax return. Or you can hop over to TurboTax.com and file your return electronically any time before mid-October. (Hint: Do it before April 15 if you know what's good for you). Should your tax status be on the simple side, you can file the 1040EZ free of charge.

Free geeky Web tools

http://www.HTMLWorks.com

These tools aren't for everybody. If you're on a budget and need some HTML tuneup help, you can't go wrong here. This free site runs in a JavaScript-enabled browser and works well on the Mac, Linux, BSD and Windows operating systems. You can check the weight of your pages to see how long they'll take to download, tighten up your HTML so it downloads more quickly, analyze your code for markup errors, and see how well your site rates with some of the popular search engines.

Text searching in audio

http://speechbot.research.compaq.com

Not being content with inventing the awesomely useful babelfish.altavista.com, those brainiacs over at Compaq's research division are working on a way to use a text-based search engine to peer into audio content streams. It's pretty good, but there's still work to do. The site is clearly flagged as experimental. Maybe the audio it indexes will be expanded when some more of the kinks have been ironed out.

Free Be Freebie

http://free.be.com

Once upon a time there was a flamboyant French guy who used to run Apple Computer. Jean-Louis Gassee took the Think Different advertising campaign to heart and ran off to start Be, makers of a fine multimedia-oriented operating system. BeOS originally ran on a computer only available from Be but it was ported to run on that newer PC or older non-PowerPC Mac you've got under your desk. If you've got the bandwidth, you'll be able to download BeOS for non-commercial use free of charge. It wasn't available at the time of writing but should appear fairly soon.

Mac keyboard navigation

http://Come.to/BeastieIT/

Is that nasty mouse threatening to take you through carpal tunnel? You need Wapp Pro, a Mac system extension that allows you to switch between programs and screens within your application with just the keyboard. Other niceties include a fast quit for anything that's running, a hide-all, Windows-like task bar emulation, and added functionality to the menu bar if you can't get away from the mouse. The trial version is free. If you decide to keep it after 30 days, it'll set you back a mere $10, which includes upgrades for life. It takes a bit of tweaking to customize it just right, but your digits will love you for your effort. Works well with Mac OS 8.5 through 9.

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