NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, April 2005
The Deals Column
by Bob (the Cheapskate)Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

Working The Trade Shows
My wife and I worked some great trade shows lately and they just keep coming. We worked some real estate shows that didn't have spectacular exhibits, but they did have great speakers. Since we worked security for the production crew putting together the great entertainment for attendees, we met all the celebrities when they came in back stage. My wife got a nice greeting from Dr. Phil McGraw and we met Tony Robins (famous motivational speaker), Brooks Robinson (Ball player), James Brolin (Marcus Welby, MD. and Hotel) and Katie Curic. The most interesting thing in the exhibit hall was, two guys sculpting a giant sandcastle, which was impressive. They worked the entire show doing it.

Among others, we worked the PMA (Photo Marketing Assn. show). [http://http://www.pmai.org] It was a great show with over 29,000 attendees. All the great names in photography, hardware, cameras and software were there with fantastic booths. Plenty of very large printers were being demonstrated also. Unfortunately I had personal business and ended up with little time to browse that show. The Panasonic booth had a wonderful scale model village as a simulated winter snow scene. It had all the usual old time village buildings and vehicles, some small rotating carnival rides, moving ice skaters on a simulated ice rink, moving snow skiers, a working train and other working models. It was very impressive in about a 12-foot square area. Lights came on in buildings and streetlights when nighttime was simulated. The person setting it up told us he could put one in our living room if we liked, but we told him we didn't have room. (money either)

One day I was entering the show floor and Jerry Stephens from Toronto Users Group yelled at me. You probably remember him from the days when he was active in APCUG. We had little time to talk, but it was sure nice to see him.

The Nikon booth had eight young people dressed in bright yellow jump suits and riding yellow electric scooters all around outside the building greeting people. They were giving out yellow candies on a card inviting folks to visit the Nikon booth and get in on the daily drawings for fabulous prizes. Another booth was giving away USB flash drives, which is getting more common all the time.

Best of all, we worked the Home Electronics Expo [http://www.ehxweb.com], one of my favorites. Talk about a candy store venue; that was it for me. I saw many cabling, switching and speaker booths along with companies for planning your digitally controlled house. There were speakers in all kinds of configurations that could blend into the décor of your house or garden and patio; for example, some looked like a rock http://www.stereostone.com].

In one booth they had a luxury easy chair with a controller that was precoded for over 680 movies (1-888-442-3269). Just pop in your favorite movie on a DVD and the console recognizes the movie and creates the sensations quite realistically for what you are seeing on screen while in that easy chair. It even simulates a bumpy road and only six grand for it all. I often sleep through a movie so that wouldn't work well for me. My proofreader wondered how the chair handled the bullets in a shooting scene, or a steamy sex scene.

I saw door locks controlled by a sensor that could recognize your thumbprint to open the lock, then the same sensor could recognize another fingerprint to open or close your garage door [http://www.ekeyUSA.com]. I may have a deal on them. Another company had technology to track all use of locks in your company and who used them, putting the data on a Web site that could be easily tracked from anywhere by the proper person.

I loved the Panasonic doorbell that had a camera in the button panel. When a presence is sensed, it turns itself on along with a light, if needed, and you could see who was there on a small LCD monitor inside. The entire person was visible, even at close range. That will be out in July and I want one [http://www.panasonic.com/CSD]. I didn't see them on the Web site, but maybe soon.

There was a booth with weather stations that were elaborate and looked very sturdy. It looked to be more of a commercial unit and they used a computer monitor for the stats [http://www.weatherhawk.com]. They had an attachment that would verbally tell you what you wanted to know, including "please shut your windows as rain is imminent." I saw dozens of big screen plasma and LCD monitors, and TVs. The one that impressed me most was the NEC 61" plasma screen. It was so sharp and crystal clear that it almost looked three-dimensional.

There was just too much to write about in this article, but you can take a look at the show's Web site to see the exhibitor list. It was not a large show, but certainly a good one with about 9,000 attendees. I had notified several editors who asked me to e-mail them it was coming again after I wrote about it last year, but didn't run into them. The NCSA (National Systems Contractors Assn.) show [http://www.nsca.org]. will be here March 10 and I hope to at least explore it. I'm told it's a similar type of show, except mostly for contractors and installers.

Another Deal From Gene and Linda Barlow:
User Group Relations has another interesting and helpful product for you. These days our computer life is chuck full of ID and passwords and we are urged to change them frequently. So how do you remember them all? You could write them all down and hide the list under your mouse pad , or you could get smart and use MyPasswordVault by WhiteCanyon Software to store all those IDs and passwords and keep them at your disposal. Linda sent me the product just before deadline so I haven't tried it yet, but I will soon because it has some great features. Make life easier with this unique product and use the discount offered to users group members to buy it for just $15.00 (MSRP $25.00). Go to [http://www.usergroupstore.com] and use the special code UGDEALS to order.

Attention Gamers!
NevoSoft announces a new space shooter/puzzler game below: (edited so check their Web site)

"SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia. - January 27, 2005: NevoSoft is proud to announce the release of Zzed, the latest version of an electrifying space shooter mixed with lots of action, adventure and puzzle. Zzed will put the player into the spaceship and take on a tough galactic mission with over 60 levels to win. With superb cartoon graphics, exhilarating gameplay and original music, Zzed will be the ultimate source of enjoyment for kids and parents alike.

"The game comes to life as Zzed, a young and ambitious alien, has been sent on a special mission by his corrupted boss, Mr. Zzapone. There, in the backwoods of the galaxy Zzed will have to protect the space foundries of his boss from vast space garbage fields. However, the real reason of the mission is Zzapone's fear that Zzed will throw him down the corporate throne. Zzed leaves home with a heavy heart as the assignment separates him from his beloved alien sweetheart. To win the ticket back home, Zzed has to remove all space garbage from around the galaxy."

"Zzed is not all about shooting. The game will also challenge your reaction and thinking, said Alexey Serebrov, CEO of NevoSoft. "As you go from level to level, the speed of garbage fields increases. Therefore, you will have to act fast and smart.

"Availability: Zzed runs under Windows 98/Me/2000/XP and costs $19.95 (USD). Registered customers are entitled to the unlocked gameplay, free updates and lifetime technical support. An evaluation version of the game limited to the 40-minute gameplay is available for free at: [http://www.nevosoft.com/zzed/zzed_demo.exe]. For more information, visit us at [http://www.nevosoft.com]. Use a 10% discount for purchasing the game for user group members. Just use coupon - ZZED-3B51 - during ordering process and you get the game only for $17.95 (instead of $19.95). Or you may simply order discounted Zzed by clicking on this link: [https://www.regnow.com/softsell/nph-softsell.cgi?&ss_coupon=ZZED-3B51&item=8323-15] We didn't see the discount coupon working yet, so you may have to e-mail them as I had no time to contact them at this point. Sorry!

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].

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