NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, March 2005
The Deals Column
by Bob (the Cheapskate)Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
bobclick@mindspring.com
(click to email author)


Is This A Deal, or What?
I was going to take an old computer to our beach condo because even though it was old and slow, it would be plenty good enough for just checking my email and miscellaneous tasks. Then around Thanksgiving prices started dropping on new computers and I saw a Dell ad with a 2.2 gig Celeron processor, 256 megs RAM, CD-ROM burner, 17" monitor etc. for $399 and a $50 rebate, making it just $349. That sounded great, so I went to the local mall with a Dell kiosk so I could ask questions, and ordered one. It also included free two-day shipping. It wasn't the latest and greatest, but actually a computer much more modern than my old one, and cheap.

A week later I saw a Dell ad with the same configuration, but also including a printer, for $349 and no rebate. I still hadn't received the computer I ordered so I called Dell to cancel the original order and get the new deal. They said the original order was already shipped and I should have received it by now. After some conversation about what happened to the two-day shipping, they gave me a $35 Dell store credit for the inconvenience of not having received it yet. Then I hit them up for the printer at no extra cost because of the new ad. After a little argument, and a five-minute wait for a consultation, they finally conceded and promised to send the printer free of charge.

Five days later I finally received the original computer package I had ordered and was pleased with it. I promptly sent for my rebate and three weeks later was amazed to receive $60 instead of $50. However, I still had not received the free printer promised. I called Dell again, gave the tracking number, and found the order had been cancelled, but was offered the option to talk to a human. I laid a guilt complex on Dell for the whole thing and after a pause, they again promised to send a free printer. Two days later a Dell printer arrived and when I opened the box, it was an all-in-1 machine, better than I had expected. Prices in ads have been higher since and I feel I got a great deal.

The two announcements below look like interesting products, but I have not tried either one.

Tax Time
I forgot to remind you previously about the free version of Tax Act for doing your Federal income tax as well as state tax. Visit [http://www.taxactsoftware.com]. You can download a program FREE to calculate your Federal Income tax. This is the third year I have played with it and while there are a few things I would like to see improved, you can't beat the price. There is also a pay-version, which I use, for $12.95 that is well worth the price since it gives you one free E-tax filing. The pay version will import last year's data into the new version, which saves a lot of time. You can also do your tax right on the Tax Act Web site if you prefer. All in all, Tax Act is a good deal.

You can also do your tax right on the IRS's own official Web site. I have not tried it, but Ira Wilsker wrote an excellent article on that and if it is not in your newsletter, check the APCUG Web site. I've seen other free options for doing your own income tax calculation, but I don't have that info handy.

Don't forget that AARP has hard working volunteers who will do your tax FREE if its not too complicated, such as if you have rental homes or apartments. Check with your local AARP chapter for the times and places. If you are unsure about whether they will do yours, take it to them and ask. The worst they can do is say "sorry."

Media Catalog Studio Announcement
This was sent to me in November of 2004. They offer a 15% user group discount. Check their Web site for more information.

"For Immediate Release
Catalog and classify your media collection easy! November 10, 2004 ManiacTools Releases Media Catalog Studio 1.7

Media Catalog Studio is a handy software application that classifies and tracks media files on hard-drives, floppies, external drives, CDs, DVDs and other storage media. Importantly, the information about the media files does not need to be entered manually. The program automatically detects MP3, WMA, APE, OGG, WAV, AVI, WMV, MPEG, Video and Audio CD files and inputs this information inside a database. Moreover, the software comes with CDDB support, an online database that exports information about songs (Title, Artist, Album, Year) directly from Internet.

"All data entries can be sorted by artist, album, year, bitrate, frequency, genre, category, rating, or any field/category. The search in the database can be conducted using multiple parameters, like file properties (name, size, etc), tag information or lyrics. Media file lists can be customized to display information in any way or order. As an added perk, the program features an internal tag reader and editor for audio and video files, duplicates finder, and supports an option for storing pictures. In addition, the application creates Winamp and Windows Media Player play-lists with a few mouse-clicks. The other great features are MS Excel export options and Media Tracker; a feature that shows the user where a necessary media file is located.

"Media Catalog Studio has received over a dozen awards for its usability, including the prestigious Five Cows rating at Tucows.Com, and Editor's Pick at MyMusicTools.com. The program is translated in all major European languages. A free version of Media Catalog Studio Lite 1.7 is available now; [http://www.maniactools.com]. The freeware Lite version supports up to 5 disks in database. An upgrade to a Pro version costs $24.95 US Dollars/Euros for individuals and $34.95 US Dollars/Euros for businesses and organizations. We offer a 15% discount to members of your user group. The discount coupon code is 4567841341 and is redeemable at [http://www.ManiacTools.com/soft/media_catalog_studio/discount.shtml]. If you have any questions, please contact Alex Pavlenko at [press@maniactools.com].

"Company Website [http://www.maniactools.com]

Product Page [http://www.maniactools.com/soft/media_catalog_studio/]

Download [http://www.maniactools.com/media_catalog_studio.exe]"

Here is an announcement for Fontonizer

I received this announcement in November of 2004 and they offer a 15% discount to user group members.

"Our company, Fast Reports Inc., would like to announce the release of Fontonizer for Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP. To get 15% discount for Fontonizer use Coupon Code 'UserGroupPR-FO' on register here: [https://secure.element5.com/shareit/checkout.html?productid=168090].

"Fontonizer is making big waves in web-design and publishing industries. While an average PC has about one hundred different fonts installed - marketers, designers, publishers, editors and print professionals often have collections with 5000 different fonts or more. With so many fonts, only very experienced professionals can match font name with its appearance. But Fontonizer is not merely a font viewer, though it comes with this function built-in. Fontonizer is a font organizer.

"With Fontonizer, any professional can easily classify fonts. First, one creates categories like "Business Letter Body", "Groovy and Hip", "Classy", "Headlines", "Attention Grabbers", "Exotic", "Fine print", "Comments and footnotes", "Hand written", "Miscellaneous". Then, fonts are "placed" in these categories, so they can be easily located when necessary. The best thing about Fontonizer is that it works with fonts that aren't currently installed on a PC. In fact, it works with fonts that are stored not only on hard-drive, but CDs, DVDs, flash-drives and External Drives.

"Even though the fonts may not be installed, you can write a word or sentence to see how it looks. If necessary, Fontonizer will automatically show a list of the same word or phrase visualized with different fonts. This way one can easily compare and find the font that is most appropriate for a certain occasion.

"Finally, Fontonizer comes with even more functions font professionals need. For example, the program performs installation /deletion /restoration of the deleted fonts. Plus, Fontonizer is capable of displaying "symbol table" of any font, even if it was deleted. With Fontonizer, professionals can experiment not only with fonts and sizes, but backgrounds as well. Fontonizer is distributed electronically over the Internet; a free demo version is available at [http://www.fontonizer.com/] for evaluation.

The price of a single license is $29 US Dollars for a single copy.

Company Website [http://www.fontutilities.com]

Product Page: [http://www.fontonizer.com/]

Download: [http://www.fontutilities.com/download/fo100.zip]

Buy Link: [http://fontutilities.com/order.htm]"

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 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]. I have posted Web pages with announcements I received in 2004. Sorry they are not well organized, but what is there was a lot of work, as they all have to be edited. I have received some since then and will also post them one of these days.

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