NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, November 2003
The Deals Column
by Bob Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

I believe an ongoing technical problem with my computer has finally come to a head. For some time I've had a problem turning on my computer at times. It was plugged into my UPS and by changing the power cord to another plug on it the computer would start. At one point I changed plugs and finally tried plugging it directly into the wall plug with no luck. A new power cord brought it to life again so I thought that was the problem I had been blaming on the UPS. The problem still persisted from time to time and finally when a power outage occurred I unplugged it until after the power was restored. When I plugged the computer back in, my power supply sounded like firecrackers and became badly toasted. Looks like it was the power supply acting up all the time because it starts fine now. New technology sure has deceptive symptoms.

I saw an ad the other day in the Office Depot flyer for a HP LaserJet printer for $99.00 and mine has been acting up. It's 8 years old so perhaps it's time for a new one. It so happens that I had a coupon from an Office Depot competitor for $30 off on a $100 purchase "on line." I asked the cashier if they honored coupons from competitors and they took it after I bought another $2 of merchandise, even though it said "order on line" in large letters. I've always had good luck dealing with the Office Depot people, in fact that's where my last laser-jet came from via a deal matching process. This new HP LaserJet works so well that I'm sorry I didn't make this purchase sooner. It has a very peculiar printer cable with a USB plug on one end and their own "Pod" plug on the other end that I need to take good care of. The main thing is, it works very well and the price was right, but I guess a cheap price means no power switch to turn off.

I assume Dave Whittle's special offers are still good so check last month's column again and if you have not ordered yet, get it done. "You can e-mail your order to [ orders@webworkingservices.com ] or mail it with a check to Webworking Services Corporation, 653 N 600 E, Springville, UT 84663, or fax it to (801) 489-0609."

Let Freedom Ring, On My Computer, That Is! (Should have used this in July)
I don't have to tell you that patriotism has become first and foremost in most people's eyes since the 911 disaster. How many now fly the flag at your home or have one on your car? What would you think about having your nation's flag on your computer? I'm referring to a screensaver flag. A year ago Tim Hoke of Alamo PC Users Group wrote about several great screensavers and the American Flag screensavers caught my eye in the August, 02 edition of PC Alamode. I checked [ http://www.zdnet.com ] at that time and found plenty. Unfortunately I kept this item until I had room and things have now changed on ZDNet. When I first considered this, searches on the ZDNet site found 22 items for American Flag Screensavers. A few were for historical landmarks and I also found a screensaver commemorating the Twin Towers. Most were free and some were shareware. It was interesting that some had uninstallers and others didn't. At this point I'm leaving for a cruise so I can only include what my proofreader said; "A search for 'flag screensaver' (without the quotes) and then clicking the 'More Freeware' link, produced 25 hits of which a several appeared to be US flag screensavers." Since this item was merely a suggestion, I'll leave the searching to my readers, but I would think there are some good flag screensavers kicking around someplace.

A search for Canadian Flag screensavers on ZDNet didn't find any, but a simple search (that's the only kind I know) on Google found them along with some other interesting Canadian items for you folks to the north. Paul Witheridge of Sarnia (Ontario) PC Users Group told me he likes Flag3D found at [ http://www.improbable.ukgateway.net/flag3d/flag3d.htm ] and it comes with at least a dozen 3 dimensional Canadian flags. You can adjust size, movement, spin and wind speed. Choose a flag or let them appear randomly. The 3D effects are spectacular! Oh, and it's FREE.

I'm not into screensavers and don't use one, but I just thought I'd throw this topic out for my readers to think about. Some friends had major problems using screensavers in the past, so I leave them alone.

Free Software That Is Also Popular
Many people use Serif products. In fact, they are very affordable and I have been getting some incredible special offers (as a customer) from Serif lately. I read in the Macon Users Group newsletter about being able to download some absolutely free fully functional older versions of their software right from their Web site. Check out [ http://www.freeserifsoftware.com ] where you will find PagePlus 5, DrawPlus 4, PhotoPlus 5.5, 3Dplus 2 (on linked pages) and WebPlus 6 almost beckoning for you to download them to try. If you prefer, you can get the free software sent to you on a CD for just $2.95 shipping.

But how about this; Serif sent out flyers recently saying they would send you PagePlus 5, DrawPlus 3, GraphicsPlus, PhotoPlus5, 3Dplus (a $250 value) and also a free wheel mouse for nothing more than $3.95 shipping and handling. Is that a deal, or not? Simply call 1-800-55-SERIF to order. They asked me for some codes when I ordered so I hope I have them right. Customer reference number is X00486045. The Quote Code is FFF512.

I called for permission to print this offer and they said to use the same codes. I feel this is an incredible deal. They will offer you manuals for three of the programs for $27 if you wish. Since I am a person who needs a manual, I bought them. Wouldn't hurt to mention you read this in the DealsGuy column if you call.

The thinking is that if you like the free products, you'll want to upgrade to their latest versions with more capabilities, and of course, will tell your friends. Makes sense to me! At a recent FACUG DTP roundtable, the attendees were asked what desktop publishing software they used and some editors said they used Serif PagePlus.

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 past columns. I have also been busy putting up some interesting new articles on my Web site, so take a look. My thanks to the authors I was able to reach. However, they don't all answer their e-mail so I often must give up on many good articles for lack of response.

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