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Some handy links

Language study items

  • Drill Assistant - a free program that helps you study and quiz yourself. Essentially, the program works like this: in your word processor, you pair up questions and answers. They could be Greek words and English equivalents, States and Capitals, Kings and the dates they reigned, Book Titles and Authors, Elements and Abbreviations, anything. (This program does support font changes, so you can use different languages if you want to.)
    Then you have 3 different ways of drilling: (1) Display question/term and press [spacebar] to see answer, (2) Multiple choice, or (3) Fill-in-the-blank. I used it to drill myself on Greek Manuscripts (A, B, C, D, ...) and their longer Latin names (Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Beza, ...)

Microsoft Word tools

  • Word FAQ (general)
  • Word macro FAQ
  • Scholars Aid - general, powerful handling footnote and references. Ideal for the scholar doing a thesis or dissertation, or for professors who collect and reuse references. Commercial software, $94 (student discount, $74).
  • Word-to-Web - commercial software (about $300) to convert Word files to HTML better than Word does

Usenet newsgroups on Microsoft Word

File Comparison Tools

  1. Ediff - Ediff is a not a standalone utility, it's a function that runs under Emacs. If space is not a factor, it's worth installing and learning Emacs just to run Ediff. Ediff is the most powerful file-comparison utility I have ever seen. For example, this screenshot shows Ediff comparing 2 files. The first paragraph of each file has the lines reformatted to a different width, but with the reformatting, there is no textual change except for one word. Ediff shows the margination-only reformatting in one color, and each word change in another color.

    Ediff can also take two files which are similar, display the differences between them, and then automatically create a third "merged" file which contains all the identical content of both files, while highlighting areas where the two files are different. With one-key commands, you can select parts of File1 and other parts of File2 to put into the output file. (See this screenshot.) If you change your mind, you can undo changes, reverse changes, and edit the merge file at any time while you are paging through either of the first 2 files. This is really potent stuff! (For additional info, visit my Emacs Ediff page.)

  2. Examdiff - Compares differences between the contents of similar files, and also differences between different directories. Shows files added, deleted, changed, and has options for synchronizing the two. Examdiff comes in two flavors: a freeware version and a commercial version with more features. This sort of program has come in handy for me!
  3. Beyond Compare is commercial software for Windows for comparing different directories (folders), FTP sites, individual files, or the contents of ZIP files. All comparison is done side-by-side, plus you can edit the files being changed. Beyond Compare will run for free for 30 days to let you evaluate it for purchase. If you decide to keep it, the price is $30.
  4. CSDiff is a free, file-difference tool that runs under Microsoft Windows. It will let you compare two files or two folders, showing you lines that have been inserted, deleted or modified, in separate colors (screenshots) It can also export difference reports to XML, HTML, or plain text.
  5. FreeDiff is a free, file-difference tool that runs under Windows 95 or better. It will display the difference between two similar files side-by-side, including color focus on the just the words or characters that are different. You can save bookmarks, and use options to ignore Case differences or differences in whitespace only. It does not allow you to edit the files being compared.
  6. GNU diff - comes as part of the GNU text utilities which is fully free software (you get the source code). The GNU text utilities come with a command-line utility called diff which shows the differences between two or three similar files. I have often used diff to find changes between files and directories. Today, it seems the number of command-line users is diminishing, but the power is still there for those who want it.

Newsgroup access

Web and Internet tools

  • NetCaptor - requires MS Internet Explorer v5.0 or higher. Here's what I want: multiple tabbed windows within Internet Explorer. The idea is that instead of having to hit the BACK button or navigate through the history, I can immediately visit any of several key pages. Netcaptor gives me tabbed windows, will auto-load multiple windows, kills pop-up ad windows, and has many more features. Shareware, about $30.
  • Refresher - if all you want is to have multiple tabbed windows, then Refresher is for you. Refresher is free software (you can get the source code). Its main drawback is that Refresher allows no way to add the current page to your Favorites (Bookmarks) folder, either from the menu or via the keyboard (Ctrl-D), nor is there a way to Organize Favorites (Ctrl-B), as in IE. However, you can view and visit your bookmarks at any time. Filesize is about 172K.
  • The Proxomitron - I have this installed constantly, and it's totally super-cool. It gives me full control over the web pages presented to me. This is a tool for the web gods. Here's some of what it does: kills pop-up windows, kills most advertising banners, kills/limits automatic MIDI music, freeze animated .GIFs, kills slow web counters, kills GeoCities advertising banners, prevents getting stuck in frames, stops "Status Bar" scrolling, unhides destination links, kill frames, hide referrals from Javascript, much more. You can selectively control every feature of the Proxomitron. Oh ... did I mention that it was free?
  • Sam Spade - if you want to know who owns what website, what's the IP route to get there, and get all the other technical details about IP and DNS addressing, this is the site for you. It's a regular visit for me.
  • The Internet Archive - a/k/a "The Wayback Machine". Over 200 terabytes of data, showing how the web used to look. This is an image of much of the web by month, date, and year. Wanna see what was posted on microsoft.com on Oct 22, 1996? This will show you!!
  • Qbullets - those cute little icons of the globe, the file, the envelope, and so forth, which indicate what I'm linking to (when I remember to use them) are here courtesy of Matterform Media. I think they're cool!

HTML development tools

  • Link Sleuth - fast, free tool for finding broken links on web pages
  • WebMake - Perl program, written under the GNU GPL, for building websites For hackers only. I used to use it, once.
  • htmlpp - another HTML preprocessor, also written in Perl, and somewhat easier to use than WebMake. This is what I use now.
  • PPWizard - PPWizard is another free HTML PreProcessor, only this one is written in REXX. It's very good and has better user and author support than either WebMake or htmlpp.
  • WordToWeb - A nice way to automate conversion from Microsoft Word documents to HTML output. Does a better job than Microsoft's own translators.

These pages created with First Page, GNU Emacs, htmlpp, and Servant Salamander. Icons courtesy of Qbullets .
Last modified: Thursday, Feb 12, 2004