NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
The Deals Column
by Bob Click, The Deal Making Man, January 2001
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

Comdex is history, but I enjoyed it while my wife trudged along. People were shoulder to shoulder and I was whopped often by people swinging around with bags on their backs. My feet were smashed by people dragging carts full of stuff behind them, and heavy paper bags were dragged across my neck as people plunged through the crowd with force. When a booth presenter threw out a tee shirt, somebody might rip it out of your hand if you caught it. You have to really love shows to put up with all that.

It was exciting, but we barely covered it in the four days we attended. With 220,000 attendees, vendors were difficult to talk to unless you had time to wait, and I assume my follow-ups will not be that fruitful, as usual. However, I'll give you what I can put together over the next couple of months, which will be slim-picking.

My buying restraint excelled this year and the only thing I acquired was a neat little portable USB drive. Called the Pockey, it is 3" X 5" X 5/8" with a capacity of 6 gigs. It fits in my tee shirt pocket with room to spare. They're available in 6, 10, 15 or 20 gigs with a MSRP of $249 for the 6-gig model. Power comes from the USB. I was unable to get us a deal because it is just being introduced. It works on my desktop PC, but so far I can't get it to work with my laptop. See [http://www.pockeydrives.com] for info. There was a smaller product of the same nature at the show, but they only had display product.

The APCUG event came off beautifully with 327 attendees representing 134 user groups. Many hard-working APCUG volunteers made it a huge success. Vendor support has waned again this year, but vendors that were there really showed us a great time. The Microsoft dinner was especially outstanding with an Improv group's sidesplitting entertainment after the presentation. MS table reps asked us what MindShare could do to help our groups. Our table asked for a discount on the MSN service and our rep wrote it on his list.

Many APCUG attendees thanked me for doing the column. My highlight of the weekend was when Jeremy Dunn of Connecticut PC Users Group thanked me for the column, saying his members love it and warned they would lynch him if he ever left my column out of their newsletter.

Other Comments
Last month I complained about the lack of voice tech support from Symantec and two other vendors while saying Microsoft gives lifetime support on some products. Little did I know that I was lying through my teeth/keyboard while writing that. I've since read that MS had already posted notice that the lifetime tech support was discontinued and replaced with a maximum of two tech support calls, citing survey results - yyyyeah- right! I guess that's why agreements contain clauses to renounce promises to the customer.

Sterling Button of St. Louis Users Group for the PC says they have long used my column and sent me information for the distribution page on my Web site. Thanks Sterling.

Now The Deals
Linda & Gene Barlow announced that PowerQuest released major new versions of PartitionMagic 6.0 and Drive Image 4.0 this fall. PartitionMagic 6.0 has new support for Windows ME and Windows 2000 Professional, ability to undelete partitions, new Copy Partition Wizard, ability to split partitions and view & modify pending operations. Drive Image Version 4 has CD-R and CD-RW Support, supports Windows ME, Image Size Estimator, Image Integrity Checker, create images on hidden partitions, improved Drive Image File Editor and includes DataKeeper Utility.

Prices: PowerQuest bundle (PartitionMagic 6.0, Drive Image 4.0, SecondChance 2.07 supports Windows ME, Lost & Found 1.0) for $99.00 plus $5.00 shipping & handling. Individual prices are:

PartitionMagic 6.0, $30.00 plus $5.00 S&H
Drive Image 4.0, $30.00 plus $5.00 S&H
SecondChance 2.07 $25.00 plus $5.00 S&H
Lost & Found 1.0 $30.00 plus $5.00 S&H

For Mail Orders, send to: Gene & Linda Barlow, User Group Relations, PO Box 275, Orem, UT 84042. Tel. 801-796-7370. For faster service, use their secure Web site at [http://www.ugr.com/order/] and use the Code UGDEALS00.

Get This One FAST
Adobe's LiveMotion lets you quickly create vector-based Web sites with motion, sound and interactivity. Enhance your productivity and streamline your workflow through superior integration with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and GoLive. This offer saves you $200 (US) if you take advantage of it before Feb. 28, 2001.

Order at [http://www.adobe.com/offer/71401] to buy for just $99.00 or call 1-800-967-7853 and mention offer 71401. I am told you can even beat that price on the Web. I noticed there is an update on the Adobe Web site to download if you are a registered owner. I also found some free music downloads.

Hey, Scan These Prices - OK!
ScanSoft offered special prices on their products at the APCUG vendor's party Sunday evening. Their user group coordinator said I could pass them on to my readers. I assume you are familiar with their products. If not, visit their Web site [http://www.scansoft.com].

Here are the products and prices:
OmniForm 4.01 - MSRP, $149.99, APCUG price - $104.99
OmniPage Pro 10 - MSRP, $499.00, APCUG price - $349.00
PaperPort Deluxe 7.0 - MSRP, $59.99, APCUG price - $41.99
PhotoFactory - MSRP, 29.95, APCUG - $20.95

Prices are plus tax (CA, GA, IL, MA, NY, OH, NC) and S&H of $9.95 US - $15.00 Canada. Visit their online store for user group special pricing at [http://www.digitalriver.com/scansoft/usergroup].

Talk To A Web Site, Sort Of!!
The "Conversay" booth at Comdex had a demonstrator telling his computer to find things for him on the Web and it acknowledged his request, then did as he asked. It was a fascinating demonstration and you can download the software absolutely free. Voice training is simple.

"Convensay Web" is a voice browser that allows users to surf the Web by voice using MS Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher, and is the object of this item, but they also have the products below:

"Conversay Web Conversation Developer Kit" is a toolkit for voice-powering Internet sites. It enables Web site developers to add voice-elements to interact with site visitors.

"Conversational Server" is an NT server-based environment, which utilizes telephony hardware, software, and standard Windows components to provide a visual-free interface to networked content through a telephone conversation.

"Embedded Applications" is better explained on their Web site, so visit [http://www.conversay.com] to read about products and get the free download (need your own headset). Then you can just TELL your computer what you want on the Web. I have not tried it yet. Next month I'll write about another of these products that intrigued me.

Free Clipart and Animations
Interested in such things? Microsoft has plenty of it absolutely free for the download. Just visit the "Microsoft Clip Gallery Live" [http://www.microsoft.com/insider/mi/pfclipgal.htm] where you will find free downloads of over 120,000 graphic images and sounds, including photographs, Web animations, and clip art.

You can also visit [http://www.microsoft.com/insider/mi/pfmusicdwn.htm] where you will find free, downloadable programs for music students. Start with the basics, like chord structure and famous composers, then work your way up to ear training and composition. If that isn't enough free stuff, try out a few puzzles from Pandora's Box and experience the visually stunning, intricate world this game has to offer. Download them for free today at: [http://www.microsoft.com/insider/mi/pfpanboxtri.htm].

Another FREE ISP
Bob Dooley, editor for Broward Personal Computer Assn., told me about 1NOL (One Nation OnLine), a free ISP, but before I could write it up, 1NOL passed it's users over to "One World OnLine" as per the following instructions: "Simply re-register at [http://www.1nol.com/signup.htm]. Once your new account has been established, visit [http://mail.1nol.com:8383] and click on the 'Change Forwarding Information' link and follow the instructions." That's all I know, so check it out for yourselves, but Bob said he liked the service when it was 1NOL.

Here is another popular free ISP. "Address.com" is a free ISP that uses Spinway.com to supply its nationwide network. I liked their home page, which displays news items and has stock reports flowing across. The selection of nationwide phone numbers looked good. It even had a couple of access numbers for 321, which is a new area code overlaying our present 407.

I saw requirements for Windows 98 or NT, no Mac info. They offer e-mail, Web pages, personalized home page, URL forwarding, Web searches, personalized stock ticker quotes, news, sports, weather and horoscope. Also offered are free instant messaging and free chats. Check further info at [http://www.address.com]. You can download the software or ask to have a CD sent. I have not tried the service.

That's it for this month. Meet me here again next month if your editor permits. This column is written to make user group members aware of special offers I have found or arranged, and my comments should not be interpreted to encourage, or discourage, the purchase of products, no matter how enthused I might sound. Bob (The Cheapskate) Click [dealsguy@dealsguy.com]. Visit my Web site at [http://www.dealsguy.com] for past columns.

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