NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
The Deals Column
By Bob Click, The Deal Making Man, May 2001
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

I often write about things I don't like, but I also don't hesitate to write about something I do like. When looking for a CD-RW drive for a new computer a friend just assembled for me, I chose the Iomega CD-RW drive because it was the best deal I saw at the time and I respected the brand, but I am VERY impressed with Iomega's tech support.

I had minor questions and a slip included in the package with tech support information urged me to call if I had any problems. It was a free call, and in spite of heavy traffic, I only waited 10 minutes to have three questions answered quickly by a very friendly and knowledgeable person. What a nice experience. They'll get my business the next time, even if the product is a bit more money.

On the other hand, I bought a Linksys Router with a four-port hub to use for networking my computers, and for the DSL I've just subscribed to. After getting the DSL up and running on it, I had problems uploading my e- mail and any new files to my Web page. I've ended up using the old dialup connection for that. Earthlink's tech support first asked if I had a Linksys router (yes) and suggested that I should get help updating my router's BIOS from Linksys. He said it is a known problem with Linksys routers. I called Linksys tech support and was eventually asked to leave my name and number after waiting 20 minutes. My return call came from Linksys four days later when I was out. Great! Maybe I'm lucky they even took my call, but on the other hand, it was a free call to them. But, my router still isn't working properly and a second call is fruitless so far. Am I expecting too much these days?

Still Good
The Pockey drive should still be good this month so call 1-877-7POCKEY (1- 877-776-2539) and mention "Bob Click." Also, the Laplink PCsync deal should still be good this month. Call LapLink at 1-800-343-8080 and tell them you are an APCUG member.

Last month, a few people wished I had included short descriptions of the MGI products, so I'll do that:

PhotoSuite 4.0 certainly makes it easy to edit, organize, enhance and share all of your photos. When I say enhance, I really mean it. Dave's enhancements had us rolling in the isles at his presentation. UG price - $30.00.

VideoWave 4.0, the complete PC and Web video experience. Capture, edit, produce and share your video. All you need to create professional-quality videos with powerful editing and "special effects" tools that are easy to use. UG price - $50.00. (Bundle of PhotoSuite 4 + VideoWave 4 - $60.00)

PhotoVista 2.0 creates the most impressive 360-degree Web Panoramas, something a viewer will "experience" rather than just look at. I was impressed when I saw it. UG price - $25.00.

SoftDVD Max 4.0, a DVD player software delivering maximum performance, total Web integration and superior audio, all with an easy-to-use interface. UG price - $20.00. (Bundle of all four titles - $90.00).

Order by US mail if paying by check, or by fax or mail if you pay with VISA or MasterCard. Please provide your name, complete mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address. Then list the product(s) ordered and the prices. Total it and include your check, or credit card number with expiration date and signature. Send order to:

    Webworking Services
    653 North 600 East
    Springville, UT, 84663
    Or fax your order (only credit card orders) to 1-801-489-0609. Don't miss this golden opportunity, and now for the deals:

Aladdin Closeout Sale (Both Mac & Windows)
I've had this posted on my Web site's Announcement page because of the time frame, but I'm repeating it here because that page hasn't had much traffic. Aladdin is having a closeout sale until April 30, which means it'll be over when you read this. However, I talked to them at the FACUG Conference and they said if an order was not very late, they would probably honor it, so don't delay. Here are the items:

The following Aladdin products are on clearance:
IntelliNews 2.0 (Mac) only $4.95
MacTicker 1.6.1 (Mac) only $4.95
Sundial California 2.0 AND Sundial Hawaii 2.0 (Mac). Both only $9.95 - dazzling desktop scenery that moves with the time of day.
DragStrip 3.7 (Win) only $9.95 - One click launches applications, files, Web sites and more.
Aladdin FlashBack 1.1 (Win or Mac) only $9.95 - Add unlimited undos to all your favorite software.
Private File 2.0 (Win) only $9.95
ShrinkWrap 3.5.1 (Mac) only $19.95

Visit their Web site [http://www.aladdinsys.com] for complete descriptions.

How do you take advantage of these great deals? Go to: [http://www.aladdinsys.com/support/usergroups/] and look for the "UG Clearance Sale Order Form" link. Please download the PDF order form and make as many copies as you need to distribute to your members. Or, you can direct your members straight to this site to download their own order form. All orders MUST be mailed in using this order form.

Fund-raisers!! User group officers should be aware of Aladdin's 5% rebate program to an "affiliate" user group which gets user groups a 5% rebate for all of your member's purchases. I doubt this applies to the closeout items though. Get more information on the Announcements page on my Web site, or check the Aladdin Web site.

Help Yourself To A Little Extra Discount
O'Reilly Publishing is offering us a little bit extra off the price of certain books until May 13, 2001. Here is what Denise says:

"In celebration of the 1-year anniversary of the O'Reilly/Pogue Press collaboration on the best selling 'Missing Manual Series,' O'Reilly would like to extend a special discount to user group members: Order direct from O'Reilly and receive 25% off all books in the 'Missing Manual Series.' In particular, your members might be interested in:

Windows Me: The Missing Manual and Windows 2000 Pro: The Missing Manual. This is an extra 5% saving above the regular UG discount of 20%! Offer expires May 13th, 2001. To order, call: 800-998-9938 -- ask for Customer Service. When ordering, be sure to give the customer service representative this discount code 'UGMM.'

For product info, go to [http://www.oreilly.com] (this discount not offered on orders placed online). Please send this message to your UG members. Thanks, Denise."

An Old Buddy (Software) Captures Your Screen
Many have used "SnagIt" in the past and liked what it does. I talked to the "TechSmith" user group coordinator recently who offered this discount for my column. There are many uses for capturing all or parts of a computer screen, such as an instructive review of a product, or detailed instructions. SnagIt does all this with ease and outputs it as a graphic, text or video file, and will send the information to the printer, the Clipboard, a file, or as an e-mail attachment from any MAPI enabled e-mail client. A wizard will help if necessary. MSRP is $39.95, but our user group price is $35.95

TechSmith's "Camtasia" is harder to describe since it does many tasks. Camtasia's suite of tools produces a video of anything you see on your screen and makes it easy to record, edit and publish high fidelity videos. Use them for computer-based training, product demonstrations, presentations, online help, tech support solutions, sales demonstrations, Web site content and much more.

You can move in closer with zoom and pan the capture frame across the screen for more detail. Use ScreenPad to easily annotate your video with text, arrows and callout boxes. Even "brand" your video with a watermark if you like. Yes, you create standard AVI files or broadcast your screen live over the Internet.

I'm enjoying my review copy and may be a bit over exuberant, so check the TechSmith Web site for better descriptions. [http://www.techsmith.com] "Camtasia's" user group price is $134.95 (MSRP $145.95). Order these fine programs by calling the sales department at 1-800-517-3001, or fax to 1- 517-333-1888. Mention your user group's name. For a better discount, order the "SnagIt/Camtasia Bundle" for just $152.95.

Hey Folks, How's The Ol Ticker?
If you're into stocks, this program puts a stock ticker across the top of your monitor with only the stocks you want on the ticker. Joe Issac wrote about this one in "The Computer File," newsletter of Central Kentucky Computer Society.

WinStock is a powerful stock ticker, client-designed with the serious online investor in mind. US stocks, Canadian stocks, mutual funds, bonds, market index quotes, options, commodities, foreign exchanges and money- market mutual funds can all be tracked and monitored by WinStock, Use it free for 30 days. If you like it, send the guy $20. No special offer here, I'm just passing it on. See [http://cws.internet.com/coolapp.html] to check further and look in "Previous Coolapps" for it. Full time DSL or Cable would make this work best. Lots of great items on that site.

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 [dealsguy@dealsguy.com]. Visit my Web site at [http://www.dealsguy.com] for past columns. Also, I keep adding to my "articles of interest" page.

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