NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, November 2007
The Deals Column
by Bob (the Cheapskate)Click, The Dealsguy
Greater Orlando Computer Users Group
(click to email author)

Thanks for all your messages about my well-being. Because of somewhat nagging pains in my chest I was very worried that night and decided to send the column out early, just in case. Seven years ago, the doctors told me to get my final affairs in order because of all the artery blockages, but I believe my frequent walks have prevented my wife from spending my insurance money so far. Problem is, I canít walk much right now because of a bone spur. A few editors welcomed the column being early, but I donít usually accomplish that.

Check This Out!
Macon Users Group http://www.maconusersgroup.org has an excellent newsletter (MUG Monitor) and their president is one of my favorite writers. Louis Vitale has written ďLouís ViewsĒ for ages and he is my kind of writer because he tells it like it is and minces no words. In their August issue, he wrote about the data mining capabilities of Vista, and mentions his source for the information. I never miss reading his monthly column and canít remember ever disagreeing with his view, just cheering for him. I have that article posted on my Web site for your perusal. http://www.dealsguy.com/Articles_column.html

A New APCUG Event In The East
I read that APCUG is considering an eastern event because many eastern members donít want to travel to Las Vegas. Thatís a great idea, but finding a suitable show to coincide with it and help entice attendees could be a challenge. I liked the event tied to PC Expo a few years ago, but it didnít last. The expensive hotel was one problem. Conflicting views on how to run it also created hurdles. I especially liked the leisurely way they met for the meals though.

There are lots of computer-oriented shows in the east, but nothing as immense as CES. Microsoft has had a large show in Orlando during June the last few years that brings in a lot of big name vendors. The Photo Marketing Assn. (PMA) show that used to be in Orlando would have been excellent, but it moved this year, as has the Home Electronics Show, which would have been smaller, but an interesting one. Finding the right show might be tough. I donít agree that the show must be computer oriented. I have worked plenty of shows that were just as interesting, but most trade shows move around.

Timing also complicates it, but some feel that without a good show it might not attract enough attendees. How about using a cheaper hotel and meeting place, and inviting vendors without making them buy a meal and spend a fortune for the booth, which might bring in more of them if they had a reasonable attendance to talk to. Their absence proves they donít want the expense of the meals. Catered meals are very expensive and attendees should pay for their own meals. Attendees can get their favorite food at a modest price close by or maybe box lunches could be brought in for lunch. Roundtables done by vendors are popular. These ideas might not work well either, but it has never been tried because it is assumed that we are so cheap that we wonít show up without free meals. I disagree and overly frugal attendees donít help any event. We donít ask vendors to buy anything when they present at our UG meetings so why do it at our APCUG and regional gatherings. The regional events have only a few vendors, but most are only a two-day event so itís more the camaraderie than the vendors. A five-day event is lengthy and not all stay the full time. Maybe surveys would help provide ideas for arranging such an event. Let APCUG know your opinions and ideas. My views may not be popular, but they are another way to attract vendors.

Be Aware

I have not tried or checked out any of the following products or claims.

Why Not Try File Encryption?
BluestSoft introduces Bluest CryptShield 1.5 that can encrypt files, folders or drives to protect them from unwanted access. CryptShield uses one of three types of encryption algorithms, such as Rijndael (AES), Twofish (AES finalist), or Blowfish (448 bit) to scramble the data and create secure file-based virtual drives or entire storage drives. Once the encrypted drive is created, it gets completely invisible for other people until it is mounted. The hidden drive can be mounted either manually or automatically (with password authentication) and can even be shared with other network machines. In automatic mode, the drive can be set to mount when you log in, and unmounted when you log off, or when the application is closed, or after a time duration of inactivity. Since the encryption is on-the-fly and has almost no impact on system resources, you will hardly notice the encryption. Restrict the connection of removable devices like USB drives and optical disks by registering only accepted devices. The CryptShield application verifies the validity of the drive and if it sees it's a non-registered device, it is not detected by the system.

There is another layer of security for documents you create on public computers. After copying an important file to the encrypted USB drive, you can shred the original document completely by overwriting it by 0x00. CryptShield renders the file completely unrecoverable even for the most advanced recovery software.

Bluest CryptShield 1.5 runs under Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista and sells for $39.95 (US) for a single-user license. Users group members get 50% off the purchase price of the new Bluest CryptShield until the end of November. Use coupon code; cs50nov. Additional information and a free evaluation copy are available at http://www.bluestsoft.com.

Product page link:

Download link:

Postal address:
2102 Business Center Dr., Suite 130, Irvine, California 92612
Tel: 949-253-5763

Freeware Is Always Nice
A new free all-in-one system utility that helps protect, repair and optimize computers with a single click of the mouse has been introduced. The product is called Advanced WindowsCare V2 Personal. IObit, the software company that developed it, says it's vital that users maintain and optimize their PCs on a regular basis to keep computers free from Adware and Spyware. This freeware is designed to be the first point of call in solving these issues.

Advanced WindowsCare Personal offers four major benefits:

1. Defends Windows: Scan and remove Spyware and Adware with the latest definitions; prevent spyware, hijackers and bad websites from being installed; erase the history of all activities in computer including traces of online site visit activity.

2. Cleans Windows: Boost system performance by deep scanning and cleaning out all missing, unwanted, obsolete and corrupt registry entries and junk files.

3. Keeps peak performance: Fully optimize Windows for ultimate system performance and top Internet speed, based on how users use computer and what kind of network they have.

4. Fixes system errors: Repair system configurations, eliminate system bottlenecks and prevent crashes, keeping your PC stable and roaring at peak efficiency.

Advanced WindowsCare Personal works on Windows Vista/ XP/ 2000. It is 100% clean and safe, free of adware and spyware (DealsGuy comment: their words, not mine). For more information, and to download a copy, visit: http://www.iobit.com/AdvancedWindowsCarePersonal/.

Keep Those Freebies Coming
ESTsoft Corp. released ALZip v7.0 beta, the full featured zip archiving utility for Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista, with new features for faster extracting, updating, and restoring backups. The new Speed Extractor functionality in ALZip gives users one-click extraction, making ALZip the fastest way to extract files from archives. A second Speed Extractor option gives users a clean and simple menu, free from clutter that gradually creeps into Windows Explorer right-click context menus. Those looking to restore projects/file sets to a previously known good state can now overwrite files on disk with only the older, good files from their backup archives. Well known for its cute "Egghead" characters, ALZip follows up with a robust set of functionality, including support for extracting 36 archive formats and creating 8. ALZip is available in 25 languages.

Free for home users, commercial users can purchase licenses on the honor system for between $20 for a single license and $3 per seat for volume orders. Current licensees can upgrade for free. Free downloads are available at http://www.altools.net.

That's it for this month. Iíll have more new product announcements on my Web site (most not offering a discount). 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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