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     By Bob and Joy Schwabach
                                                                        

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August 2000, Week 4 -- Searching the Web

 

 

   I thought nothing would ever replace our copy of "Copernic" for searching the web. It was great, but "BullsEye 2" for Windows is even better. And it's free.

   Like Copernic, BullsEye searches the web to find sites related to a key word or   phrase you type. It then comes back with a list of likely sites. At that point the two programs divide sharply. BullsEye lets you look at both the list of hits, in the upper part of your screen, and the sites themselves, in the lower half.

 

   This split screen is a crucial advantage, since many of the site names that come up in any search process are irrelevant or only marginally relevant. If you have to click on the site, view it, and then return to the search list, you waste a lot of time. Being able to see sites as you click through the list is much faster. BullsEye also divides the search results into commercial, educational, non-profit, and service provider sites. This lets you focus more quickly on the areas most likely to produce what you want.

 

   You can start with a category list. Clicking there brings up greater detail. For instance, if you click on the "books" category, you can select "biography," "author," "library catalogs," etc. Clicking on "software" provides a breakdown list of "downloadable software," "drivers," "reviews," "games," and so on.

 

   This program is wonderful. Go to www.intelliseek.com to try it out. You can keep using it online or you can download a free copy. For $100 you can buy a copy of "BullsEye 2 Pro," which regularly searches the web for any subject you specify and alerts you whenever there is new information posted on that topic.

Utilities: Who's watching?

 

 Internet Cleanup

  Ontrack's new "Internet Cleanup" is a must-have for the terminally paranoid. Or as the old joke goes: even paranoids can have enemies.

   Some web sites you visit use that temporary connection to go into your files as much as they can and learn more about you. (We don't do any of that, by the way.) It's not because they're your enemy, they want to sell you stuff, or, sell the information about you to somebody else who wants to sell you stuff. They can also load little programs onto your computer: plug-ins that bring up unbidden and annoying messages to go to their site or have your clock cleaned or something like that.

 

   Internet Cleanup removes all this stuff with a one-click erase feature. It is customizable and will let you specify which cookies you want to keep. Cookies are little contact messages left behind when you visit a site, and some of them are useful. For instance, if you tend to visit a particular site often, the cookie information will speed your connection and let you skip some of the routine associated with signing on.

 

Internet Cleanup is $25 for Windows. Phone: 800-872-2599 or 612-937-5161; e-mail: info@ontrack.com; web: www.ontrack.com.

 

And if you're really paranoid ...

 

   This particular "Spector" has nothing to do with James Bond but is one of several new programs that track everything someone does on their computer. That "someone" means someone else, not you. The company notes that it's particularly useful for checking up on what your spouse, your children or your employees are doing on the computer. The tracking process is invisible to the person being tracked and can be continuous or at timed intervals.

 

   Spector is $50 for Windows. Phone: 888-598-2788 or 330-837-2223; web: www.spectorsoft.com.

 

A portable web cam

 

 

   The "Intel Pocket PC Camera" answers a request that has come from many users of web cams: Why can't you just remove the web camera you use for video conferencing, drop it in your pocket, and carry it anywhere you want to take some pictures? Now you can. You can also take up to two minutes of motion video.

   The Pocket PC Camera is not a high resolution device and is not intended as such. It retails for $149 and takes pictures at a modest 640 x 480 pixel resolution. The camera uses an 8MB (megabyte) memory card, which has become a standard for digital cameras these days. The obvious selling point is mobility; whatever pictures taken away from its computer mounting can be transmitted immediately simply by plugging the camera back in.

 

   Phone: 877-649-5817 or 800-538-3373; e-mail: shopintel@intel.com; web: www.shop-intel.com.

 

Internuts

  

-- www.bartleby.com We've mentioned this one before; it is a site dedicated to putting classic books online. They've recently added  "Gray's Anatomy," with all 1200 engravings.

-- www.archaeology.org  The official site of Archaeology Magazine. Dig it.

 

-- www.mailshell.com You can subscribe to sites that will send you health tips, computer tips, joke of the day, etc., and have those filtered through mailshell. This automatically blocks the associated junk mail that often comes from companies that use those sites' mailing lists.

 

-- www.zdnet.com  Type "The Art of Rembrandt" in the search box to get a screen saver of 20 of Rembrandt's paintings. You will also get a list of similar screen savers for Impressionists, Old Masters, etc.

  

 

-- www.designarchitecture.com News and information about new buildings around the world and drawings of proposed projects.

-- www.guyville.com The counterpoint to all those new sites aimed at women. Can a site just for guys make it? Probably not.

NOTE: Readers can search more than four years of columns at the "On Computers" web site: www.oncomp.com. You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at bobschwab@oncomp.com or bobschwab@aol.com.