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File Sharing and Downloading Music - Fun and Free But Beware of The RIAA

File Sharing and Downloading Music - Fun and Free But Beware of The RIAA

Published 1/24/08  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Back in the day, when you wanted to listen to music, you either had to listen to the song off the radio, or you had to visit your nearby record store to buy the artist's compact disc. Each CD usually went for $12-18 depending on the album's popularity and you had to store your music CD collection in a plastic shelf case. As your CD collection grew you usually had to buy more cumbersome storage. Because the CD surface was itself easy scratched, you always had to take great care when handling the discs to minimize damage.

Everything all changed during my last few years of high school when the internet arrived to the scene. At first it was only seen as a novelty and used by a handful of people, but gradually the mainstream began to adopt it, recognizing its information potential. The technology started out slow, bumbling along at 56k modem speed on the average home computer. Faster broadband technology was out of the question at the time due to the prohibitive cost. But when I entered college and became introduced to T-1 broadband technology, I knew the age of file sharing had arrived. By then music sharing had become full blown as every campus student had ready access to super fast download technology at their fingertips from on-campus computer labs to broadband enabled dorm room connections.

What Is Online Music File Sharing and How Did It Start?

Napster was the first and biggest free centralized peer-to-peer (p2p) file sharing program during my early college

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Choosing To File My Own Taxes Rather Than Hiring An Accountant To Do It For Me

Published 1/23/08  (Modified 3/22/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

I have this policy for myself where I refuse to pay someone for a service I can easily perform myself with reasonable effort. For example, if I lived in a house with a front and backyard lawn, rather than pay someone to handle the landscaping, I'd rather mow the grass and trim the hedges on my own, so long as the time and effort spent aren't too prohibitive.

Online and Software Tax Preparation Programs Make It Easy To Do Your Own Taxes

When it comes to taxes, I've traditionally done my own tax preparation work. Ever since I started working and generating income, I've always filed my own tax return. Initially before I gained a better understanding of tax matters, performing my own tax accounting work was difficult. But then along came extremely useful online and software tax preparation programs like Intuit's TurboTax and H&R Block's TaxCut. With the assistance of software based tax preparation programs, I was able to easily complete my own taxes with comparative ease. The advantages of using tax preparation programs are obvious - you simply compile all of your tax papers and respond to the series of tax related questions proposed to you by the program of your choice. The software asks you a whole slew of questions to determine what category you fall under and what type of tax deductions you qualify for. For those that have easy tax returns, I recommend using TurboTax or TaxCut to not only help you save money but to help you

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Join and Participate In Hotel Rewards Programs To Earn Free Hotel Stays

Published 1/23/08  (Modified 2/29/16)

By MoneyBlueBook

I'm a frequent road warrior. I don't fly that often, but I do take frequent long road trips out of state for personal and business purposes. Every time I travel I frequently spend a few nights at a hotel. It doesn't matter whether I stay at an inexpensive motel or whether I stay at a higher end place, I always make sure I maximize my money by earning reward points for every night's stay. If you travel a lot, being a member of multiple hotel reward programs can help you save money and earn reward points for wherever you may choose to stay on a whim.

Joining hotel reward clubs and programs is one of the easiest way to effortlessly accumulate loyalty points for complimentary stays in the future. Many programs even offer frequent flyer miles as a reward option in addition to hotel points. The overwhelming majority of programs are free to join with easy online enrollment and management. Each hotel reward program covers a family line ranging from low cost budget chains to more expensive luxury brands. Many programs also offer upgrade opportunities and additional perks like complimentary newspapers, drinks, and meals. Just register via the program's website and report your assigned membership number everytime you book a hotel stay. Even if you forget to use your membership card at the time of reservation, you can always go back later to report the missing hotel stay. I've done it a few times myself.

Here Are The Most Popular Hotel Reward Programs (Sorted Alphabetically):


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The Best Cash Back Credit Card - If I Could Only Pick Just One

Published 1/22/08  (Modified 1/7/14)

By MoneyBlueBook

Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers expired and are no longer available.

Despite the popularity of credit cards that offer such rewards as airline miles, the vast majority of cardholders still prefer the simplicity and ease associated with cash back credit card rebates. The most efficient way to maximize your rebate opportunities is still the multi credit card rewards approach. However, despite the greater reward potential with having multiple cards, a sizable number of consumers simply do not want to deal with the hassle of carrying around a wallet bulging with credit cards . If you are one who prefers to have just a single card in your wallet, then definitely take a look at the following two cards - The Chase Freedom Visa Signature and the American Express Blue Cash Card. Depending on the specifics of your card usage habits, you should pick one or the other, as your rebate earnings will differ depending on how much you spend per month and year. As a third alternative, you could even use a hybrid combination of them both for full rebate earning potential.

If You Plan To Spend More Than Approximately $1,500 A Month On Your Credit Card, I Recommend the:

  • American Express Blue Cash® - Voted as Kiplinger's selection for the best cash rebate card, the Amex Blue Cash credit card offers a tiered rebate program, based on your purchases to date. For the first $6,500 you earn in the rebate year, you'll earn 1% back on purchases for groceries, gas, and drugs, and 0.5% on everything else. However once
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Home Seller's Pain Is My Gain As A Renter - Taking Advantage Of The Mortgage Crisis

Published 1/20/08  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

The housing and credit markets are a mess right now. Several major banks that engaged in questionable subprime mortgage lending are smoldering in ruins. The housing market that had been stellar until last year finally collapsed, leaving behind a wake of steadily depreciating homes. The number of home foreclosures continue to spike as many home owners who took advantage of interest only adjustable mortgages are now faced with the daunting task of dealing with mortgage rates that are resetting at higher levels. The U.S. economy has sputtered and is now possibly sinking into the initial stages of a recession, further sapping consumer confidence in the economy and the housing market. If you are a home owner, the situation certainly looks grim and valuation prospects don't look good. But if you are a renter and aren't looking to buy anytime soon, life is good. If you have been relishing the opportunity to take advantage of the current housing malaise as a renter, well now is as good of a time as any to reap the housing bonanza - through lower rental prices.

Failed Building Projects Result In More Apartment Conversions

During the height of the recent housing boom, it used to be that many apartments were being hastily and rapidly converted into condominium dwellings to take advantage of surging home prices. However, with the annihilation of the housing bubble, many housing projects stalled. With the housing downturn, there is now a significant glut of unsold homes being inundated with a continued influx of foreclosed houses into an already

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Save Money On Heating Costs - Sacrificing A Bit Of Comfort For Frugality

Published 1/18/08  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Well it's mid January and unless you live near the equator or in a southern hemisphere region where seasons are flipped upside down like say, Australia, then it should be getting very cold just about now. Although come to think of it, this year's temperatures have been strangely and unseasonably warm. Global warming in action perhaps? Well mother nature must have finally heard the call because my area just got dumped today with the season's first significant snowfall. Temperatures are projected to plunge into the 20's this weekend. Brrrrr!

If you plan on staying indoors, it's likely the freezing drop will follow you inside. To combat the frigid winter temperatures, there are four ways to deal with the situation:

  • Turn up the thermostat and pay more in heating costs;
  • Maintain the thermostat at a very low temperature setting and compensate by wearing winter clothing indoors;
  • Turn the master thermostat way down, but use personal space heaters in rooms you'll be spending most of your time in;
  • Or ameliorate the drafty air problem by installing energy efficient windows to retain more heat, and retrofitting your walls and ceiling with better insulating material.
  • If You Can't Upgrade The Insulation, Beat The Cost By Putting On A Sweater and Using A Space Heater

    Unless you are extremely well off and money is not an issue, most ordinary folks are concerned with the rising cost of home heating bills. With surging oil and gasoline prices, the cost of heating houses and apartments has become more expensive than in years past. It's in our own

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