Net surfing on your PC is only slightly faster than watching grass grow, you'll want to pick up Net.Medic. A bloodhound with smarts, the program sniffs out the source of slow Internet connections in seconds. It doesn't matter where the gremlin is hiding--your PC, modem, ISP, the Internet backbone or the server you're trying to access. Net.Medic will diagnose the problem for you and either make an automatic fix or suggest how to make things right. Bonus: Net.Medic also travels light, requiring only 2MB hard-drive space.
Street price: $30
Requires: Windows 95/98/NT, 16MB RAM, 2MB hard-drive space, Netscape Communicator 3.x or better or Microsoft Explorer 3.x or better
J.W. Dysart (email@example.com), a software analyst and Internet business consultant, has written for more than 40 publications, including The New York Times.