NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, April 2004
The Deals Column
by Bob Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

My wife and I worked the Lotusphere show held at the Dolphin and Swan hotels at Walt Disney World in Florida this year. There were between five and six thousand attendees from around the globe. Talking to attendees, one could pay as much as $1,600 depending on how many sessions you attend and how early you registered. Attendees received an expensive looking backpack/carrying bag. It was a three-day show and much was packed in on the show's exhibit floor. There were no large or small booths featuring any particular vendors, although Lotus was conspicuous since they were the hosts.

Lotus focused on Workplace 2.0 featuring integration with Eclipse open source tools and tools tailored to nonprogrammers. Eclipse offers tools for improving the ability to pull in the traditional feel of Notes, also offering drag and drop as well as offline capabilities. They debuted Workplace Builder, also included in Eclipse 2.0, offering other tools for nonprogrammers. They revealed more details of the Notes Domino version 7 messaging platform, due out around the end of 2004 or early 2005. There's more, but I don't really understand much of what I just said.

The show floor was covered with small stands roughly eight feet tall and seven feet in diameter with a computer and product sign on each side. Their term for what I called stands was "pedestal." There was room for another exhibitor on each side of a pedestal, but in most cases that space was for brochures and give-a-ways. Many products were Notes and Domino plug-ins. Even though the show floor was very busy, there was plenty of room since all the pedestals were small and offered ample space for three or four people around a vendor. There were 90 two-station pedestals, 8 three-station pedestals and 4 five-station pedestals. Also counters with FREE Starbucks coffee and your favorite cappuccino, which had long lines that sometimes included my wife or myself.

That arrangement allowed many vendors to show products in a small exhibit hall. Vendors liked it because large vendor's gigantic booths did not overshadow small companies and everybody had about the same space to work. I'm sure it was one of the cheaper shows for exhibitors to show products. This isn't computer oriented, but I also found a few finger foods near the coffee, and some great give-a-ways at many pedestals around the show, although I skipped the many free CDs since I am not into networking, Notes or Domino.

All of the stands and operations were networked with a very fast connection considerably faster than a T3 line, and I doubt I would correctly repeat their explanation to me. The network's speed was actually restricted by the outside telephone lines, fast as they were. The IT guys I talked to had no certifications at all, but seemed very competent and said they travel all over setting up networks at trade shows. My wife and I only worked in the Dolphin Hotel, but to my knowledge, many of the sessions and some meals were held at the Swan Hotel with attendees going back and forth (sometimes in the rain). There was only 60,000-sq. ft of exhibit space, but 325,000-sq. ft. of meeting space for the learning sessions. 1,600 people could be served at each meal in the area where I was checking badges.

I felt few would be interested in a Sun System for two or three home-PCs, or an IBM high speed networking system of some kind so I didn't bother asking about deals. As a matter of fact, most of the products were very much over my head so I doubt I could describe them. I did ask one vendor about their antivirus products for the home user, but their marketing person was not there. In fact, my time on the show floor was limited because I was supposed to be working the show, not attending it. While IBM had a presence there, they actually had their own show about three weeks earlier with exhibits in only one hall of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, and parts of it also at the Swan and Dolphin Hotels at Disney World. We worked the "Super Show" during those dates so I missed IBM's show. The Super Show is an equally interesting large international sports supply show taking up the entire 1.6 million sq. ft. of the new convention center and was very interesting.

Document Delivery Anyone?
I don't know if you have read about it, but FedEx is buying Kinko's. You may wonder what they would want with Kinko's? FedEx is in the business of delivery and perhaps you didn't realize that so is Kinko's. Many business people turn to Kinko's as a form of portable business office so many of the documents handled by Kinko's are in digital form, including both incoming and outgoing, meaning FedEx will expand their document delivery business.

Update On Last Month's Column
My proofreader said my final release was incorrect in the statement about installing Diskeeper on a Windows Server. Since I am not knowledgeable in it, please check that out for yourself to get it right if a server installation is intended. Go to[ http://www.execsoft.com/diskeeper/diskeeper.asp ] for more information about the different versions of Diskeeper and the OSs they work with, or to [ http://consumer.execsoft.com/home.asp ] for more information and to order the Diskeeper and Undelete bundle at the special price while its still good.

Actually Free For Anyone
I received feedback on last month's AARP item saying the volunteer tax service is NOT confined to just AARP members. I actually knew that but the volunteers here said they don't advertise that fact because they might be overwhelmed. Anyway, everybody is eligible if your taxes are not too complicated and they want you to know that. One volunteer in another city said that volunteers there sometimes sit around with nothing to do. My apologies to the AARP volunteers for that misconception.

Check This Deal From MediaFour
I think all user groups received this special offer announcement from Sue Nail, PR Director for MediaFour. I'll include it here for my readers using her words:

"XPlay is the smart way to use your Apple iPod with Windows. XPlay brings the power of the ultimate MP3 player to Windows users. Just plug your Apple iPod into your Windows computer, and XPlay makes it easy to load your MP3 music and other files. "$29.95 - Downloadable version
$39.90 - Physical copy

"MacDrive for PC users - MacDrive 5 is the best way to use Mac disks with Windows. MacDrive software makes Mac disks act like normal PC disks, so it's a great way to get files both from Macs to PCs and from PCs to Macs. MacDrive wins its awards for simplicity as well as power! "$49.95 Downloadable version
$59.95 Physical copy

"Contact me for the special user group offer!!! Sue Nail. suenail@cableone.net [ http://www.mediafour.com ] Phone 605.235.1991"

The deadline for this offer is June 1, 2004 and I thank Sue for allowing the DealsGuy column to publish it.

Can That Spam!
Aladdin Software announced a special offer for users groups on SpamCatcher that they claim blocks 99% of the spam. Since these announcements often go only to designated officers in a user group who are usually very busy people, it doesn't always get passed on to the members, or if you missed the meeting it was announced at, you now know about this deal. I posted it on my Web site so I suggest you take a look at the posting on my announcements/Aladdin page. [ http://www.dealsguy.com ] Using their order form lets you purchase SpamCatcher (MSRP $29.99) at 40% off for just $17.95 + S&H. [http://www.aladdinsys.com/store ] Remember to enter the code "User Group" (exactly as shown) in the "discount code" field. A 40% discount will be given when you hit "apply."

Also posted in that announcement is Spring Cleaning 3.0 (MSRP $29.99) for 40% off at $17.95 + S&H. which is a great saving. Check their Web site if you want more description. I have not tried either product myself so I cannot speak from experience on how it works.

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 ] for past columns and many interesting articles I have taken from various users group newsletters.

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