NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, July 2008
The Deals Column
By Bob Click, The Deals Making Man
(click to email author)

Biometric Lock Update
I said I was going to return the Kwikset Biometric (fingerprint) Lock for my door because it was very unreliable, but I really liked it and wanted it to work better. I watched the video on their Web site and tried changing my finger scanning technique. It’s working better for me and mostly opens on the first scan, but not always. However, my wife still has poor luck so she always uses her key, or waits for me to unlock it. Kwikset had a booth in a hardware show we worked so I asked a rep how to improve my wife’s success getting the lock to work. He told me the lock can hold 50 different fingerprints, so, if I didn’t need them all for other people, try scanning her finger several times in different ways with the chance that things might go better with more choices for the lock’s computer to compare. He said it actually scans the skin makeup, not the fingerprint. It’s worth a try!

For What It’s Worth!
When I wrote up the USB Medical flash drive deal, my proof reader told me no medic in his right mind would plug it into their laptop, if they even had a laptop in the ambulance, because an unknown device might cause damage to the computer or entire system. It made sense so I talked to a few medics about that and there seems to be varied opinions. One told me that he only looks to see if the patient has a wallet card or medical necklace, and they would not plug anything unknown into their computer. Another medic told me that if she saw the USB device with the medical logo on it, she would indeed plug it into their laptop to see what it revealed, and that their computer system would not allow any damage. In spite of the varied opinions, most said they would want to see the USB drive’s content because the patient’s welfare was important. Some said good advice is to post a conspicuous note in your wallet about the device. Would anybody fake a serious injury just to damage computers?

Interesting Business
Bill Shook is the editor of a great newsletter for The Northwest Arkansas PC User Group and I really enjoy reading it each month. He seems to be the editor for life and doesn’t mind. I read a very interesting tidbit in their March issue that had me wondering if it was for real, or just an April fool joke, considering the month. NWA-PCUG’s President, Wes Eckles Jr., starts the NL with the “President’s Corner,” and in his March Corner, he included an item about “cheap broadband service available from Space Data Corporation by way of shoebox sized transmitter/receivers carried aloft via ten balloons launched each day by ranchers and dairy farmers.” Sound fishy to you?

I surprised Bill with a phone call to inquire and he said he also wondered about that, but later was astonished to read it in their local newspaper. He even sent me an article taken from the Wall St. Journal about the company. Here’s the URL to read that President’s Corner http://pcgroup.nwark.com\pres--38.htm on their Web site and also the URL http://www.spacedata.net/news022008.htm to read this interesting article about Space Data Corporation, who also provides data services for truckers and oil companies. You’ll find it fascinating.

The Boca Raton users group just lost their long-time ISP so maybe they should consider this method with various members launching the balloons each day. That’s another way to beat the big guys.

Anyway, I had a very interesting visit with Bill Shook and you’d be surprised to know he publishes most of his interesting newsletter using a DOS version of Word Perfect (5.1), but does use MS Windows XP every day. How many editors would you find sticking with their favorite DOS program yet today? I assume his philosophy is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Sort of like “in with the new,” but not necessarily “out with the old.” He said that like many other user groups, not many members write articles/reviews for their newsletter any more and is indebted to Judy Taylour for putting the APCUG editor articles together; as well as to APCUG's Ira Wilsker and his articles. He also thanked the “World Renowned DealsGuy.”

What a Show!
I worked the Sapphire Show by SAP and it includes the SAP Users Group organization. http://www.sap.com/us/sapphire It was a large show in the West Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center. All the SAP partners, along with Microsoft and their partners, were there. There was food set up all over the exhibit floor from the time the show opened in the AM to the close at 5 PM. No food concession stands were open in the building. The dock I worked at was one entry point for the food to be brought in so I managed to get a snack more often than I should have.

I visited the exhibit floor briefly twice and it was interesting. I was really curious about what the “War rooms” were that were associated with the IT section. Eric Clapton was the featured entertainer one evening and Tom Brokaw (Legendary ABC newsman) was the speaker another evening. This show usually comes here each year and is attended by people from around the world.

We also worked an IBM show, held at the Dolphin hotel on Disney property. They recently had a show that I didn’t get to see, and now this one, which is their Tivoli Pulse08 show. http://www.ibm.com/tivoli/pulse08 Lance Armstrong was one of the featured speakers and Hootie and the Blowfish entertained on the final evening. They packed a lot of exhibitors on the show floor; many had a “booth on a post” (a post with a shelf for equipment) that took up a very small area and the rest of the booths were still quite small. 4000 attendees were expected. IBM has another show there in two weeks; The IBM Rational Software Development Conference.

No Announcements With Discounts This Month
I did receive a number of announcements, but nothing new offering us a product discount. Those will be posted on my Web site. As you can see, my column is mostly personal items that I thought were of interest and I will include some freebies sent to me by readers. I have also seen these in columns published in a few UG newsletters. There are several good monthly “help” articles and I only get a few newsletters, but some of these columns are reprinted in newsletters I do receive. I hope you get some good from these suggestions.

How About Some Suggestions For Defragging!
This is a freeware defragging utility that was said to be a good product. I have not used it yet, but I’m passing it on to you. It is called SpeeDefrag 5.2.1 and is located at: http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4889.html. I’m not sure if it’s Adware or Freeware. There is also a free Windows Registry Cleaner there, but I don’t know how it compares with cCleaner.

Another Free Defragger
Here is another free Defragging product. Go to http://www.auslogics.com/en/software. This item was in an article by Joe Shipley, owner of Smart Ideas, a computer consultant firm. Auslogics also offers two other free products; Registry Defrag and System Information, which gives you data about your computer. There are also some products you must pay for.

Free Picture Resizer
Resize, shrink and crop your pictures for free. Resize photos before posting them on whatever Web site you choose. http://www.picresize.com Since I have not tried it, I can’t offer much of a description. However, they do the resizing for you right there.

Analyze Everything In Your PC
Here’s a free utility that can be used to analyze and even benchmark your computer. It offers information on hardware, including such things as motherboard, CMOS, processor, memory, the display adaptor, keyboard, mouse and all types of drivers. Also shows any peripheral devices connected (such as printer, multimedia devices) PCI/AGP buses, I/O ports, DMA channels, IRQs, Advanced Power Management, memory, resources, DirectX, DirectDraw, DirectSound and the list goes on.

They say it’s easy to use and offers an attractive interface. See http://www.freshdevices.com/freshdiag.html to download it. Before you decide, look at the pro and con remarks on download.com.

That's it for this month. I’ll 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 . Visit my Web site at http://www.dealsguy.com

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