NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, May 2008
The Deals Column
by Bob (the Cheapskate)Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

I read an enlightening article about data center design; even the security was above and beyond what you and I would imagine. Read about new ideas for cheap cooling methods and an interesting concept for filling in the gap between the time the power goes out and your backup kicks in. Well into it, you will read about very tight security. A year ago, I gave you an article about a group of consultants hired to test the security of a company, and they made a joke of the entire building’s security; and data security itself, in just a few minutes. I doubt their techniques would work in the facilities described in the article. Here is the Information Week URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206900660

Enjoyed The Show
I did manage to browse the Electronic House Expo for three hours of pure pleasure (I had to hurry). It was not a large show, but there was enough there to keep you fascinated. I saw mirrors that could change to a TV or monitor in an instant. That large mirror on the wall was hiding a TV screen that was able to shine right through it with a sharp picture. This one is interesting: http://www.ad-notam.com. Automation of your home was all over the show in many forms. There were many booths with distributors of automation components for all facets of the home or business, including Worthington, one of the most well known.

I was fascinated with some of the doorbell/intercom systems that include a wide-angle camera whose image could be displayed on a dedicated monitor, or appear on your TV to show who is there. Push a button on your remote to ask the nature of their visit and if it was a family member, or your beer-drinking buddy whose TV went out during a game; push a button on the remote to unlock the door. If it was your mother-in-law, you could tell her you weren’t home. However, I didn’t see an “eject” button on the remote for salesmen; leaving room for further development. I stood where I could easily reach the doorbell button and my entire upper body showed plainly on the screen. I don’t remember if that one was Nutone http://www.nutone.com or another company. eKey was there again with biometric locks. Here are some URLs of interest: http://eholovision.com; http://www.eKeyusa.com; http://www.linearcorp.com; and http://www.litetouch.com.

Several companies were showing universal remote controls and touch screen systems. Most people would probably think of remote controlled lighting and thermostats, but there are plenty of other items that should be included. Remote cameras around the property, a driveway gate, pool pump, alarms and maybe even devices to feed your pets; and that’s only part of the list. I couldn’t help notice that using a universal remote (similar to your TV remote) was not as easy as using a touch screen device because a touch screen icon often brought up a menu of other labeled icons for choices, but the button on the remote called for action, so you better get it right the first time. I read in Electronic House magazine http://www.electronichouse.com> about an installation beyond “my” finances, but it was interesting what was done in this home: http://www.electronichouse.com/article/smart_controls_for_a_complicated_home/.

The EHX show included plenty of luxury audio products to enjoy from your easy chair, featuring great surround-sound. There was even a plush chair with the sound strategically located and controls at your fingertips. Solid Drive http://www.soliddrive.com was featuring a product that would make a speaker out of anything, and actually, the sound produced was great, (including good bass), from a large glass panel that also featured a large rectangular thin film fastened to it that allowed a projected TV picture to be shone through it clearly. There were also products that would hide your TV, when it was not turned on, by showing art from your choice of artists inside a beautiful wooden frame, or could automatically cover it with tapestry: http://www.vutec.com http://www.visionartgalleries.com

Two companies with central vacuum systems were there with impressive products; here is one; http://www.airkinglimited.com. There was a great little digital camera/camcorder being sold there that could publish your pictures or movies to the Web. One booth had a favorite of mine, a motorized drapery rod that could be programmed, or operated with a remote. I loved the motorized drapery rod we had for about ten years, but it finally bit the dust. It would take a lengthy article to describe that show adequately.

At the same time, other computer oriented shows were going on in nearby hotels, another over in Tampa, a Microsoft Show nearby and the prestigious Winter Park Art Festival. There are many computer oriented trade shows these days. Microsoft will be back here in June with the large Tech Ed Developers show and the IBM show in early April.

I have not tried the products below.

How About An Add-on Toolbar!
ALToolbar http://www.altools.com/ALTools/ALToolbar.aspx offers their latest toolbar. ALToolbar is a new add-on that extends Internet Explorer with its suite of tools. It improves many common Internet tasks, making them faster and easier.

- Search popular web sites FASTER.
- Visit favorite sites INSTANTLY.
- SECURELY store logins and bookmarks online.
- AUTOMATICALLY login to web sites.
- Navigate easier with MOUSE GESTURES.
- Capture full web page SCREENSHOTS.

There are other tools in ALToolbar to make online life easier and faster. This one is more than other toolbars that all duplicate each other's limited functionality. It's a real suite of Internet tools designed for faster and easier Internet usage by real people. ALToolbar, like other ALTools, is completely free. We only ask that you enjoy it enough to tell a friend. Ryan Smyth
Chief ALTools Evangelist

Need Some Tweaking?
YL Software announced the availability of WinUtilities 6.1, the newest version of its system-tweaking suite that offers over 20 computer productivity tools. WinUtilities provides everything a user needs to remove junk data, and improve PC performance. The WinUtilities update offers users additional features as well as improvements on the technologies. For more information or to download a free trial, please visit http://www.ylcomputing.com/content/view/9/27/.

Two modules, Duplicate Files Finder and Registry Cleaner, are now able to export reports. Other advancements include an improved File Undelete Module for NTFS and FAT32 volume; an improved Plug-ins Editor for the History Cleaner module; improved compatibility for Windows Vista 32 bit and 64 bit systems, plus an improved Registry Cleaner.

Computers accumulate a great deal of junk files. Applications can add things we may not be aware of and you should get rid of these things, but you may not have to if you install WinUtilities. It includes such tools as Junk File Cleaner, Registry Cleaner, Memory Optimizer, System Information, Registry Backup, File Encryption, Safe Uninstaller, Duplicate File Finder, File Shredder, Data Recovery & File Undelete tools, etc. WinUtilities also includes an Internet Tracks Eraser, with Cookie Manager and Secure Deletion. The software is $39.99, but we get a 30% discount. The following URLs are too lengthy for Word to make them a link. Copy & paste them to your browser or they won’t work. They take you to a PayPal page to buy the product with 30% discount. I’ll comment on not using Tiny URL next month.

WinUtilities 6.1 Personal License: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_xclick&business=paypal%40ylcomputing%2ecom&item_name=WinUtilities(Personal License) Special Offer&item_number=7019-8-1&amount=28&no_shipping=2&no_note=1¤cy_code=USD&lc=US&bn=PP-BuyNowBF&charset=UTF-8

WinUtilities 6.1 Family License: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_xclick&business=paypal%40ylcomputing%2ecom&item_name=WinUtilities(Family License) Special Offer&item_number=7019-8-2&amount=49&no_shipping=2&no_note=1¤cy_code=USD&lc=US&bn=PP-BuyNowBF&charset=UTF-8>

WinUtilities 6.1 Corporate License: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_xclick&business=paypal%40ylcomputing%2ecom&item_name=WinUtilities(Corporate License) Special Offer&item_number=7019-8-3&amount=350&no_shipping=2&no_note=1¤cy_code=USD&lc=US&bn=PP-BuyNowBF&charset=UTF-8>

WinUtilities Disk Cleaner helps get rid of temporary files and folders, cookies and browser history, duplicate files and links that are no longer valid. It locates zero-length files clogging up your file lists. The Registry Cleaner helps delete entries in the registry that no longer apply to your system. History Cleaner handles all those items you can delete from within the Internet Options dialog box in Control Panel, as well as your system's document history, log-on history, search history.

WinUtilities 6.1 runs under Windows Vista, XP, 2003 Server, 2000 and 98. Registered users get a fully functional product, a year of free upgrades and life-of-product technical support. Additional information, and a 30-day evaluation version is available from http://www.ylcomputing.com.

Postal address: 3831 Valley Center Dr. Suite 706-295 San Diego, California

That's it for this month. I’ll have more new product announcements on my Web site (most not offering a discount). 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 . Visit my Web site at http://www.dealsguy.com.

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