OTHERS

Browser auxiliary tools

BROWSER AUXILIARY tools, also known as browser add-ons, is a class of utilities developed to provide extra functionality to normal web browsers and make web navigation more effortless, efficient and effective. A unique feature of the utilities in this class of Net-programs is that they get attached to the browser tool bar (leaving an icon) and all that a user has to do to activate most of them (some get activated automatically) is to just click at the required icon. We will look at a few of the utilities that belong to this class.

SurfSaver

While browsing the Net, it is quite natural that you may come across many sites which you would like to preserve for future references. There are two aspects involved in this process - storing the web pages in question and organising them properly so that correct sites can be accessed effortlessly. Deploying the various tools available in the present browser's toolbox intelligently may help you meet this need to some extent but it demands more effort and skillful manipulation of the existing tools. And, it is this scenario that makes the SurfSaver program a valuable one.

SurfSaver helps you save web pages (or even complete sites) and presents you the necessary tools to organise and search the stored contents using multiple search strategies. While saving the page (or site), the program allows you to change the title and add keywords or make notes. The pages can either be stored in a single folder or can be grouped according to some criteria and stored in different folders. All these additional inputs are meant to make the searching process more effective.

Having saved the pages in an organised manner, you can locate them later using the program's `Search' facility. You can select the folder/s you want to search for specific information and invoke the program's `Search' feature. To display the search results, SurfSaver splits the screen horizontally and presents the titles of the pages that match the search request.

This free software (5.9MB) can be downloaded from www.surfsaver.com. On installation a SurfSaver icon gets attached to the toolbar (IE users can activate the utility by clicking at the `View', then `Explorer', then `SurfSaver' or just right-click the mouse keeping it in the browser window and access the necessary option from the menu-window that pops up). Though the program supports both IE and Netscape, some of the features are not available for Netscape users.

UCmore

Yet another useful tool that facilitates the web navigation process is the UCmore which is a utility that helps you acquire more information than you can through normal site visits. It displays a tremendous amount of information on sites/services related to the site you are visiting. For instance, if you are visiting a magazine site, `Ucmore' immediately displays in the browser tool bar several site categories. Each of these will contain many sites related to the current site. I visited the PC Magazine site with this utility on and was really taken aback by the richness of information generated by Ucmore - yes, I could see much more than I looked for!

The service presented me many categories such as Magazines, E- zines, Internet, Hacking and many more. Moreover, each of these categories had many sites that were very much related to my information requirement. This is similar to the utility Alexa - featured in this column a few months ago - and is also similar to IE's `Show Related Links' option. But I found this program much more useful and its quiet, automatic functioning further enhances its desirability. The software (320K) can be directly installed from www.ucmore.com. Once successfully installed you will find the icon in the IE tool bar and from this point onwards you can simply forget about it - it silently does its job whenever you navigate the web and brings rich information to your screen. Please note that this program is available only to IE users.

A site viewer

It is common knowledge that a web site contains many link-files, each of which is of a different type such as HTML files, image files, text files or downloadable program files. But when you visit a site you will know only about the current page data and the link-information presented to you by this page. What is lacking here is the big picture - you fail to understand the various files that constitute the site and the structure of the site. Don't you think that knowing the structure of the site with the information on various links that make the whole site will give you more insight into the internals of a site? If you are anxious to know more about a site's content and structure, here is a program that squarely meets this need.

Afreet Viewer is an advertising supported program (means: while you install the program an advertiser program will also get installed) that helps you view the directory structure of any site you visit. The program (800K), which can be downloaded from www.netvampire.com/ftp/siteviewer.zip gets attached to the IE tool bar and can be activated at anytime by clicking at the button (click at the View, then Explorer, then Afreet Site Viewer)

Athoc.com

Do you have the habit of viewing some popular `News-sites' such as wired.com or abcnews.com? If yes, here is a useful toolbar utility that helps you browse these sites by clicking a button. Athoc.com provides a downloadable toolbar, which gets attached to your browser. The tool bar contains a button that can be clicked to visit the site of any of Athoc.com's partner sites (you can choose this component during the registration process) such as wired.com, abcnews.com. Apart from providing you the tool to browse your preferred site, the tool bar provides other useful features ( such as Search, Finance or Sports) that can also accessed at the click of a mouse button. The tool bar can be downloaded by accessing www.athoc.com and clicking at the 'Activate' button.

Cricket score on-line

Despite the recent match-fixing/betting scandal that shook the cricket world (and the Indian teams' consistent non-performance), the game continues to be popular. Are you one of those cricket fans who want to know the score of a game instantaneously and are not in a position to watch the match live in TV? Here is a cute Net-based solution that helps you get around this difficulty. Of course I am not going to tell you access a web site to view the score! Download the cute program (28K) crickoo from crickooking.9ug.com and install. Once activated and linked to the Net, the program will continuously display the score of the ongoing match in your screen. So you can continue with your work without interruption and occasionally have a glance at the current position of your favourite team!

J. Murali

(The author can be contacted at: murali27@satyam.net.in)