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Top 10 offline browsing tools

September 28, 1998
Web posted at: 2:15 PM EDT

by Sally Neuman

(IDG) -- Let's face it. The Internet can be slow, repetitive, and even boring at times. And when you're working the 8-to-5 grind, who wants to come home and spend more time capturing updated pages or images?

This collection of site ripping tools helps you automatically gather information from Web sites--an image, a page, or an entire site at once--so that you can view it offline, away from the Internet's ticking clock. Set up a schedule to grab the information you want and while you're at the office let your home computer work for you for a change, getting the details and data you'll need later.

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  1. Anawave WebSnake: In addition to offline browsing and custom "pulling," WebSnake supports Web site mirroring (including directory structures), e-mail address retrieval, site maps, and advanced file search.

  2. NearSite: Like a VCR for your browser, NearSite stores the Web pages you view, allowing you to look at them again--even when your PC isn't connected to the Net. You can also automate NearSite to gather information from your favorite sites at designated intervals.

  3. Grab-a-Site: This industrial-strength site grabbing utility gives you powerful tools that grab a site's data for offline viewing. Grab-a-Site lets you re-create a Web site's structure offline to review later. It supports password authentication, long and short file names, customizable download limits, and data filtering.

  4. WebVCR: This program uses a VCR metaphor to display Internet material. You indicate which Web sites you want it to "record," then download and "play" them offline.

  5. SurfSaver: Store Web pages on your local drive so that you can search or browse at your own pace, online or off. Similar to a site grabbing utility, SurfSaver goes one step further by providing a permanent archive of information you've retrieved. The pages you save include all required text, images, and links.

  6. WebSeeker: This metasearch utility helps you seek out information from more than 100 search engines--from Alta Vista to Lycos to Yahoo. Given your specific search criteria, WebSeeker delivers a list of results that can be saved, viewed offline, easily organized, and updated automatically.

  7. WebScraper: Grab all the multimedia files you want from specified sites with this Web scouring utility. It connects to the sites you designate, then displays a list of links in one window and a list of multimedia files in the other. You can select the files that interest you and WebScraper grabs them in batch mode later.

  8. MicroSurfer: This utility grabs user-specified links including graphics, ActiveX controls, and applets. Cache links from several sites at once and continue to browse during download. Click a cached link and see it appear almost instantaneously in your browser window. This tool requires Internet Explorer 4.

  9. Web Bandit: Automate your Web searching and information retrieval. Instead of visiting each search engine, use Web Bandit to find information you specify, then provide summaries of its search results. Just click to access any of the items in a summary. Web Bandit searches beyond the specified site for additional links and addresses to make it easy for you to find more information. You can save your search results as HTML, text, or URLs for easy reuse.

  10. GrabNet: Use GrabNet to save Web information that you've spent many an hour capturing and trying to organize. From bookmarks to images, it helps you organize and sort all that information so that you can recall it later, even offline.

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