NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, February 2003
The Deals Column
by Bob Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

I've added a user group to the distribution page on my Web site. Blair Jones, editor for "National Capitol Tandy Computer Users Group" said he has been using the column from time to time, but wanted to get it direct instead of reprinting it. You'll find them listed with their information on my Web site. Check them out.

Greetings Folks, Ya'll Soon Have A Virus, If Ya Follow Instructions
Did you receive one of those eCards? I did, and obviously from a name I knew, but when I found I had to download something to view it, I chose to delete it because I didn't want to be bothered. Little did I know that I did myself a favor. I read in Ed Foster's Gripe Line column (InfoWorld) about the eCard, which is, in reality, a virus that goes into your address book and sends itself out to your friends. According to Ed's column though, antivirus companies didn't treat it as a virus at first because you had to read the EULA (End User License Agreement), then a second EULA to install it and actually get the virus. In other words, the virus would be on your machine with "your" permission if you agreed to the EULA, so it was your own problem. The EULA actually states that it will use your Outlook address book to send the "eCard" to your friends. He writes that the AV companies now have information posted about it and admit that it is a virus in reality. What's next! Read those EULAs before simply agreeing just so you can do a quick installation.

By the way, the camera I bought at Comdex stopped working when I was trying to install the downloader and I am trying to get an exchange. It won't even stay on now. Since I didn't have a memory board in it yet, I lost all the pictures I took in LV. I hope things go better when I get my replacement. Trying to get a replacement hasn't been easy. I learn everything the hard way.

Still Good
The Viralock deal is good until Feb. 28. I noticed they sent out a special to user groups, but my deal is better. However, I just heard from one person who had big problems and he said it took two days, with the help of Earthlink Tech support, to get rid of Viralock and get his machine back to normal, so be aware. I hope I hear from someone who had better luck. [ http://www.viralock.com/dealsguy ]. The SpamNet is a beta right now so it is ongoing for the time being. Download at [http://www.cloudmark.com ].

Tax Time
I forgot to remind everyone last month about where to obtain free software to do your income tax. If you want to do your own taxes free, go to [ http://www.2ndstorysoftware.com ] and download their free standard version of Tax Act. Many use Tax Act and say it works well, but if you want, they have an upgraded version that you pay for. In fact, last year, my own taxman did my taxes with the professional version of Tax Act. I think I'll try doing them myself this year as they are less complicated now. If my next column asks for somebody to bail me out, you'll know I made a mistake, somehow. Hmmm---can you take your laptop to prison, and get your e-mail there? From the DealsGuy Incorporated, er I mean incarcerated---Hmmm.

Can't Afford Acrobat?
I realize there have been ways published lately to make up a PDF file free, but there is another solution at low cost. Here is the description sent to me:

"Jaws PDF Creator provides an affordable and reliable means of creating PDF documents and it now generates PDF 1.4 files as its standard. Ideal for corporations, graphic artists, print publishers, Web publishers and government organizations. Jaws PDF Creator is widely used in corporate and other markets, and as the core technology for Internet printing services. Jaws PDF Creator works in two modes. It installs as a printer in the Windows or Macintosh Printing System allowing you to print to a PDF file directly from any application, or it appears as an icon on the desktop enabling drag-and-drop conversion of PostScript, or EPS files, directly to PDF. Jaws PDF Editor enables you to view, edit and save PDF files on computers using Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

"Another product, Jaws PDF Editor, has many viewing and navigation features. You can navigate via bookmarks, the page list, thumbnails, or links. Reviewer/mark up tools include comments, highlight, strikethrough, and underline, each with an associated pop-up comment window to add additional information. Search for words or phrases in a PDF. Select text with the text and paragraph-select tools and copy into other applications. Auto-rotate while printing so files containing both portrait and landscape pages print in the correct orientation. Other page manipulation tools include insert, delete, reorder, and extract pages. Jaws PDF Editor can be a companion application to Jaws PDF Creator, or can be used as a standalone application."

Until February 15, 2003 (perhaps longer), Jaws PDF Creator V2.11 can be purchased at a 75% discount for just $25.00 (US funds) by calling 1-800-927-9921 or going to [ http://www.insight.com/jaws ]. It is a download (4.8 meg). V2.11 is not the latest version, V3.0 of Jaws PDF Creator is now out and would be available at an additional $30.00. However the V2.11 does almost as much.

Jaws PDF Editor (the companion software) is also available for just $25.00 (1/3 off the list price) (3.9 meg download). They are available separately because not everyone needs both products. For more description, visit [ http://www.jawspdf.com ]. You can even sign up for the free on-line WebX tutorials there. They say the advantage of the Jaws product over free ones is the many features and the quality of the PDF. You can also get $100 off any Jaws PDF server. So far, I have not had the time to try this product. Many of us received it at Comdex.

Sort Of A Swiss Army Knife For Your Computer
A few columns ago I wrote about Power Desk for your file management needs because several readers recommended it. Paul Witheridge from Sarnia PC UG in Sarnia, Ontario, tells me he much prefers a file management program called Total Commander, formerly Windows Commander. He feels it is superior to them all, so you might want to take a look, although it is shareware, not freeware. It is a Swiss company (hence Paul's Swiss army knife comment) and their ordering procedure is a bit confusing, but I think you'll figure it out. No cost to give it a try and see what you think.

Total Commander, version 5.5, and the features are listed below:

  • Two file windows side by side
  • Multiple language support
  • Enhanced search function
  • Compare files / synchronize directories
  • Quick View panel with bitmap display
  • ZIP, ARJ, LZH, RAR, UC2, TAR, GZ, CAB, ACE archive handling + plugins
  • Built-in FTP client with FXP (server to server) and HTTP proxy support
  • Parallel port link, multi-rename tool
  • New: WinXP support, background transfer manager, TAR+GZ packer
  • And many more!

If you like it after your trial, the price is $28.00 American and they take your CC. You'll find the download at [http://www.ghisler.com]. I didn't try it, but I would like something better than Windows Explorer. I checked into a deal, but they declined. I'm passing this one on because some others also say it's a good product.

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 [Bobclick@mindspring.com]. Visit my Web site at [http://www.dealsguy.com] for past columns. Also, I keep adding interesting articles (taken from user group newsletters) to my "Articles of Interest" page for viewing or downloading.

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