Business news solutions items — Jan. 26

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FINANCE

Tuition tax breaks available

As college fees continue to rise, many families can use all the financial breaks they can get. One source of assistance is education tax credits and deductions found in the federal tax code.

A variety of websites offer information about education deductions and credits. Here are a few:

• Efile.com: Provides a wide range of information about various education tax credits and deductions. Site: www.efile.com/student-tax/.

• The College Board: Spotlights the tax credits associated with college tuition. Site: www.collegeboard.com/student/pay/ways-to-pay/446.html.

• Federal Tax Credits: Covers rules associated with education credits. Site: www.federaltaxcredits.org/Education_Credit_Rules.html.

• FinAid: Discusses the education tuition and fees deductions. Site: www.finaid.org/otheraid/torricellideduction.phtml.

• Internal Revenue Service: Serves up extensive details on federal tax education credits. Site: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf.

— By Chuck Myers

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

SOFTWARE

Comparing media drives

A new device enables uploads and downloads to and from Apple iPads and iPhones and Android devices. The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive acts as a mini-server that allows iPhone or iPad or Android users to watch videos and photo shows and exchange files.

You can download videos of grandchildren from an iPad. Those files could easily be transferred by email at zero cost. But that would ruin the fun for geeks.

A similar advice is the AirStash from Maxell. While they do pretty much the same thing, there is one outstanding difference. The Media Drive comes with either 32 or 64 gigs of internal flash memory, with an SD slot that provides for unlimited storage. It can be charged either with a USB cable or a wall charger. The AirStash is actually a large USB portable drive that has no internal memory. Instead, an SD card is inserted in the drive for unlimited memory. Both devices can easily fit in a shirt pocket. The free app for the Media Drive is more polished. The AirStash transfers files noticeably faster.

The AirStash, like its cousin, acts as a sort of wireless hot spot. Once you’re connected to its Wi-Fi network, files can be exported from an iPhone or other wireless device to the SD card on the AirStash, then transferred to a PC by either plugging the drive into a USB port or removing the SD card and reading it on a PC. Files can then be dragged from the AirStash’s SD card to the PC and edited or stored. Files also can be moved from a PC to the SD card, which can then be inserted into the AirStash and uploaded to an iPad or iPhone. Android devices and the Kindle Fire are supported, too, according to the folks at Maxell.

The SanDisk Media Drive worked great right out of the box and can be learned in about five minutes. The SanDisk with 64 gigabytes of internal memory costs $100; settle for 32 gigs and you pay $80. You also are able to charge the Media Drive either in a USB port on your PC or with the included wall charger. The AirStash costs $70 for the model with an 8-gig SD card and $90 for one with a 16-gig card and comes without a wall charger. (These are Amazon prices.)

The SanDisk Media Drive wins the race on all counts: ease of use, positive out-of-box experience and price. I paid $42 for the AirStash at Woot.com, so I sort of got my money’s worth.

— By Harold Glicken,

McClatchy-Tribune News


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