The Shareware Review People


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Type of Program: Multi-Function Web Information Retrieval/Management Tool
Supported Platform: Windows 95/98/NT
Company Name: Flying Objects Software Inc.
Version: 3.0
Price: free to try/ $19.95
Installed size: 2.3M


It may be a scary thought -- to have a program be able to track how your thoughts and movements -- but here it is. After all, Albert Einstein once said, "Never memorize anything you can look up." So here's NetPad, a uniquely pulled-together blend of web browser, offline browser, clipboard, URL-minder, text editor, phone dialer, notepad, emailer, file manager, and PIM-like information organizer that can capture your brilliant maunderings movements as you surf the Internet. And then link it all together in a tree-style database of "ideas" you can mull over at your leisure. Browse, edit, and shuffle your collected ideas online or offline.

[This newest version 3.0 adds password encryption for ideas, better searching, more Options settings (default font, bullet indent, etc.) and sundry minor tune-ups and bug fixes. Note that the encryption feature is available as an add-on option only to registered users. Encryption, and other future add-on packages to be announced, aren't included in trial download files.]

This program is one of those little hummers that has you emitting unconscious snorts of pleasant surprise as it dawns on you how cool it does stuff. If you're a serious seeker of information on the Internet, NetPad is a research tool you'll wonder how you lived without. The developers call it the "Thinking Man's Browser," but that sure seems like an understatement to me.

NetPad's companion mini-app, called MiniPad, lets you quickly harvest all your great ideas from a web page via drag-n-drop onto the tiny, floating MiniPad -- with or without NetPad running. Right-click on MiniPad to bring up a menu of NetPad functions.

NetPad's built-in browser allows in-program surfing, and if you have Internet Explorer, all web-content you drag-n-drop or cut-n-paste in arrives with all links and formatting intact. (If you'd rather launch your browser externally in a separate window, you can select Netscape or Explorer in Options.) All "ideas" you bring into NetPad are organized into files and whatever folder hierarchy you want to set up. Jot notes and reminders, or modify imports, since there's a simple built-in editing facility too.

And here's a kicker, but only in the registered version: you can link all your ideas to one another inside NetPad, so that you can later correlate those seemingly unrelated strokes of genius. And with each saved idea or web item, a database is kept, of related topics and keywords, so you can quickly find all saved items -- or discover new connections between stored topics. Also, NetPad lets you click on any phone numbers and email links to dial out or send mail.

So whether it's recipes, quantum theory, or baseball statistics that interests you, NetPad is the perfect central repository for every gold nugget you dig up. Take some time to look at the super Help files (preloaded in as "Ideas") to see the scope of what this unusual program can do to make your Internet research much more fruitful. NetPad is surprisingly inexpensive for what it does, and is free to try for a generous 90 days. But you'll have to register to get the complete data-linking capabilities. It's easy to use, plus there's excellent support at the product website for registered users.

User Friendly:
Ease of Installation:
Reviewed by Bobbie Crowell
ICQ # 9407183

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