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

Dr. - Dr., Where Art Thou
I know this is not computer related, but this month I'd like to talk about what I feel is serious and plays on our complacency. Is your doctor really a doctor? Are the initials after his name MD or DO, or are they PA or NP? Most people know what MD means, and even DO, but how about all the rest! When my wife and I relocated to Orlando, we looked for a new family doctor. We selected a doctor from our "approved provider" directory and were seeing another doctor in that office for two years before we discovered he was not really a doctor. Since he was in that doctor's office, we thought he was a doctor. Finally, a nurse working in a lab told us he was not a doctor when we spoke about the "nice doctor." We were shocked and asked why. She explained the difference saying he was actually a Physician's Assistant, and that does not even come close to having the qualifications to be a doctor, but sees you in lieu of the doctor. She said a PA is more or less a nurse with certain experience. I had noticed the letters after his name on the door were PA, but thought nothing about asking what it meant. In other words, I made an assumption I shouldn't have. After being enlightened, we started asking for the Doctor. I was told that the PA clears everything through the doctor when making his evaluations, but afterward, I remembered that sometimes the other guy (the actual doctor) differed with the PAs prognosis, 'when asked.'

Recently, I saw a cardiologist three times and when they were making the next follow-up appointment, I was told this one would be with a nurse (Nurse Practitioner). At least they didn't hide anything. When I asked if the office call would be cheaper, they said no. I said not to bother. If the doctor didn't have time to see me, I'd find one that did. I realize these people are under a doctor's supervision, but I don't agree with the concept that is designed to make more money for the doctor through our ignorance. When I'm paying for a doctor, that's who I expect to see for the price my insurance, or I, is paying. What are your thoughts, and has this happened to you? I am a volunteer in a retiree walk-in center who helps retirees with insurance problems. Insurance contracts do not pay for a PA or NP (don't know about HMOs), but that is rarely the way it is billed. I could write a book!! [ bobclick@mindspring.com ]

And Now For The Deals.
The Jaws PDF creator products deal ended. Feb. 15. [http://www.insight.com/jaws ] Also, you'll find three new groups listed on my Web site's distribution page that now read the DealsGuy column.

You Could Take This Keyboard Scuba Diving
Maybe I'm going a bit too far with that statement, but this one is designed for bad environments. I know most of you won't need this kind of keyboard at home unless you spill your coffee a lot. It's designed for the worst conditions. The following is their description:

"The 'CoolOne' is a water-resistant and contaminant proof keyboard. It's sealed and rigid surface is ideal for industrial and medical use, as well as other outdoor environments. It's a rigid keyboard with tactile feedback keys. It comes with a USB connector and an available PS/2 adapter. It's perfect for environments where there's a lot of dust (warehouses, outdoor use), where water or moisture is a problem (food processing plants, marine use), and where disinfecting is needed (hospital/medical and school use). It's also great for anyone who eats and drinks near his/her keyboard and has ever accidentally spilled something inside it. Check the specs further at [ http://www.man-machine.com ]."

They offered me a sample product, and what a coincidence that the box was mutilated when it arrived. The box had been squashed and punched through, then repaired with plastic tape. The keyboard could also rattle around in the box. When I tried it, it worked just fine and I was impressed (I tried every character multiple times). On close examination, I don't see how anything, dust or liquid, could penetrate it's skin, it certainly is sealed. I plugged it into the USB port and Windows immediately installed drivers for it. It needs a slightly heavier touch, but I quickly got used to that. I do miss having legs on the back though.

The normal price is $179.00 (US funds) and my readers will get $20.00 discounted from that price when ordering from their Web site [http://store.yahoo.com/man-machine-store/ ], or by calling 301-341-4900. Also by e-mailing them at [ sales@man-machine.com ]. Shipping is approximately $8.00 in the USA. Use the coupon code "click" when ordering for your $20.00 discount. This offer expires April 30, 2003.

If you have a swimming pool you might consider putting one of these keyboards in the pool. That way people could send an e-mail for help if they are drowning. It is supposed to work in water, right?

You'll Come Clean With This One
I saw this at Comdex and liked it. Mine works great. The LENSPEN is a very efficient and easy-to-use optical lens cleaning system. It's designed for all optics including cameras, camcorders, telescopes, binoculars, riflescopes and spotting scopes. Containing a non-liquid compound that will not spill or dry out, the LensPen system is safe, user-friendly and its compact size fits into almost any pocket.

Then there is the MiniPro for smaller lenses. MiniPro is specially designed for digital and advanced photo system cameras, microscopes, pocket binoculars, and small eyepieces. The same LensPen cleaning system is employed in this great new product: a soft, natural brush to wipe away excess dirt, and a flexible cleaning tip with special cleaning compound.

These products are said to be safe to use on all lenses. Offers flexible cleaning tip, non-liquid cleaning compound that will not spill or dry out, reduces static built-up, prevents corrosion and fits easily into any pocket or bag. Check the product further at [ http://www.lenspen.com ]. The DealsGuy price on either the LensPen or MiniPro is $9.95 in US funds plus S&H, which will be about $6.00 in the USA. To order at that price, contact Leona Borsa at 1-877-608-0868 and mention the DealsGuy column, or use the magic words 'Bob Click' when ordering. This deal is good until April 30, 2003.

Do You Need A Fix?
Don Singleton, APCUG Vice-president, alerted me to this one. It is called BigFix and is actually a free download. It analyzes your computer to see what fixes it might need, then guides you through them. It also alerts you of updates you need and does that for you. Here is their description:

"The BigFix solution leverages the reach of the Internet and the power of modern computers to create a mass preventive maintenance system that enables mass identification and elimination of computer problems before they cause failures. The BigFix solution can automatically monitor and detect a problem, proactively alert users or administrators to the problem before a failure occurs, and fix it on one or more machines at once with the click of a mouse. Because the BigFix solution can find and cure thousands, even millions of computers at once, it changes the nature and economics of technical support as well as desktop management. Unlike other available approaches, the BigFix solution simplifies maintenance, reduces support costs, and increases user satisfaction by finding problems before, not after, users experience a failure."

To download this product, go to [ http://www.bigfix.com ]. Don gave me the URL for an in-depth write-up by Richard J. deJongh of Tulsa Computer Society. [http://tcs.org/ioport/nov02/bigfix.htm ] I have not tried it so I have no experience using it.

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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