NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
The Deals Column
by Bob Click, The DealsGuy, March 2002
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

Caligari software
I like Caligari software for the unique effects it offers. Last year they began sending me e-mail marketing messages for their products, often a special offer. When they came out with iSpace, I bought their introductory special. Two months later they introduced an updated version of iSpace, but if I wanted it, I had to buy it. I was upset and didn't buy it. I complained, but to no avail.

Several months later, I purchased a special they offered on version 5.1 of trueSpace with some plug-ins bundled (how soon we forget). Not even a month later, they introduced trueSpace 5.2, an updated version that I would have to pay $99 for if I wanted it. I thought that was unfair and complained to their marketing department, saying that other vendors usually have a grace period for a free upgrade if you have just purchased their software, but it fell on deaf ears. I feel their marketing tactics are very unethical and I have now written off buying anything more from Caligari. I just thought I'd alert you to my experience.

Lots of Feedback
I was very surprised by the response I received from my comments about the Sept. 11 tragedy and the aftermath. My thanks to everybody who took the time to say they agreed with my comments about profiling. I was surprised at how many (or a family member) were directly affected by profiling.

New Group Listing
The Islander Computer User Group is using this column and is now listed on my distribution page. They are a small group located in Lake Havasu City, AZ. No URL so far though. Also, Santa Anna Valley PC Group has added their name to the list of groups carrying the Deals column on my distribution page. If your group is not listed there please let me know, even if you do not carry my column.

Still Good
Word Smith for the Palm is still good. Go to [http://www.bluenomad.com] to order. The Omega Frame should still be good. To order, e-mail your request to George Johnson [jenco@pacbell.net] and mention the "DealsGuy column." By this time, I'm sure the eVest deal is dead because it was only good until supplies lasted. Unfortunately, other offers helped to deplete their inventory fast, so I'm sure most of my readers missed out. I don't understand why it was just for the present supplies, but that was the rule. He did not tell me it was a closeout, and I've not received a new offer to replace the old one under the circumstances.

Two readers had problems with PC Pinpoint. Be SURE to type DealsGuy (one word) in the password box for the discount. They tell me they are very committed to resolving your problem or your money back. Keep their techs at it until they get it fixed, if a fix is possible.

Not A Good Month For Deals
Vendors completely ignored me this month except for one who contacted me about an offer. What I thought were some good leads for deals from vendors I talked to at Comdex are duds so far. Four vendors I've since tried to contact have completely ignored me by not returning my phone calls or e- mail. Another marketing manager hung up on me when I was trying to explain my column to him. I guess they don't need any help.

Reminds me of a vendor I was making my pitch to at Comdex. His product was a solution called "Wipe Out" to repair scratches on CDs. He quickly interrupted to show me write-ups in several magazines saying he already has lots of exposure and the last thing he needed was more media exposure by (insults withheld). It didn't take me long to exit that vendor's booth. It was one thing to tell me he was not interested, but quite another to impugn my integrity and use those comments in front of my wife. A friend standing near was also dumbfounded.

Do Your Income Taxes FREE
It seems I always forget Tax Act at this time of year, but I'm belatedly reminding you about the free income tax software from Second Story Software. There is also an upgrade version. The paid version is only $19.95 and does offer better features. Download your choice at [http://www.taxact.com] and I'd say to get it done soon.

Ink Jet Your Ink Jet
Susie McLean of Inksell.com contacted me about offering my readers a discount on their products. I know nothing about prices for this type of product, so you are on your own here. However, the Web site seems very professional and it sounds like they offer quality product. Here is Suzie's message:

"InkSell.com is a discount printing Supply Company that specializes in cartridges for all makes of ink jet and laser printers, solid ink printers, copiers, and fax machines. We sell brand names, new (not remanufactured) compatible cartridges, and refill kits. Our compatible cartridge quality is certified to match that of the manufacturer and our prices are up to 70 and 80% less. We would be happy to offer your readers a 10% discount on purchases at our online store.

"A discount coupon code will be valid through April 30, 2002. To redeem the 10% discount, (not valid with any other discount or offer), simply visit our site, [http://www.inksell.com], place your order and continue to 'check out' where there will be a blank to enter the discount coupon code (D0302). The discount will be automatically calculated. Should anyone have questions or need assistance, phone customer service at 1-800-255-0483, or send e-mail to [help@inksell.com]."

Here are more items I found in the September issue of the Macon Users Group's newsletter.

Free HTML Editor
1st Page 2000 is a professional HTML Editor that you can use to create a very good Web site. I understand there are over 450 Javascripts and it supports just about all the latest Web languages. They say it has won 14 Web awards and has been rated one of the top three HTML editors of all time. It contains a novice interface along with an expert one, and, get this ... I'm told it offers live tech support and user forums. You'll find it at [http://www.evrsoft.com] where you can find more information and download it if you like.

Make Annoying Popup Windows Go Away
Popup Killer is a godsend if you hate those ads popping up all the time when you're on line. They are annoying and we can do without them. This is another one I found in the Macon Users Group newsletter. If this concept interests you, go to [http://software.xfx.net/utilities/popupkiller/]. It's freeware, but the article I read recommends you send the author $7.00 to help keep him in beer and pretzels. I'm not sure if that would be the author of popup killer or the author of that article!

Clean Up Your Mail Before Forwarding(Another From Macon Users Group newsletter)
I'm sure you've received e-mail that has been forwarded several times and filled with all kinds of annoying marks. StripMail is just the ticket. It cleans up all those angle brackets and other marks from the e-mail before you forward it on. StripMail will also format text into paragraphs and change the right margin by indenting. You'll find StripMail at [http://www.dsoft.com.tr/stripmail]. It's free and only 265 KB.

SPAM Punisher (From Macon Users Group newsletter)
SPAM Punisher is an anti-spam tool that makes it easy for you to find out the address of a spammer's Internet Service Provider, then generate and send complaints. If an ISP receives enough complaints generated by SPAM Punisher, he may close Internet access to a spammer. Tech TV's The Screensavers recommended it as "a free download of the day." You can download the utility from [http://biosolutions.hypermart.net/].

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@dealsguy.com]. Visit my Web site at [http://www.dealsguy.com] for past columns. Also, there are interesting articles from user group newsletters on my "Articles of Interest" page for viewing or downloading.

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