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Printers

Thrifty Thursday: 3 deals you won't want to miss

From the Cheapskate: A dirt-cheap color laser printer, free document-management software and more!

CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.


Hey, cheeps, quick note -- in the past week I've struck out twice trying to bring you a killer Bluetooth-speaker deal, by which I mean both products sold out very quickly. I've got something pretty cool lined up for tomorrow, and there should be plenty of inventory, so stay tuned if you want another crack at a mobile audio.

In the meantime, I've got three deals that are...well, you be the judge!

Someday your (color) prints will come

dell-c1760nw.jpg
Dell

Laser printers? Awesome. Color laser printers? Extra-awesome. Color laser printers that are compact, wireless and cheap to operate? Here, let me clear a spot on my desk!

For a limited time, and while supplies last, Quill has the Dell C1760NW color laser printer for $79.99 shipped. It sells elsewhere for at least $50 more.

In case I didn't make it abundantly clear, the C1760NW is compact, wireless and cheap to operate (a complete set of replacement toner cartridges can be had for around $40). If there's a downside, it's that printing from mobile devices requires Dell's app; the C1760NW doesn't support AirPrint or Google Cloud Print.

Still, for about the same price as an entry-level monochrome laser, you can print in color. What's not to like?

What's up, Doc (manager)?

Who can org-a-nize you? DocuCan can!

DocuCan

In an ideal world, the above printer would be an all-in-one, a model that includes scanning capabilities. Because this next item pairs well with a scanner -- though it certainly doesn't require one.

For a limited time, Shareware On Sale has document-management software DocuCan (Win) for free. Regular price: $15.

This reminds me a lot of PaperPort, the software that used to accompany the eponymous sheet-fed scanner. With it you can easily organize all manner of documents -- PDFs, Office files, images and so on. The real power lies in the tagging capabilities, which allow for fast, easy searching of your document library.

Sound familiar? Yes, many folks now use Evernote for that kind of thing, understandable given its cloud-savvy nature. But I find Evernote overly complicated, especially for folks who just want to add paper documents to a digital file cabinet. And DocuCan is free, complete with major upgrades and even tech support. What's not to like?

A VPN 4 U AND ME

In the past I've shared lots of VPN deals, but I think this might be the best one yet: a lifetime subscription to RA4W VPN for $9. Are you kidding me?

(People wary of "lifetime" subscriptions, take heart: The developer specifies that you get 500 months of access, equivalent to about 41 years. Hopefully your life will be even longer, but I'd say you're getting plenty of value for your $9.)

What's a VPN and why do you need one? Simple: It protects your laptop when you connect to any unsecured network -- like the kind typically found in airplanes, coffee shops, hotels and so on. The vast majority of security experts say a VPN is essential.

I don't know much about RA4W VPN (or why it's called that), but the company's website looks polished and professional (small comfort, perhaps, but it feels like a company, not some developer in his garage), and the product itself seems solid: server accessibility in over 20 countries, support for both OpenVPN and RA4W's own client software, 24/7 tech support and so on.

The one thing that seems to be missing: support for phones and tablets. An iOS app is coming soon but there's currently no mention of an Android version. Personally, I think it's your laptop that needs protecting more than your phone, but that's just me.

By the way, a lifetime subscription would normally run you $22.50 -- a pretty darn good deal already. But $9? I can't think of any reason to pass this up.

Your thoughts?