NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, September 2002
The Deals Column
by Bob Click, The DealsGuy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

How much do you concern yourself about buying American to help American jobs? I saw an interesting excerp from a write-up by a Washington Post writer concerning a typical routine on an average day by a couple he rode with to observe. His theme was US brands owned by European Companies. The couple drove a foreign car with an American name and gassed up at Amoco, owned by British Petroleum. They enjoyed lunch at Burger King, owned by a British Company, Diageo. The husband bought a book published by a french company, Vivendi, and a cassette to play in his car, also produced by Vivendi. In defense, the wife later purchased more gas at a Shell station only to learn it was Dutch owned. She also picked up a bottle of Snapple, made by a British company, Cadbury Schweppes. At home they had coffee, Tasters Choice, made by Nestle SA of Switzerland.

There is more, but I found it interesting. With all the mergers and acquisitions, most of us hardly know who we are buying from. Perhaps foreign entities need not engage us in war to take us over, but will simply buy us up while many American companies are moving operations to foreign sites, but I still try to help American jobs. A friend cringes at my "buy-American" attitude, telling me he never buys American. He says foreign products are superior to American products because American workers are lazy, conceited, overpaid people always looking for a free handout. Maybe I shouldn't say I was ever an American worker, but I live in America and I am what I am. My American friend also worked for an American company and, I think, enjoys an American pension.

Don't Have Acrobat? Then Get Your PDF Files FREE
When I reformatted my HD, I had misplaced my copy of Acrobat and needed to convert a file to PDF. Sometimes when I get stuck, I call one of my best local resources, which is Hewie Poplock. He told me to go to http://www.gobcl.com and get it done there for free. By golly, he was right. goBCL is a free online document publishing service by BCL Technologies, the maker of plug-ins for Adobe Acrobat. They can publish your documents into either PDF or HTML.

Not everything is free, but for occasional use, they offer a free service. They also have paid services, but the free one was just what I wanted. I have since found my Acrobat copy, but that service would have been handy.

Hewie also has a Web site where he posts all kinds of information and publishes a newsletter called "Hewie's Favorites," consisting of good URLs he finds. You can get on the list to receive "Hewie's Favorites" each time he sends them out, and it always includes other good information. [http://www.hewie.net]

Hey, Clean Up That E-mail
I printed a similar item a few months ago (Stripmail), but some readers have since sent me this information. Since it's their favorite, I'm passing it on. Some people always feel compelled to forward all kinds of stuff. Most, especially newbies, include the >>>, hard returns and whatever junk there is. These readers recommend using "The Cleaner" on those messages. It gets rid of all those >>> and the unwanted hard returns creating a dreadful looking message. It also offers other features to help.

If you are a "forwarder," get "eCleaner" V.2.01 at [http://pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,6492,00.asp] at no cost and help your fellow humans. There is a later version at [http://ecleaner.tripod.com] but this page may have moved by the time you read this. It's only for a PC, but the article's author, Steve Chin, mentions "SpellTools" that is meant for a Mac. He did not say where to find it.

Everything Under One Roof, and Cheap Too (for Linux)
How much did you pay for your Office Suite? Or are you still using an older version because you didn't want to pay that much? If you are using Linux, you could be saving a lot of money with Hancom Office 2.0.2 just released. I don't know if it will do everything you are doing now, but how much of your present office suite are you REALLY using?

I didn't take the time to check out this new offering from Hancom because I don't have a Linux machine yet, but it offers word processing, spreadsheet, graphics and presentation applications. It has many improvements including foreign language support and is compatible with Microsoft Word format (their words).

It now has Unicode support which has to do with foreign language special characters. They fixed problems affecting Mandrake and SuSE users who had upgraded to KDE 3.0. Fixed bugs when exporting text documents in HTML format.

This suite appears to be only Linux based, but if you own a previous version, your upgrade is free for the download. New users may purchase the software for $49.95 (CD Case or download edition) or the boxed version with documentation for $59.95 (regular prices). If you just want to check it out, a free 30-day trial version is available for downloading at [http://en.hancom.com]. Some features aren't included in the trial version. I'm not sure I understood the above information on their Web site so take a look. For a dialup connection, this large download may not be very practical, but the trial version is much smaller. See their solution.

Hey, Give Me Back That File, Ya Hear!!
In Windows 9x, deleted files are normally sent to the recycle bin so that it's easy to get them back if you change your mind. However, not everybody sticks to that method of deleting files. For instance, if you delete a file while holding the shift key down, you can forget about getting it back from the recycle bin. The same is true if you delete it from a Zip Drive.

A short write-up by Ken Marple of Space Coast PC Users Group recommends software called "Drive Rescue," A Hard Disk Recovery Tool. The Web site says it will find any lost and deleted data on your drive (e.g. hard disk) even if the partition table is lost or the drive has been quick-formatted. Also recovers lost data that is the result of a system crash. But if the disk has been physically damaged, it cannot recover that data.

Supported file systems are FAT 12/16/32 (used by hard disks, disks, Smartmedia, Compact Flash, Memory Stick and other) and NTFS (incomplete). Supported operating systems are Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 or XP, and a second hard disk (or network drive) is recommended for recovery. Other amazing capabilities can be seen on their Web site.

The best part is that it's freeware. However, if it helps you, the programmer would like a donation. That's not too much to ask for a good product. The URL is [http://home.arcor.de/christian_grau/rescue/index.html]. Remember though, if you write to the disk after deleting the data, there is a good chance you would overwrite the deleted data, thus making recovery difficult to impossible.

Will The REAL File Manager Please Stand Out!
Also written up in the same Space Coast PC UG's Journal is a report by Jack Davidson about a great replacement for Windows Explorer. Many people would rather Microsoft had kept the old file manager instead of its Windows Explorer because of the way it works. How would you like to check out a REAL file manager that was originally said to be "a file manager on steroids" when it was created? PowerDesk is just such a program. Originally, it was a product of Mijenix, but now belongs to OnTrack.

I can't adequately describe the many features of PowerDesk so go to [http://www.ontrack.com/freesoftware] and look for it. There are two free programs and two evaluation programs for downloading, including the standard version of Power Desk. If you click on download for the free version of PowerDesk, you will have to sign in and create a password. You may wish to upgrade to the Pro version for $29.95. I had a problem finding the list of features in the free version. I don't know how many of PowerDesk Pro's features are contained in the free version.

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 I have found or arranged, and my comments should not be interpreted to encourage, or discourage, the purchase of products, no matter how enthused, or disgruntled, I might sound. Bob (The Cheapskate) Click [Bobclick@dealsguy.com]. Visit my Web site at [http://www.dealsguy.com] for past columns. There are also interesting articles from user group newsletters on my "Articles of Interest" page for viewing or downloading.

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