NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, January 2007
The Deals Column
by Bob (the Cheapskate)Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

My wife and I decided to treat ourselves to another cruise and this time we were not disappointed. We chose Holland America’s MS Volendam for a ten day southern Caribbean cruise and, unlike our experience on HA’s Zaandam, we were happy with the way the Volendam did things. Actually, we chose it mostly for the price, but also because it was Holland America since Carnival had some slightly lower prices for that date. Our only complaint might have been poor table service at our dinner seating, although they improved toward the end of the cruise. While we’ve had better food on cruise ships, the food on the Volendam was not bad.

I liked the ice cream bar that was open at certain times each day offering four different flavors of hard ice cream, one sherbet and one soft ice cream daily with all the trimmings, and plenty of other deserts. All over the ship were stands holding sterilization cream for your hands. Most of them were used voluntarily, but when you entered the dining room, an attendant squirted it into your hand as you entered. I was impressed with their efforts to prevent sickness, and I washed my hands quite frequently.

The entertainment was top notch each evening, always something to look forward to. There was only one evening without entertainment, but that was the big barbecue party by the pool, complete with the ice sculpturing, and the food was great. Even our cabin was a nice size and had a king sized bed, a nice sofa and chair. That ship had the largest library I have seen, although it was not a really large ship. The captain said the Volendam had been refurbished nine months ago.

I signed up for time at the Internet Café, but working with their machines was a challenge considering the mouse usually didn’t work well and the small curser was hard to follow on any computer I tried. They occasionally had discounts on the service. I bought 100 minutes for $55. I asked if the Internet service would be a freebie when I took enough cruises, using Princess lines as a comparison. I was told no, and that the free Internet service would soon be ending on Princess Lines since this ISP was taking over as their service provider. Some folks found free Internet service at a couple of ports, but I only found out about it on the ship that night.

Something of interest was that Sprint (our Cell phone provider) had told us we would be able to use our cell phone in the Bahamas and the US Virgin Islands if we set it to roam, but we were surprised when our phones found the Sprint Network when we turned them on in St. Thomas (a US Virgin Island). We didn’t have to worry about any roaming charges and had a full signal. A friend had asked us to bring him back some duty-free liquor. Since we knew nothing about prices for it, we were able to call our friend while inside the store in St. Thomas to confirm the best prices. Carrying the heavy bottles around while shopping was another story though.

Deal Reminder
The Medistick deal should still be good this month so don’t wait any longer. Click on http://www.medistick.ch/en/contact/ and mention the DealsGuy column in the ‘comments’ area.

Dave Whittle’s discount on the Lenova Laptops may still be good. Simply call Lenovo's user group inside sales rep, Isaac Williams, directly for help in configuring your system, or to get answers to your questions. Call 1-877-338-4465, Option 1, Extension 6322.

I read an interesting article in Information Week magazine about a sophisticated attack on E-Trade and TD Ameritrade that resulted from identity theft. You might find it interesting. http://www.informationweek.com/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=QHSZ4AFSOS4R4QSNDLPCKHSCJUNN2JVN?articleID=193402954&queryText=Larry+Greenemeier

I haven’t tried the items below and descriptions are in their own words, so do your homework if anything interests you.

Another Tool For Restoring Your MS Office Files
Smart PC Solutions Inc. announces the release of Smart Data Recovery, the newest freeware utility to restore MS Office documents, photos, music and many other types of files. You just type a path, and Smart Data Recovery will search for deleted files and folders automatically. Once Smart Data Recovery finds erased files, it shows their name, date, time and attributes.

Smart Data Recovery works with different data storage devices, such as hard disk drives (IDE, ATA, SATA and SCSI), flash cards, multimedia cards, USB drives, PC cards, memory sticks, secure digital cards and floppy disks. It handles zip files and files on your digital camera. It also restores all files and folders on a disk drive that, according to the Windows notifications, can't be accessed. The utility supports FAT, FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS, and is compatible with Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP/2003. The program can also remove the data related to deleted files by just clicking the “Wipe” button. Therefore, nobody will be able to recover your personal information and use it in their own interests. The program has a multilingual interface that supports English, German, Spanish, French and Italian.

Smart Data Recovery is free at http://www.smartpctools.com/data_recovery, but here is a special offer! Smart PC Solutions, Inc. offers user group members a 50% discount on their other software products. It says FACUG there, but all UG members can order. Check out the other utilities by Smart PC Solutions, Inc. at the company's web site. http://www.smartpctools.com/products
50% discount URL:
Mailing Address: Smart PC Solutions, Inc., 901 N. Pitt Str., Suite 325, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA

Help For Your PIM
Copy2calendar minimizes the time and effort to create a calendar entry in a personal information manager such as Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes or Palm Desktop. When you receive an email with the date and time of an upcoming event, you just highlight the text, press Ctrl+C twice, and that's it! A new calendar entry is created. Copy2calendar recognizes all the myriad of formats of date and time that a human reader understands. It accommodates European (day/month/year) and American (month/day/year) conventions. Copy2calendar is able to find date and time specifications in 13 languages including English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Swedish.

You can easily extract date and time from a wide variety of sources: mail software, web browser, office applications, and with Copy2calendar, you will never forget or confuse time of an event. Copy2calendar runs under Windows 2000/Windows XP. It is free for noncommercial use, but Registration on LoquiSoft is required. Licenses for commercial use are available at $24.95 (USD). A fully functional 30-day free evaluation version of Copy2calendar is available from http://LoquiSoft.com/copy2calendar_setup.exe (1.6Mb)
Product page link: http://loquisoft.com/copy2calendar/
E-mail: <werner.noska@loquisoft.com
Company website:

How About A FREE Plugin For PhotoShop!
SibCode has released the newest version of Icon Plugin for Photoshop. This plug-in enhances Adobe Photoshop with an ability to export and import Windows icons (.ico). The use of the plug-in eliminates the need for intermediate files and additional icon editors. In addition to Adobe Photoshop, the plug-in can work with Elements (? Maybe Photoshop Elements), AfterEffects, Premiere, PhotoDeluxe, Corel PhotoPaint, PaintShop Pro, Painter.

Icon Plugin for Photoshop supports multi-format icons, transparency and semi-transparency, and allows making icons that are compatible with Microsoft Windows XP and Vista. The plug-in also supports non-standard icons of different sizes and color resolutions, including monochrome, 16 colors, 256 colors, 24-bit True Color, and 32-bit True Color with semi-transparency.

Icon Plugin for Photoshop is compatible with all versions of Microsoft Windows and all versions of Adobe Photoshop, including 3.0-7.0, CS, and CS2. The product is absolutely free.
Product page link: http://sibcode.com/icon-plugin/index.htm
Screenshot: http://sibcode.com/icon-plugin/scrf.png
Download link: http://www.sibcode.com/downloads/icon-plugin.zip
E-mail: <pr@sibcode.com
Web: http://www.sibcode.com

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.

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