Friday, September 19, 2008

Freeware - Useful Software for Network, Internet & Email

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The growth of home networking has been nothing short of phenomenal and the expansion of the Internet shows no sign of slowing down so we thought it was about time we created a new category of freeware applications. 

As usual, if you find any of these programs useful and want to continue using them then please pay the licence fee or make a donation to the author. Don't forget that you use them entirely at your own risk and we cannot answer any technical questions. 

Amic Email Backup, XP & Vista, 1.3Mb 
You would be surprised how many emails we get from people who have suddenly and for no good reason lost all of their email messages. Usually they can be recovered but is you use this little program you need never worry because you'll always have a backup. Amic is really versatile, it works with all of the popular clients, including Outlook Express, Outlook, Eudora, Pegasus, Incredimail, The Bat, Netscape and so on and it is really easy to use. 

ETB Email Tracking Blocker, XP & Vista, 370Kb 
A worrying number of emails now contain receipt requests and tracking information that can tell the sender when you opened it and even who you forwarded it to. Many consider this an invasion of privacy, in which case you may be interested ion this little program, which stops the snoopers prying into what you do with your emails. 

LookatLan, XP & Vista, 2.1Mb
How secure is your cable or wireless network and who is using it? If you can't say for certain then you need LookatLan. This tells you exactly who is connected to your network, how much data is flowing through the system and where it is all going so if you have kids in the house, or are worried about someone hacking in to your network this will tell you what you need to know, plus a lot more besides.

MailWasher, XP & Vista, 6.6Mb
If you are being plagued by a deluge of Spam, and who isn't these days, then you are in need of MailWasher. It is a Spam Filter, and one of the most effective ones you can get, at any price. The free version does an excellent job but it is well worth upgrading to the Pro version, which is even more effective and can handle more than one email account 

NetMeter, XP & Vista, 620kb
If for any reason you have a 'capped' broadband account then you will want to keep a very close eye on how much data you download each month, if you want to avoid paying penalties or high rates for excess data. NetMeter does it all for you, logging daily and weekly usage and based on your working patterns, predict if and when you are going to use up your allowance.

NetStumbler, XP & Windows CE, 1.3Mb 
This one has been a firm favourite with wireless laptop users for several years; sadly it is XP only but see this week's Top Tip. NetStumbler is an advanced Wi-Fi monitoring tool that tells you, at a glance, how many public and hidden wireless networks and access points are within range. It also displays their SSID, relative signal strength, which channel they are using, encryption status, MAC address, graphical data flow and much, much more. Invaluable for road warriors and keeping a watch on your home wireless network. A version for pocket PCs is also available.

Outlook Express Mail Alert, XP, 890kb 
Although Outlook Express lets you know when you have incoming email messages, with an audible alert, it's easy to miss. Now there are no excuses, with OE Mail Alert on your PC a young lady announces 'You've got mail', it plays a little tune and a prominent pop-up box appears on your screen. It's easy to configure, you can tell it which mailboxes to respond to, and you can set it to launch automatically with Windows. 

RSS Ticker, XP & Vista, 80kb
If you are one of those people who just can't bear to be out of touch with what is going on in the world then here's a nifty little add-on for Mozilla Firefox. RSS Ticker puts a scrolling news 'ticker' across the bottom of the browser window, or under the toolbar and if you see something that interests you, just click on it for more details. 

NeoTrace Express, XP & Vista, 802kb
Have you ever wondered where a website is based and who owns it? There are ways to find out but simply typing the website address into NeoTrace Express is much easier. Within seconds it displays a map showing the geographical location of the site, and how you are connected to it, it will also do a 'Whois' lookup on the site host and domain name registrant. Just the job for checking dodgy-looking sites that don't tell you where they are. 

SurfCanyon, XP & Vista, 21kb 
This is another browser add-on, for Internet Explorer and Firefox, and it is designed to make your web searches faster and more effective. It works with most of the popular search engines, just enter you keywords as usual but when the results are returned click on the 'bullseye' icon for a list of 'recommendations', which should get you to the site you are looking for even faster, and save you ploughing through hundreds of irrelevant hits.

Vistumbler, Vista, 1.6Mb
This is the turbocharged Vista version of the excellent NetStumbler wireless network monitoring program. It's an invaluable tool for laptop users on the move, displaying all wi-fi connections within range, including networks that have been deliberately hidden.

Keep abreast of the latest issues in computer technology with Rick Maybury.

Don't forget, there's a full archive of previous Boot Camp Top Tips at

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