NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, August 2010
The Deals Column
Bob Click, The Dealsguy
bobclick@bellsouth.net (click to email author)

Computer Repair Feedback
Last month I mentioned that one of my computer problems was caused by ďOnline Armor.Ē I found I wasnít the only one who had problems with that firewall. In my feedback, two people said it interfered with the installation of certain MS updates to their OS. I also remembered having that problem, but at that time, I thought I had accidentally created a firewall rule that caused the problem when installing the MS updates. Some repeatedly failed to install, no matter what I did.

The answer was suggested at our Tech SIG. I eventually got into the habit of shutting down my firewall, and also Spybot (which sometimes caused update installations to fail), so the updates would install correctly, but a few Office updates still failed to install so it was still a problem at times. Thanks for the feedback.

Minor Problem, Though
Iíve found that since using the Reimage Repair, two of my Office programs need to be reinstalled. Iím not sure what happened, but when I try to start them, they say ďinstalling,Ē but nothing happens. Iíll work on that when I get time.

Not Much Work Lately
We worked the Hearth, Patio, and Barbeque show http://www.bvents.com/event/194492-hpbexpo-hearth-patio-and-barbecue-expo that had plenty of home barbeque products, but also plenty of fireplace displays that looked fascinating. The electric ones looked like they had beautiful flames and fooled many who thought they used gas. Some of the cooking products were filled with specially treated glass beads that held the heat very well. I didnít see any of those cooking food near my post, but there was food being cooked all over the show and I didnít get away from my post much.

Due to health problems, we have not been working any shows lately, and we are missing some good ones. We missed the diabetes show, which is usually an interesting one. Right now, both my wife and I have a serious bacterial infection that the doctor said was highly contagious so we have quarantined ourselves for now. Itís a problem getting old for some of us, but the alternative to getting old really sucks.

Even Some Large User Groups are Feeling the Pinch
I heard from the editor of a user group that used to consistently have many members, and had a very impressive newsletter with its articles written mostly by their members. He asked about my health, and during our messages, he indicated that in spite of being the many-member group it had been for several years, and offering a monthly newsletter that looked like a magazine on a newsstand, their membership is at an all time low, but they are still holding together. They also went to a PDF newsletter several years ago and they still have great authors within their own group. I just canít understand people giving up the kind of help and camaraderie a user group offers.

No Luck With Vendor Announcements
I received three vendor product announcements for new products with user group member discounts, but none of the contacts replied to my e-mails asking for ordering instructions for my readers. Why bother announcing the products if we canít order them? That problem is quite common any more. I had another item that Iíve had around for a while and I asked if I could get a special offer for my readers these days. The guy said he would set things up in a couple of days, but so far, Iím still waiting. However, I have not given up on him yet and I liked the product, which is learning courses for software.

Under the circumstances, I looked up some items that Iíve been saving for future use and hopefully youíll find them interesting. Most of them were found in user group newsletters.

Worried About Your Laptop Getting Stolen?
You always stand the chance of your laptop getting stolen when youíre carrying it with you, because the worst can always happen. Of course, all your personal information goes with it if that happens, but if you have the data encrypted, that part wonít matter, so you simply purchase a new laptop and use your backup to bring it up to date. However, Prey Project can be a big help if you prepared yourself with it ahead of time http://www.preyproject.com. If you decided to get set up with Prey Project to protect yourself in the event a theft, simply go to their Web site and report the theft. Prey will start attempting to connect your computer to a network so it can start sending back silent reports; and maybe even pictures if your laptop also has a camera. It will also immediately start sending back reports, and the current IP address along with reports on what the user is doing. Itís a small program so it wonít take much to install it.

The product is free, but they do accept donations. I read about this item in the Jan. 2010 Monitor, an outstanding newsletter of The Rochester Computer Society, put together by the dedicated Editor, Sally Springett http://www.rcsi.org. No author was listed for this item. I never fail to read her newsletter from cover to cover.

Another Daily Deal
ďGoingTodayĒ has the same ďone daily item for sale for 24-hoursĒ policy as other daily sale sites Iíve given you and you never know what it might be until they offer it, but this site http://www.goingtoday.com is said to cater more to musicians and music lovers. I only browse it occasionally and the deals I have mostly seen are for quality sound equipment, although the prices were not bad. In my younger days, I was also a musician, but those days are long gone so it wonít work for me when they offer musical instruments, but its fun to check it occasionally.

Help Troubleshooting Your Computer Problem
This resource has good recommendations and seems to be a good one. If you prefer to troubleshoot your own computer when a problem arises, sometimes the fix is elusive and you still need help. Iím told this site has helped many with their problems, but it is by e-mail only so you will need to send a good description of your problem. Your help may come from anyplace in the world, but the more help, the better when a solution is needed. http://www.protonic.com/ is the URL for your help and a little research will tell you that it is well rated by some respected services.

Martin Kessler sent this to me some time ago, but I lost it and ran across it recently, however, the e-mail address I have for Martin is no longer good. I hope he is still active in his user group.

Help With Updates
Many who subscribe to the Windows Secrets newsletter by Brian Livingston may already know about Secunia, because he recommended it some time ago, but it is a good service so I am including it here. I also found this in MUG Monitor (Jan 2010), newsletter of Macon Users Group. Liz Russel writes an excellent monthly article called tech talk http://www.maconusersgroup.org and included Secunia in that column.

They have a free program you can use to scan your computer for needed updates. It is called Secunia Software Inspector http://www.secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning. Actually, if you are a home user, you can have your computer scanned online or you can scan your entire network with the Corporate Software Inspector. If something on your computer needs an update, Secunia will go out and get it for you on its own. Not everyone favors Secunia though, so look it over carefully before you try it.

How Do You Replace Your Favorite Utilities?
Ninite will help you do that by letting you choose from all your favorites and will also install them for you. If there are items youíd rather not have, Ninite will leave them out. Get it at http://ninite.com. I read about it in Bits of Bytes, the newsletter of Pikes Peak Computer Application Society, http://ppcompas.apcug.org and no author was listed. You can find out more by visiting the Ninite Web site. Bits of Bytes is a very interesting newsletter. Itís not lengthy, but every page is fascinating and Iím lucky to receive it.

That's it for this month. Iíll have some more new product announcements on my Web site that didnít offer discounts. 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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