Originally created 04/09/00

Pocket change



TAX TURMOIL

If you've been dabbling in day trading, be prepared to spend a lot of time on your tax return.

The Internal Revenue Service requires a list of every trade made during the year. That means you need to know what you bought, when you bought it, how much you paid for it, when you sold it and how much you got for it. Don't count on your broker keeping track of all of that for you.

For more information, get the IRS publications 525 on taxable and nontaxable income, 550 on investment income and expenses, and 551 on the basis of assets at its Web site www.irs.gov.

ATM FEES

People howl about paying service fees when they use an automated teller machine at a bank where they don't have an account. But few seem to be giving up that convenience because of the cost.

Despite vocal public opposition to ATM fees, about 40 percent of ATM transactions are performed somewhere other than at the cardholder's bank -- usually for a fee, according to a recent survey by Star Systems Inc.

RESOURCEFUL ROBOTS

If you think robots are popping up all over the place, you're right.

From 1992 to 1997, the robot population of North America increased 78 percent, from 46,000 to 82,000.

According to Purdue University's most recent Handbook of Industrial Robotics, robots are being used for all types of industries. In some states, robots roam hospital hallways dispensing medication and assisting in surgical procedures. They even wash airplanes.

PERSONAL INFO ONLINE

How many people would give an Internet marketing company intimate details about their lives -- the names and birth dates of their children, how much money they save each month, their health concerns and even the license plate number and mileage on the family Honda?

The answer: about 11 million, in the case of just one company that has found a way to persuade Americans to trade their personal information for advice, cash or $5 off the purchase of a new diet plan.

At a time when surveys show Web surfers are deeply worried about companies building huge databases about them, a growing number of online marketers have found they can collect the most revealing details about people simply by asking for them.