Take an (Information) Load Off

These cool tools will help you make sense of the Web.

The Web can feel like an awfully big place. But there are many small tools that are designed to make it easier and faster for you to find, collect, and organize the information and resources that are important to you. Here is a comparison of five new and not-so-new software tools that can help you make your Web experience much more manageable.

Tool Function Sweet spot Loophole
Flyswat
(www.flyswat.com)
An on-the-fly navigation tool that creates links from any Web page that a user visits to other related content and commerce information. Flyswat works in any document, including a Word file and emails. Just click on any of the words underlined in yellow and Flyswat will launch a window with links to related information. If you click a link in the Flyswat window, a new window isn't launched. So if you don't find what you need, you'll have to back up and click again on the word to return to the Flyswat window. Kind of a buzz kill.
KeeBoo
(www.keeboo.com)
Software that lets you organize and store content from your desktop and from the Web (including Microsoft Word and Excel files, Web pages, and audio and video clips) into scrapbooks called "KeeBooks." Users add information to their virtual books by dragging and dropping it into the program. They can also arrange the books into chapters, highlight pieces of text, and add sticky notes with personal comments. KeeBoo is only available for Windows. However, Mac users can employ their browsers to view KeeBooks that are emailed to them.
My Pages
My Yahoo!, My Excite (http://www.yahoo.com , http://www.excite.com)
Pages that allow you to collect the news, the weather, sports scores, and TV and movie listings that you want onto one page. It's like your own personal newspaper. It doesn't get much easier -- or faster -- than this. Enter a user name and a password, make a few clicks here, a few clicks there, and then presto: You can view all of your information. You can only access information made available by the site's content partners.
Snippets.com
(www.snippets.com)
Tiny programs that collect and present tidbits of information (weather, stock quotes, movie listings) right onto the desktop. The information is displayed in postage-stamp-sized icons at the bottom of the screen. Users can set each snippet to update at a different frequency. For example, the weather can be updated once an hour, while the stock-quote snippet can notify you when a stock price changes by a certain amount. Snippets work best with small bits of information that can be viewed within the tiny icons. It's great to have access to temperatures and stock quotes.
VerticalOne
(www.verticalone.com)
A service that keeps track of your user names and passwords, while collecting all of your account information onto one Web page. It focuses on bank-, credit-card-, and investment-account info. You can access the information from a Web-enabled telephone. Using the service is easier than tracking it down. To get it, you need to visit the Web site of a VerticalOne partner. Although you can get a list of partners at VerticalOne's site, it doesn't link you to those sites.

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