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Alison Young

Public Libraries Offer Free Wi-Fi

A benefit of your local library that you should know about: free wireless Internet! As of last week, free Wi-Fi has been made available statewide in Hawaii’s public libraries.

“Our patrons will be very excited to know we have expanded our free Wi-Fi service from two Oahu libraries – Kaneohe and Salt Lake-Moanalua – to nearly all 50 libraries statewide,” says state Librarian Richard Burns. “While the interim Manoa Public Library will not have Wi-Fi, the new replacement library will, and we look forward to its opening in a few months. Thanks to generous funding from Hawaii’s Access for All Grant, we can continue to provide Hawaii’s people with up-to-date technology tools, including wireless Internet access.”

As with other public Wi-Fi hot spots, complete online safety is not guaranteed. You’ll also need to use your library card number and PIN (usually the last four digits of your phone number) to log into the network via your browser. If you have $10 or more in fines, this will not work for you – pay your fines! Note that the Wi-Fi signal will terminate 15 minutes before the library closes, and unfortunately wireless printing is not available.

All the wireless equipment was graciously provided by Hawaii’s Access for All Grant through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and leveraged with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Opportunity Online funds.

Useful Tax Apps

Once again the dreaded tax deadline is creeping up on us, and if you’re a procrastinator who didn’t do your returns yet, thanks to Verizon Wireless here are a couple of ideas for apps that will help:

* TurboTax SnapTax: This app is probably best suited for those who are filing simple returns (most likely the younger crowd). It uses your phone or tablet’s built-in camera to take a picture of your W-2, which SnapTax uses to perform an OCR scan to extract your pertinent information. You then answer several personal questions, then you’re ready to file. Unfortunately, SnapTax doesn’t save your information, so if you become distracted and your device goes to sleep, you’ll lose the info you typed in unless you create a TurboTax account online (free). Furthermore, unless your return is extremely simple, the app will push you to the TurboTax website to complete your filing.

* IRS2GO: Knowledge is king, right? Well, this app gives you all of the knowledge of the IRS. While the TurboTax SnapTax app makes it easy for you folks who don’t have a mortgage, children, multiple salaries and more variables, IRS2GO is a tremendous resource to walk you through everything you’ll need to know. You can watch specially created videos, sign up for helpful hints and feel safe in the knowledge that it all comes right from Uncle Sam. IRS2GO is available from the Apple iTunes Store or the Android Market.

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