We know: The most entertaining do-it-yourself car wash, and certainly the cheapest, is in one of Denver's city parks, where you can pull up to the side of the road and pretend to polish the chrome while you're really watching all those hard bodies run by. But if the pressure's on for a fast cleanup, point your dirty car in the direction of this Hi-Performance station. This do-it-yourself car wash may look like nothing special -- in fact, it looks abandoned, and doesn't have any phone number that we could find -- but that just means there's never a line. And this Hi-Performance is high on the most critical component for a good cleaning: very hot water, and lots of it. Drop in a quarter and it just keeps coming --long after other car washes would have dried up. Drought? What drought?

A friend in need, as they say. Discount Tire usually fixes flats for free, even if it's somebody else's tire or you picked up your puncture on the other side of town. (Particularly tricky jobs might cost $5.) Of course, you don't want to ride around on a patched tire forever, so when you decide to buy a new one, remember who helped you out when you were flat busted.

It's bad enough that you have to go to court, but it adds insult to injury when you discover there's no reasonably priced place -- or any place at all -- to park within a mile of the Denver City and County Building. Often overlooked, however, is a small parking lot directly in front of Denver Police headquarters on Fourteenth Avenue, kitty-corner from the courthouse. Although many of the spaces are designated for visiting law-enforcement officers and members of the press, there are usually a couple of spots available. But whatever you do, don't forget to feed the meter.
Here's a tip: Declare those tips! Through the first three months of this year, the IRS has been holding free workshops in Colorado's mountain gaming towns to help casino employees fill out their 1040s, properly accounting for all those fabulous cash gratuities bestowed upon by them by happy winners. The self-employed and those just starting a business have also benefited from free IRS expertise. They're here to help, really. Bet on it.

A joint venture of the Colorado Attorney General's Office and Better Business Bureaus of Colorado, the Colorado Consumer Line is designed to provide a quick response to consumer concerns. Callers have their choice of listening to recorded tips or live employees, who answer questions and take complaints in both English and Spanish. Talking to a real person has another benefit: Your complaint may be passed on to the AG's office for investigation or added to the Better Business Bureau's files on local scofflaws. So don't wait to be fleeced by some smooth operator: Get on the phone and talk to folks who know the score.

You're surfing the net at 3 a.m. Do you know where your cookies are? Richard Smith does, and he wants everybody to know how to lock their cupboards. As chief technology officer of the Privacy Foundation, it's Smith's job to uncover threats to online privacy and inform citizens of those threats; he's already made both Microsoft and RealNetworks rework software that secretly tracked user behavior. The Privacy Foundation and the Privacy Center, formed last July with funding from FirstData Corp., the Denver Foundation and longtime-cable-guy-turned-entrepreneur Peter Barton, are also contributing to the discussion and development of broader online ethics. So back off, hackers: The online sleuth is on the case.
If you've just had your third dot-com shot out from under you, there's a place you can go where everyone understands. Really. Everybody at a Pink Slip Party is looking for work, except for the companies and headhunters who are on hand to network with the recently axed of the high-tech world. This relaxed alternative to the cattle-call job fair is becoming increasingly popular as more area employers drop more human resources with less warning. One recent party at Brooklyn's drew about 275 job-seekers; there's another planned for April. Organizers at LH3, Inc., a PR/marketing firm, plan to continue the parties as long as there's a need. And with the economy tanking, it seems that people will be seeing pink for a while.
While you're waiting for the next Pink Slip Party, post your resumé on JustTechJobs.com, a Boulder-based job site that specializes in tech types. The site charges a fee for employers to post jobs, but job-seekers pay nothing. There are usually about 52,000 resumés posted on the site, and they remain active for sixty days -- more than you can say about most nerds.

If you're paying for a service, why not use one that supports your views? What Working Assets did for long-distance and progressive causes, The EcoISP does for Internet access and environmental issues. Each month, 50 percent of a subscriber's net revenue is donated to the environmental cause of his choice -- and in case he has trouble picking an appropriately politically correct charity, the site provides direct links to such organizations as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club.

This Boulder-based reverse-auction Web site lets buyers tell the world what they want, when they want it and how much they are willing to pay for it. When the bidding's done, the buyer receives contact information for the three lowest bids; the vendor with the lowest bid receives the buyer's information...and then let the negotiations begin. The brainwave of CU grad David Chuang, Fatty Tuna (named for Chuang's favorite type of sushi) has about 250 registered vendors and about 2,000 visitors a day. So start trolling with the tunas-- before you get eaten by the sharks.

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