DeepL.com is currently the best AI translator* and is now available as an app for Windows and macOS. This means that users will no longer have to copy text back and forth between their application and the DeepL website:
Just like the website, the app is able to provide alternatives to the suggested translations and adapts the rest of the sentence, if necessary:
The limit of 5000 characters per translation can be lifted by signing up for a DeepL Pro plan.
Wondering why the download for Windows has an impressive size of 135 MB? This is mainly due to the use of the Chromium Embedded Framework, which is included both in a 32 bit and 64 bit version.
*Is the Deepl.com the best AI translator? I think so. Like everything on this blog, this is just my opinion. However, as someone living and working in Luxembourg, a country with three official languages, I sure appreciate DeepL.com a lot.
QTranslate has been around for several years, is also available for free and integrates several different translation services (including DeepL):
It has additional features like image text recognition, text to speech synthesis and searching in online and offline dictionaries. However, it seems that it can only provide alternative translations for single words. The size of the download is less than 1 MB.
Your company is selling software and a customer in the U.S. is asking you for form W-8BEN-E? You should supply it or risk having 30% of your payment withheld. Some customers might also not place an order at all before receiving this form.
Disclaimer: This blog post is presented for educational and entertainment purposes only. I originally wrote the instructions below for my own company. They might be incomplete, wrong or not applicable to your situation.
What are software licenses (in tax treaty terms)? For this article, I’m assuming they fall under royalties / copyright.
Line 14b: Check the box at the beginning. Will you have to check another box below? The official instructions say:
If you are a resident of a foreign country that has entered into an income tax treaty with the United States that contains a limitation on benefits (LOB) article, you must complete one of the checkboxes in line 14b. You may only check a box if the limitation on benefits article in that treaty includes a provision that corresponds to the checkbox on which you are relying to claim treaty benefits. A particular treaty might not include every type of test for which a checkbox is provided.
Line 15: As far as I understood the instructions, this line has to be filled out only “if the treaty contains different withholding rates for different types of royalties.”[see IRS instructions]. Remember table 1 from the very beginning of this blog post? Look at it again. Are all royalties rates the same? If yes, skip line 15, otherwise, fill it in. As “n/a” is not a rate (I hope), I skipped this line (all rates were the same for Luxembourg).
Part XXX – Certification
Sign, fill in print name and date in U.S. format, check the box at the bottom.
Even though I really don’t want to deal with this topic again, I’ll leave the comments open so that you can correct me on all that’s wrong with my instructions. However, please don’t ask me to help you fill out form W-8BEN-E for your company!
We use FastSpring to sell our software, which means that our account balance is in USD. FastSpring can pay out in EUR to a SEPA bank account, but new FinTech companies seem to offer better exchange rates.
Transferwise is one of these companies. Their bordereless account (which is not the same as their regular account) makes it possible to get paid by FastSpring to a US bank in USD (for free), convert the payment into EUR at Transferwise’s advantageous rates and withdraw it to a EUR account.
1. Sign up for a Transferwise borderless account
Click here and apply (this should direct you to the borderless signup page). You can also click on this affiliate link to get a free transfer and to support this blog, but please note that this will send you to the regular Transferwise signup page.
It took quite a while for Transferwise to open our borderless account. If you don’t hear from them within a few business days, I recommend logging in to check if further documents are required.
2. Activate USD as a currency and get your bank details
After logging in to your borderless account, you’ll be able to activate currencies. Obviously, you’ll need USD to get paid by FastSpring. Activating USD as a currency also gives you your USD bank details.
I strongly recommend clicking on the “How do I use these?” link to learn more about using your USD bank details.
3. Enter your bank details in your FastSpring account
Things get a bit more difficult here. In your FastSpring account, go to “Payment Methods”, set the bank country to “United States” and click on “Enter Direct Deposit (ACH) Information”:
Note that these are the instructions for FastSpring’s “Classic Springboard”, things will look different if you’re using the more recent “contextual” dashboard.
Transferwise gives you all the bank details you’ll need to enter with the exception of the bank’s name. However, you can easily find the name by either entering your wire routing number (a.k.a ABA routing number) on this website or by entering your ACH routing numberhere. In our case, both numbers returned “Community Federal Savings Bank” as the bank’s name.
To make things more confusing, FastSpring asks for a “Routing / ABA (9 digits)” number. Do not actually enter the wire routing number (a.k.a ABA routing number) here! Instead, enter the ACH routing number (FastSpring customer support has confirmed that this is correct).
Transferwise recommends choosing “checking” and not “savings” as the account type, so I selected “Business checking”.
My completed form (colors match the colors used above):
4. Add your EUR bank account to Transferwise
Transferwise will notify you when you’ve received a new payment. In order to withdraw it, you first have to add a bank account:
5. Convert and withdraw your money in EUR
You can then convert your USD to EUR and send them to your account in one step:
Transferwise will show you the exchange rate and the fees (1% for USD to EUR). Soon afterwards (on the next business day in our case), your money will show up in your EUR bank account.
In the days before USB, bar code readers often came with a hardware keyboard wedge, a little device which allowed both a keyboard and the barcode reader to be connected to the keyboard port (PS/2) of a PC. Codes scanned by the barcode reader could thereby be transmitted as keystrokes. As far as the computer was concerned, there was no difference between a key pressed on the keyboard and one sent by the barcode scanner. This allowed the barcode scanner to be used with any application that accepted keyboard inputs.
While hardware keyboard wedges have become rare (most barcode scanners today connect via USB and appear as a human interface device), this very flexible concept still exists in the form of a virtual keyboard wedge (a.k.a. software keyboard wedge, “RS-232 to keyboard”-software). These programs are usually used with devices that connect to a computer via RS-232 (COM port) or that emulate an RS-232 connection while actually connecting through USB, Bluetooth SPP (serial port profile) or any other kind of virtual COM port.
Such devices include measurement instruments like balances and scales, digital calipers, etc. and legacy devices like serial barcode scanners and card readers. The software keyboard wedge connects to these devices and types received data into any application as simulated keystrokes.
Keyboard wedge software for Windows
This list contains all keyboard wedge programs I know of in alphabetical order. Prices were last updated on June 1st, 2019. Please leave a comment if you know a program not listed here.
232key: Free (232key Plus with additional features: US$30). Easy to configure, extensive documentation available on website. Predefined settings for many balances and scales. Powerful custom regular expressions to capture exactly the data you want (Plus version only). Can be used concurrently with 232key MU (US$50) to connect to two serial devices. Disclosure: I made this.
Impossible to say, without knowing what you’re planning to do, looking at each program in detail and testing it to see if it works reliably.
Generally speaking (and keep in mind that I’m certainly biased here), 232key can do many things for free which would otherwise cost you money (sometimes a lot of money). It is certainly worth trying out, particularly if you want to transfer the weight from a scale or balance to your PC. Please note that 232key cannot (currently) request data from your device (by sending a device-specific command), so you’ll have to press a key on your device instead (like the “Print” key on a scale, though many scales can also be configured to send stable data automatically). Thanks to feedback from my users and customers, I’m constantly adding new useful features to 232key (see changelog).
TWedge is (in my experience with several demanding customers) an excellent choice if you need maximum flexibility or want to connect to multiple devices at the same time. There’s hardly anything it can’t do if you’re willing to modify the scripts that come with it. While some other programs look like they haven’t been updated in a while, TWedge is regularly improved. Its latest version can even intercept and modify data sent by USB human interface devices (HID) like modern barcode scanners.
Further information on RS-232 interfaces
Have a look at my curated page on Zeef which includes links to general information on RS-232, keyboard wedge software, terminal software and RS-232 analyzers.