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It's the most wonderful time of the year

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And by that I mean it's the time of year when Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro start duking it out for low price king in the "it's almost photoshop" battle. I've seen Elements going for $40 after rebates for a while, but the following is the best I've seen so far. Best Buy has PSP Power Suite for$99 with free shipping (search for item number 6055001). On the page you'll see two rebates, one for $40 and one for$30. One rebate allows a copy of the UPC, so you can send in both. That drops the final price to $29 with free shipping. Pretty good, given that it comes with PSP 8, Photo Album 4, Animation Shop, and a pile of free "frames" and "picture tubes" (little graphical thingies that you can use to make your pictures look hideous). Photo Album 4 looks pretty cool, as it can turn a pile of digital photos into a CD slideshow that you can play on a DVD player, complete with musical accompaniment. Might have to get this rebate just so I can get that. PSP prices have dropped on eBay, though. Last year you could routinely see copies selling for$70, but PSP 8 seems to be quite plentiful and doesn't appear to be fetching more than \$40.

FWIW, PSP 8 is quite nice. It's basically the same feature-set as PSP 7, but is much better organized. It appears that they went nuts adding new stuff to PSP 7 and didn't bother to give the new features any kind of coherent organization so you could find any of it. PSP 8's got some new stuff, like Python scripting, but except for the "fix this picture automatically" wizard, I can't think of any of it I use.

I guess we'll see if Elements returns fire and we end up with some cross-rebate deals that allow you to grab some good free product.

Oh, and there's a PSP 8.1 update at JASC. If you register, you'll get a CD with the new version, but there's also a downloadable version. I recommend the update, as it fixes a buncha little annoyances.

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