NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, January 2008
The Deals Column
By Bob Click, The Deals Making Man
(click to email author)

My wife drives a 2003 GMC Sonoma pickup and while I could write a book about its shortcomings, she loves it. We bought an extended warranty on it, but for only five years or 50,000 miles because we didn’t think we would own it more than five years. We noticed oil leaks on the garage floor and took it to the dealer for diagnosis. The five-year warranty recently ended, but the truck only has 60,000 easy miles on it. The service advisor told us it had three leaks and explained that one was an oil pan leak, another is oil leaking from the timing chain cover and the other was the rear transmission seal leaking.

I was surprised about so many leaks, but asked the price of repairs. He said that the oil pan could not be removed because of the front end cross member being too close so they must pull the engine for those repairs. The total bill for all the leaks would be a bit over $1,700. I was astounded because I felt that 60,000 miles was premature for so many oil leaks.

I called GMC Customer Service, who has not been much help in the past with another ongoing problem, and explained the situation and disappointment with the reliability of the vehicle. The customer rep said he would take it up with the Zone Manager and get back with me. The dealership advisor said not to expect much these days. A few days later, the zone manager said they would be happy to help me and said they would pay for the gaskets and give me a 10% discount on the repair cost. I was stunned and told them where they could shove that help and that they had insulted my intelligence. After all, the gaskets would probably cost $20 and most dealerships give senior citizens a 10% discount, so there was no help there and they said OK, sorry, goodbye. I would have been happy with 50% or something like that. No wonder GM is going bankrupt with that kind of product reliability and customer relations attitude.

My son used my GM discount to purchase a GMC Sierra pickup and has had his share of warranty problems with it. First was a problem with the brake rotors, which the dealer would not replace when they became warped at 2,500 miles. They resurfaced them and the problem came back. Later, when the vehicle was just out of warranty, the diesel engine’s injector pump went out. Customer Service said they would repair it at no cost, but it took two weeks to get the parts and they would not pay for the rental vehicle (interestingly, a Toyota pickup) which had always been customary. There were other problems. The first GMC pickup before he purchased his present one had transmission problems that they couldn’t seem to repair and he had an attorney force GM to refund his money under the Lemon Law. This will be his last GMC, just like us, or probably even a GM product, for that matter, and that’s where my pension comes from.

New Product From Diskeeper
Ms. Teal Thompson, Director of Public Relations, sent me the specifications and pricing (below) for Diskeeper 2009 (just released). Diskeeper has always been a superb product.

    “New Features List:
    “Improved Trialware: Trialware will now take an analysis of the volume(s) “before” and “after” initial installation. A comparison report is then generated, demonstrating improve conditions.
    “Improved InvisiTasking: The new, more assertive InvisiTasking can now operate in competitive environments, in conjunction with other always-on/idle-time tasks that run at lowest priority while still guaranteeing completely invisible, zero-overhead, operations.
    “IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6): Diskeeper 2009 now fully supports communication, such as remote management on native IPv6 networks.
    “Improved Free Space Consolidation: About 90% of the available free space will now be grouped into less than a dozen free space segments. This will increase file write performance.
    “About InvisiTasking
    “Instead of the operating system scheduler allocating the entire computer system to each process, one at a time, InvisiTasking empowers the system to allocate resources (CPU, memory, disk, and network) allowing overlapping usage of separate resources, not just reducing system overhead, but eliminating it altogether.
    “InvisiTasking is what makes Diskeeper defrag in real time with zero overhead. Systems simply run fast, operate at peak and are reliable, constantly. The drives are always optimally maintained.
    “Diskeeper 2009 includes the new InvisiTasking 2.0! New functionality in InvisiTasking will allow it to be more assertive, while still guaranteeing completely invisible, zero-overhead, operations.” (Check their Web site for further information.)
    “Diskeeper 2009 with HyperFast™ SSD optimization:
    “The new Diskeeper 2009 is now available as a bundle with the new HyperFast SSD optimization product.
    “HyperFast™: Solid State drives (SSDs) promise users a faster and better experience than conventional hard disk drives (HDD). However, Microsoft® Windows® is not optimized for NAND Flash as a principal storage device, such as with SSDs. The result is that, over time, customers of systems with SSDs will experience a very noticeable and dramatic deterioration (up to 80%), to the degree that their computers operate much slower than they would with a hard disk. The new HyperFast feature bundled with Diskeeper 2009 is specifically designed to eliminate performance degradation, and restore performance to like-new conditions.”
    Special pricing only applies on multiple purchases. Diskeeper 2009 Home:
    ESD    $29.95
    2-pack $44.95
    3-pack $54.95
    5-pack $89.95
    Diskeeper 2009 Professional:
    ESD    $59.95
    2-pack $89.95
    3-pack $149.95
    5-pack $269.75

Order through their online store at http://www.diskeeper.com/purchase/purchase.aspx.

Want A DVD Creator? DealsGuy Note: I have not actually tried this product. ZC Software has released ZC DVD Creator Platinum V. 6.2.2, a new version of ZC DVD creator software that converts almost any video source to burn on a DVD directly without having to store it on a hard drive. ZC DVD Creator Platinum lets users customize their menu templates to match the user's style, giving the movie a polished look. The software will edit, author and burn all DVD formats ever known. With ZC DVD Creator Platinum, it is possible to easily create personal DVDs.

ZC DVD Creator Platinum supports all known video source formats, such as AVI, DIVX, XVID, RM, RMVB, MPEG, MPG, VCD, SVCD, WMV, ASF, ASX, SWF, MOV/DAT, FLV (Flash Video), 3GP (3gpp, 3gp, 3gp2), MP4 (mp4, mpeg4), Nullsoft Video (NSV) ,AVS, Decrypted DVD File (VOB), MKV, DV video, mts, and m2ts. Also, the user has new menu template themes that can easily customize the new Hollywood-style DVD menus. It’s possible to trim and split-cut the videos, specify the DVD background Music and Images, edit the DVD Menu short description and playback preview the video file.

The video encoder guarantees the best DVD picture quality within one hour. If Nero is installed, the software automatically selects Nero as the default burning engine. ZC DVD Creator Platinum supports wide screens (16:9) as well as the usual TV screens (4:3). It also supports both NTSC and PAL TV systems. The advanced Dolby Digital audio will strengthen the movie with theater quality sound. The software includes automatic matching of a broad range of DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW burners. The user can burn a DVD Movie image file placed on a hard disc to a DVD Disk directly without storing them on a hard disc.

ZC DVD Creator Platinum has a friendly and easy to use interface that allows the user to create a DVD movie just by one click. The new version of ZC DVD Creator Platinum has an upgraded video clip edit feature.

Pricing and Availability

ZC DVD Creator Platinum is compatible with all versions of Windows. Ordering the software on a CD-ROM is $15 USD extra for shipping.

Special offers are:
- ZC DVD Creator Platinum and ZC Video Converter at $60 USD;
- ZC DVD Creator Platinum and QR Photo DVD Slideshow at $60 USD;
- ZC DVD Ripper and ZC Video Converter at $65 USD;

By purchasing ZC DVD Creator Platinum the user gets lifetime FREE Technical Support and FREE upgrades. For firsthand appraisal, a free trial version is available. The user has a 30-day money back guarantee.

Product page: http://www.videoxdvd.com/product.htm

Download link: http://www.videoxdvd.com/download.htm

Company web-site: http://www.videoxdvd.com

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