onlybothIt’s remarkable what you can find on the web. One of our favorite sites: OnlyBoth.com, now rates hospitals, nursing homes, colleges, and corporate income taxes by country.

In the hospital section, click “best in class” and choose a condition. We learned that the University of Chicago Medical Center has has the second-lowest rate of accidental cuts and tears from medical treatment among all the 4,803 hospitals. If you click “needs improvement,” you’ll find it has the seventh-most patients who left the emergency department before being seen (9%) among the 585 hospitals that have very high emergency-department volume (60,000+ patients annually).

Clicking on “country tax systems,” we discovered that the United Arab Emirates has the lowest corporate taxes of 195 countries. In fact, the rate is zero — that’s pretty low. Most are around 23 percent. In the U.S., it’s 35 percent, or 39 percent if you count state taxes, one of the highest tax rates in the world.

Interesting Numbers from a Reader

Labor prices are up, transistor prices are down. A reader writes that every time he had his Yamaha stereo equipment fixed over the last ten years, the price has been the same, $110. The first time the labor cost $30 and the transistor cost $80. Today, the labor is $90 and the transistor is $20. As the British say: “What you gain on the swings, you lose on the round-abouts.”

Free Information

tapping-a-phoneWhen you’re out of range of your home Internet connection, and you want to look up a phone number on your cell phone without incurring data charges, it would be nice to get that for free. A reader wondered whatever happened to the free “411” service. There’s a free app for iPhones and an easy way to get that info from any phone.

On any phone, dial 1-800-Free-411. You’ll hear an ad at the beginning of the call and again when you get your number.

An app called “411” is available in the iPhone app store.  We tried it on our iPad and it worked fine. You get the same results from WhitePages.com.


App Happy Trips

Google Trips” is a free app for Android and iPhone. It’s a new way to plan trips.

When you open it, you’ll see trips you’ve already been on and trips you’re planning. How do they know? Google culls them from your email; every place you’ve talked about is picked up. If you never mentioned it, it won’t be there. We found it to be a good reminder of where we’ve gone in the last six years. It’s easy to forget — and some of them were really forgettable. if you don’t like this feature, you can turn it off.

We tapped on our trip to San Francisco and then tapped “things to do,” “food and drink,” and “getting around,” for the next time we go. There’s also a “need to know” category with info on hospitals, local currency and Wi-Fi hot spots. When you want to plan a new trip, just type a destination in the box labeled “Where do you want to go?”

Step into the Paint Shop

paintshop-pro-exampleCorel’s “PaintShop Pro” was one of the earliest photo editing programs we ever reviewed. We’ve looked at every version over the past 26 years. This program used to cost hundreds of dollars and we always felt it was for professional artists. But now it’s only $80, and much more user friendly. There’s a free 30-day trial.

The nuts: Tutorials and onscreen guides pop up when you start the program. They do a great job of explaining nearly everything. On the Corel website, there are even more tutorials, for things like turning photos into coloring books. We like the basic “one step photo adjust” command, which produced some of the best results we’ve ever seen. Some of the other adjustments, such as working with “RAW” images, are similar to controls found in the $120-a-year Photoshop program from Adobe.

Paintshop Pro comes with templates for making brochures, collages, greeting cards and social media posts. Our only complaint is many templates cost an extra $5. We hate that nickel and dime stuff. In the greeting cards area, for example, the only freebie was a one-page birthday card. If you’re into making your own greeting cards, as we are,  you’re expecting to be able to make the front, back and inside in one operation. If you like doing cards, you can get thousands of templates, including photo cards, for around $30 on Amazon. Search for Nova Development’s Greeting Card Factory, Hallmark, American Greetings and the great old Broderbund programs like Print Shop ($10 at Amazon.com).

In new features, PaintShop comes with its own screen capture program. It goes way beyond the free “Snipping Tool” that comes with Windows, or the free screen capture tool on the Mac. It can capture sound along with images, and individual website elements like drop-down menus that only show up when you hover.

NOTE: The software tools that come with your computer are good enough for most of us. In Windows, type “Snipping Tool” into the search bar to find a good screen capture. On the Mac, hold down the “Cmd” and “Shift” keys and tap the number “4.” Both Windows and Mac do a good job of saving anything you see on your screen, and if you need to add text or arrows or underline things in your screenshot, you can bring the image into a free program like Windows Paint or Paintbrush on the Mac.



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