NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, June 2008
The Deals Column
By Bob Click, The Deals Making Man
bobclick@mindspring.com
(click to email author)


Friends Helping Friends!
A friend uses his computer a lot, but doesnít belong to any computer organization. I gave him a couple of PC Magazines I had read and he enjoyed them enough that he subscribed. He mentioned that he had a problem with his laptop not connecting to the router and I told him about the tech support included with the PC Magazine subscription he had just purchased. He called them and they helped him fix the problem quickly. His words later were ďBoy; Iíve already gotten my subscription money back in just one day.Ē

Eat Or Be Eaten
I saw where EMC will acquire Iomega. Although it is taking much longer than he said, Ralph Nader said years ago that in 20 years most of the business in the US will be controlled by 20 or so large corporations, and it looks like that prediction is gradually taking place. Small startups that have a unique product are quickly scooped up by the big guys who also buy their competition to close it down. Thatís certainly a good way for a smart programmer to become a millionaire; just come up with a great idea that works. As for being bought up, foreign countries will soon own the US by repossessing us if we keep borrowing money from them.

The items below are announcements I received, but I have necessarily edited the wording. I have not tried any of the products.

Free Tutoring For The Uninformed
Output I/S has launched HTML.net, a free HTML and CSS tutorial site that makes it easy to learn how to design and develop web sites. In about an hour, novice computer users can learn the essential information needed to build a web site using nothing more than an ordinary text editor. The Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) tutorial begins with the basics and introduces you to links, images and tables. You'll learn how to develop a site that can be viewed by all web browsers on all platforms. There are tips and tricks to make your web site attractive, fast loading, and effective.

The Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) tutorial teaches you to separate your web site content from your design, enabling you to quickly change the look and feel of your web site. CSS-based web sites improve your search engine rankings by making it easier for search engines to find and index your content. CSS is slowly replacing table-based HTML as the design tool of choice. The HTML.net tutorials are available 24/7, without charge. Tutorials are in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Chinese, and more.

For more information, visit http://www.html.net/, or contact Output I/S, Kaj Munks Vej 10, 3.th, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark. Phone: (+45) 5194 5001. E-mail: info@output.dk.

Free Screensaver

DealsGuy note: I am always suspicious of screensavers and I donít even use them myself, but my proofreader found some decent reviews of the companion game from the same author, so this screensaver is probably OK..

A sweet and adorable fairy soars across a beautiful fantasy landscape.
Along the way, she uses dazzling spells to defend herself against evil goblins and blazing firebirds. This delightful visual feast is the free Feyruna Fairy Forest screensaver from Jochen Kaercher Gamedesign, creator of premium games for casual players.

Fairy Forest screensaver includes the option to turn on atmospheric music and sound effects. As viewers listen to the soothing audio, they're treated to smoothly animated scenes featuring the otherworldly artwork of Feyruna Fairy Forest, a casual game created by Jochen Kaercher Gamedesign. Visit http://www.feyruna.com to download the 13 MB installation file and begin enjoying the free Feyruna Fairy Forest screensaver. Windows 95 or later is required.

Jochen Kaercher is an experienced game developer based in Germany. After launching his company in 1999, he created several freeware and shareware offerings for the PC. Kaercher is now developing more ambitious titles aimed at casual gamers. All offerings can be downloaded from .

Free USB Protection
A.C. Element Company has made available the free version of MyUSBOnly for individual users. MyUSBOnly Free 2007 is a Windows security application that prevents data theft through your computer's USB ports. While USB ports have made computing much more convenient, they also introduce a security threat that could subject many computer users to identity theft and data theft. MyUSBOnly thwarts attempts to gain access to your computer via your USB ports.

New features for MyUSBOnly Free 2007 are:
- Syslog entries for copied, modified, deleted files/folders
- Firewall-like feature to allow/deny inserted USB devices

It acts as something similar to a firewall that monitors the USB ports for any storage device connected to the protected computer. Simply create a whitelist of all of the USB devices you want to allow on your computer. The program will recognize each of your flash drives, external disk drives, MP3 players, and other USB devices and add them to its list of accepted hardware once they are authorized by the user. When your list is complete, the software will then check the whitelist of allowed devices by USB brand (if you want to allow a certain USB brand) or by serial number (for specific USB devices you want to allow) depending on the settings desired by the user.

The software also has reporting features, such as e-mail notifications, each time somebody attaches a USB device to your desktop or laptop. MyUSBOnly also maintains a security log of all attempts to gain access to your computer via USB flash drives, iPods, card-readers, or any USB hardware. Modified and copied files are now included in the log entries and can be configured to send all log information to syslog. Use syslog viewers such as Kiwi Syslog Daemon TM to view all the log entries from one or more computers in the network, allowing administrators to be able to manage and audit security.

There is an option to hide the software from the user, by not displaying any tray icons at all, so it silently works in the background without the user even knowing it's there. MyUSBOnly makes it easy to lock down your USB ports to protect this critical vulnerability on your desktop or laptop.

MyUSBOnly runs under Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/Server 2008, Download the software from our website http://www.myusbonly.com/usb/free.php. DealsGuy note: My proofreader noted some contradictions in the Web site information so look closely and clarify what you donít understand by trying the trial version before buying.

Like Jigsaw Puzzles?
Try This One! They claim, "It is even possible to see and feel the cardboard thickness.", but I am skeptical about feeling the cardboard thickness on the screen."

Gaia Dream Creation Inc. released its new 3D jigsaw puzzle game, and a puzzle screensaver named "Gaia 3D Puzzle" and "Gaia 3D Puzzle Screensaver." This 3D jigsaw puzzle game allows players to play jigsaw puzzles on their computer by selecting their favorite images and the number of pieces. The 3D view creates a totally immersive playing experience like a real puzzle game.

Gaia 3D Puzzle allows players to play with almost any images found on the Internet. Unlike other computer puzzle games, Gaia 3D Puzzle is in 3D. Players can see their puzzle as a real jigsaw puzzle and the pieces are as real as true jigsaw pieces. The pieces are not pre-cut image shapes. They are generated from advanced mathematic procedures to show the exact look and feel of true jigsaw pieces. It is even possible to see and feel the cardboard thickness. Players are able to play puzzles from 9 to 2000 pieces. Children can play and enjoy the same puzzles that adults play, but with less pieces.

A selection of 4 different piece shapes is available which increases or decreases the difficulty level. Itís also possible to modify the degree of distortion in the pieces, meaning the pieces can all look the same, which is harder to play, or all look different, which is easier to play.

The puzzle game and screensaver are available in English and French for Windows 2000/XP/Vista. The puzzle game (Gaia 3D Puzzle) is $29.95 USD and the screensaver (Gaia 3D Puzzle Screensaver) is $14.95 USD. 20% is offered to DealsGuy readers with coupon code GAIA-XAKB-USAV. This code is valid until June 30th, 2008. You must download the trail version to make sure it works well on your system and that you are satisfied, then follow the URL in the product to pay using the discount code.

Website: http://www.gaiadreamcreation.com/games/gaia-3d-puzzle/
Screensaver: http://www.gaiadreamcreation.com/screensavers/gaia-3d-puzzle-screensaver/

That's it for this month. Iíll soon have some new product announcements on my Web site. 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 bobclick@mindspring.com. Visit my Web site at http://www.dealsguy.com.

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