Holiday Shopping Deals Online

Deal Sites

It’s easier than ever to find good shopping deals online. The biggest sites that aggregate online deals are:

These sites have forums where people discuss Hot Deals, Black Friday Deals, Freebies, and Coupons. This is where people go to find amazing deals.

Shopaholics also enjoy the innovative site, which sells one item a day until it is sold out. Occasionally there are “woot-offs” where they sell multiple items sequentially over a 24 hour period, each until they sell out. During a woot-off, they might sell what they call a “Bag of Crap” (BOC) which is 3 random things for $15. It could include a new Xbox 360 or it could be pens. Oddly, people on the slickdeals and fatwallet forums get very excited about the BOCs. I guess it appeals to people who like to gamble.

Some lesser-known deal sites include:


As noted in an earlier post, you don’t want to get ripped off at a big box store when buying electronics. Look at Newegg, Amazon, and for their deals. And whatever you do, don’t buy any cables from Best Buy. Best Buy and most retail stores sells HDMI cables for $100 that can be bought for $5-10 from

There is also no need for a warranty from Best Buy, as the items are normally insured by the manufacturer. The most common failures are discovered immediately, when you can still bring the item back to the store for a return.

If you want to shop locally in the D.C. area for electronics, the best store is MicroCenter in Fairfax, Virginia. They have knowledgable staff and a wide selection of computers, electronics, software, game systems, and TVs for reasonable prices.

Securely Erase Your Files and Unused Space

If you are trying to erase sensitive files but do not want to completely erase a hard drive, you can use:

Eraser Portable

This is a portable version of the free Eraser application, meaning that it can be installed and run from a flash drive so that you can bring it with you to run on any computer.

It allows you to erase unused space because unused space still contains “deleted” files. Deleting a file in Windows only deletes the reference to the file so that you can’t see it. Snoops can still find and recover files that were deleted using the normal deletion in Windows.

Eraser can also securely erase a file or a folder. Unlike the method of completely erasing your entire drive, Erase allows to you delete just what you want. This means that you don’t have to delete the Windows operating system and that you can still have the computer work normally when you are done erasing what you need to.

If your company is collapsing and you have documents that could hold you liable or if you need to erase information here in the D.C. area before the next administration moves in, Eraser can help.

WiFi Search from an iPhone or iPod Touch

Keeping with the recent WiFi stumbling posts, I ran across this software for finding WiFi access points from an iPhone or iPod Touch:


It’s a simple and convenient way to analyze wireless networks. It shows you if there is wireless encryption, what kind of wireless encryption is used, the name, signal strength and network channel of the wireless networks. It can be set to automatically rescan and beep when a new network SSID (wireless network name) is found. If you see an open network, you can even connect to it from the WiFinder app. It’s a useful tool for network admins or “wardrivers” who want to see what networks are around.

Currently the WiFinder app is free in the App Store.

Removing Duplicates in MS Outlook

A recent Arlington, Virginia, client found herself with duplicate contacts in Outlook. Microsoft Outlook can easily get duplicate emails, contacts, or calender records if you have a problem with importing, exporting, or syncing.

First Backup Your Outlook

Before doing anything, you should be sure to backup your Outlook file in case you mess anything up. You can find your outlook.pst file usually in the folder such as:
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Copy the .pst files to another directory for you to put back there in case you destroy the original files.

Then Remove Your Duplicates

Duplicate Remover For Outlook was the software that we used to remove the thousands of duplicates that were in the Outlook file. It costs $24 for a single account. They have a free 30-day trial that will only delete 10 dups, but it shows you how the program works. It can remove duplicate contacts, notes, tasks, journals and calendar items.  It also has multiple options for how to handle duplicates: deleting to the deleted folder, deleting permanently, flagging, copying, and moving the duplicate items.

If you find that you have lots of duplicates in Outlook, the $24 will be well spent on the Duplicate Remover software.