I am not the biggest fan of Microsoft you are likely to meet. But I will
give credit where credit is due. When Bill and the boys created Internet Explorer 4 (soon
to be 5) and used an open architecture that allows for third party enhancements they
really did something good. Enter WebSurfAce 1.2 from Tool Pool. It works using many of the
controls and features of IE but seems like a stand alone browser. Once again leave it to
someone else to come up with the features web surfers really want in a browser. What
WebSurfAce does is allow you to open and view multiple web sites using a tab separated
single window. This saves precious system resources by only requiring one version of the
program to be running at any time instead of having to launch multiple occurrences of your
memory hog browser. And it does this with a speed and efficiency that is second to none.
One of my favorite features in WS is what is called Master Mode and it is nothing short of brilliant. You set a page as a master. The icon on it's tab turns red. Any link you click on this page is automatically opened on a new tab window. If you have ever used a search engine and kept having to wait after you hit the Back button on your browser for the search results page to open again or had your browser lock-up because you had ten browser windows open and you ran out of memory then you see what a great idea this is. You set whether you want the newly opened tab to be the current tab or not. And if you see that one of the links you opened is not what you were looking for you simply right click on the tab and select the Remove tab option, even before the page has fully opened. You can also save sets of pages you regularly visit and have them opened together either at startup of WS or during your surf session.
New to this version is a Search / Favorites sidebar. It displays all of your IE favorites in a tree view on a small window on the browser's left side. You can then quickly access all of your favorite sites with a few simple clicks. The only drawback to the current version if the lack of a way to launch your default e-mail client and check your mail while you browse the web. I have sent this suggestion to the program's author and have been assured that this feature is being included in an upcoming version. I must also commend the author for the prompt personal support he has offered. I had a couple of issues with Bookmark organizer software interacting with WS and he actually downloaded the software, tried it and sent me solutions he found. That is something I will never forget because you do not see that type of personal service from software companies anymore.
If you have IE 4 or IE 5 PLEASE GIVE WS (WebSurFace) A TRY. It will change the way you browse the web forever. There is a free /advertiser supported version of the software which takes up a small portion of the screen with ads. If you can live with this the program is free. But I urge you to spend the very modest registration fee and reward an exceptional author for an exceptional achievement in software.
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