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

While working the IBM Rational Software Development Show, I visited with the guys maintaining the registration, cyber café and the classroom setup. They told me they were using VMware for the classrooms and one actual machine could support three or four virtual machines. Since each training class was for a different purpose, some virtual machines were set up for different applications. I assume that the best reasons for using virtual machines is the hardware saving, less heat and lower power consumption, which all translates to lower costs.

In another conversation, I had noticed that security people were not scanning the badges of attendees entering the exhibit floor, but there was electronic equipment there. I asked if there were RFID chips in the badges and they confirmed there were. When an attendee passes through the entrance, the RFID chip in his badge is detected and the data is recorded for various purposes. The technician also mentioned that while on the show floor, the attendee could also be tracked when he was near an exhibit. As the RFID chip nears the booth exhibit, a sensor detects it and even would know the time duration the person was at the exhibit. I assume that service would cost the exhibitor.

He told me the attendee could opt out of the RFID chip when filling out the registration form, but only about 1% do that. I wonder how many people who are always in a hurry to fill out the application even noticed that option on the form. I would prefer not to be tracked.

Are You Interested In A Second Life?
At a Central Florida Computer Society meeting http://www.cfcs.org Hewie Poplock and Mike Ungerman did a fascinating presentation on having meetings on the Net instead of in person, or even a combination of both. They used two projectors so the audience could see both laptop screens and what each presenter saw on their own screen. The displays sometimes included another member who joined them from his home. The presentation had a few glitches because they had not worked with it a lot, but Hewie and Mike are experts who will work out the bugs and refine the process to make it work. They also demonstrated Dimdim http://www.dimdim.com, a free Web Working conference site, Paltalk http://www.paltalk.com where you can videoconference with up to 10 people, or voice and type chat to hundreds in public or private rooms, and Microsoft Live Meeting. They said the Association of PC User Groups is presently negotiating with Microsoft to obtain a license for Live Meeting for every APCUG user group and that there are several more applications that facilitate video chatting or conferencing; including a new Adobe site http://www.acrobat.com where you can try “Connect Now,” presently in Beta testing. Here is a comparison Web site. http://hewiep.googlepages.com/cfcs20080615. Along the way, they also threw in a little about “Second Life,” a Web site that seems to have become a fascination for some folks and perhaps a sort of addiction for others http://www.secondlife.com. At “Second Life’ you create a new, but virtual, life of your own, even creating and building just about any virtual item you wish. Second Life seemed limitless and you can buy virtual items, or sell virtual items you have constructed, using “Linden dollars.” Some "residents" of Second Life have actually been able to earn a lot of real dollars by converting Linden Dollars into U. S. currency at L250=$1. It was all completely new to me and the traffic on that Web site is tremendous. Hewie has a friend who spends up to 10 hours a day on the site.

Just Paste In A Note
How often do you want to write something down for future reference while you’re working on a project? Probably more than you realize. Flashnote can be helpful when you work with text and Flashnote is absolutely free software so it’s easy to take a look at it. Whether you’re recording a telephone number, saving a URL to reuse, or just copying pieces of text for editing, you could use a personal information manager or some other program for creating and saving text, but most of those options are slow. Flashnote is small, quick and convenient so here is a way to save time. http://softvoile.com/flashnote/?s=news4.5

Keep Track Of Everything With This One!
Remembering all the things that have been planned can be a major nuisance, and when important tasks get neglected it can be really serious so here is a personal information manager. EfficientPIM Software announces the release of EfficientPIM version 1.61, the newest upgrade for its flagship tool, enabling you to maintain and secure personal information, make task lists and schedules, write notes, memos and even diaries to immortalize your memoirs. All this information can be password protected. With the Password Manager, you need to remember only one password to be able to record and find the others. The Calendar display, Edit Note and Desktop Note functions have been improved from the previous version. You can literally stick some important notes on the desktop the way you do adhering paper notes to the fridge. EfficientPIM relieves your business life, enabling you to record, not only the information about your contacts, but all the events or appointments connected with them. The patented embedded search engine allows you to perform comprehensive searches, enabling you to find every piece of information you once recorded to the program. EfficientPIM runs under Windows 98, Me, NT4, 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista and costs $39.95 (USD) for a single-user license. A coupon code "EFFI-OMRW" gives user group members a 20% discount. Enter the coupon code in the EfficientPIM purchase page. This coupon code expires on Oct. 31, 2008. Licensed users are entitled to free updates and priority technical support for 24 months. More information is available at http://www.efficientpim.com. Direct download link: http://www.efficientpim.com/download/EfficientPIM-Setup.exe

Sib Icon Editor Goes Freeware
SibCode announces the release of Sib Icon Editor 4.0. The new version of this renowned icon editor is now being offered at no charge, and is available under a freeware license. Sib Icon Editor is a fast and lightweight image-editing tool designed for creating and editing icons, toolbars, navigation buttons, small logotypes and similar graphics. Fitting the niche between simplistic Windows Paint and the almighty Adobe Photoshop, Sib Icon Editor offers small-graphics designers a way to unleash creativity without the steep learning curve. Sib Icon Editor supports icons, toolbars, logos and other graphics of any size, color depth or aspect ratio. Both 16 and 256-color images are supported while 32-bit graphics gets alpha-channel support for creating images with no edge jaggedness. The alpha-channel comes in handy when adding semi-transparent shadows that look extremely effective on Windows XP and Vista. Sib Icon Editor offers a choice between a number of pens, sprays and paintbrushes. There is the usual bucket tool for filling the void, and there are gradients and chess fills to quickly achieve desired effects. Only a few clicks will add a translucent or opaque shadow, modify opacity, colors, and gamma. Disabled icons are typically grayscale, so there is a tool for that as well. Tools for smoothing, inverting and colorizing images are also available. The resulting image can be saved in ICO, ICPR, BMP, JPEG or PNG formats. Sib Icon Editor can also convert Mac icons into Windows format. Sib Icon Editor is available for free at http://free-icon-editor.com/

Beep Beep What??
I had some space left and would normally include some kind of freebie, but here is a tip I found in “Nuggets from Nuvo” by Joe Nuvolini, a great monthly column in the Pikes Peak Computer Application Society newsletter, Bits Of Bytes http://ppcompas.apcug.org. What’s your state of mind when your computer does not come to life, but instead only gives you certain beeps? File this information away where you can lay your hands on it if, some day, that happens instead of booting. What do those beeps mean? Visit http://networking.ringofsaturn.com/PC/beep.php to get a list of the beeps. I wish my readers could read all the newsletters that I see for the valuable bits of information they contain. Not that I would know what to do with that information, but some of you might.

That's it for this month. I’ll have some other 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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