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Punt the pop-ups

Plus, a new URL organizer.

If you enjoy browsing online using Internet Explorer, but despise the various pop-up ads and drop-down windows you encounter, try FailSafe Technologies Inc.’s Guard-IE Ad Blocking and Web Privacy Suite v2.2. In addition to suppressing the ads, the program can erase temp files and URL histories, prevent your browser window from resizing itself, and set up a cookie manager. It even comes with the option of allowing certain pop-up windows to appear, if you so choose. Though it leaves Netscape Navigator users out in the cold, Guard-IE can be a powerful tool against Internet clutter. You can download a demo of the full version from FailSafe’s site.

For instant-messaging fans who use a number of different services, Easy Message from Ryan Dewsbury Inc. is a free program that can help streamline the various lists and formats of your online contacts. It works with messaging services such as ICQ, AOL, MSN, and Yahoo, and creates a unified contact list, with little clutter. There are no banner ads, the skinning system is efficient to use, its status bar notifications are reminiscent of MSN’s, and it only takes up 0.3MB of hard-drive space. Some new features in version 1.4 include chat icons, message formatting, peer status, and peer groups.

A.I. Studio’s WatzNew is a program that will monitor your favorite Web sites for updates and check your e-mail, informing you when new content has arrived. The program is flexible because it allows the user to decide how the information about the updates and e-mail should be displayed on your screen. WatzNew also allows you to gather information about stocks from public-and password-protected-Web pages. In its updated version 1.8, translations are available in Swedish, Polish, German, and French; theme support for Windows XP has been added; and several bugs have been fixed.

If your URLs are starting to stack up in an unorganized mass, you may want to consider URL Organizer 2, made by Edward Leigh. Compatible with any Windows OS from 95 to XP, the program allows you to organize up to 10,000 URLs. You can choose between three separate modes to view the URLs, and no matter which mode is being used, you are never more than three clicks away from the desired URL. You can do a fast search through the URLs, the program also notes the last time you visited a particular URL, and the organizer also stores e-mail addresses, newsgroup addresses, and Web site log-in names. The URL Organizer does have compatibility issues with Netscape 6, owing to the browser’s lack of interapplication communication protocols. A freeware version of URL Organizer 1 is available, or you can download Organizer 2 for a free 30-day trial period. It costs $20 to purchase.

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