Article, July 2006
The Deals Column
by Bob (the Cheapskate)Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
firstname.lastname@example.org (click to email author)
We worked some great trade shows last month including the McDonalds Worldwide show. Attendees were from around the world and food was all over that show. Most of the food was from around the world and didn’t appeal to me at all, such as the burgers with “rice burger” buns, and the shrimp burgers. An attendee could take a 15-minute tour showing some of their methods for preparation and quality control, then get a Big Mac and fries. Another day I had the largest Big & Tasty (a McDonald’s burger selection) I ever saw. An ice cream booth continuously gave out plenty of cones and sundaes.
I was stationed at some exit doors one day and heard music I knew was hit country & western music. I finally looked inside and there on a small stage was Jo Dee Macina, live, performing some of her hit songs. There were only about 100 people there, but it was an unannounced performance sponsored by an exhibitor. I also worked at a door for their sessions area (including concerts) during a rehearsal by Destiny’s Child. While I enjoyed the music, I was extremely impressed by the sound system setup for that concert. A convention hall is very difficult to get quality sound unless expensive speakers are used that specifically direct its sound to control reverberations. This was one of the best sound systems I have heard in those halls. I’m sure there was easily a million dollars worth of sound and video equipment there.
We just finished working the SAP Sapphire Show http://www.sap.com/sapphire that was combined with the ASUG (Americas’ SAP Users’ Group) http://www.asug.com show with about 14,000 attendees. Very few major companies were not represented. I was told that attendees paid anywhere from $1600 to $2400 depending on the Sapphire Show category they registered for. Fortunately, I was watching the computers for registration. They had food daily for their staff and I was invited. In July we might work a Microsoft show that will be one of the largest trade shows ever held in Orange County Convention Center.
Do Your Homework!
Below are some announced freebies and I am passing them on with reservations since I have not tried any of them. I asked my proofreader, Bob Clyne, to just take a look at the announcements and will include some of his comments. The first product might pique your interest, as it did his, but be sure to look it and the others over thoroughly before you make your decision to try them. I have edited out much of the announcement text so go to their Web sites listed for more complete information.
DVD Copying Anyone?
ShrinkTo5 has released version 2.02 of ShrinkTo5 GUI, a new DVD copying engine distributed at no cost to anyone. This application lets you copy and shrink your favorite DVD disks in brilliant quality, which is complemented by a surprisingly high processing speed. You can copy an entire DVD, copy the main movie only, or copy its content elements selectively. The output can be saved to the hard disk drive as an ISO image or compressed and burned onto one DVD disk. The best thing in copying DVD disks with ShrinkTo5 is that it no longer involves tedious and sometimes confusing configuration. ShrinkTo5's AI chooses the perfect balance automatically.
DealsGuy Note: Bob Clyne says the free version contains Adware; WhenU to be specific and recommends against it. He also says the $19.95 version, containing no adware, is available from Download.com and you can try it for three days before you have to buy it. He suggests getting the Machinist2.dll before getting ShrinkTo5 if you intend to copy encrypted DVDs. The program will not work on encrypted/copy protected DVDs i.e. most commercial DVDs, without the Machinist2.dll, which for legal reasons, they don't supply. The Machinist2.dll can be challenging to find, but he did find it a few places, some of which were Warez sites.
Some of the features for ShrinkTo5 GUI are:
- Support for Machinist2.dll. The program has been modified to support new Machinist2.dll. Now, ShrinkTo5 has a unique ability to make DVD backups that cannot be handled by other DVD copying software like DVDShrink.
- Free burner plug-in. The ShrinkTo5 GUI package comes with FoxBurner, a shell plug-in that allows you to burn directly from the Windows Explorer. You don't have to donate or download a burner separately.
- ISO Image. Along with burning onto DVD disks, copied images can now be saved as ISO images on the hard disk drive and burned onto disks later if the need arises.
- Auto-Repair. New ShrinkTo5 lets you automatically restore scratched and defective DVD disks so that their content can be accessed and copied.
- Dynamic Compression. The code of the dynamic compression rate has been enhanced, which now allows users to get an even sharper picture.
- Built-in Player. New ShrinkTo5 features a built-in player that allows the user to view selected video tracks. This gives you more control over the copying process.
Read more information about ShrinkTo5 GUI at http://www.shrinkto5.com/software.asp Watch the online tutorial demo at http://www.shrinkto5.com/gTour.asp
ShrinkTo5 is available as Basic and Professional. Both versions run under Windows 2000/XP. The Basic version is available as a free download from http://www.shrinkto5.com/software.asp. The Professional is available as a three-day trial. The price of the Professional version is $19.95 download, or $24.95 plus S&H box USD. Both versions are compiled without DeCSS. To enable ShrinkTo5 to decrypt CSS, users should download "Machinist2.dll" from the Internet.
Product page link: http://www.shrinkto5.com
Download link: http://www.shrinkto5.com_data/ShrinkTo5AdFree.exe (4.77 Mb)
Postal address: ShrinkTo5.com, 2005, Fritz-Windisch Str. 11, 40885 Ratingen, Germany
Phone: 02102 146205
Fax: 02102 146206
Might Be a Good Service, And Free!
Trisnap Technologies has released System Spyware Interrogator 3.0 Tech Edition. 'They say that, "System Spyware Interrogator (SSI) is a free tool that detects and removes malicious software from clients' computers. It uses Trisnap's unique Predator technology to compare applications running on a client's computer with an online database of spyware definitions to immediately reveal all suspicious applications. The consumer edition of System Spyware Interrogator offers monthly, quarterly and annual priority fee-based automatic removal options. The Tech Edition also offers Alternate Directory Scans, File Hash Generation, Intelligent Hijackthis log parser and a memory process killer. SSI is linked directly to one of the largest malware databases in the world at http://www.spywaredata.com.”
DealsGuy note: 'Note the fee based options! You'll find out more on their Web site, but Bob and I had trouble understanding it. The Tech Edition also offers Alternate Directory Scans, File Hash Generation, Intelligent Hijackthis log parser and a memory process killer. SSI is linked directly to one of the largest malware databases in the world at http://www.spywaredata.com.
Learn more about Tech Edition at http://www.spywaredata.com/spyware/download.php. Download and try it in action from http://www.spywaredata.com/download/ssisetup.exe
SSI 3.0 Tech Edition runs under Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/2003. Additional information on the product, as well as its free version is available from http://www.spywaredata.com Postal address: Trisnap Technologies, 4519 Santiago Ln, Bonita Springs, FL 34134, USA
Protect Those Passwords, OK, and Free Too!
The program uses a strong encryption mechanism which prevents unauthorized access (256-bit AES - Advanced Encryption Standard). Every user can create a file of his/her own (the program is virtually an SQL database, featuring simultaneous work of several users). In this file, every user has a hierarchically structured list of folders (you can create the new ones, delete, rename, etc.). Each password record you add to one of these folders contains the following fields: subject, user name, password, URL, file path, comments. The user has an ability to create an unlimited number of extra fields to store data. In addition to this, you can set an expiration date for your password.
Aurora Password Manager has a built-in password generator, which chooses arbitrary combinations of symbols and generates passwords that are impossible to guess. Get the feature list from the Web site. Bob Clyne commented that, "I did not see a privacy statement on their Web site. They do have a bunch of awards listed on their Web site, but none of them were from places I had heard enough about to have confidence in. I did not find anything bad about the company or the product."
Aurora Password Manager runs under Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003. You can download it at http://www.animabilis.com/password-manager/download/Password-Manager-Installer.exe (2.13 Mb) Product page link: http://www.animabilis.com
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 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 email@example.com. Visit my Web site at http://www.dealsguy.comClick here to return to top