NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, August 2009
The Deals Column
By Bob Click, The Deals Making Man
(click to email author)

I?ve been writing the DealGuy column for 14 years and have not missed a month, but its time I took a month off, so don?t look for the column next month. I need a break and thanks in advance for the opportunity. I?m finding less and less to offer anyway so a break is probably in order.

A while back, I talked about the FACUG spring conference and the attendance of about 140, but I was unable to find out how many user groups were represented. I was able to take a look at the registration recently and it looks like they came from 39 user groups, but remember that there were also several APCUG officers there who listed their own users groups. I?m glad it was successful, but next year?s FACUG conference will be really something to look forward to. I?m sure you will read about it, and it looks like the attendance for that one will set a record.

Thanks for your feedback about my comments pertaining to the special setup arrangements for the SAP Sapphire show. So far, readers said they understand the difficulty of taking pictures under such difficult conditions. I don?t feel too bad because I have watched the official photographers for some shows get very frustrated trying to get good pictures of the booths they were supposed to photograph.

I?m working on an article about trade show setups, but here is something else to think about. When you walk through the entrance to a trade show, you probably don?t pay much attention to that obscure security guard who stands in the background and is checking for badges as you walk by. You probably don?t even consider that the person you are walking by sees much more than you realize. I can?t say this about ?all? the people checking badges, but it is mostly true of the more experienced guards you see. They usually look like they are casually checking for your badge, but here is what really happens with an experienced security guard:

They actually take a mental snapshot of your badge and automatically read the name on it to see if the name matches the gender of the person wearing it (is it a male name if the person is a male), some shows they may look for other traits; they read the year to make sure the person is not using a last year?s badge, and they check for color codes that might be on it to allow certain people in only on certain days (sometimes the day of the week is there, but usually only a color bar on the bottom). For some shows there might be other info on the badge. A good guard can also spot a phony badge made with a computer pretty easily because they get used to seeing the right badge. Yes, people try all kinds of tricks to get in free because some shows have very high registration fees.

They also must be diplomatic when they run into a belligerent attendee who doesn?t want to be bothered going to registration to obtain a proper badge. Some of them are ready to punch you when you stop them. As you can imagine, diplomacy is a good thing to master. They usually do all this for somewhere around eight or nine dollars per hour, depending on what city you work in.

Since I don?t have very good vision, I try to avoid entrance door positions, although I don?t mind working at loading docks where you mostly see the same people going in and out while working, and you get so you recognize them when you see them. Since most of those workers wear colored wristbands for ID, they hate to wear them on their arm so you must look on the wrists, a belt loop (with their shirt hanging over it), or other spots to find it. Often you must ask them to see it if it is not in plain sight. Some convention center employees don?t like to wear badges, but again, you get to know them, rather than argue with them. I once worked an entrance to a pharmacist job interview area where I had to watch for an ampersand on the badge someplace. That was a tough one for me. One person somehow got an interview without paying the fee and we were all given the name to watch for; and one guard found that person, who was then interviewed by show management.

Worried About A Web Site?s Safety?
A popular warning product for dangerous Web sites is McAfee?s ?Site Advisor? http://www.siteadvisor.com. I?ve read a couple of reviews that were not all that complimentary, but have not tried it myself. Another one that I have not read about either way is Site Hound. When you get there, these products warn you if a Web site is safe to visit. Site Hound is offered by Fire Trust http://www.firetrust.com. There is a free version, and also a pay version with more features for $29.95. They also offer MailWasher if you want spam protection and it is a popular product with a one time price. There used to be free updates for life, but it doesn?t look like that applies any more. Do your homework if you are interested in either of these. User group member discounts are available for Firetrust products through APCUG http://www.apcug.net. Your user group must be a member to have access to the Sharepoint page for that information.

Ever Consider A Virtual Cover? (This is their announcement, but edited)
Insofta Development has unveiled the newest version of Insofta Cover Commander, a tool providing the effective solution to quickly and easily create quality custom-designed three-dimensional virtual boxes for software, e-books, DVDs, manuals, CD-ROMs and screenshots. Version 3.1 delivers a host of improvements.

Enhancements in the latest version of Insofta Cover Commander include support for batch processing from the command line, providing a perfect solution for creating a large number of similar virtual boxes, books, and many more. This is essential for those who create covers and boxes for on-line shops, catalogs and other large projects. The program also allows saving animation in SWF, GIF and AVI format.

The program enables creation of sophisticated and modern cover designs with very few mouse clicks; streamlining workflow. The program allows comprehensive customization of background color and transparency, gradient, shadow and reflection; what's more, the settings can be saved and used later. All the features are delivered in multilingual user interface (English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Hungarian and Russian).

Insofta Cover Commander is compatible with Microsoft Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP and Vista, and costs $48.30 for a single license, entitling a user to 1 year of free updates. Further information on the product, as well as its free trial version, is available from http://www.insofta.com/cover-commander. User group members get a 20% discount by entering the code ICC-RRDJ-DUG in the proper space.

Direct download link:
Company website:

A while back I mentioned the problem I had not being able to access the memory in my digital picture frame with either of my desktop machines, but I could with my new laptop. Nobody was able to tell me what was wrong, but Bob Balogh, a past president of the Boca Raton Computer Society http://www.brcs.org , sent me a suggestion for finding the answer http://www.blackviper.com/ and I am sharing his advice with my readers who might have their own problems. I have not had the time to go there to research it yet, but hope to get it done soon. Bob?s suggestion is below:

'The above is one of the best sites available for learning about your computer. The section on Windows Configurations, left hand side, is most helpful.? Bob also writes a monthly help column, and has traveled to other user groups in his area to do presentations.

I always read Bob?s column in their newsletter, Boca Bits, and here is something he recommended for their members. Bob likes to keep a monthly calendar on his desktop. This enables him to see the entire month at a glance. The one he suggests also has an array of other features that lets you enter events that are upcoming, etc. It is called Rainlendar Lite, and it?s free at http://www.snapfiles.com/get//Rainlendar.html.

That's it for this month. I?ll have some more new product announcements on my Web site that didn?t offer discounts. Meet me here again next month if your editor permits. This column is written to make user group members aware of special offers or freebies I have found or arranged, and my comments should not be interpreted to encourage, or discourage, the purchase of any products, no matter how enthused I might sound. Bob (The Cheapskate) Click . Visit my Web site at http://www.dealsguy.com.

Click here to return to top