NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, May 2006
The Deals Column
by Bob (the Cheapskate)Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

I am a bit more settled this month because I’m on new blood pressure medication and this one seems to be helping, but I was sure worried last month when the BP would intermittently go up in the 190+ range. That is not good and serious things can happen as many of you mentioned. My heartfelt thanks to the readers who were concerned. I even heard from folks I have not communicated with for a few years. I have four months to go yet on the Coumadin so it won’t be any walk in the park the way it makes me feel. My cardiologist says I should stay on it for life, but my MD disagrees. I was surprised at how many others take Coumadin and learned things from my readers.

Due to the lack of ambition, as well as time, the column content has changed a bit lately. I am using some announcements sent to most user groups for new products and most officers do not have the time or interest to pass them on to the members. Some friends say I am not doing the readers any favor by passing that “junk” (their words) on since most of it is unfamiliar company names. I am not of that opinion and feel some of those products are interesting, but I seldom find the time to try them even though it would be easy for me to get a review copy. I’d like your opinion so I’ll know whether to use them or try finding other things. I only use announcements that offer user group discounts in the column and I’m still on the lookout for other deals. The other announcements are posted on my Web site as I get time to post them.

A Great Weekend With Friends
We enjoyed attending the spring FACUG http://www.facug.org convention. I was told that 149 attendees enjoyed it, down just a bit, and 29 of them were first time attendees. About 44 user groups were represented. As you might have guessed, sponsor support was down, as is the trend. I feel we should stop asking for free meals at these events so sponsors can afford to help us. After a number of conversations with attendees, I am of the opinion that while a few would probably no longer attend if they didn’t get the freebies; most still would if the hotel and meal price was kept reasonable. The Tech Session roundtables were always well attended, which gave us a good chance for exposure to some fine products. I was feeling bad at that time, but since it was only an hour drive from my home, I really needed to see my friends. It was well worth the effort.

A Reminder
Gene and Linda Barlow were at the FACUG convention and Gene did his usual great job. They have long been user group people’s best friends and now offer some 18 outstanding products at great prices. They also have bundles that reduce those prices. Check their secure Web site at http://www.ugr.com. Order code is UGFEB06.

I mentioned to Gene my unorthodox backup plan to put certain files on a flash drive and just copy them to my other machines at times to update certain Eudora and other files, and he told me about a product he offers called SmartSync Pro 2.10 that will automatically sync designated files to other machines once you put them on the flash drive. He also stresses his personal tech support for the products along with the vendor support, but sometimes you must be patient. He described their new home location in south Utah, and it sounds like a dream spot. He said they got tired of “snow” in northern Utah. Their new home is not far from a wealth of beautiful national parks and it rarely snows in St. George.

Name Your Drive
Have you tried putting a label on a flash drive? Good luck keeping it on! Memorex has introduced TravelDrive ID that has a small LCD screen good for eleven characters to name the drive or its contents, and shows how much memory remains http://www.memorex.com/. (Click on Travel Drives) Prices start at $80. I only mentioned this product because it is unique.

Automate Your Tasks
Make Any Manual Operation on Your PC A Fun Ride with RoboTask 2.4!

NeoWise Software releases RoboTask 2.4, a Windows-based application that automates routine operations. It now offers new features and enhancements suggested by end users. Set up automations right out of the box without the need to create complex scripts or batch files. RoboTask provides a visual interface and over a hundred actions that can be selected and combined into a task in a point-and-click fashion.

RoboTask has acquired a new plug-in for work with a POP3 server and analysis of email messages, and its actions let you easily organize, for example, a server that will receive commands by email. Also added are "Import Registry" and "Export Registry" actions that expand the backup abilities. Customers will discover new actions to synchronize a task with other tasks and processes called "Wait for File", "Wait for Process."

You can automate file operations like copy, move, rename; manage automatic backups; also schedule and run FTP and Web server operations. These jobs may be launched manually, scheduled to run automatically, or can be configured to be triggered by a wide array of changes in your PC.

Read more information at http://www.robotask.com/forum.

RoboTask 2.4 runs under Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003 and costs $99.95 (USD) for a single-user license. NeoWise will provide a 25% discount to user group members at http://www.regsoft.net/purchase.php3?productid=75129&pc=7O43J (3.26 Mb). Registered customers are entitled to free upgrades to minor versions, considerable discounts on upgrades to major versions, and priority technical support. http://www.robotask.com.

The following announcement offers a discount on the product, but did not responded to my e-mail asking how to get it. This is the fourth vendor who did not respond and I am at my deadline. Perhaps you’ll have better luck than I did if you like the product.

NeoWise Software (Edited)
NeoWise Software has released version 1.8 of Express Thumbnail Creator (ETC), a web photo album creation tool for Microsoft Windows. ETC lets anyone, regardless of their knowledge of HTML or CSS, create a compelling, high impact gallery for sharing digital memories with other people over the Internet. The ETC's wizard-style interface takes you through all the stages of gallery creation in a step-by-step fashion and gives a total control over its every detail. Use default settings or choose from 30 exclusive pre-built templates to help you jumpstart your project in a couple of minutes.

Simply follow the five steps of gallery building, adding images, selecting and applying a style to your gallery, specifying the look for thumbnails and full-size images. Customize the size of tables on index pages, set titles, colors, links, and captions used on index and image pages and you can generate and save the gallery project in HTML format. It is then ready for publication online and can be immediately uploaded to your website.

ETC Pricing and Availability
Express Thumbnail Creator 1.8 runs under Windows 98/Me/NT4/2000/XP and costs $39.95 (USD) for a single-user license. Registered customers are entitled to free upgrades to minor versions, considerable discounts on upgrades to major versions, and priority technical support. User group members receive a 25% discount by e-mailing Alexey Surkis alexey@neowise.com. Additional information on the product, a set of sample albums, as well as a 30-day fully functional evaluation version of ETC is available from http://www.neowise.com/etc. No privacy statement on the Web site, so be careful.

For more information, visit http://www.neowise.com. Direct download link: http://www.neowise.com/ftp/etc_setup.exe (4.1 MB)

That's it for this month. Meet me here again next month if your editor permits. Be sure to check for new announcement pages on my Web site. 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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