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

They Said It Couldn’t Be Done
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes when a company sheds one of its holdings? When the separation between Daimler’s and Chrysler’s financial systems needed to happen, many said that would not be achieved for years, but one guy decided the experts were wrong and accomplished wonders. Read this fascinating story at: http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=211200970.

Here’s an article about what some schools are doing to gather data that would help improve the students chances for getting the most out of school. It’s lengthy, but is at: http://www.informationweek.com/news/business_intelligence/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=211600206&pgno=1&queryText=&isPrev=. Some ‘letters to the editor’ printed later were also interesting from folks that said that teachers also should share the responsibility for a good education for students.

Just a reminder about the special offer for Diskeeper that is still good. http://www.diskeeper.com/purchase/purchase.aspx Also, I have not tried any of the products below except TeamViewer.

I have been using TaxAct to do my income tax for a few years now and I’m happy with it, although I do use the pay version because it brings data forward from last year to edit and the free version doesn’t; you must type in all the data again. The free version also does one free E’file for you, and if there’s a refund, you’ll get it back in ten days. Visit http://www.taxact.com.

DVD Converter At No Cost
DVDVideoSoft Ltd. has updated their Free Video to Flash Converter:

With Free Video to Flash Converter it is very easy to enrich a corporate web site or a personal blog with a good looking video. The program offers over 80 different themes for the flash player. Free Video to Flash Converter converts video files, one by one, or several files at once, to flash (SWF and FLV). Do the whole movie or just a portion in order to make a required video.

The updated Free Video to Flash Converter has a completely new player that meets all up-to-date standards and has all necessary features. Among them are:

    - full screen mode;
    - volume control;
    - autoload enable/disable feature;
    - autoplay enable/disable feature;
    - loop playback;
    - big play button on the video;
    - play list;
    - subtitles support;
    - hot keys support.

Free Video to Flash Converter’s design is somewhat strict, but the colors of all player elements are customizable. Now everyone can find the matching one for the particular site. The application runs under both XP and Vista; very convenient for the majority of users.

Free Video to Flash Converter is available at http://www.dvdvideosoft.com/free-dvd-video-software.htm for immediate free download. The program contains no spyware or adware and no activation or registration is required.

Now For A New Task Manager
AnVir Software has released AnVir Task Manager Pro 5.4, a complete application that lets you control everything that's going on while using your computer. AnVir Task Manager manages startup programs and active processes and removes spyware while offering a great variety of Windows enhancements. No need to install dozens of system utilities. You need only one program instead; AnVir Task Manager.

This Task Manager replacement analyzes everything that's currently active on your system and displays it on a tabbed interface. It displays programs that are scheduled to run upon Windows start, as well as all active processes, and services. It shows full information about each process including command line, its DLLs in use, inbound and outbound traffic, disk load, tray icon, performance graph, and Internet connections.

AnVir Task Manager monitors the system's workload, dropping icons in the system tray that indicate CPU usage (including a breakdown by application), hard drive temperature, free space, disk activity (again with per-application info), laptop battery, memory, and network inbound and outbound traffic. You always know exactly what’s loading your PC’s processing power.

AnVir Task Manager automatically provides a security risk rating for each active process, service and startup program. The security risk rating indicates the likelihood of a program being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. The rating is based on behavior, code analysis, and integrated database with information about 70,000+ startup programs, Internet Explorer toolbars and services. When any program tries to add itself to startup, AnVir Task Manager shows a notification and enables you to cancel each new startup program you consider useless or harmful. Right click on any suspicious process or file and check it on virustotal.com with 30 antivirus products.

AnVir Task Manager makes using XP or Vista much handier. With it you can minimize selected application windows to the system tray to save taskbar space. You can make windows semi-transparent, or pin them “always on top” by just right-clicking on the title of any running application. Also, you get the list of recently used folders in Open/Save dialogs. On Windows XP it shows the drive's free space with a colored horizontal bar in Windows “My Computer.” 

AnVir Task Manager offers a very useful Tweaker that gives you direct access to many Windows settings, enabling you to make your operating system behave the way you want. Tweaker also includes many settings that cannot be accessed in Windows at all without directly editing the registry. AnVir Task Manager dramatically accelerates your PC or Windows boot process. The Startup tab shows all programs that run on Windows start. It includes name, file path, company, and description. You can disable or delete programs that you don’t need and your PC will run much faster.

With its “Delayed Startup” feature, you can set up any startup program to load one or more minutes later after Windows startup. This allows you to begin using the computer without waiting for Windows to load all startup applications. Also, you can run startup programs as minimized to system tray, or as floating icons.

AnVir Task Manager runs on Windows XP/Vista/2003/2008 and is available in Pro version for $59.95, standard version for $39.95 and a free version, which still has a lot of functions. Users Group members get 15% discount from the retail price using the coupon code “user group.” You won’t see that on their Web site. 20-days evaluation trial is available free from http://www.anvir.com.

Take Control Remotely
Having someone talk you through fixing a problem on your computer doesn’t always accomplish the task very well, besides taking a lot of time. Perhaps a better solution would be for the other person to take control of your machine and physically do the job before your very eyes, which sometimes happens when you call a company’s tech support.

This could also be a better system for a helper to teach you how to use your software to accomplish a special task. http://www.Teamviewer.com might be the answer for this, and the product is free.

Hewie Poplock http://www.hewie.net of Central Florida Computer Society told me he tried this and it works well. Both parties need the product on their computer, but only one actually needs it installed for a session. The other can simply run it without actually installing it. Check their Web site for more information. In fact, he set up a session with my machine, although on the first try, I accidentally had control of his machine, so we had to start over, but the connection was easy. According to their Web site, we could have exchanged control, but we didn’t realize that. He checked some settings on my machine and then I asked him to actually transfer a file from my floppy drive to his machine. While I could watch him moving the curser around to check my settings, I was surprised that I couldn’t see it when he did the file transfer and he didn’t know a way to make it show up for me, but he also transferred a jpeg of a document to my machine. If your file is too large for an e-mail, this method would do the file transfer quickly and easily.

Hewie also suggested another remote control product, but has not fully tried it out. It’s called CrossLoop and Don Singleton has an article about it in his APCUG Reports, just released. Visit http://reports.apcug.org/2009q1.htm to get that publication.

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.

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