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

It was with sadness that I read the final issue of Blue Chip News, newsletter of the Saginaw Valley Computer Organization http://www.svca.org. Describing the end must have been tough for their long time editor Lynn Kauer to write since he has long been one of the faithful for the benefit of the members. I thought I even detected a tearstain on that page. The final bell rang when four long time volunteers moved away and nobody would step forward to replace any of them, and the same problem for some other long time volunteers who wanted to relax for a while. With too few members willing to help with the work, it became necessary to determine the group’s future, and only 13 members bothered to show up for the final meeting. I feel that the no-shows were actually the real losers. Two SIGs will continue to run independently. I hope the members who couldn’t find the time realize the error of their ways and revive the group. I had occasion to visit that group several years ago and it was a fun night. My meeting badge still hangs in my office; my name written on a 5 ¼" floppy.

This is not the first user group to shut down recently for the same reason, and the abundance of free-riders assures that it won’t be the last. Some groups are still doing well even though they also have some long time workers who cannot get replaced. I have long heard the refrain about the Internet replacing user groups because it has every thing a computer user needs to know, but I don’t buy that statement. Nobody from the Internet is going to stand in front of you trying to explain something so you can better understand it, and answer your questions in the process. Nor will anybody from the Internet stop by and help fix your problem computer for free. Yes, there are some people who could read the answers on a Web page and know exactly what to do, but I am not one of them and many other people are not that capable either without friends to help. Most important though, the friendship and camaraderie of a user group is irreplaceable.

I know my opinion will be mostly ignored because freeloader members are what they are, but that type of member should think about all the answers and information they get at a meeting or presentation, and consider giving back instead of just taking. Try it, you might enjoy it, and there are lots of ways to give back.

Be Aware!
I now use mostly new product announcements and have not tried any of them. These are their own words, but I have severely edited them to fit, and reworded a few places, so do check for better information on their Web sites. Hopefully you already knew that. Check for policy statements.

A New Dictionary For Your Pocket PC
LingvoSoft has released the new LingvoSoft Dictionary 2007 for Pocket PC. The latest dictionaries are available to provide instant bi-directional translations between English and French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Turkish and Russian, and are faster than before. The 2007 dictionaries are fully compatible with the most popular MS Office application letting users translate any word found in an Internet Explorer webpage. Speaking versions speak their translations aloud using the most sophisticated TTS (text-to-speech) technology available. A synonym search and full usage information for every translation that includes part of the speech, gender, comment, transcription and sentence examples rounds out the improvements.

User group members get a 25% discount on any LingvoSoft software title at http://www.lingvosoft.com.. Simply enter certificate code "MY8UZPF7M4" in the 'Add Gift' field of the shopping cart and click the "Add Gift" button. (Deal good until March 2007)

Find out more about the new and improved LingvoSoft Dictionary 2007 for Pocket PC here: http://www.lingvosoft.com/info/software/Pocket-2007/?refid=16179

LingvoSoft Dictionary 2007 is core component of a complete language solution called LingvoSoft Suite http://www.lingvosoft.com/info/software/Suites/?refid=16179.

A New CD/DVD Label Maker
Acoustica Inc. has released Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker Version 3.x, which now supports LightScribe Direct Disk Technology™. LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling is a new technology that offers users a simple, no-hassle way to burn professional, silkscreen-quality labels on their CDs and DVDs. Using the same laser that burns data in their disc drives, users burn their data as always, flip the disc over, reinsert it into the drive and burn a precise, iridescent label with their desired text and graphics using the same laser that burns the data. No printer, permanent marker or adhesive labeling is required.

Acoustica CD Label Maker can automatically import track information directly from iTunes play lists, or from dozens of play list file types, can import track information from CD-Text, FreeDB, and MusicBrainz, and can directly read track/file information from MP3 or data CDs and DVDs. Its auto-track formatting allows you to format your tracks layout in a variety of styles, including circular and spiral text, with a single click. You can also hide and show specific tracks fields (title, artist, genre, etc.) or hide/show tracks listings altogether with a single button click or menu selection. It prints on over 500 stock sticker labels and CD jewel case templates. Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker also supports direct-to-CD printing on more than 70 printers.

A free 7-day trial of Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker is available for download at http://www.acoustica.com/cd-label-maker/download.htm System Requirements: PentiumII-400, Win 98/NT/2K/ME/XP, 128 MB Ram, Printer. Requires less than 250 MB of hard disk space

LightScribe Requirements: LightScribe-enabled drives and LightScribe media

Pricing: US Price $21.95, but computer club member receive a 20% discount when they enter COMPUTERCLUB in the coupon box. All versions include lifetime support.

Remote Administration And Monitoring Software
V.A.P. Software has released version 6.0 of Net Control 2, remote administration and monitoring software for classroom, office, and home networks. Starting at only $45 for the Home Edition, Net Control 2 enables you to control networking machines remotely using the keyboard and mouse, manage files, send messages (text, graphics, sound), and share any desktop with users. Version 6.0 introduces Desktop Recorder. It lets users record a sequence of actions taking place on the desktop and adds voice instructions to the record.

Users can transfer large files (above 1MB) much faster because version 6.0 has a special mode of transferring files. The 'Remote Desktop' feature is extended in the 'View One Control All' mode so you can view screenshots of all remote machines. Click on a screenshot and it will activate a Remote Desktop session for the selected machine. When 'Autoconnect at startup' mode is selected, Net Control 2 Client opens the connection automatically at startup. Check our site at http://www.netcontrol2.com/nc2.html to learn about other new and enhanced features.

Net Control 2 v.6.0 runs under all versions of Windows (95-2003) and costs $99 (US) for a Standard Edition license that allows the installation of administrator components on 1 machine and user components on up to 10 user machines. User group members get a 20% discount on Net Control 2 by using the coupon code: VADI-63DT. For other types of licenses, please refer to http://www.netcontrol2.com/fulllist.html. Licensed customers are entitled to premium technical support by email. Further information is available from http://www.netcontrol2.com.

Direct download link: http://www.netcontrol2.com/getfile.php?id=232600.exe
E-mail: support@netcontrol2.com

Protect Your Images With Your Own Watermark
Watermark Factory announces version 2.53 of image protection tool, packed with new effects and image processing technologies. This update allows you to use a Vista-compatible product version as soon as you migrate to the new operating system. New features allow working with EXIF and IPTC information. Watermark Factory v2.53 helps you create a visible protection without destroying the overall aesthetic impression of an image. You can create a smart-looking text or a logo watermark and integrate it into your image. Once your watermark is created and saved, easily retrieve it and use it again with just a couple of mouse clicks.

Watermark Factory allows adjusting opacity and offers shadow, embossing and engraving effects. As for a logo, you can emboss the image and make it opaque to different degrees. The anti-aliasing technology implemented in the program will render your watermark crystal-clear quality. Three modes of positioning allow the user to tune the watermark placement to the image size and margins, and set a desired tilt angle.

Availability and Pricing
Watermark Factory v2.53 runs under Windows 95/98/XP/NT/2003/VISTA platforms and costs $69 USD for a single user license and $149 USD for a business license. User group members receive a 30% discount on the new version of Watermark Factory v2.53 by using the discount coupon SBE-KX6U. Free technical support and minor upgrades are extended to all registered users. A free trial version is available for download at http://www.watermarkfactory.com/download/WatermarkFactory_setup.EXE.

Product page link: http://www.watermarkfactory.com
Voice Mail: +1 (206) 984-1843
Fax: +1 (206) 984-2378
Postal address: Pacific Business Centre: Sibental, P.O. Box 34069 #381 Seattle, WA 98124-1069, USA

That's it for this month. Meet me here again next month if your editor permits. I’ll have other new announcements on my Web site page. 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

Click here to return to top