Also, become a spy.
Who’s been drinking all the milk and putting the empty carton back in the fridge? Now you can find out with Webcam Watchdog 2.2, which begins recording in a room when motion is detected. Live feeds or still images can be captured and an alert sent to your e-mail in-box. An alarm can also be played to deter intruders or make the milk thief nervous. The software is priced at $69.95, and requirements include a Windows XP/2000 operating system, Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer above 4.0, Media Player 6.4 or higher, DirectX 8.1, and a capture device that supports a WDM driver, sound card, and microphone.
GoToMyPC software provides, well, what its name promises: the ability to remotely access your computer from any other Internet-connected computer in the world with almost any operating system, using a secure, private connection. Even if your main computer is in Pittsburgh and you’re in Paris, you can sort through e-mail, desktop files, and network resources. To run the software, you need Windows 95 or higher, a stable Internet connection, a Web browser with all Java components enabled and a minimum of Pentium 300 with 64 MB of RAM on the computer you use to tap into your home base. The cost is $14.95 per month for one computer for one year, but the company offers a free trial of 30 days or 60 minutes of connection time, whichever comes first.
Even as you battle against pop-up ads, it’s possible that the enemy could be within. Ad-aware 5.83 is a freeware utility designed to clean house. It scans a computer’s memory, registry and hard drive for known advertising systems (sometimes called spyware or, as they term it, scumware). After reviewing the spyware ranks, Ad-aware returns a report and can wipe out the unwanted ware quickly. Frequent updates ensure a tidy, scumware-free environment. Improvements to this version include repair of a scrolling wheel glitch, additional file detail provided in logfiles, better overall scanning speed, and the ability to scan removable hard drives. For a $15 fee, you can opt for Ad-aware plus, which includes lifetime updates, a higher-tier program, and customer support.
No PC can escape the all-seeing eye of SpyBuddy, a surveillance program that allows you to record all Internet browsing habits and desktop activity, and review it whenever you wish. The software can log all chat conversations from the major platforms like AOL, ICQ, and MSN, and clue you in on what applications have been opened, which documents have been printed, even what keystrokes have been performed. True to its spy-themed moniker, anyone using the computer won’t even know that the program is even running. The $49.95 software works across all Windows platforms.