NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, March 2009
The Deals Column
by Bob Click, The Dealsguy
bobclick@bellsouth.net (click to email author)

I often check http://www.giveawayoftheday.com to see what's free that day and if it looks interesting, I sometimes downloaded things just in case I might need them some day, but it often takes me a while to get smart. I saw a good Windows tune-up program offered that I liked the other day and it was something I planned to use immediately. Suddenly I noticed a short paragraph on the download page telling me that I should not only download it within the time limit to get it free, but I should install it during that time and then run the activation file so it would be fully activated. Looks like I'll be deleting several files that I downloaded for future use. At least that oversight didn't cost me anything.

By the way, if you like those limited time offers, here's something else you might like to check occasionally. Like the others, these deals are only good for 24 hours, so each day when you check, the product will be different. Start checking http://www.software-dod.com daily when you have some spare time and see if they might have anything you like.

Help From Google For Your Job?
I've said before that Louis Vitale of Macon Users Group http://www.maconusersgroup.org is one of my favorite authors; I never miss reading his column. A while back, he wrote about asking his nephew why he uses Google a lot. His nephew astounded him when he said that Google helps him make his living. Want to know how? He told Louis that he works for a roofing contractor writing job estimates and all he has to do to obtain the measurements for a house's roof is 'Google' that address for the information and do the calculations to estimate the price of it's roof. I was astounded to read that because I was uninformed about that capability in Google Earth. Louis then went on to mention how much fun he had that evening exploring Google's capabilities, even way into the wee hours.

For that matter, I was surprised when my grandson called me Christmas Eve to get my house address so he could use Google to get a map for driving to my house from where he was in Florida; and in the process, he mentioned being able to see my house and the flag flying. I do have a 25' flagpole in my yard and he would not have known that. This high-tech stuff continues to astound me.

A Unique Way That Modern Technology Affects Ranchers
I read an article in Information Week that certainly opened my eyes to the strategy some ranchers must use to avoid criticism for their use of water for irrigation. Many ranchers need irrigation to grow their crops, but the human race also needs water for human consumption, and water is becoming scarcer all the time. So, the ranchers need a compromise which they can do by refining their irrigation technology. It certainly made sense when I read about this technology that has been in use for a while, but now they're refining it to save water even 'during' the irrigation. I think you'll find it interesting. http://www.in formationweek.com/news/mobility/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=221601558&queryText= Chris%20Murphy.

What If The Medication Doesn't Work
Who knows what might lead to your demise, but how about an impressive way to be presented when the time comes. Another of my favorite writers was Pim Borman and I wish he was still writing 'The New, The Best, and the Worst'. In the last column that he wrote when his user group disbanded, one item was about a personalized casket for the deceased's eternal life. They will actually decorate the casket according to the way you lived your life. For example, a firefighter's casket might have a fire engine and ladders decorating the sides, a chemist might have the glass items for his trade or a doctor might have a stethoscope or other medical apparatus engraved on the sides.

The Web site http://www.artcaskets.com states: 'Whether bold and vivid or soft and subdued, Art Caskets are as unforgettable as the life they commemorate.' I can't say if the mourners would be impressed, but it's your funeral, isn't it? Thinking further, what if the deceased was a former Madam? Wow! Would that funeral be 'adults only' if the casket was inscribed accordingly? Anyway, I enjoyed that personalized casket item in the last column Pim wrote. ?The DealsGuy? inscribed on the side of my ?discounted? casket will do just fine.

Just In Case You Wondered
Many people may be somewhat suspicious when they receive e-mails that you are asked to read, or other ones containing items such as a greeting card you click on to view it, and other catchy things. I never click on them because I've known people who got a virus when they clicked to see a so-called greeting card. Of course, that?s not always the case, but bad things are possible.

Anyway, if someone sends you an invitation to try Dropbox, it?s actually something you might want to look into. Of course, you should check closely to see where that URL is really taking you, but an invitation to Dropbox could be something that interests you. It?s actually a place to store your files on the Web and they can be shared with others if you desire. In your home, a thief could steal your personal files or worse yet, you might have the backup well hidden, but you can't 'hide' it from a fire. Dropbox is also handy to sync your files between two machines, and I'm told there are other uses such as linking Dropbox to your machine. Dropbox is good for Windows, Linux and Mac.

Several members here use it, like it and suggested I use it in my column. The Dropbox invitation you were sent is also a way for the sender to earn benefits from Dropbox if you decide to use it, they just didn't mention that, but if it looks interesting, you'll also be helping the friend that recommended it. There is a free version allowing you to store up to two gigabytes of files, and share them with others if you like. Larger storage will cost you so if you're curious; check http://www.dropbox.com to look further into the many features.

On the other hand, in the case of Dropbox, you're dependent on somebody else's server to keep your stored files, not to mention staying in business. Mine aren't that important that they need to be kept secret, but you're the judge of yours. I also have a backup in a fireproof safe.

Need a Coloring Book?
Star Coloring has launched Animals Coloring Book, a computer-based educational development program aimed at children 4-13 years old. The website based activity course is a perfect choice for parents who want to familiarize their kids with computers without exposing them to violent computer games and the dangers of the Internet. Animals Coloring Book features 25 three-dimensional pictures that strike an innovative balance for different skill levels. With a clear 3D interface, the artistic puzzles are guaranteed to keep a child occupied for a long time.

Animals Coloring Book offers kids an opportunity to develop their artistic abilities without getting messy with real paint. Once Animals Coloring Book has been opened, there is a simple tip for every tool and button (e.g. how to clear the picture, how to return to the previous color, etc). The program features nine basic colors and a palette for blending them, so it's possible to achieve almost any color. The 3D objects and landscapes look much more attractive than those of common coloring programs.

The original music creates a fairytale atmosphere and sound effects make the process of coloring almost real. The auto-save feature ensures that the coloring will be safely stored after each session. Simple mistakes are impossible when working with Animals Coloring Book, which is always in full-screen mode. Animals Coloring Book is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X and costs US$19.95 (all updates are free). User group members will receive a 20% discount by using the coupon code 'DealsGuy' when ordering. Further information on the product, as well as a free trial edition, is available at http://starcoloring.com/coloring-books/animals-coloring-book.
Windows download link:
http://download.starcoloring.com/win/animals_coloring_book.exe (14.2 MB)
Mac OS X download link:
http://download.starcoloring.com/mac/animals_coloring_book.dmg.zip (19.2 MB)

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 bobclick@bellsouth.net. Visit my Web site at http://www.dealsguy.com.

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