Home Page
Archive > Posts > 2009 > July
Archive > Posts > 2009 > July

Warning: you do not have javascript enabled. This WILL cause layout glitches.

Quickbooks Pro Activation Failure
Intuit has lost a customer (and hopefully more than one)

I acquired a copy of Quickbooks Pro 2003 [in 2003] that I have used for accounting since. I have never seen a reason to upgrade because the interface works just fine, and it does everything I need it to. Every time I have had to reinstall it after a format, though, getting it working has been more of a pain.

To install and use the copy of Quickbooks, Intuit (the company that makes Quickbooks and Turbotax) requires a serial key, and then activation via either online or the phone. I used the online activation for at least a year, until it stopped working. After that point, I had to call in whenever I needed to install it, talk to a representative in [most likely] India who can barely speak English, give them my serial number, and get back an activation key.

Most unfortunately, this last time I attempted calling in to activate it they claimed (in what somewhat resembled the English language) my serial key was no longer on file, so I could no longer use my product. Fuck them. I was able to find the information I needed in the registry (of which I make backup copies before formats) of my old computer. I just transferred everything from “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Intuit\QuickBooksRegistration\12.0\pro” to my current registry, and everything worked like a charm.

I was also quite upset after buying TurboTax last year (Home & Business Edition, which isn’t exactly cheap) that I could only use it for 1 year.

Because of both of these incidents, I will never again buy an Intuit product, and I hope no one else who reads this does either.

Alamo Draft House Schedule List
Simple information reorganization example

After discovering the Alamo Draft House’s coolness a few months ago, I’ve been trying to watch what they’re playing to make sure I catch anything I might want to see on the big screen. Unfortunately, it is not easy to get a good quick idea of all the movies playing from their calendar because it shows movies per day with showtimes, making the list repetitive and crowded with extra information.

I decided to throw together a real quick PHP script that would parse their data so I could organize it however I wanted. The final result can be viewed here. The code is as follows:

//The list of calendar pages in format TheaterName=>URL
	'South Lamar'=>'http://www.originalalamo.com/Calendar.aspx?l=4'

foreach($PagesToGrab as $Name => $URL) //Grab the movies for each theater
	print "<b>$Name</b><br>"; //Output the theater name
	$TheHTML=file_get_contents($URL); //Grab the HTML
	$ShowList=Array(); //This will contain the final list of shows and what days they are on
	preg_match_all('/<td class="day">.*?<\/td>/', $TheHTML, $DayMatches); //Extract all table cells containing a day's info
	foreach($DayMatches[0] as $DayInfo) //Loop over each day's info
		//Determine the day of month
		preg_match('/<a class=\"daynumber\" title=".*?, (.*?),/', $DayInfo, $DayOfMonth);
		//Determine all the shows for the day
		preg_match_all('/<span class="show"><a href=".*?">(.*?)<\/a>/', $DayInfo, $AllShows);
		foreach($AllShows[1] as $Show)
			$Show=preg_replace('/^\s+|\s+$/', '', $Show); //Remove start and end of line whitespace
			if(!isset($ShowList[$Show])) //If show has not yet been added to overall list, add it
			$ShowList[$Show][]=$DayOfMonth; //Add this day as a time for the show
	//Output the shows and their days
	print '<table>';
	foreach($ShowList as $ShowName => $Days)
		print "<tr><td>$ShowName</td><td>".implode(', ', $Days).'</td></tr>';
	print '</table><br><br>';
<? PageFooter(); ?>
Quarterly Estimated Taxes
Does anything exist that is more convoluted?

As an independent contractor, I have to pay quarterly estimated taxes like any normal business. I just found out however that “quarterly” taxes does not mean every 4 months. The dates quarterly estimated taxes are due are:

  1. (01/15) January 15th
  2. (04/15) April 15th
  3. (06/15) June 15th
  4. (09/15) September 15th

You may note that these are intervals of 3,2,3,4. If you make a late payment accidentally however, don’t fret. According to a recently contacted tax expert, if you make a payment 1 month late, and the next payment 1 month early, the government shouldn’t penalize you.

This tax expert also related that the amount you owe each year for estimated taxes (1/4 this number on each “quarterly payment”) is the LEAST of 2 different numbers:

  • The amount you paid the previous year
  • The amount you should owe this year

This means, unless you think you are going to make less during the current year than the previous (which you better be right about or you can be penalized) that you only have to pay estimates on what you paid in total for the previous year.

On a final note, I am not an expert in the tax law field. As a matter of fact, I know next to nothing. This is just information that was relayed to me that I thought I should pass on. I have not fully researched it, so do not take this information for fact.