PSE: General Purpose Internet Utilities
This page is simply a list of links to useful utilities for use with the
Internet. With few exceptions, most of these utilities are not specific to
anything which is limited to the Internet, but I've found them to be valuable
when travelling the net. If you have suggestions, please EMail me at
firstname.lastname@example.org a subject of "IUTIL.HTML update". After I check the reference, I'll
update it here for others to see. Configuration pointers are also welcome,
but PLEASE DON'T REQUEST config information. What I've got will be listed
PKZIP by PKWare
PKZIP for Windows
PKZIP is a must-have utility for just about anyone exchanging information via
computer, Internet or otherwise. Many programs are compressed in ZIP format
(thus the .ZIP extension you're bound to see everywhere).
For those who enjoy the power that the commandline offers, the current
PKZIP for DOS
supports Win95 LFNs.
There are also a variety of useful
for use with PKZIP or on ZIP files.
WinZIP is a ZIP compression tool (not made by PKWare, the originators of
PKZip and the ZIP compression standard) which also sports support for
manipulating UUcoded, XXcoded, MIME, and other binary-to ASCII coding
formats. If you previously used WinCode (which is no longer supported by its
author, who is nowhere to be found) this is the tool you probably want to
GZIP (Gnu ZIP)
GNU ZIP is a FREEWARE/Public Domain compressor using compression algorythms
similar to PKZIP, although the files created by it ARE NOT COMPATIBLE. GZIP
files have a .GZ extension.
At the GNU Site you should find
the distributable executable, as well as source code, if you're interested.
A very popular encryption package. So popular in fact, that the U.S.
Government was for quite a while looking to indict the author, Philip
Zimmermann, under the "arms export law" because the U.S. Government has
actually classified the technology as "munitions". Go figure. (If you want
to learn more about this heavy-handed move by the U.S. Government, jump to
the local document with more information). But,
if it is good enough to get our government to want to limit its distribution,
it is probably good enough to keep people from reading your mail, isn't it?
PGP uses what is called "Public Key," wherein you make a "public" form of
your password available (frequently in your .sig), and when someone wants to
send you something, they encode it using that public key. Upon receiving the
message, you can decode it with the private form of the key (which only you
know). That is it in basic terms...
On Friday, 12 JAN 1996, I read the following on the AP newswire:
Feds won't prosecute encryption writer - Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO -- A software writer won't be prosecuted for
a program he wrote that was put on the Internet and is now widely used by
computer users to keep their communications secret, the government said
Philip Zimmermann's Pretty Good Privacy encryption program turns computer
messages into a jumble of numbers and letters unreadable to anyone except
the intended recipient.
The code is so unbreakable that it is classified as munitions under the
Arms Export Control Act, making its export without a license a felony.
Federal prosecutors began investigating Zimmermann in 1993 after the program
appeared on the Internet global computer network. Zimmermann said that
others put it there, not him.
U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi announced the decision not to prosecute
Zimmermann, but didn't say why. If convicted, Zimmermann would have faced
51 months in prison.
PGP is a standard option for Qualcomm Eudora Pro 4.x, which allows you to
nearly transparently add encryption to your email. If you work with
eCommerce (receiving email from a SSL server that processes credit card
orders for your company, for example), the PGP/Eudora combo is a must.
A FAQ is available.
The PGP FAQ is also posted periodically to news:alt.security.pgp.
PGP.NET is a location to check out for
keyserver information and some links to sources to PGP tools.
If you're interested in encryption in general, a visit to ripem.msu.edu
will reveal a wide array of interesting tools.
A short while ago, someone notified me that apparently new measures have been
installed at some download sites, in that the WWW page will ask you to attest
that you are a U.S. citizen and further that you will not export the program
(apparently in response to the above U.S. Government allegations that the
Author is responsible for its exportation). If you agree on the form, it
will then provide access to download links.
CyberComm is a replacement COMM.DRV for Windows 3.1, which handles higher
speed modem connections much better than its Microsoft counterpart. Notably,
the Microsoft driver has a lot of well known bugs, and doesn't handle the
16550 UARTs quite as well as CyberComm does. If you happen to be using
Delrina WinFax PRO (or just about any Delrina communications package), you
may not need this replacement driver, since WinFax comes with a replacement
driver called WFXCOMM.DRV. The Delrina driver IS NOT Shareware, so don't
expect to see it legally downloadable unless you are a user of WinFax.
CyberComm, on the other hand is Freeware.
You can also get it from this
Ben Baker's QSORT (v3.20) is a valuable general purpose sort tool. It can
efficiently sort very large files (larger than available DOS RAM), unlike the
DOS SORT.EXE program. It has many field options for defining fields to sort
on, and in which order of precedence. I use it all the time for sorting
It is available in the msdos/textutil/ subdirectory of any SimTel mirror
site as qsort320.zip -- here is a link to it at the
Without getting into a political (or religious) discussion about it, let me
say that the stuff you download from the Internet has been all over the
place, and it is not impossible for some stuff to pick up viruses along the
way (no, not just because it is on the Internet...). So, you'd be well
advised to get yourself a good antivirus package. There are several, but
here I'll give you a link to
McAfee Associates. You should
check the source for whereever you get your antivirus software periodically
(at least every couple of months), to ensure you have the current version,
since new viruses come out all the time.
I'll collect up some links to other antivirus tools sometime, and revise
this link to point to an antivirus page then.
FTP to the encoder
directory at the SimTel mirror site at Walnut Creek CD-ROM to download various
encoders and decoders for converting binary files (like programs, graphics,
and sounds, and even word processing documents) to text capable of being
exchanged over MAIL and NEWS.
In addition, you can also find a variety of utilities at the following sites:
Galt Shareware Zone
Inforamp Internet Essentials
Windows 95 Miscellanious Utilities
Jumbo (for Macs)
Jumbo Windows archivers
Jumbo Windows encoders
Internet access limiters / Parental control
New Internet users who are also parents sometimes post questions about
"limiting access" for when their children use the Internet. While I have no
need for such a utility (being a childless adult, responsible for my own
actions), people do need them, and such software is much better than
wholesale censoring of the the net. I'd much rather people policed their own
actions than have the government plonk along and decide what we can and
cannot say on the Internet.
In that vein, several programs have popped up offering to limit access to the
Internet. I have NO experience with these programs, but I offer links to
them so that you might learn more about them if you're interested:
I used to list a link for CyberPatrol, but after the company who produces it
spammed me advertising for another product of theirs, I decided that the net
would be a much better place without assisting their kind. By coincidence,
some months later, their parent company purchased the company I worked for,
and I came to an even clearer realization that the world would indeed be a
better place without their kind.
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