Article, May 2009
The Deals Column
Bob Click, The Dealsguy
We attended the 2010 FACUG Spring Conference cruise and it was well attended with about 250 registrants and a total of 350 attendees (considering the non-member spouses). I was not enthused about the ship and its food, but most liked it. This conference had the most sessions Iíve ever seen, and with very talented presenters. There were also some APCUG people doing breakout sessions. You made a tough decision almost every hour with four great sessions to choose from, especially when we wanted to spend time shopping at Nassau, Bahamas. There was a photo-shoot session done ashore by Bill Campbell, a professional photographer who has traveled worldwide and written books. Bill did other photo-related sessions. We didnít stop at Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegianís private island) because of windy conditions; they just made a very slow trip continuing on back to Miami.
Shopping in Nassau I found a polo shirt with a pocket (hard to find these days) that had ďNassauĒ on it, and we bought a few other souvenir items. We also visited the Gucci store for the experience. A beautiful womenís purse was on sale for ďonlyĒ $3,500, marked down from $5,000, but darn, I had accidentally left my plastic in our cabin safe.
I was disappointed not to get it for her! Maybe it will still be on sale if we visit Nassau again (and we win the lottery).
I was surprised that Microsoft was not a sponsor. Only Corel joined us on the cruise, but Smart Computing sent lots of magazines. There were 33 breakout sessions during the Saturday and Sunday conference hours. The presentation ďTechnology of the Space ProgramĒ by Jeff Fishkin (works for NASA) was extremely interesting and informative. Carey Holzmanís keynote talk about computer security was outstanding and informative. Carey hosts a radio show about computers.
The shipís navigator gave a great talk and we learned about an unexpected weather problem the night before that most were not aware of. It seems a sudden storm came up and the ship quickly listed about six degrees before they could correct it, which is not a serious danger, but some bottles slid off the shelves in the liquor store. Good thing we were unaware or some of us might have been there with straws helping clean up the liquor store floor. He said they quickly used pumps to move water or fuel to the proper ballast tanks to correct the listing situation. Ten lucky people got a tour of the navigation room. Everyone enjoyed a Welcome Cocktail Party on Friday evening and a Farewell Cocktail Party Sunday evening, with door prizes. I had great conversations with people that I only see at that event. Some pictures are posted at http://www.facug.org.
I heard varying opinions about this event, but most sounded positive, even when they were originally against it. The pluses were no traveling from a hotel for events, vendors didnít need to buy attendees meals, and everything that went on was only a few steps away from your room. No sessions after 7PM meant you could take in shows, live music in the lounges, late night buffet parties, or other ship events. I saw the best musical show I have ever seen on any ship weíve been on. I enjoyed the comedian the next night. The Cruise Director announced at the musical show that 51 different countries were represented on that cruise, the most that ship ever had. Whenever my wife and I went to the buffet for a snack, we saw a few people with FACUG badges having snacks together and often meeting for the first time. All of us wearing badges were often asked what it was about, so we got a chance to promote user groups.
Next yearís conference is already planned, but is in jeopardy because of very slow registrations, in spite of a positive survey taken after our return. I think itís too early in the year to start the registration, but maybe the cruise line will relent and give us more time to get the 100 registratons needed. Itís a day longer and on a better ship. There will be no sessions next year during certain hours in Cozumel, Mexico.
Another users group gives up
I received a message from Dick Hiatt recently telling me that their San Diego Personal Computer User Group was disbanding. They have published the DealsGuy column for years and Dick has been the editor for years. Their membership was at an all time low and so was their meeting attendance. I didnít ask when I called him, but I assume that, like most groups, the officers have all held their jobs for years. Their final meeting will be sort of a party without smiles, but most of the active members are likely to affiliate with other computer related groups in the area. In their good times, they had about 200 members. With all of the help for computer users, and the great camaraderie, itís hard to think that user groups are becoming an endangered species.
Diskeeper Introduces An Update
Most of you are familiar with the Diskeeper and Undelete products http://www.diskeeper.com and their great performance capability. Diskeeper Corporation has introduced an update. Diskeeper features a breakthrough technology called IntelliWrite that prevents the vast majority (up to 95%) of fragmentation from ever occurring. InvisiTasking technology is an important breakthrough that allows processes running in the background to run invisibly with zero conflicts. They say the Titan Defragging technology is about the strongest ever built, and the Terabyte Volume Engine technology rapidly defrags multi-terabyte volumes. (DealsGuy comment; check http://www.diskeeper.com/diskeeper/home/comparison-chart.aspx to better understand that statement.)
They say that Boot-Time defragmentation defrags and consolidates directories to improve application speed, eliminating slows, hangs, and crashes. Defragmentation during boot-time handles those files that cannot be moved while the system is active. All Diskeeper 2010 editions are fully compatible with Windows 7 (Home Edition is not compatible with Windows 7 Enterprise). Registered users receive full 90-day telephone tech support and special upgrade pricing. I found that Diskeeper works fast and efficiently. Thereís more, but I donít have room for every feature here.
Undelete 2009 is not updated, but is a fascinating product. It protects files that the Windows recycle bin and backup systems miss: The following is from their Web site, but Iím not sure if it all pertains to the Home version as well.
ďUndelete 2009 with InvisiTasking to the Rescue Undelete replaces the Windows recycle bin with a catch-all Recovery Binô that intercepts all deleted files, no matter how they were deleted. Lost file? No problem! Use the Recovery Binís Windows Explorer-like interface to navigate to the file, or take advantage of Undeleteís powerful search capabilities. Right-click the file, select Recover, and the file is back. The Microsoft Office Version Protection functionality can even restore your earlier, saved over versions of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) files.
Undelete includes Emergency Undelete, which can recover files deleted before Undelete was installed; provided they haven't been overwritten on your hard drive, and SecureDelete 2.0, an electronic shredder to completely erase confidential files. Innovative Set It and Forget Itô features and technology (InvisiTasking) guarantee that new Undelete 2009 will safeguard your computer silently and automatically.Ē Thereís more, but I donít have room. Here are some special offers for a limited time: Diskeeper 2010 Home 2-pack $49.95 (Save $30) https://www.diskeeper.com/store/checkout/addtocart.aspx?item=49115&qty=1&srchash=_ioxswm_p Diskeeper 2010 Professional 2-pack $99.95 (Save $20) https://www.diskeeper.com/store/checkout/addtocart.aspx?item=49365&qty=1&srchash=_ioxswm_p
Diskeeper 2010 Pro Premier 2-pack $169.95 (Save $30) https://www.diskeeper.com/store/checkout/addtocart.aspx?item=49366&qty=1&srchash=_ioxswm_p
Undelete 2009 Home and Diskeeper 2010 Home bundle $49.95 (Save $20) http://www.diskeeper.com/store/checkout/addtocart.aspx?item=50519&qty=1&srchash=_ioxswm_p
How About A Smart Uninstaller!
A guy was telling me about his favorite uninstall software called Zsoft Uninstaller. I donít think itís an exclusive feature, but it has a way to keep track of any changes on your hard drive when you install a new program. If you donít like the new program, Zsoft can completely remove it even if there is no uninstall tool included. Prior to installing a new program, Zsoft will make some type of hard drive image to use as a reference if it has to uninstall that software. I have not tried Zsoft, but it sounds like it has a good concept and itís free; however, as with most freeware, they accept donations if you like it. Check it out at http://www.zsoft.dk/index/software.
That's it for this month. Iíll have some more new product announcements on my Web site that didnít offer discounts. 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) ClickClick here to return to top
. Visit my Web site at http://www.dealsguy.com.