Free Stuff

Free Stuff

The Internet has proven a lot of things over the past few years, including that you can get too much of a good thing. Who can sort through all of the information on today's Net? How can you find what you need? How can you share your info and target it to the correct people?

Luckily, there are sorting, filtering and management tools that help you get a handle on your net data.

GovernMail. Think of GovernMail as a streamlined interface for communicating with government officials. It includes automatically updated e-mail and Web site links to all U.S. Senate and House members, plus sites and e-mail addresses of several other world leaders. You can copy a single e-mail to multiple politicians, select recipients by party and track replies. It's advertiser supported.

Check it out at www.governmail.com. It requires Microsoft Windows 95 or 98, plus Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher.

Binary Boy. Perhaps you used to be a fan of UseNet News groups, but now you're lost in all the discussion group spam. Binary Boy will do your searching for you, looking through thousands of newsgroup postings. Set it to find specific text, pictures, sounds and file attachments. You can create precise download folders for different newsgroups visited by Binary Boy. It saves time not only by filtering, but by copying the files locally.

The free version, at www.binaryboy.com, contains rotating ad banners. Pay $25 to eliminate the ads. It requires Win9x or NT.

GuruNet. Sometimes you just want your info when you want it. You don't want to jump to a search engine, or an encyclopedia. Just select text on a Web page, or even a Word document or spreadsheet. GuruNet will provide information from a dictionary, thesaurus or encyclopedia. You can also set it to gather real-time information from news, sports, weather or stock sites.

There's also a translation feature. Find it at www.gurunet.com. It works with Win9x, Win 2000 and NT.

Webspector. Why keep returning to your favorite Web sites to see if there's new information? Webspector tracks Web pages for content changes, and notifies you when there's new stuff to see.

You can display a graphics-free version of the page to see if the text is really what you want. Advertiser support keeps it free. Pay $49 for the no-ad version.

Find it at www.webspector.com; it requires Win9x.

'Shawn P. McCarthy

E-mail: smccarthy@lycos-inc.com

The author designs products for a Web search engine provider.

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