NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, August 2007
The Deals Column
by Bob (the Cheapskate)Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

E-mail Address Change
Iíve had my fill of Earthlink as an ISP. Talking to techs with bad English is frustrating, not to mention ongoing e-mail problems. The final decision came when my phone became accidentally disconnected by Bell South. After it was reconnected, but no DSL, the tech I spoke to had me unplugging and plugging wires, and finally asked me to unplug the very line I was talking on from the wall plug (I asked if she was sure before I did it), and she never called me back. Also, their price was too high. I finally decided on AT&T who offered the best deal I found, but I still have to rely on techs speaking bad English. My new e-mail address is < bobclick at bellsouth dot net >. (I hope that strange formatting will avoid address spiders). Already I ran into poor tech support. I was three days late getting my DSL up and running because their own network had problems, and their tech support was slow getting someone to the house for further troubleshooting. They do not enter the house without a charge, but will check up to the outside box. She called the office for DSL light and I was finally in business.

Help For The Sight Impaired
I saw this article in ComputerWorld about the efforts of the city of Stockholm to provide voice instructions for guiding the blind, or people with poor vision, to wherever they want to go without other help. It is a serious undertaking and sounds promising. See it here: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=Mobile_and_Wireless&articleId=291724&taxonomyId=15&intsrc=kc_li_story.

What About The Centralizing Of Medical Records?
Iím sure youíve read about the desire for a centralized database of medical records for every individual so doctors can have quick access to your complete records. This interesting article talks about some of the efforts http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199702199. Yet, that has not even come close to fruition so far. Everybody has a different approach including the many companies trying to develop products to accomplish it. Then thereís the HIPPA law, along with other concerns about confidentiality, and your medical records. I worked in a UAW retiree office for two years helping retired members with benefit problems. Most were trying to get medical bills paid. Calling insurance companies and medical centers was an exercise in frustration after the HIPPA law took affect. You had to hope for a friendly person who would try to work around that law to solve the problem, even after telephone permission from the subscriber. The office person on the other end couldnít actually see us both sitting there and often refused to help.

When I ran the Medistick product a few months ago (a USB Flash Drive to contain your personal medical information in PDF format for doctors to access), I thought that was a good idea, but now Iím not so sure because of the different software and office procedures used by doctors, and their efforts to keep office costs down. When I tried a new cardiologist last year I mentioned various doctors I had seen in the last few years. He wanted to contact them all for my records to do his homework. On my next visit, he had done that and most used paper records, but he gave me two CDs with medical information from other offices saying his software was not compatible with their format. Those were extremely important medical records that were useless to him that way. I visited those offices to get my records on paper, although it was difficult to find a helpful secretary.

If I had a USB Medistick, how would a doctor want my medical information organized and formatted to be useful? Itís a safe bet that few doctorís offices will put that information on your Medistick since they are concerned about the time to prepare it for you.

So far, even President Bushís intervention has had little affect on the push for centralization of medical records. We are the ones suffering the repercussions of this lack of coordination. If I could simply get a report on the office visit, or procedures performed, from that doctorís office, perhaps I could type it up myself on the Medistick if there was a centralized format. As you know, there are other problems if you want to record doctor data for your own reference since they often arenít willing to give it to you. Also, the public is very suspicious about any governmental control of that information, and who would be exceptions to the rules, such as a prospective employer? If you got sick on a distant vacation, seems like that central database could be invaluable to a doctor or ER.

Be Aware!

These are announcements I received, but I have not tried any of them.

Keep Track of Your Ink
AVPSoft.com has announced APFill Ink Coverage Meter 4.2. You can determine the cost of a document, and if needed, optimize the pages to spend less ink or toner and consequently money. APFill Ink Coverage Meter is ideal for home users who have a color printer, or print shops that print a large number of copies. Usually printer owners rely on the printer manufactures that describe ink usage as being 5% ink coverage of an A4 page. With APFill Ink Coverage Meter in place, you will know the exact ink coverage and determine the accurate cost of a printed copy based on such properties as paper density, paper format and original color density.

APFill users can measure the ink coverage of the highlighted screen area when, for example, they preview the page in a graphic editor before printing. It's also possible to measure the ink coverage for every single page, or for the entire document in either PostScript or PDF format with CMYK separation up to 8 color spots. There's also a 'Selected area surface measurement' feature, allowing you to measure the area filled in with a specified color. The measurement results can be displayed in either pixels or any user-defined units.

APFill Ink Coverage Meter 4.2 is available for $79.95 (US) for a single-user license. We offer user group members a 10% discount on the purchase of APFill Ink Coverage Meter. The coupon code is APFILL10PR.

The product requires Windows 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista. Registered users are entitled to free upgrades and technical support. Additional information on the product, as well as its 30-day evaluation copy is available from http://www.avpsoft.com.

Product page link: http://avpsoft.com/products/apfill/

Direct download link: http://www.avpsoft.com/download/apfill.exe (2.55 Mb)

Another Data Recovery, But Its Free!
Smart Data Recovery is an effective and powerful, easy-to-use software program that enables the recovery of lost data. Restore your important files absolutely free. Smart Data Recovery is compatible with almost all kinds of data storage devices from computer hard drives to digital cameras. It supports flash drives, floppy disks, memory sticks, PC cards, multimedia cards, and secure digital cards. Smart Data Recovery restores all sorts of files, including electronic documents and pictures. It restores files from FAT32 and NTFS hard drives and has a really simple interface with Windows operations systems.

Even if the partition table is lost, the program gives you a chance to retrieve your important files. Smart Data Recovery applies a simple yet powerful algorithm that allows restoration of your lost data quickly and effectively. Smart Data Recovery also recovers any deleted files, including MS Office files, images, MP3 and zip files!

Smart Data Recovery runs on Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista. The current version is downloadable free at http://www.smartpctools.com. 820 kB. There are other interesting Freeware products listed on their Web site.

PDF Anyone?
Acrobat is costly and there are cheaper ways to create a PDF. PDF995 can be found at http://www.pdf995.com. (There are three free downloads that are adware). People who have used the product say it produces a different file size, but works as well as other PDF software. The free versions display a sponsor page in your web browser each time you run the software. If you prefer no sponsor pages, you may upgrade by obtaining individual keys for each product at any time for $9.95 each, and also get e-mail support.

That's it for this month. Iíll have more new product announcements on my Web site (not offering a discount). 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 at bellsouth dot net >. Visit my Web site at http://www.dealsguy.com.

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