Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – March 18

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features an art exhibit displaying Pac-Man and Tetris, a 5-year-old spending $2,500 on an iPad game in 10 minutes, and Google Glass going for a new look. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

Museum of Modern Art Exhibit Showcases Classic Video Games

Retro Video Game Exhibit

Playing Tetris and Pac-Man were a huge part of growing up for some people, and now some are actually being considered pieces of art. (Apologies if this makes you feel old.) PC Mag reports that 14 video games have been chosen to be showcased in the Museum of Modern Art’s Applied Design installation as part of a 100 object exhibit representing contemporary design. Also included with the video games are 3-D printed chairs and an app that culls data from the National Digital Forecast database to render a living portrait of the U.S. wind landscape. Video games being displayed include Pac-Man (1980), Tetris (1984), Myst (1993), SimCity 2000 (1994), Dwarf Fortress (2006), and Portal (2007).

Grounded for Life? 5-Year Old Racks Up $2500 in Ipad Charges in Just 10 Minutes

Note to parents: don’t leave your 5-year old alone with an iPad–even if it is just for a few minutes. A story out of Warmley, England this week is that a child asked his parents to play with the iPad for just a few minutes. He wanted to play the game Zombies vs. Ninja, reports CNET’s Chris Matyszczyk. The parents didn’t think anything of it. The game is free (at least up front) and it would occupy their son for the time being. The problem: while the game is free to play, there are several add-ons, like weapons, that you can purchase to give your character a boost. Well, the young boy decided he wanted quite a boost for his character. So much so that he spent $2,500 on the game in 10 minutes.

Company Allows Users to Watch Commercials to Save Money

The company Hitbliss, which sells streaming movies and television shows much like Netflix, has developed a new idea for how customers can make payments: watch ads in place of paying your bill. According to Forbes, this could be the future of ad-supported content. On Hitbliss users have the option of paying for a movie or television show or watching 30-second ads to build up credit on their account. Most of the time customers are able to watch a movie or show after viewing approximately a minute or two of commercials. Or they can just skip the ads and fork up the dough. Which would you prefer?

Can Google Glass Become Fashionable?

Can Google Glasses Be made Fashionable?

There is a ton of hype in the tech community around the launch of Google Glass, a new invention that allows people to always have the Internet within their line of sight–all they have to do is wear a pair of glasses. These aren’t your ordinary glasses though; they come complete with a battery, a computer processor, and a tiny screen. Realizing it’s probably not the most fashionable look out there, Google has reached out to Warby Parker, a startup known for selling trendy eyeglasses, says Clair Cain Miller of the New York Times.

Stressed about Having to do Taxes? Try One of These Apps 

It’s the time of the year when most people are either working on their tax returns or paying a professional to do it for them. Thanks to the evolution of technology, doing your own taxes may not be as difficult as you think. Jeff Reeves of USA Today goes over the top five apps for getting taxes done. And the best part? Some of them are free.

 

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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – March 18

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features Facebook planning a whole new look, cloud and it’s potential impact on Healthcare, and a law that would prevent texting while walking. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

Nevada isn’t Tripping: New Law Would Prohibit Texting While Walking

Potential New Texting Laws in Nevada

While many states are still fighting to get people to stop texting while driving, Nevada would like to put a new law on the books that would force people to keep their hands free while walking as well. Edwin Kee of Ubergizmo reports that Las Vegas Councilman Harvey Mumford has proposed a law that would prohibit pedestrians from texting while walking on state roads, intersections, and neighborhoods. The reasoning behind the law, according to the article, would be so people don’t bumb into other walkers, walk into manholes, or cross highways without paying attention. If the law is indeed put into place, the first two offenses would result in warnings, while the third offense would cost someone a $250 fine.

How Cloud May Change the Face of Healthcare

Cloud computing is known to improve aspects of many industries, and the latest one being talked about is healthcare and patient care in particular. While cloud has been approached with care thus far in the industry, according to Jake Gardner of Wired, it could eventually be one of the technologies to help lower healthcare spending and associated costs. The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) is changing the processes that organizations use for Healthcare–look for cloud to take on a more prominent role moving forward.

Startup Rents Out Children’s Books in Netflix-like Service

Sproutkin

The new company Sproutkin has taken Netflix’s idea of delivering entertainment right to your doorstep, but they’ve put their own twist on it. The founder, a lawyer with two children, came up with the idea out of necessity because she was reading to her kids every night and getting low on material, according to TechCrunch. Sproutkin is currently available for parents of children ages 3 to 6, and users are allowed to get up to 10 books at a time.

Sophisticated Software for Retail Stores Tracks Customer Movements

As retailers try to track which products in their stores are attracting the most customers, many of them are turning to state-of-the-art technology from San Francisco startup Prism Skylabs. Sumi Das of CNET reports that the software takes security camera footage and uses it to track customer movements and create “heatmaps.” The images show the retailers where the shoppers went throughout the store, and which items they came into contact with. Retailers use the technology to determine product placement and floor layout.

Facebook to Get Major Facelift

Big changes are in store for the popular social media site Facebook, as the company has announced plans for a complete makeover of it’s homepage, according to The New York Times. Users of the site will start seeing much bigger photos, links, photos and advertisements. The company’s co-founder and chief executive is quoted as saying he wants Facebook to be “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” Facebook is hoping the changes encourage users to stay on the site longer and help bring in more advertising dollars. No official launch date has been set, but the end of March has been mentioned as a possibility.

Mobile Security and the SMB: Emerging Strategies and Tools

Mobile Security and the SMBAccording to global research firm Forrester, 350 million employees will use smartphones by 2016, with 200 million choosing to bring their own device to work. That’s a lot of points of pressure when it comes to mobile security in the realm of corporate data.

Professional users are demanding the same kind of end-user experiences in business as they enjoy in their personal lives. To respond to these requests, many businesses have adopted bring-your-own-device policies. For chief information officers, the imperative is to isolate simple, safe and secure multipurpose mobile solutions. How to keep all this information flowing, but protected from being hacked?

Let’s turn to to some of the experts in making BYOD work, security-wise, and to one company that’s deploying mobile with a mind to make it free of compromises.

Logging: The Employee/Employer Equation

According to a report recently published by CIO, while a whopping 88 percent of employees believe their device is very or somewhat secure, 77 percent of IT managers see the risk of malware spreading to the corporate network from mobile devices. Level of risk: moderate to very high.

One responses is what’s come to be known as logging. Companies simply record what employees are doing on the internal network. But there’s a potential complication for staff members: they may not realize that they’re being watched.

Study-conductor Blue Coat found that even though only 19% of corporate employees would knowingly allow their company to monitor their personal devices as they interact with the in-house network, some 41% of the corporations examined were already doing so.

“And the regulations have come down pretty clear on this,” Timothy Chiu, Blue Coat’s director of product marketing, told the publication. “The corporate network is a corporate-owned resource and companies are allowed to log what they want.”

The Third Party App: Minimizing Risks with Employee Buy-In

Another idea in the arena of locking down personal mobile security on the corporate network is to implement third-party data sharing apps.

Eric Hart is the network/infrastructure manager at PING, the golf equipment brand.

“Mobile devices are important for how we share information,” Hart said. PING uses a third-party data-sharing company to manage their employees BYOD on the IT side.

“Teams at PING use . . .  smartphones, tablets and traditional computers to collaborate with our partners, clients and vendors for a more consistent and secure experience,” Hart said.

The bottom line in Hart’s environment is that the company wants to open up the employee-end options by having the whole team get onboard with a common-thread application. The goal is to reduce the obstacles and effort it takes to share information, but to also keep the walls from crumbling when it comes to protecting what’s proprietary at PING.

And so, the BYOD moment is upon us. Making companies productive without compromise: the realities are still coming into focus for both workers and their employers, but the tools and strategies are emerging that may afford collaboration and security a better future fit.

 

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Internet and Hiring: How Tech Professionals (and SMBs) Can Win in 2013

SMB Hiring Cloud JobsIt is the era of the online-market independent.

If the Freelancer Fast 50 report for the end of 2012 tells us anything, it’s that employable skills in the cloud-based world of business are at the center of what hiring managers want.

“The Freelancer Fast 50 report is a fairly unique leading indicator of the online economy,” said Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com, which recently released its report after surveying some 261,000 job posted online — companies in search of new blood.

Let’s look at the main points from the survey’s results.

Top Trends from Q4

Things are changing in the cloud. Internet traffic is up, but social networks are in flux. The online marketplace was anything but consistent, at year’s end.

But the good news about that is that independent workers are scooping up business opportunities, and the numbers and the percentage-shifts are, for the most part, not small.

Here’s what Freelancer’s report tells us about what’s happened.

— Website Hosting: Jobs skyrocketed over 3,300% to 4,059 jobs as businesses moved into the cloud. Many of these jobs involving the transfer of established websites to  cloud servers, or they were related to companies throwing the switch and making cloud-hosted sites live for the first time.

— Software and Website Jobs: Quality assurance positions soared as eCommerce sites rushed to fortify themselves for holiday season traffic. Q4 saw a spike in software- and website-testing jobs, and software-testing jumped 2,500% to 5,200 jobs. Meanwhile, website-testing saw a 2,055% increase to 3,923 jobs.

— eBay Jobs: After 17 years in the online auction business, eBay rolled out a number of changes to its website and mobile application, including new branding. These changes, in combination with a pivot to a mobile-centric and small-business friendly focus, correlated with eBay jobs gaining 22% (to 1,790 jobs) for the quarter as it diversified its auction house into an e-commerce marketplace.

— Social Media and Internet Marketing: Jobs in this space may be experiencing a moment of contraction, in the wake of platform and search-index changes. According to the New York Times, only 14% of digital advertising budgets are currently allocated to social networking, and social-networking projects declined 5.1% (to 5,820 jobs). Both Facebook — down 8.4% to 7,186 jobs — and Twitter, down 6.4% to 2,240 jobs, seemed to feel a pinch. Internet marketing in general was flat — down 1.4% to 15,244 jobs — while SEO may still be reeling from the after-effects of Google’s Panda changes (down 3.3% to 10,159 jobs). Some marketers fell back to e-mail marketing, which ticked up 186% to 1,003 jobs.

Those are the numbers, and, of course, what might seem clear from Q4 is always subject to changes in the market place.

What’s currently certain is that most freelance workers with a tech-savvy portfolio are deep in this mix. Whatever the result for individual companies — those seeking to impose or reinforce their presence in the marketplace — 2013 should still be a time when those seeking work will find it.

 

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My name is Zach and I work for Mozy

Mozy is a great place to work. We’ve won “Utah’s Best Place to Work” four times in a row. We’re successful; our products are secure and sustainable, and we value our customers and their feedback.

All that being said, Mozy wouldn’t be the amazing place it is without our dedicated, passionate and generous team members. We are very fortunate to be surrounded by extremely intelligent people who inspire others to strive to be better co-workers but more importantly, better humans who meaningfully contribute to the world.

To make you jealous of our fortune (and to be brag about our team members), we are starting a series aimed at introducing you to the incredible people that make up Mozy.

We’d like to begin by introducing you to meet Zach Moffett. Zach is our Community Manager (also addressed as Sensei) for our robust Support Portal. In addition to undertaking the deceivingly hard Gluten free diet regime, Zach manages the Community forum where our customers can find peer-to-peer advice and help. He writes, produces, directs and is featured in many of our Support tutorial videos. Zach also engages our customers on our social channels and contributes to our blogs.

My name is Zach and I work at Mozy

 

I define my workspace as …
An efficient setting where I can get things done and entertain company at the same time.

A device I can’t live without …
iPhone with Audible.

When I arrive at work, I typically start off by …
Amp Energy drink and beef jerky.

My work routine is …
Stretch, yawn, go to meetings, talk to customers and take a nap in the sun (weather permitting).

I do/do not listen to music at work and it helps me work better because …
It doesn’t. My productivity drops in half. That being said, I really love listening to Imagine Dragons Radio on Pandora.

The best advice I can give a recent college graduate looking to do what I do is …
Stay positive, know the research and come through on your commitments.

Outside of work, I am passionate about …
I am enrolled full-time in grad school and I love spending time with my wonderful wife.

My eating habits are …
Beef Jerky and Gummy Bears. Is that a habit?

If I could be someone for a day – I would be …
Iron Man. I’d settle for Tony Stark.

The “secret sauce” that makes me who I am …
Author’s note: Zach refused to provide his “secret sauce” – I personally think this he has super powers and doesn’t want us to know about them so I’ll boast for him and say that Zach is extremely helpful and has a vast depth of understanding on how to make our customers feel heard and more importantly, help them! Plus he has a freakishly clean desk…considering his eating habits ;)

Better Servers through Technology: Submerge Your Infrastructure in Liquid-Cooling Enclosures

What are six words that every department head and director would like to hear from a company’s information-tech department? We can do it for less.

At the end of the day, IT spends a lot of company dollars on hardware, upgrades, and infrastructure. And a lot of that line item gets plowed into servers, power, and all the equipment that keeps the business’s data-backbone strong.

But what if you could bring a plan to the table that, for an initial outlay, promised some significant cutbacks in expenses going forward? Safe to say, it’d be music to management’s ears. One company, recently, has suggest that its server technology — submersion cooling arrays — can do just that. Let’s take a look at submersion cooling, and what one proponent of the system says it can do.

Rethinking Servers and Server Costs

Liquid Cooling EnclosuresWhat if your data center could skip the giant generator, the chiller, the raised floor, and all the hardware that typically goes with keeping servers cool? Green Revolution Cooling says why not — by replacing air-cooled technology with cutting-edge non-conductive-liquid submersion tanks.

“For years high-powered electrical transformers, supercomputers, and over-clocked gaming computers have harnessed the power of dielectric fluid submersion for high performance applications,” according to the company. “However, this performance has required a trade-off in the form of higher costs and/or cooling power.”

What Green Revolution proposes is to place servers inside enclosures filled with a white mineral-oil — clear, odorless, non-toxic, and low cost. The mixture is meant to drive down the price of keeping all a company’s central data hardware at the ideal temp. What follow are some estimates regarding how that will play out, post-installation:

— Energy Consumption: Compared to a standard air-conditioned rack system, Green Revolution’s submersion model could be capable of reducing cooling energy consumption of a typical data center by 90-95%. The company expects a client will cut its total data-center energy consumption by half.

— Buildout vs. Savings: Using GRC, data-center operators should be able to build a data center at lower cost, because the system’s cooling capability means a reduction in both average and peak power consumption. Since most build-out costs, when it comes to data centers, scale with peak power the payoff proposed is packed into the concept of reducing average data-center consumption by approximately 30% (and peak power by more, still). The company pegs the buildout-savings of a liquid-cooling center at 30%–40%, as compared to that of a traditional air-cooled arrangement.

Running Numbers

The fulcrum of a decision, when it comes the reasons an IT department might go with submersion cooling, is probably in the long game. The numbers on that would be along the following lines.

— Payback Period: GRC estimates that most refits of a data center with liquid-cooling technology would achieve savings paybacks within 3 years. A single 10kW, 42U Rack at 8 cents/kWh is estimated to typically save over $5,000 per year in electricity costs.

— Lifetime Savings: While GRC acknowledges that longterm savings will differ from company to company, the typical system is “$100,000 per 42U rack over 10 years, split between energy and infrastructure savings.”

So, that’s the rundown on what GRC says it can do. Of course, there’s a lot to consider, when thinking about a data-center switchover, or a new build. For more info about the system, and the deeper details of liquid-submersion tech, check this FAQ.

 

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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – March 6

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features a computer allowing users to reach into the screen, a new app that helps drivers find open parking spaces, and a look back at the Mobile Word Congress and the top items on display. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

3-D Computing Prototype Literally Puts Users Inside the Computer

3D Computer

A futuristic device known as Spacetop may be a glimpse of what the future of computing holds.Though it may not be completed for quite some time, NBC News Reports that it, allows the user to work in a 3-D environment through a transparent display. Users then move around the elements on screen with their hands. Experts aren’t sure whether this is a type of computing that could actually become commonplace, but it was a huge hit at the recent TED conference where it was on display.

RSA Conference Forecast – 100 Percent Chance of Cloud

Cloud security is growing and developing so quickly that more and more industries are starting to take notice. According to John Fontana of ZDNet, this week’s RSA Conference—a cryptography and information security-related conference, will kickoff with a summit from the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), which now has approximately 45,000 members. Among the topics being discussed at the summit is the spread of cloud technology across the world and how it is forcing enterprises to focus on security from a variety of angles.

New App May Have Answer for Big City Parking Hassles 

Finding parking in a big city can be quite the headache. However, the recently released app Park.It is quickly making a name for itself as it helps drivers to find open parking spaces and avoid costly tickets. Right now the app only covers the city of San Francisco, however New York and Washington, D.C. versions will be available soon, says Katherine Bindley of Huffington Post Tech. Park.It shows users where legal spaces are located in the area they are driving in, and notifies them if they have parked in an illegal area.

A Look at the Top Products From Mobile World Congress

Mobile World Conference

The biggest mobile conference of the year MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2013 took place last week and Ubergizmo has a wrap-up of some of the top products on display. MWC is a chance for all the big-name tech companies to showoff products being released sometime in the near future.

 

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An App in Pursuit of Finding Wi-Fi

Finding a strong wireless signal has become essential for those carrying almost any piece of technology. Aside from smartphones, tablets, and laptops, now even digital cameras are entering the internet-connectivity fray. But as dependent as people and their mobile devices are on the internet, finding a wireless signal to stay connected to is usually a recurring hurdle.

And that’s where the one-beat — yet still brilliant — ‘Wi-Fi Finder’ app comes into play. JiWire’s Wi-Fi Finder, like Google Maps, uses geo-tracking to find your location, but it is then able to direct you to a variety of wireless internet options in your vicinity.

With Wi-Fi Finder, not only can you uncover internet anywhere, but also, prospective users can further filter the types of internet they’d like to use. In addition to toggling between “paid” and “free” (or both) connections, the app features “location type” (store, restaurant, park, etc.), “providers” (AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.), or whether there’s just an internet hotspot (e.g. Boingo) available.

As handy as Wi-Fi Finder can be in a pinch, the app can also be used ahead of time too. For instance, if you’re specifically looking for a cafe on Charles Street in Manhattan’s West Village, the app can inform you which cafes have wireless and whether you’ll have to pay for it.

(Screenshot #1: the search filters)

Wi-Fi Finder App Search Filters

 

(Screenshot #2: the map feature)

Wi-Fi Finder App Map Screen

(Screenshot #3: the search results)

Wi-Fi Finder App Search Results

But perhaps the app’s best feature is its off-line database. Even if you don’t have a network connection, users can still access Wi-Fi Finder’s off-line database to find a nearby hotspot. This function is particularly helpful while abroad, especially if you want to use your home smart phone, but would rather not pay the exorbitant roaming fees.

Wi-Fi Finder is a free app, and can be downloaded in either the iTunes Store (for the iPhone or iPad) or Google Play Store (for any Android device).

 

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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – March 1

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week, we have Google going retail, t-shirts going biometric and a 3D printer helping a child overcome disability. All that and more in this week’s edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

5 Year Old with Disability Recipient of “Robohand” 

Liam and his Robot Hand

A 5-year-old boy born without fingers was the recipient of a new robohand this week, thanks to new technology and a remarkable collaboration. The robohand, “an open-sourced device built with customized prosthetic fingers,” according to Mashable’s Camille Bautista, was built using 3D printing. The duo that created the device live across the world from each other (one in Washington state, the other in South Africa) and used Skype to communicate and share ideas.

Coming to a Shopping Mall Near You: Google Stores

One of the companies you’re used to seeing all over the web may soon be all over your local shopping malls as well. Venture Beat reports that Google plans to launch its own retail stores just in time for the 2013 holiday season. The move could be considered an attempt to compete with Apple, which currently operates 400 stores in 12 countries, according to the article. The Google stores will feature the company’s products, like the new Chromebook, and will also have employees offering technical support, similar to what Apple does.

President Obama Urges Schools to Focus More on Technology

President Obama mentioned technology in his State of the Union Address last week, saying that he would like to see schools “meet the demands of a high-tech economy.” The President suggested that schools focusing more on technology—and subjects like science, engineering, and math—would be rewarded. While exciting people who have been pushing for more coding to be taught in schools, implementation may be an uphill battle. According to Forbes’ Anthony Wing Kosner, schools face challenges such as a lack of computer science teachers and time in their current daily schedules.

Under Armour Working on Technology for Touchscreen Tees

Technology and exercise have become fast friends. Smartphones are now valuable devices for workouts, as several apps and features have emerged to help motivate and keep track of miles, time, weight, and more. But what if you didn’t need your phone at all? If Under Armour’s vision comes true, all of that technology might be available right on a person’s arm—in the fabric of the shirt they’re wearing. Ryan Gearhardt for Mashable writes that, while the idea hasn’t been perfected yet, the company is hard at work on developing “wearable” technology, or touchscreen shirts.

 

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A Small-Business Guide to the Fiscal Cliff: 2013 Edition

Fiscal Cliff 2013Seems like we’ve been hearing about the fiscal cliff forever, now, and with March 1 comes the latest iteration: sequestration. What does this mean for small businesses, and what can owners do to help mitigate the impact of what’s already been done?

Let’s look at a rundown of what’s next on the line, but also some fresh strategies for grappling with what U.S. lawmaking has so far left it in its fiscal wake.

Fiscal Cliff 2013: Sequestration

So, yes, the fiscal cliff — at least a version of it — looms anew, with this March representing another crucial turning point. The newest round of wrangling has to do with sequestration — the ways that the federal government may (indiscriminately) cut into $85 billion worth of spending, programs, and services.

Experts say that if the sequester locks in, small business may very well feel the impact.

Here’s what Stephen Fuller, professor at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy told a House committee about his predictions on the matter, last fall.

“The size and specialized nature of small businesses make them more vulnerable to sequestration than large businesses,” Fuller said. “As a result, small businesses will  bear a disproportional impact of the federal spending reductions under  sequestration. While these impacts can be measured in the loss of jobs by small businesses that are prime federal contractors (34.1% of all prime federal contractor job losses), small businesses that are subcontractors, suppliers and vendors and  whose existence depend on consumer spending that would be negatively impacted by the losses of labor income resulting from sequestration, would account for 57  percent of the associated job losses across the country.”

This is why small-business owners watch for the outcome of the March 1 sequester deadline with weariness.

The Story So Far: What SMBs Can Do (Right Now)

In an effort to show a path through what may be some already difficult territory — into the next 9–10 months and beyond — accounting-software experts at Xero put their heads together with Jody Padar, CEO and principle of New Vision CPA Group, and Jason Lawhorn, of Lawhorn CPA Group, Inc.

Together, they’ve broken out helpful tips and notes about the state of affairs for SMBs, right now. Here are some fundamentals, and what owners can do to protect themselves. They’ve categorized their main points as good, bad, and ugly, regarding what’s happened in the fiscal-cliff scenario, so far.

The Good:

– The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) relief, and extended Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 deductions. The AMT was created to tax high-wage earners, corporations, estates and trusts. At its advent, middle class and solo workers were exempt up to earnings of $45,000. But the bill did not account for inflation and wages have definitely increased since 1969 when the bill was first introduced. Had the relief law not been passed, a significant number of middle income taxpayers would have been subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax which is substantially higher than the exemption from regular income tax.

– Congress also extended the Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 deductions, which allow SMBs to recover the cost of investing in new infrastructure and property. The deductions will continue to stimulate spending, support SMBs, and encourage economic growth. At present, Congress says the approved AMT relief and tax deductions are permanent fixes. Word of caution though, say Padar and Lawhorn, no fix is ever permanent with the tax code.

The Bad:

If your small business is defined as an LLC you will see a 3.8 percent tax on your earned income as part of the Healthcare bill beginning this year. One way to mitigate this is to change your status from an LLC to an S-Corp. Here’s the key to the timeframe: if you change you status before March 15 this will apply for 2013, whereas if you change after the cut-off date you will not be eligible until 2014.

The Ugly:

A misnomer is that the the $450,000 tax increase is on the “rich” and independently wealthy, but this is not the case. S-Corps and LLCs are in the same tax pool as individuals. Additionally, most of the $450,000 earners are small business owners. Your average person is not making this type of salary, suggest Padar and Lawhorn, and the small business owners that are may be using this as “flow-through” money — that is, reinvesting this capital back into their businesses. However, because of their tax designation (S-Corp, LLC) they still fall into this bracket and their taxes will be increased.

What to Do: 2013 and the Next Steps

The main thing to be aware of is the complexity of the law changes.

For small-business owners, finances are already complicated. Padar and Lawhorn said that dealing with undecided government regulations can feel like driving in a blizzard. They recommend (of course), that owners secure the services of a qualified accountant. And the idea is to work with that accountant to navigate the new landscape all year long, not just at tax time.

“If you read or see something that does not make sense, contact your accountant,” they said. “Sticking your head in the sand when it comes to your finances is as good as leaving the cash drawer open while you’re out.”

 

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