NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, January 2005
The Deals Column
by Bob (the Cheapskate)Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

When working the Handicap show I was impressed with the technology I saw. There are computers with sensors capable of detecting even eyebrow or eye movement that can be used to control certain things. There is too much to go into detail, but it was sure interesting to see all the technology available for the handicapped. One product was a special computer in the $8,000 range that has tremendous capabilities. Legislation exists concerning the provision of whatever technology would help a student if certain tests suggest that a technology is necessary to help them. To find out more about how this legislation works, try a search for "IDEA", better known as "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act." If you know anyone severely handicapped, a test and that legislation could help him or her.

I also noticed the Christopher Reeves Foundation booth there and hoped he and Dana might attend, but was told his health prevented it at that time. Sadly, news of his death came shortly after that show.

Another show I worked was the Rockwell International Automation Fair and you would have surely "loved" that one. [http://www.automationfair.com] There were automation displays all over the place and I was totally impressed checking them all out. The exhibit area was 94,000-sq. ft. and packed with big name vendors demonstrating elaborate operational robots and conveyers with robotic arms moving packages around. Since then I found out that Charlie Semple of Los Angeles Computer Society was in attendance as a consultant and we were probably only a few feet apart at times without knowing it. Two magazines I picked up there were Automation World [http://www.automationworld.com] and Instrumentation & Automation News [http://www.ianmag.com].

Disappearing Rebates
I discovered a new problem concerning rebates. I've had good luck with OfficeMax rebates in the past, but the last two I sent in ended up with a follow-up phone call later by me only to be told that the check was sent on a certain date and cashed on a certain date; end of conversation. I gave them the benefit of the doubt for the first one, but when I got the same answer for the second one, I know I keep better records than that and we have no problem with mailboxes in our neighborhood. A $10 rebate wasn't worth any further efforts, but that's making me more gun-shy of rebates.

I talked to Rich Henf at Banner Badge [http://www.bannerbadge.com] and if you have not ordered one of these fun gadgets yet they will still honor the DealsGuy offer. Call 1-772-571-9944. If you had problems contacting them during Florida's vicious storms, they apologize and urge you to try again. Peet Bros. (weather station) may have had similar problems. I'm not sure but you may still be able to get that special on the Ultimeter Weather Station [http://www.peetbros.com] by calling 1-321-206-6214. When I ordered a Big Weather Picture for my weather station I found it was backordered, but I now have it. Just a glance provides all the weather information. What a nice present for my wife and I, (mostly me).

How About Helping Microsoft!
My thanks to Joe Barth of Alamo PC Organization for sending this information. Joe says; "They are seeking people to participate in Microsoft product evaluations and get free software. Ever wanted to talk to Microsoft about that one feature you wished the company would change in a product, or on a Web site? The Usability Research Group at Microsoft is interested in talking to you! All participants will receive a software gift for participating in a study." Check [http://www.microsoft.com/usability/jump1.htm].

Time Is Of The Essence
Here is a sophisticated time and data management software, C-Organizer Professional, which offers PC users a digital Planner, Event Scheduler, Calendar, Notebook, Address Book, Password and Bookmark managers, all packed up into one powerful and easy-to-use application. C-Organizer can bring out and help to cultivate time architect skills even in the most hopeless time prisoner. For further information, go to [http://www.csoftlab.com].

User Group people can get it for $25.00 rather than the usual $35.00 price by downloading (4.15 MB) at [https://secure.element5.com/shareit/checkout.html?productid=167248&language=English&COUPON1=248QHM] for the discounted price. I doubt there is any help for me and my scarcity of time. I'm supposed to be retired, but so far, I have only managed that part time, (mini-part-time).

How About A Great Relational Database!
I called Alpha Software to order the new version of Alpha 5 on special, and while talking to the order-taker, he remembered me so we created a deal for my readers. Alpha Software has been offering their database for years and has continued to improve it. They have introduced Alpha 5 ver. 6 and user group members can get a deal on it. Remember that Alpha 5 is a relational database that has some exciting new features. Check their Web site at [http://www.alphasoftware.com] for full information. You can build Web-accessible database applications without any programming. You can access and work with your data no matter where it resides if you have an Internet Web Browser. Alpha 5 uses Genies, which are similar to Wizards, but they say Genies are better.

It offers action scripting with hundreds of predefined actions that can be used for building applications without writing one character of code. Alpha's Visual Report Writer will also impress you with its ease of use, and lets you accomplish custom layouts and many other tasks. As suggested above, it also works with HTML and supports Active X. Read more about it on their Web site and you will see that Alpha 5, ver. 6 is even more outstanding than ever. I've used Alpha Software's database for my own purposes for years and I'm no expert.

The retail price for Alpha 5 ver. 6 is $349.00, but during January and February of 2005 you get a tremendous discount, just $179.00 if you download it (24 megs). To do that, e-mail Brett Johnston at [brett@alphasoftware.com] with the code "dealsguy" in the subject line to make arrangements for downloading. If you prefer to have it shipped, e-mail Brett with "dealsguy" in the subject line. You can also call Brett at 800-451-1018 Ext. 11. Shipping is $12.00 in the US, $30.00 to Canada.

Working On Your Icons?
I received this announcement from Roman Rudnik, Marketing Communications Mgr. of ArcticLine Software, which produces Bee Icons. He states: "Bee Icons is an icon customization tool that allows you to change over 250 system icons in Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP, individually or using icon themes. I think you will find our software interesting. Designed for Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP, the application allows changing over 250 standard icons separately, one after another, or all together using one of the many Bee Icons Themes. Along with Desktop, Drive and Folder icons, the program can successfully change icons on the Windows XP Start Panel. (DealsGuy note: Check the product page: http://www.beeicons.com/features.php.)

"We offer 15% discount for user group members. If you are interested, please e-mail me at [roman@beeicons.com] and I will send you a Discount coupon code. This code should be entered during registration process to get the discount."

Talk All Over The World
I was browsing a recent issue of Hewie's Favorites (his newsletter) and noticed something that might interest you. Information on their Web site is a bit vague so beware. Sounds like both parties must be on-line. Called "Free World Dialup (FWD)," it is located at [http://www.pulver.com/fwd/] and they claim you can make free phone calls over the Internet using your regular telephone and a computer program. I didn't try it. Maybe you could call your own phone with the computer and give your spouse hell, then hang up before they find out who is calling. Just a thought!

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 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 [bobclick@mindspring.com]. Visit my Web site at [http://www.dealsguy.com]. I have posted new Web pages with announcements I received in 2004. Sorry they are not well organized, but what is there was a lot of work, as they all have to be edited.

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