NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, June 2003
The Deals Column
by Bob Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

Thanks for your messages about my income tax problems. At my reader's suggestions and my own curiosity, I returned to the AARP volunteers to see what was wrong. Since I took the printout of my TaxAct version, they quickly compared the numbers and found that the one prepared by their person was incorrect. She had miscalculated the ratio of income to Social Security received and we actually did have to pay on some of our SS income. I was glad to know I had made the right decision. Anybody can make a mistake and I'm just glad I checked it all out before I sent it in.

I've had great response from my doctor item. Two of them were PAs and it is unfortunate that they missed the entire point of the item, which was that I feel a patient should be completely informed about who they are going to see and be completely aware. I didn't mean that PAs and NPs are incompetent. They both did agreed that they are NOT doctors. Many readers completely agreed with my view, but surprisingly I also had many negative responses about doctors in general. A few were soured on doctors and preferred seeing their PAs, and knew the status. The messages have been very interesting.

Beware If You Remodel A Dell
I read this in the Macon Users Group's newsletter and thought you might like to know about it. Dell computer is a very popular choice and many people own them. What if you decide to upgrade your Dell's power supply or motherboard? You could easily fall into a trap if you are inexperienced since these parts in a Dell are proprietary. Seems that several wiring connections are reversed. You are advised to do your homework. Either get the parts from Dell, or replace "both" the motherboard and power supply if you use non-Dell parts. I hope this information prevents somebody from encountering a serious problem had they not known.

As for the deals, I have been busy this month and simply don't have much. Two vendors I tried to contact didn't respond. I've been working on my Web site a lot and my deadline crept up fast. I have a mixed bag thanks to my readers. Last month's deals from Gene and Linda Barlow are good indefinitely [ http://www.ugr.com/order/ ] and the Metlund hot water pump deal is still good this month [ http://www.gothotwater.com ]. F

Need Memory? I Think I Do, But Can't Remember
Lots of people purchase their memory on the Web and a very popular place is from Crucial. Did you know that they have a special deal just for user group people? Neither did I. Thanks to Russell Albach of The Alamo PC Organization, I can pass his information on to my readers. Head for [ http://www.crucial.com/usergroups ] and you'll find yourself eligible for a 5% discount. However, if you took advantage of the exceptionally good user group special offer from Intel for APCUG Comdex attendees, you won't get any help from Crucial though because they do not carry RDRAM. If you need memory, many consider Crucial highest in quality. I checked with their sales department before writing this up and they said to go ahead. As far as I'm concerned, we need all the help we can get when making a purchase.

Plenty of Choices For An Office Suite
In the past, I have mentioned several office suites that were either free or low cost. This is just a reminder list for your perusal. I realize that they may not have all the features that you would get in MS Office, but you can save a lot over purchasing the big names. It is a known fact that most office suite users only know about 30% of a program's capabilities, so why be captive to a big name? Below are some alternative office suites:

Mac Sources
I'm sure I don't have many Mac readers, but many user groups are multi-platform so I'll include this sent to me by a Mac user. It is said to offer lots of goodies. Check out [ http://macsupport.about.com/mlibrary.htm ]. Unless I miss my guess, most of the Mac users already know about this one, but I'm including it anyway.

Fed Up With Doubleclick cookies?
I don't remember where I saw this, but some of you may have noticed that if you use AdAware or another spyware sniffer, it usually finds a cookie by Doubleclick on your machine. Take it off and it will be right back. They actually provide a way to opt out of that situation. Point your browser to [ http://www.doubleclick.com/us/corporate/privacy/privacy/ad-cookie/ ]. One click at the bottom will do it, but be sure to read the caveat on their Web site. After opting out, it tells you which cookie NOT to delete; otherwise you have just defeated your objective.

Free Photo Editor
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), which boasts many of Photoshop's features without the high price tag will create layers, feather, manipulate text, and even animate. You'll find handy floating palettes just like in Photoshop as well. One drawback noted in the write-up I read is no support for GIF files. Download it at [ http://www.gimp.org/~tml/gimp/win32//downloads.html ].

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 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] for past columns. I have also been busy putting up some interesting new articles on my Web site so take a look.

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