NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
The Deals Column
by Bob Click, The Deal Making Man, June 2001
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group

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Not surprisingly, in response to my "junk e-mail" soap-box last month, I heard from people explaining what an important service they are doing by forwarding all those warnings, even though some did admit they had also forwarded hoaxes to recipients not happy about it. I also had e-mail saying, "Thanks for the soap box, but you can't win that one." I know that. I have a couple of filters setup now in Eudora because of people who won't honor my request to stop. Here is a Web site made for those do- gooders: [http://www.cao.com/hoax] There, you can pick your favorite hoax and personalize it, then send it to all those people that also still believe Elvis is alive, but don't include me.

Fun Among Friends
My wife and I attended the Florida Association of Computer User Groups (FACUG) conference and had a great time. There were about 148 attendees from 27 user groups. The vendor participation was better this year with 17 vendors. Two vendors also did roundtables that were combination presentation and Q & A. If you don't attend your regional conference, I heartily recommend it. It was great to see friends that I only see those times of year.

That Much!!!
Many aren't aware that some people learn a great deal about your computer, browser and other things when you "hit" a URL on the Web (unless your firewall restricts disbursing data). My ISP (Earthlink) offers limited "free" statistics about the hits on a member's Web site, and there are other free services that will also give you even more stats than I get free from Earthlink. For a monthly fee, I could have a lot more info concerning the hits on my Web site through Urchin, who provides the Earthlink stats taken right from Earthlink servers. Perhaps I'll write more about all that in a future column.

Regarding those Web site statistics, I read the latest APCUG Reports [http://www.apcug.org] and this issue had a report by Don Singleton listing just one month's statistics for the APCUG Web site. I strongly urge you to read it and you'll be fascinated with what you see. For example, I never realized there were so many different screen resolutions and it was interesting where many of the hits came from. You'll find "Quarterly Reports" listed on the left side of the APCUG Home Page. Take a look.

Still Good
The TechSmith items, SnagIt and Camtasia, are still good this month. Order these great 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.

Some editors have been asking for a shorter column lately, so I am reducing the length by a couple hundred words. Now for some deals:

A "Mouse Bungee" Is Not What You Think, And It Works Great
At Space Coast PC Users Group meetings, members are sometimes treated to a demonstration by David Nottingham [dnottingham@cfl.rr.com] of favorite gadgets he finds (you should see his "gadget vest"). A couple months ago he showed them a "Mouse Bungee." It's a device that holds your mouse cord in the air allowing unencumbered mouse motion. It sounded great, so I inquired about it for the column. They sent me one to try and I LOVE it. No resistance now when rolling my mouse around. No, "Mouse Bungee" doesn't suspend your mouse, just the mouse "cord." It has a stand with dual springs on a slant to hold your mouse cord in the air. Saves me setting something on my cord to keep it slack. Point your browser to [http://www.mousebungee.com] for pictures, colors and other information.

You must order it on their Web site's order page and I have a limited time discount for you. MSRP is normally $14.95 + $3.95 S&H, but user group members will get 15% off the entire order by typing the special ordering code "EFXL2" into the "promotion code" space. Choose from a nice assortment of colors. For a group order, they will increase the discount. E-mail [webmaster@mousebungee.com] for that info. What great people to do business with! Mouse Bungee won an award at Comdex.

How's The 'Ol Ticker Again?
Last month I told you about WinStock, a nice program that puts a ticker on your screen and can be personalized with just the symbols you want to follow. That one cost money, but this month I have another one for you. Several people told me about it, and in fact, I already knew about it but couldn't find the URL to download it. Sounds like many already know about it, so maybe this is a waste, but here it is. It is called TICKER.EXE and you can download it at [http://www.cooltick.com]. It is so simple to use and will certainly serve your purpose. It also can be personalized. Best of all, it is FREE.

How About Backing Up With Throw-Away Parts
Last year I read a review by Carl Petzold of PC Users Group of South Jersey concerning a product called "Quick Drive" by H45 Technologies. Quick Drive is a kit containing a molded plastic case (shock mounted), an AC adapter and a data cord (USB or PC Card). It is designed to use a hard drive (could be an old one you have upgraded from). The object is to use this for a backup that you can unplug and put away.

Carl said the installation wasn't bad and it was just the berries. You cannot use Drive Image or Partition Magic from Power Quest, but he didn't say why. He is using the Microsoft backup in Windows 98 that he said does the job.

Quick Drive Kit sells for $29.95 and the cable you choose is $49.00. DealsGuy readers get a 10% discount. Call 1-800-373-8181 and tell them you read about this in the DealsGuy's column. Considering the price of a tape backup or Zip drive, and its media, perhaps this approach is better. See their products at [http://www.h45.com]. It was a bit confusing to me on their Web site, but if you call, they will answer your questions.

How About A Better Clipboard
I've written about two popular replacements for the old "one-at-a-time" Windows Clipboard including the ever-popular "Clipmate," but those cost money. How about a FREE clipboard capable of storing a library of items! Its called ClipBook, and from Microsoft. I looked it up on PC World's Web site and here's where I saw it, although it may be available at other sites: [http://www.pcworld.com/hereshow/article/0,aid,15608,00.asp]. If you have a problem finding it, I did a search for [clipbk.exe] at the download area.

If you have Windows 98, I'm told it's on some versions of the installation disk, but I didn't see it on mine. Read the instructions because you must remove ClipBook Viewer first. I have not tried it, but hooray for good free stuff.

Unzip Files With a Freebie
In the Space Coast PC UG's Journal, Ron Ingraham imparted this tidbit he received from Barbara Czenthe. Many of us use the popular WinZip for decompressing zip files. However, if you continue using WinZip, you are asked to pay a registration fee. WinZip is well worth the price, but here is an alternative. It's "Power Archiver 2000" which is said to be almost identical to WinZip. It is available absolutely FREE, and according to the description does everything WinZip does. You can download it at [http://www.pcnineoneone.com/pokpok/arcpok.html] and click on Productivity Utilities, (which doesn't look like hypertext). You should find it on the resulting list. I haven't had time to try it yet, but you certainly can.

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 interesting articles (taken from user group newsletters) to my "Articles of Interest" page for viewing or downloading.

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