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Internet Software Review


1 Feb 2000 - added Favtool, InterMute and Opera
20 Jan 2000 - see ICQ vs. AOL Instant Messenger comparison
17 Jan 2000 - added new Gozilla review

  • ALPHAWORLD - very interesting idea - attempt to combine MUD with virtual reality. Speactacular graphics. Allows one to get a piece of virtual land and build on it. There are multiple worlds to explore, including one on Mars. You can also talk to other players using avatars.

  • ARIADNA - Program from faraway Russia, where bears walk on the streets. Useful program for those of us who needs little help translating from English to Russian and back - you can right click on any word to look it up in the dictionary.

  • BUZOF - Totally useful and convenient hack. Allows to get rid of nag dialogs. Configuration is simple and efficiency approaches 101%! This is is one of the tools, that I would take with me to desert island.

  • BULLET FTP - REGET, which we waited for hundreds of years, is finally here. If download breaks, BFTP waits until Internet connection is reestablished (which isn't hard to do with RAS+) and continues download from the place it left! Oh, yes!

    One more feature, which amazes me - as soon as URL like ftp:// gets into clipboard, BulletFTP opens that site and starts download. I lllike it!!
    Though, due to young age, BFTP also attempts to download HTM files which I put to clipbboard for a purpose of pasting to text editor.

    21 June 1997 It now includes a handy button which checks whether the version you have is current.

    16 June 1997 If the idea of REGET is dear to you and you live in the world of Unix, see what knowing people say about program called LFTP.

  • CATCHUP - Very decent prg - makes list of what's installed on the comp and then suggests, what and how can be upgraded thru WWW. Kinda like Oil Change, except this one actually works.

  • COUNTRY CODES - tiny useful program, which lets one to figure out country name from abbreviation in hostname. For example, today (06/05/97) I learned that .mp means Northern Mariana Islands. Not that it helped me, though.

  • CUTEFTP excellent FTP client. Needs no comments. Latest version is shareware, expires at some point, but if you can find earlier ver - it's free.

  • DIAL-UP MAGIC - since I was a kid, I dreamed of being able to copy Dialup Networking connectors from one computer to another. And now my dreams came true.

  • FAR- Many years ago there was a great program called Norton Commander. It was the king of DOS world. However, Windows came along, Commander stumbled and began to fade. Now it's only a vague memory. However, other programmers picked up the torch. Here's FAR - NC clone for Windows - totally compatible with classic Commander, but also offering multitude of new features, including long filename support and integrated ftp client.

  • Favtool- Little gem that comes handy when you need to convert IE favorites to Netscape bookmarks.

  • FREE AGENT- Mind-blowing newsreader. Free Agent - joy to the Usenet.

  • FTPEDIT- pretty handy. With it you can edit file on FTP site - when saving, it gets automatically uploaded. Hint: recently edited are saved in File menu - it is much faster to open them from there than to wait till File/Open loads directory list.

  • GOZILLA - Several years ago I gave Gozilla a try and wasn't impressed - I labeled it "unsuccessful attempt to do better than Dipstick". Well, people change and so do programs. Today, this utility is unbelievable, combining in itself functionality of Bulletproof FTP (resume broken downloads), Dipstick (find fastest download site) and Teleport PRO (rip the site).

    I configured Gozilla to monitor the clipboard, so when URL ends up in clip, magic begins. It uses FTPSearch to find alternative download locations. Then it pings all the sites it found to determine which one is fastest. After that the best choice is shown on top of the list and you can click 'Download now' to let it rip.

    However, that's not all. Help file says that it will "resume download from another site if download speed is low". I said "I'll believe it when I see it" - and picked the slowest ftp site from suggested list. Download started at abysmal 1k/sec (note - I have ADSL). 15 seconds later Gozilla realized that it's wasting time, connected to another site and downloaded the rest at 60k/sec!!!

  • INFO COURIER - Sharp-witted idea - Info Courier allows to compile webpage with pages and local links into stand-alone EXE file. Something like old programs that used to make self-displaying README files, but for the Modern Times.

  • INTERNET EXPLORER - I am convinced that if Mark Andresen didn't hack Mosaic, and then Netscape, Microsoft wouldn't even bother to make their own browser. But times changed and what they put together is worth attention.

    Internet Explorer has several advantages over Netscape, namely:

    • Favorites is well done - I like that I can save bookmark in folder.

    • More error-tolerant than Netscape. For example, when closing tag is missing, IE usually correctly guesses, what I meant, while Netscape ignores tag altogether. Example - when </table>, is missing, IE doesn't mind, but Netscape pretends that there is no table at all.

    • IE correctly understands that when I turn images off, I do that for speed reasons and it has nothing to do with pics on the local disk, which load fast anyway, Yet, Netscape stops showing any and all images - hm.

    • IE doesn't force me to renew brower every month, while Netscape periodically sits down on a bench, takes a smoke and says "I will not work until you download the smot useful path for chinese version of Windows, which works in under-water conditions on the oxygen planets of Beetleguise system".

    • IE and its JavaScript do not have such sickness as case-senstivity in things, having to do with variable names in forms/javascript. Netscape does. And I am sick before Netscape does that, especially when I get that crazy idea to write a script that works on both browsers. It starts working quickly in IE and then I crawl in the dark on my knees, adjusting little screws and bolts, until Netscape finally understands, how script is supposed to work.

  • INTERNET MARAUDER - Where would I be without this program ? Probably, precisely where I am now. But there wouldn't me so much joy in my face.

  • INTERNET PHONE - momentous program. With it you can talk on Internet, like on walkie-talkie. What's more to ask is there ?

  • INTERNET WAVE - one more streaming audio player. You can never have too many of those.

  • InterMute - the ultimate tool for filtering banner ads. Hardly ever misses. Warning - it's addictive - once you load it, it will be hard for you to live without it. See, people build immunity to banners ads - with InterMute you won't have a chance to strengthen your ad resistance ;)

  • LYNX - faster than Netscape & Internet Explorer, text browser comes to the land of Windows 95! Totally useful if you have to access site instantly. Also nice for automation - there's an option which allows to display html code to standard output - and then you can capture and do what you want with it. Ripping info from sites and using it on your own page is one application that comes to mind ;)

  • MAPTHIS - Pretty cool progra for creating image maps in HTML. Friendly like a puppy - you just take GIF, draw squares on it and assign HREFs to them

    May 1997 Just accessed their page and found out that they released LIVE IMAGE - "bigger and better than MapThis". This I have to see.

  • Netscape Navigator - I use Netscape in some cases when IE isn't sturdy enough, for example for accessing big file on the hard drive. I am not sure if Netscape is doing this faster than IE, but at least with progress indicator, waiting isn't so boring.

  • NCFTP - spectaculat text FTP client. Supports command history, command line editing, site abbrevations, redial of busy sites and automatic anonymous access.

    Also, with REGET, aborted download can be continued.

    June 1997 Version 2.4.2 came out - this is where link above is pleased to point.

    9 June 1997 - maybe I am missing something, but 2.4.2 doesn't work at all ("I came from the future in the time machine that you invented!" "Do you know what that means ? It means that this damn thing doesn't work at all!"). To every attempt to open a site, it barks "invalid socket". Fortunately, I had old version (2.3) in the cellar.

    17 June 1997 - their site is confused, but all is not lost. NCFTP 2.3 is hiding right here.

    NCFTP tips

  • NETMEETING - In addition to chat and internet phone, which don't surprise anybody nowadays, it allows to share running programs - either in view mode, or for collective use. Unlimited possibilities.

  • NETTAMER - This is first DOS TCP/IP stack I know that actually works, not just gives some vague error messages.

  • NETTERM - Very pleasant telnet client. When session closes, it stubbornly asks "Did you find this program useful ?". This is especially appropriate when telnet connection disconnected unexpectedly.

    12 June 1997Those who are tired of message like this, as well as "it will be soon time to register!", "what, you haven't paid yet ?!", "I'll stop working in a week, then you'll be in real trouble!", I recommend utility BUZOF.

  • OPERA - my favorite web browser, as of Feb 2000. Why ? Here's few reasons:
    • Fast. The programs loads fast, responds immediately and loads pages quickly.
    • Keyboard shortcuts make navigation more effortless.
    • The icon to toggle image diaplay is easily accessible (it's buried in menus both in IE and Netscape).
    • There's also an button which overrides websites's colors - useful when webmasters' imagination took him too far.
    • Multiple windows can be open within the same instance of browser.
    • Icons in the toolbar are customizable.

  • POWWOW - convenient way to chat and send files between 2 users. tehoretically, allows also to voice talk, but this didn't work for us.

  • RASPLUS - Nice addition to dialup TCP/IP in Windows95. Automatically redials busy numbers and allows to launch specified program, once connected.

  • REALAUDIO - Mother of all realtime players.

  • TRUE SPEECH - If not for the RealAudio and Internet Wave, this program would be without compete!

  • WARFTPD - Excellent FTP server, without limitations and nags!

  • WEBTALK - Superb prg. Even better than Internet Phone.

  • WINGATE - Establish modem PPP on one station and let other comps on the lan get their access thru you.

  • WSFTP - first-rate FTP client. Bread and butter of any hacker.

  • WSFTPD - good FTP demon. Unreged version is limited - no more that 5 transfers per session.

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