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Information Management Updates
Tips, Tools, Techniques

Update on Hot Deal

Well, I went ahead and ordered my computer and Web access from PeoplePC (800-736-7537). If you do not remember the deal they are offering, take a look at last fortnight's update (The link is below).

I filled out the very short application (how much does the household make per year) and sent it in online Saturday. Sunday I checked back and found that I had been approved. Monday I got an email verifying that I had been approved and that they were making my PC. Tuesday I got an email telling me that my PC had been shipped. They gave me the shipping numbers so I could track the progress of the packages if I wanted to.

This is pretty exciting!!

I found that their technical information is at another site: I will keep you posted as I learn more...

Protecting Your PC

ZDnet has put up several pages on how to Protect Your PC. It tells all about viruses. This is a critical area and one that you need to pay some attention to before disaster strikes.

I use Norton Anti-Virus because the reviews in the literature leaned towards Norton 2000 as the best of the choices available. Also, you can download updates online as often as you think prudent.

If you haven't been or are not infected you haven't been using a PC for long. Take note of the symptoms that ZDnet says may indicate you are infected:

The article mentions the importance of keeping your anti-virus software current. I would add that it is critical that you do a complete maintenance work-up of your PC periodically. If you use it daily, you should do upkeep once a week. Updating and running the anti-virus software is the first thing you do in this upkeep. The second is to do a backup. I will cover the rest of the maintenance program in a later update.

For now, read through this set of articles, then take a look at all the links and downloads that they compiled on the subject of viruses.


If you are interested in using your PC for cutting edge graphics, sound, animation, or video, take a look at ZDnet's cluster of articles on multimedia.

Online Shopping

Ever wonder where the hottest online shopping places are? Nielsen/Net Ratings just issued the results:

#1 audience of 1,947,653
#2 audience of 1,582,856
#3 audience of 1,409,094
#4 audience of 1,213,775 #5 audience of 1,055,345
#6 audience of 966,191
#7 audience of 876,315
#8 audience of 781,091 #9 audience of 721,667
#10 audience of715,324

What Browser to Use?

Are you wondering what browser you should be using? Read this series of articles at ZDnet on the subject.

Netscape, Explorer, and Opera are pretty much the same. As you use them you will decide which one is best for which job. For instance, Explorer 5.0 seems to me to be the fastest, but it opens partial instead of full multiple windows, which I use a lot. I like Netscape's bookmarking system and URL management. Opera I haven't used much yet. Have you?

You can add some real zip to your browsing with add-ons. Here are some you might want to consider:

More Speed

Try NetSonic Pro (download here). This add-on creates a Web cache that stores versions of your favorite pages locally so they pop up quicker on your next visit.

Or try LinkFox -- it loads the links you want and places them directly into your browser's cache (see ZDnet story).

Safety, Anonymity

Try Privada's WebIncognito. You can control junk email and take control of your privacy.

Another addon in this area is AtGuard from WRQ, "which not only blocks banner ads, it offers a personal firewall, an applet blocker and cookie manager."

Keeping Up With Friends

Take a look at Targetix ActiveMate . "This Windows desktop tool exploits ActiveMate's profiling and targeting technology, bringing targeted news, information and other content to users on the Web and allowing them to find each other and interact within their communities of interest."

Register, download their alpha test, win prizes. If you have wanted to be part of software development, here's your chance. Try them out.

Refining Searches

"File Mag-Net is a file-search tool that filters content from a Website and lists only the files that were used or referenced. Once a scan is complete, you can batch download each file you select in a single operation. Not only can you specify which types of files to list, you can also stipulate the depth of the search -- just the current page, the entire Website, external links only, or a combination thereof. In addition, File Mag-Net supports keyword searches using the same type of search criteria offered for files. Other features include Newsgroup searches and a built-in image viewer. File Mag-Net is a powerful Internet search and downloading tool that is both well-documented and very easy to use."

This is shareware. (download here). It's only $10 if you decide to keep it.
Reviewed by ZDnet on Mar 16 1999.

Turbo Start "is a handy Internet search utility that loads in your default Web browser. More than 140 search engines are available from a host of categories, including Metasearch, Newsgroups, People, Yellow Pages, Art, Books, Business, Computers, Education, Health, Sports, and more. The major search engines, download sites, and several international sites are also available. Just enter a keyword or phrase and select the search sites you wish to query. You can have Turbo Start open a separate browser window for each search engine or retrieve all the results on a single page" (ZDnet).

You might also want to try X-Portal Findware, "First-ever search tool that simultaneously searches multiple search engines and 22 built-in references to quickly and effectively find the right answers to your questions.. You might also want to look at this company's site just because it is so attractive and interesting.

Drilling Down

Drilling down is a new type of Web experience. It helps you "get quick info by activating content on a page. For instance, you click on any word and immediately relevant info pops up, such as definitions, Web sites, company info, stock quotes. Click a city and get links to hotels, weather, restaurants and more" (ZDnet).

Try GuruNet. "..whenever you're online. It automatically analyzes pointed-to text in context and pops up a simple window without linking or leaving your document. You don't even have to select the word.

GuruNet's got reference information (dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia) and real-time information (e.g. news, sports, weather or stock quotes). And lots more exciting content on the way. Best of all, GuruNet works in any PC application, such as e-mail, MS-Office, PIMs and, of course, any browser."

Another possibility to try is Flyswat. "Flyswat really boosts your Web searching powers. This freebie is well worth trying. Whenever you load a new page, flyswat analyses the entire contents and creates on-the-fly hyperlinks -- called "flycons" --for words and phrases it recognizes. Click a flycon and up pops a menu of categorized related links (ZDnet)."

A third option in this category is esgear. "No matter where you browse, esgear automatically analyzes the web site and works to provide you with essential information, intriguing dialog and handy applications at every site" (ZDnet).

Better Than Bookmarks

If you have done much Web surfing your bookmarks are probably getting out of hand... Here are some addons which may help you.

BookMarkCity looks very useful, but isn't ready yet.

HotLinks helps you to organize your links into categories which you choose and edit them easily. It creates a directory similar to the first page of Yahoo. allows you to keep your bookmarks on the Web so you can access your bookmarks from anywhere on any Web computer. You can also search a directory of the Web's best bookmarks.

Backflip. Looks very similar to HotLinks. Try it out and tell me what you think.

Dashboards & Toolbars

If you would like to change the looks of your browser or add features, you may want to try some of these programs:

EntryPoint Toolbar is free and can give you personalized news and stock alerts.

NeoPlanet. "Free to download, NeoPlanet changes the face of your existing Microsoft Internet Explorer by laying a new intuitive interface on top of it. (Same browser engine-- new look, feel, and functionality.) What's more, you can choose from many different "schemes," much like the "skins" used for Nullsoft's Winamp MP3 player. The Schemes (25 at last count), which I liken to a makeover, are downloadable from the NeoPlanet website . My personal favorites are "Deco," "Implant," and for those rainy days, I really like to display the colorful "Splat" on my desktop."

Winfire. "The Winfire Browser Assistant is a free download that works with your Web browser to make getting information on the Internet simpler and faster. Small enough to fit into the Windows Start bar, the Winfire Browser Assistant provides one-click desktop access to hundreds of personalized Services."

NetSanity Toolbar. This is a news story. The software has not released yet.

Filling Out Forms

Gator. Never fill out another Web form. Never forget another password. These are the claims. Besides, the frog is cute.

iWARE does a similar job and you can pick the color of your interface.

jotter is a toolbar to save time and aggravation. It fills out forms, saves your profile information, remembers all your IDs and passwords, broadcasts your personal ticker tape, can jump you to the Privacy Policy of any site, and will remind you of birthdays and deadlines.

eBoodle is a shopping assistant that also fills out forms for you and pays you to use it.

Email Hassles

"Mailbag Assistant is a powerful organizer to help you view mailboxes and archives, find and group messages quickly and create new archives. A single grid view offers various display options. Powerful search commands let you find messages that match your criteria. Other tools let you pull out info from messages, like email addresses, traffic details and word stats. It's safe to use with your regular email program" (ZDnet). Download here.

"E-Mail Notify checks multiple email accounts then lets you know what's newly arrived. The program also supports spam filtering and Internet faxing. And it allows you to retrieve your IP address, hide your desktop, disable system keys and more" (ZDnet). Download here.

"Talking E-mail reads your incoming email. When a message arrives, an animated figure pops up and reads the text. The voice is clear and pronunciation is good. Fun, practical, fascinating" (ZDnet). Download here.

MailAlert and has many other features you should check out. Download here.

Cut Email In Half

If things are getting out of control in your part of the woods, try these suggestions from a recent ZDnet article:


"Use filters and folders: These take a little time to set up, but you'll gain it back tenfold. Many programs (all the top ones) let you create filters to automatically sort, delete, reply to mail and more. The ZDNet Help Channel will painlessly walk you through creating advanced filters and folders. Click for more .

Get mail on a schedule: "For most of us it's too easy to get distracted by a constant deluge of mail. Set your client to check mail once an hour or a couple times a day. Deal with it then and move on.

Collect mail in one location: "Most clients (Eudora and Outlook, for example) allow you to retrieve mail from multiple mailboxes. Allowing you to stop going to your other clients or mailboxes throughout the day for a mail check.

Save your email addresses: "With most apps, a simple right click lets you save names to your address book. Do it as mail comes in and it will save you a lot of fruitless searches later.

Create distribution lists: "Sending mail to the same people again and again about a particular project? You can create a distribution list in seconds and save countless minutes of typing -- if you've saved them to your address book.


In addition to the utilities I listed above, try these two and see if they help you:

Email Notify can check multiple email accounts for you. It has several other neat features. Download here.

Email Remover "connects to your ISP, retrieves header info and lets you choose the mail you don't want to receive and keeps it from being downloaded to your client" (ZDnet). Download here.

E-Vert "makes it a cinch to swap your address book with different email clients. It's compatible with Eudora, Navigator/Communicator and Microsoft Internet Mail" (ZDnet). Download here.

The Bat!: "Get the best of most mainstream email clients for less money. It includes: Support for multiple email accounts, multi-language support, an address book, HTML message reading, folder management system, filtering system, reply templates and more" (ZDnet). Download here. Forget Eudora; try this sucker out.


Here are some sites you should read:

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