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

I finally posted my article about ďCreating a Trade ShowĒ on my Web site, but it is a bit lengthy for newsletters. You can read it there or download it. Itís in MS Word format. If you want it in another format, let me know.

Lets Talk Drive Letters
Last month I told you about the problem I had with a flash drive that kept coming up as E for its drive-letter, in spite of there being no D-drive at the time, but I finally ended up going to the Control Panel to change its drive-letter to the one I needed. I had simply retrieved a file from it the night before, but since D was in use at the time so, that flash drive was temporarily E while I retrieved the file. Was it just some type of coincidence?

The drive letter assignment procedure I wrote about in my column was mentioned as a show-and-tell at the user group meeting here and I wondered about using that same procedure to get a flash drive to always be a certain drive letter without other drive letters next to it being in use. Iíd like that when Iím backing up data. I tried using the drive letter assignment steps in the Control Panel to give a completely different flash drive the letter F to see what it would do. I donít normally have a D-drive because I set up my DVD/CD ROM drive as Z so it doesnít interfere with other drive letter assignments for whatever Iím doing, such as installing software.

After going through the drive-letter assignment with the new flash drive, I removed the flash drive from its USB plug, waited a minute, then plugged it back in to see. Even with no D, E, or G drive, that flash drive appeared as F, just what I had assigned it. However, the member who mentioned doing the show-and-tell also told me that when that same thing happened to him, the flash drive he was working with somehow adopted a drive letter out of sequence, but only on that certain computer, so I took the one I had just designated as F to another desktop machine and plugged it into the USB slot. It came up as D and not the F I had assigned it on the other computer. There is a thought for being creative with your flash drive. Rebooting the computer I assigned the drive-letter on had no affect and the flash drive still came up as F. Using a different USB plug also made no difference, it still came up as F.

My curiosity was satisfied by my proofreader who proceeded to explain it better. He said that when the computerís user inserts a flash drive, the machine tries to assign it the next available drive-letter. However, in my case, I deliberately assigned that drive a specific drive-letter. In this case, my machine will remember the drive and the assignment. It will try to give it that drive-letter and also try to reserve that letter for that drive in the event of other drive-letter assignments; in other words, it would skip that letter. He said many computer users prefer that method of flash drive-letter assignment. He also stated that the same scenario applies for other types of plug-in drives. When you plug a flash drive into the USB port without the drive-letter having been manually assigned, the machine might try to remember that drive letter automatically assigned when you use that flash drive again, thus the incidental drive-letter assignment.

Still No Information
I have not heard from the guy about a special offer on learning courses so I think its time to give up on it, even though he sent a message saying he would get back with me. I have some other items you might like so letís get on with it.

Use Your Smartphone For A Good Cause
Check around and youíll find there are many apps for your smartphone that can be capable of getting you just about any information you want. A guy mentioned some interesting apps at a user group meeting the other night. I wrote about some of these smartphone apps a year ago, including this most important one, where are the closest restroom facilities? There is an app called Sit or Squat that will obtain that information for you using an intersection, address, or zip code, and perhaps your GPS information. It gives you maps and sometimes even a rating or review, and the app is free. Itís available for iPhone, Android, iPod Touch, or Blackberry. http://www.sitorsquat.com/sitorsquat/home/map

Where Can I Find Lots of Smartphone Apps?
http://libguides.huntingdon.edu/content.php?pid=114069&sid=1110744 has many smartphone apps on it. The apps are listed and the name is the link to get it, and there are plenty of them. I ran across it while looking for an app called Moís Nose and saw plenty of apps for many categories. Moís Nose was there, but no link to get it. It is a good app to help a person who travels with a pet. At any rate, that site will keep you busy checking things out.

Whereís The Wi-Fi?
Many people want to check the Net for E-mail or something, so why not use Wi-Fi Finderís online database to get connected? You can start checking the Web site to find out more information. It tells you whether they are free or paid services. This database by JiWire will include maps with its listings. The app is free and runs on iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android. http://www.jiwire.com/iphone.

What If Youíre Sick?
MPassport should be good for that. It will help you find the closest medical help in any category you might need. Want a doctor, MPassport will find one. Got a toothache, it knows about dentists too. How about a hospital, or just a pharmacy, MPassport will help. It also gives you medical translations. Itís useful in over 20 cities worldwide, not exactly an impressive number, but its growing. Itís free and runs on the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Find out more at http://www.mpassport.com/.

I know there are tons of other Smartphone Apps for just about anything you need. I canít vouch for any of them because Iím not smart enough to have a Smartphone. How smart is that? However, before I change to another topic, here is one that Mike Ungerman mentioned to the user group members here that might interest you if you like to tinker. If youíre creative and tired of playing someone elseís creations on your phone, go to http://makeownringtone.com/ where you can make your own ring-tone free. Thanks Mike, I think many of my readers would love to create their own personalized ring-tone, although I donít recommend any cussing in your creation.

Actually, I personalized my own cell phone with the use of its own voice recognition feature. Now when my wife calls me on my cell, my phone announces ďItís Joann.Ē I canít see inside of my flip phone before I open it and take the call. However, I know who it is before I take if off my belt and you know I always answer with a ďhappyĒ voice when she calls. Donít tell anybody, but I discovered how to do it accidentally. That item was not in the manual.

Archive Your Computer Drivers To Be Sure You Have Them
If you find it necessary to reformat your hard drive and reinstall everything, you did well if you thought ahead to have a backup of your drivers. DriverMax is a free program that allows you to archive your currently installed drivers, and if you ever need to reinstall them, you can do the installations all at once. No need trying to find the version you ďwereĒ using before you wiped your drive. A friend said this is the program to have if you like to reinstall Windows occasionally, or tweak your installed drivers, however, thatís not my bag. http://www.innovative-sol.com/drivermax/ is where to find it and they also have a pay version.

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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