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

I'm enjoying my new weather station, but decided to buy a "Weather Picture" (a nice option) for mine so it would be highly visible across the room. [http://www.peetbros.com,] I ended up mounting the rain gauge on my roof tripod temporarily until I find a lower spot. It's the clearest spot away from large neighboring trees." If you haven't ordered your weather station yet, this is the last month you can get that special offer where they throw in two optional items. Call 1-866-446-1216 or 1-321-206-6214 or e-mail them at [peetbros@peetbros.com]. Even my wife enjoys the weather station. Ask them for a brochure, which has more information.

The same deadline is true with the digital badge 10% discount, so call 1-772-571-9944 or e-mail [info@bannerbadge.com] By the way, I said it had LCD letters but they are actually LED. Sorry. It has a magnetic type holder for attachment to your garment, (a magnet that separates with one part on the inside of the garment) but be careful about that magnet around magnetic strips such as a credit card. In my case, I corrupted the magnetic strip on a parking badge and had to get it fixed, so be careful about that magnet if you carry CCs in your pocket. A pin attachment is available, but most people want the magnet mount because they don't want holes in their garment from a pin.

Interesting Shows I worked the PASS (Professional Association of SQL Servers) show [http://www.sqlpass.org] and I was never more lost since I know little about SQL servers. The exhibit area was 10,000 square feet and they expected about 1,200 attendees. In their Internet Café, the computers were on top of the table, rather than hidden. They had a clear plastic side and green florescent lighting inside that made them an eye-catcher. It was a busy spot and also had high-speed hookups for attendee's laptops. Sorry I'm not smart enough to give you more info. I can tell you though that the tasty cookies and refreshments served during the show were great.

I also worked a day for the setup of the Electronic Boutique Gaming show, but didn't work the actual show day. It was a one-day show open for eleven hours. All the big names in the game industry had booths and there were stacks of free expensive game cartridges and disks all over the place. I didn't capitalize on them since I am not a game person. Friends sure criticized me for that. It was 10,000 square feet of exhibit area and they expected about 1,200 managers and other VIPs. Microsoft's X Box booth was the largest there with large boxes of goodies for their attendees. This show and the one above were held at the beautiful Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL. It's hard to get used to computer geeks sitting and laying all over the floor when chairs are handy.

We also worked the Surf Show, which has nothing to do with computers. Some booths had models wearing bikinis, or other clothing, that attracted lots of people. Two models worked in a booth right across the isle from my post all day long wearing a different bikini every hour. Security's sure a tough job, but someone has to do it.

One item below is something I saw at the handicap show we worked, I expected that show to be boring, but instead, I found some amazing technology there. I'll talk more about that next month.

Explosive Information This has nothing to do with gas stations, but in EE (Electronic Engineering) Times [http://www.eet.com] there was a story about exploding batteries in cell phones and laptop computers. I'll quote one of their statements: "Rising reports of incidents in which counterfeit batteries have overheated, caught fire or blown up are dogging a portable systems industry caught between the slow pace of battery technology and the quick step of new features at even lower costs." Companies are very worried about consumer confidence when such news reaches them and they say the problem batteries are counterfeit. Here are some URLs for more information in the event you might have a counterfeit battery. [http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml04/04559.html] concerning recalls, [http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml04/04068.html] other recalls, and [http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,,49192,00.html] on how to spot a counterfeit battery. It was an interesting article about the problem and possible technology and safeguards.

A Great Freebie When Traveling The Handicap show had a booth by Microtel Inns & Suites who introduced great new freebies for their guests. They say Microtel offers economy/budget priced lodging that now includes several free services that computer people would love when traveling. Guests will have FREE local calls, as well as FREE long distance calls in the continental United States. Even FREE wireless high-speed Internet access will also be available in rooms.

Advance online check-in and check-out will be available as well as online pre-registering that would shorten the check-in process. At this writing they already have about 100 hotels set up for all this and will have them completed nationwide by year's end. Beyond all that they also offer free continental breakfast and other things. You can check their Web site for more information at [http://www.microtelinn.com]. I have not stayed at one of their inns yet so I can't speak from experience, but the pictures looked nice.

Don't Lose Track Of Time This item is an announcement I received and these people are offering UG members a 20% discount. Here is their statement edited. "Our company, Maximus Software Ltd, would like to announce the release of Time Meter for MS Outlook 2.4, a simple but very beneficial software application capable of tracking expenses and time spent working on certain project(s) for Microsoft Office 2000/XP/2003. The program can be used by individual consultants and freelancers for billing their clients, or by corporate managers to track expenses, performance and contributions of each employee. Most importantly, the program acts as a plug-in for MS Outlook, thus eliminating the need to spend time learning how to use a new application and getting familiar with interface.

The price of a single copy is $74.95 US Dollars. Product Page - [http://www.timemeter.com] The discount coupon code is - '3481051341' and is redeemable at http://www.timemeter.com/coupon.shtml." Perhaps someone in your group has reviewed it.

Bring It Back - Please Here is another announcement with a discount. "Have you ever accidentally deleted a slew of pictures from a memory card before you transferred them to the PC? Or formatted a card in the camera, only to realize that your vacation pictures were still on board? That's the stuff that nightmares are made of. Fortunately, Flash File Recovery is on hand to save you from yourself. We offer 15% discount making the price $42.08. Just use this direct order link to get a discount: [https://www.regnow.com/softsell/nph-softsell.cgi?item=3560-15&ss_coupon=AGPR-0RAO] Product Page: [http://www.panterasoft.com/file-recovery/index.html]

"Flash File Recovery is a nifty application that every photographer should be aware of. Essentially, it can recover any previously deleted image file. Plus, it is capable of salvaging pictures from damaged or corrupted flash drives (including camera's built-in memory) and memory sticks. The list of supported storage media includes but is not limited to SmartMedia, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, MicroDrive, xD Picture Card Flash Card, PC Card, Multimedia Card, Secure Digital Card, and many others. Flash File Recovery "resurrects" images from formatted, damaged, corrupted (unreadable), or defective storage media."

I know I published a similar item a few months ago, but I'm passing this on anyway. I have not reviewed Flash File Recovery, but maybe someone in your group has.

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]. I'm working on new pages for 2004 announcements I received, but slowly.

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