NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, September 2004
The Deals Column
by Bob Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

Last month I wrote a little about the American Water Works Assn. Show and here's more about it this month. I briefly watched the "tapping" contest, which was fun. There was seating for a small audience and the competition teams came from all over the world. There was a 20' length of approximately 8" steel pipe mounted on pedestals and it was capped and pressurized with water at about 45 psi. When a three-man team was ready, a signal was given and they were to quickly install a special tapping device around the pipe tightly, then drill and tap a hole, then install an outlet valve on that 8" pressurized steel pipe. At the same time, one of their team was cutting a 6' length of 1" copper tubing, forming a proper bend, and connecting one end to a pressure gage mounted on a stand, and the other end to the newly installed valve when the tapping device was removed. When they pressurized the gage, it stopped the clock. This procedure must end up without any leaks.

Improper bending of the copper tubing, any leaks, and a couple of other rules, if infringed upon, were assessed an extra seconds penalty to determine the official time. A Hawaiian team performed the fastest time I saw in 1 minute 55 seconds. I can tell you that there were hands and elbows flying everywhere for those sessions. Unfortunately, I only got to watch a few contestants, but it was held every day of the show. When I watch our own local utility workers, there are never any record times. In fact, I worry about the quality of the shovel handles they are leaning on.

I Was Impressed
This is only human interest, but it is something that I felt should be passed on. We just finished working an event that greatly impressed us. It was not a trade show, but was the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod 2004 Youth Gathering. It is only held every three years, but what an event for the youth. There were over 37,000 attendees from 38 countries including USA (most were from USA), and, of course, they were mostly youths. I was somewhat wary of trying to work with a group that was mostly kids, but was very pleasantly surprised. All of us working the event remarked to each other on the great attitude, manners and camaraderie of those kids.

In one building was a so-called Café where they met (all 37,000) each morning for their prayer event, and in the convention center on our side there was a large area set up for recreation. It was filled with a small carnival and games of all types, along with crafts and many other things for young people. Games even included volleyball and a large twister square. They had a ball for five days and so did we. There was not one incident that I heard of and everybody involved had a wonderful time. What a great job those parents must have done at raising them. My hat is off to those folks. I have not heard of other churches hosting such great events, but they certainly should. When I was complimenting one of the volunteers, she said for me to come join them some time because they know how to party, and it is always good clean fun. From my observances, I can attest to that, although I was high-fived so many times that my hand eventually began to sting a bit. Those kids mean it!

News From Binary
I have not heard from Binary Research for two years, but this was recently sent to all user groups. If you did not see it posted on my Web site, here is their information. "Universal Imaging Utility: With the UIU, you can create an image file that is deployable to any computer, regardless if it's a Dell, Compaq, HP or even a white box. No longer will the release of software updates and patches mean endless updating of numerous cloning images. The UIU also eliminates the burden of hunting for Plug-and-play IDs and the frustration of the post-cloning Blue Screen. Finally, you can create hardware-independent image files with any cloning utility. Try the UIU and see for yourself how truly effective it is. [http://www.binaryresearch.net/UIU.htm] (The various prices are on the Web site, but I saw no specials.)

"Death2Spam: With all the hype surrounding Anti-Spam/Anti-Virus products, how do you separate the gibberish from the truly useful solutions? For starters, you can try it on your e-mail account. Binary Research is excited to present Death2Spam, a third-generation Anti-Spam/Anti-Virus utility with a true accuracy rating that puts other Spam products to shame. Death2Spam exceeds 99% accuracy in both Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus filtering. Because it employs an adaptive, probabilistic Anti-Virus engine, D2S does not require any signature updates, meaning there is no lag time while you wait for your AV vendor to update for the latest threats. [http://www.binaryresearch.net/Death2Spam.htm]" (I only saw corporate prices on the Web page, but you can look for yourself.)

Let This Do The Checking For You
Formula Software has introduced a new product that is interesting. I have noticed that people use Excel for many things. It is not just a pretty spreadsheet for a CPA. For example, if you use it to formulate price sheets, how do you know you have the latest one if you keep updating them? I guess the date and time would help, but Formula Software has introduced "Excel Compare 2.0" to help resolve this problem. It can compare them, and with the results you will have the information at your fingertips. You can find out more about the product and download a demo version at [http://www.formulasoft.com/].

I won't take the space to better describe it here, but take a look and see if it suits your purposes. It is for Windows (95, 98, NT, ME, 2000 or XP) and if you would prefer to purchase it, they have offered user group members a 30% discount off the $34.95 retail price of a personal license ($39.95 business license) by using the discount coupon code 45GT-88RR-UZ67.

Purchase links are: Business License [https://secure.element5.com/shareit/checkout.html?productid=167952&cartcoupon=1&COUPON1=45GT-88RR-UZ67]

Personal License [https://secure.element5.com/shareit/checkout.html?productid=167951&cartcoupon=1&COUPON1=45GT-88RR-UZ67]. The discount codes are imbedded in the URL.

Nab That Spam
I have complained about spam and Paul Witheridge says I should try POPfile to conquer that problem. He claims it is 99% successful for him and best of all, it is free. Download it at [http://sourceforge.net/projects/popfile/]. I have not tried it since I have another philosophy about spam filters. After it has filtered your e-mail, you will probably take a look at what it filters out to make sure it didn't remove something you would have wanted. If I have to look it over anyway, I might as well just do it all in the first place. However, Paul says it is easier and quicker to look at the filtered e-mail, and with the amount of spam I am now receiving, I may try it. Be aware that there are limitations. It does not work with Web based mail as the name POPfile suggests. Anyway, I'm including his suggestion for your perusal. I thought the Web site was confusing, but I'm told the help file in the software is much more understandable for setting it up. There is also a good help forum at [http://sourceforge.net/forum/forum.php?forum_id=213100].

Paul says K9 is another popular software --- smaller, simpler, less capable than POPFile, but quite popular, and also free. Check it out at [http://keir.net/k9.html]

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 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@mindspring.com ]. Visit my Web site at [http://www.dealsguy.com ] for interesting articles from user group newsletters. I also posted some interesting NEW Web site pages for your viewing. They contain new product announcements that I received over a period of time. More will be forthcoming when I get the ambition.

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