2.122 tech, taxes, FOPAL

Thursday 04/08/2021

Did the aerobics. You know, I think Veronica is with child, her exercise costume is revealing what might be a baby bump. Wonder how long the Fitness Director, who gives like four classes a day as well as administrative staff work, carries on. Probably pretty far, as the kind of exercise appropriate for classes of seniors aren’t that demanding.

I was dispatched by the Tech Squad to help Nancy deal with an email problem. I believe I helped Eva with the same problem a few months ago. The Mac Mail app doesn’t tell the Comcast excuse me XFinity Connect email server to delete messages. So they build up on the server. Nancy had over 7000 messages in her inbox, dating back to 2015. Eventually the server sends a message, your quota is exceeded, and stops delivering incoming, or accepting outgoing mail.

In Nancy’s case it is complicated by the fact that she doesn’t want to bulk-delete her old emails. A lot of them have photos of grand-kids. She finds it more convenient to keep the emails and look through the pictures there, than to download the photos to the Photos app and delete the emails. Of course she hasn’t bothered to organize the good emails into named folders or mailboxes as Mail calls them. Well we managed to filter out a couple thousand emails that didn’t matter and delete them, and set the server options to empty its trash daily, and she started getting incoming mail again. But the problem will recur I’m sure.

My tax accountant said my return is ready, I can e-sign it, get all forms as PDFs, and they will e-file. So I spent an hour printing out the 1040-ES and 540-ES vouchers for the estimated tax payments and 1040-whatever voucher for paying the tax due, and addressing and stamping envelopes, so I have all the upcoming estimated tax payments ready to go except for the checks. And the April estimated tax and the 2020 tax payment in their envelopes with checks and into the mailbox and that’s all done.

Drove down to FOPAL about 2pm where I found only one (1) box of computer books, which is surprising, but processed that. One of the things in it was all three volumes of Knuth’s Art of Computer Programming, but not in the usual khaki colored Addison Wesley binding, but a blue cloth binding with the note that this edition was licensed by the publisher for printing and sale only in Taiwan. Somebody who studied Comp. Sci. there, I guess. But it made a problem for pricing because none of the resources I use to check used book prices had any comparable Taiwan-only books. Perhaps a complete 3-vol set in uniform bindings from Taiwan would be fabulously valuable — they are certainly rare — but I couldn’t prove it so I just priced them a couple dollars less than the standard binding.

There were buyers in the building, people who had signed up for the limited number of shopping appointments we allow in pandemic times. Two were an asian couple who were very serious buyers. Each had some kind of PDA strapped to their wrist that would scan the ISBN barcode on a book and apparently look up prices. They were working their way rapidly through the Business section, checking the prices of every clean book, and keeping not very many to buy. So they are basically looking for books they can re-sell on Amazon or eBay for a few bucks more than we had priced them.

Not many people realize that Amazon is a big marketplace for buying and selling used books, as well as everything else. There is a special group of FOPAL volunteers who manage our Amazon store and they bring in $20-$30 thousand a year for us.

The amateur buyers aren’t going to make anything much off my section. I price books at about $2 less than the median price reported by Bookfinder.com, which includes Amazon used prices. So they’d only make a couple of bucks per book max, which isn’t worth doing given they have to pay postage.

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