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Internet FastFind

technofile  by al fasoldt

Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology
 

Simple gray rule


Internet FastFind is a gem with hidden facets
 

Bit Player for May 11, 1997

By Al Fasoldt

Copyright © 1997, The Syracuse Newspapers

Symantec gave its Internet FastFind suite of programs for Windows 95 and Windows NT the wrong name. When I tried IFF about six months ago, I figured it was a way of finding files and information on the Internet.

But I went back to Internet FastFind last week to reinstall one of its functions and discovered a marvelous feature. And I confirmed what I had suspected about another aspect of IFF. Together, the two features I am telling you about make Internet FastFind a steal at $50.

The secondary discovery centers on the ftp client in Internet FastFind. (I call it a client—the technical name—because it's not a separate program the way most others are. It's an extension of the Windows shell, and uses the same file-and-folder views that Windows itself uses.)

The ftp client is called EasyFTP. When you click on the EasyFTP icon, you see a standard Explorer window—a normal file-and-folder window, in other words. It looks and acts no different from a window you might open on your hard drive.

Inside the window are icons for groups of ftp (file-transfer protocol) sites on the Internet. Double-clicking on any of those icons shows icons for individual ftp sites. To open a site, you double-click on a site icon. That's all there is to it. Within a few seconds, your computer is connected to another one via ftp, and you'll see files and folders within the remote computer inside the standard Explorer window.

If you want to copy a file or folder from the remote site, just click on it and drag it to your desktop or to any folder. If you want to copy a file or folder from your computer to the remote site, just drag it to the Explorer window. Nothing could be easier. You have nothing to learn. If you know how to drag something from one folder to another, you can do ftp transfers.

You don't even need to fill out the typical ftp-user information that nearly all other ftp programs ask for. EasyFTP knows who you are (by looking in the Windows Registry) and knows how to set itself up. Symantec has a winner in EasyFTP.

And Symantec has a sleeper in another part of IFF, called Notify. If you use it only in the default mode, you'll probably never realize how powerful Notify is.

Basically, Notify can automatically tell you when Web pages change, and can automatically pick up such pages if you prefer. This is handy. But Notify can also do the same thing for files and folders that change—and these files and folders don't have to be on a remote computer. They can be on your own computer, too.

So I've set up Notify to monitor dozens of things on my computer. It monitors my system's vital configuration files and warns me (by checking once per hour) if one of them changes. It automatically copies reports from my Registry fixer and notifies me when they change. It checks across our home Ethernet network for in-house mail once every minute.

It even checks my own Web site once an hour to see if the main pages are OK.

It will do much more. Pick up a free trial version of Internet FastFind at http://www.symantec.com/iff/fs_iff.html. If you find interesting uses for Notify, send me e-mail and let me know.


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