Siri, Alexa and Other Virtual Assistants Put to the Test – The New York Times

Tech Fix

By  BRIAN X. CHEN JAN. 27, 2016


All the so-called Frightful Five tech behemoths — Apple, Microsoft, AmazonFacebook and Google, now part of Alphabet — now offer virtual assistants, which handle tedious tasks in response to voice commands or keystrokes, on various devices. Apple‘s Siri is the best known, having been available since 2011, but Microsoft now has CortanaFacebook is testing one called M, and Google builds its voice assistant into its search apps.


Read comparison results here.

Related articles

Education Credits–AOTC and LLC

Higher Education Credits

Your clients may qualify for either of two education tax credits if they paid for higher education for themselves or immediate family members. Both the American Opportunity Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) may reduce the amount of taxes they owe, but only the American Opportunity Credit is partially refundable. 

The AOTC is worth up to $2,500 per year for an eligible student. This credit applies for the first four years of higher education. Forty percent of the AOTC is refundable. The LLC is worth up to $2,000. There is no limit on the number of years that a taxpayer can claim the LLC for an eligible student.

Taxpayers must complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file Form 1040 or 1040A to claim these credits. 

Note to Tax Pros: An institution of higher education school should provide your client Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, showing expenses paid for the year. The amounts shown on the form may be different than the amount your client actually paid. When figuring the credit, be sure to verify whether the client paid any additional qualified education expenses not shown on the form. Form 1098-T contains information needed to complete Form 8863.

Learn more by visiting the IRS education benefits and EITC Refundable Credits Web pages or reading Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

Related articles

Revised NYS Bulk Storage Regulations – Webinar Update

Update – Public Webinars on Revised New York State Bulk Storage Regulations  – Next Webinar February 1, 2016

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued new petroleum and chemical bulk storage regulations that became effective October 11, 2015.

DEC hosted a webinar on November 23, 2015 that provided an overview of the Petroleum Bulk Storage (PBS) regulations.  DEC hosted a second webinar on January 11, 2016 that focused on the requirements for Underground Storage Tanks regulated under 6 NYCRR Subpart 613-2.  A file of the presentation and a link to the recording of the webinar are now available on DEC’s Revised Bulk Storage Regulations Webinar Page. 

The third webinar in the series will be held on February 1, 2016 and will focus on the requirements for Underground Storage Tanks regulated under 6 NYCRR Subpart 613-3.  Details and login information are also available on DEC’s Bulk Storage Webinar Page

A Future webinar will focus on requirements on tanks regulated under Subpart 613-4.

Arrested after giving the finger to NYC cops, Occupy Wall Street pair wins $52K payout-ABA Journal


Arrested in 2013 after flipping off two New York City police officers on a Queens subway train, two Occupy Wall Street protesters are $52,000 closer to becoming one percenters.

That is the amount the city agreed to pay Nicholas Thommen, 21, and Channing Creage, 26, for violating their free-speech rights, according to the New York Daily News and the New York Post. The pair will split the settlement in the Brooklyn federal court civil rights case.


Read entire ABA Journal report here.

Apple releases iOS 9.2.1 | iLounge News

iLounge News

Apple has released iOS 9.2.1, a minor update that contains security updates and bug fixes. Also included is a “fix for an issue that could prevent the completion of app installation when using an MDM server.” The update is available now through Settings > General > Software Update. Apple just released the iOS 9.3public beta last week.

Lawyer’s Manual on Domestic Violence–1st Dept.

Below is a link to a recent publication of the First Department and the NYS Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts entitled “Lawyer’s Manual on Domestic Violence, Representing the Victim” that you might find helpful.


Email Hacking On The Rise: What’s A Lawyer To Do? – MyCase Blog

Email Hacking On The Rise: What’s A Lawyer To Do? – MyCase Blog


Last week the ABA Journal reported on a new hacker scheme that targets lawyers’ confidential client emails. It’s a new type of fraud aimed at lawyers where the hackers intercept emails between real estate attorneys and their clients and then use the information obtained from the emails to steal closing funds.


Hackers use the information they steal for so-called spear phishing–mimicking the real email addresses of buyers, sellers, counsel and real estate companies, they send email directing those involved in real estate closings to transmit funds to bank accounts controlled by the hackers.


Read entire article by Nicole Black click here.

Review: Apple Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro | iLounge

iLounge‘s PHIL DZIKIY @PHILDZIKIY sums up his review of the Apple Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro:


When looking at Apple’s Smart Keyboard as a total package, it hits the mark in a number of ways: fit, stand/cover versatility, materials, and design are all top-rate. But if you don’t actually enjoy the experience of typing, these attributes seem decidedly minor. Not to mention that $169 is no small sum for such an accessory. When choosing between the only two Smart Connector keyboard options right now, Logitech’s Create is bulkier and less elegant, but it also offers a better typing experience — with bouncy, backlit keys — at a slightly lower price. One of our editors compared his brief experience with Smart Keyboard to the keys found in Apple’s 12″ MacBook — if you don’t mind those MacBook keys, you’ll probably be OK with Smart Keyboard.


For the complete review and photos click here.

Related articles

iOS 9.3 Preview – Apple-iPhone JD

iPhone J.D. is the oldest and largest website for lawyers using iPhones and iPads. iPhone J.D. is published by Jeff Richardson, an attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Jeff Richardson:

This week, Apple posted a page to their website describing new features in the next incremental update to iOS called iOS 9.3.  One of the new features is Night Shift, which changes the color on your iPhone when it is close to bedtime to reduce the blue light from the screen.  If you use your iPhone late at night, studies have shown that the blue light can make it harder for your body to go to sleep.  Apple also added the ability to add a lock to a Note, which you can unlock using your fingerprint, handy if you use a note to store confidential information and someone else is using your iPhone.  Apple is also letting schools put multiple user accounts on an iPad, so that a student can pick up any iPad and see only that student’s files.  Apple hasn’t announced when iOS 9.3 will be available, but my guess is March. 


Click on the link below and just keep scrolling down for iOS 9.3 forthcoming features:

Security Summit Identity Theft Tips Overview – YouTube

Identity Theft Video Series Available

In coordination with the state revenue departments and the tax industry, the Internal Revenue Service is releasing a series of YouTube video tax tips designed to provide people critical information to help protect their tax and financial data.

The first of the Security Awareness YouTube videos includes tips from four state officials reminding taxpayers to check online accounts for problems, look for secure sites when shopping online and be careful to avoid phishing scams. The videos will be released daily over the next week. Additional videos are in the process of being released, including:


What Changes Can Taxpayers Expect this Year? 

Check your Credit Report Annually 

Secure Your Tax Return

Related articles