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It's maddening when e-mail includes attached files you can't open. Unfortunately, this is a regular occurrence for many heavy e-mail users. The chief cause: The recipient lacks the "native application," technical talk for the program that created the file. But solutions are now at hand. One to check out is Inso's Quick View Plus 4 ($59), a dramatically beefed- up version of the "quick view" applet built into Windows 95. Quick View allows you to look at files from more than 200 programs, including both Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange as well as most major spreadsheet, database and word processing programs. Even better, Quick View lets you copy what you see into your clipboard and paste it into an application you use. A free demo is available at http://www.inso.com
Much the same cyber magic is worked by E-ttachment Opener from DataViz (about $39). E-ttachment Opener especially excels at giving PC users a look at Macintosh files. E-ttachment Opener can make readable most e-mail "garbage" text--usually encoded files that have been mangled by an e-mail gateway. For more information, visit the DataViz Web site at http://www.dataviz.com
Registering your Web site with the main search engines is crucial to building site traffic, so don't guess about whether you're listed with Excite, Infoseek and the rest--check it out, free of charge, with Internet Marketing Group's Did-it.com Detective (http://www.did-it.com). Input your URL, and, within minutes, you get an e-mail report of how your site fared. For ongoing monitoring of your site's status, Did-it.com charges $49 for a year's worth of monthly reports and also sells promotion packages designed to enhance your site's visibility on the ever-more cluttered Net.
Another tactic for building traffic is to have a clever or easy-to-remember domain name (that's the wording that follows "www" in a URL). One hitch: You can't use a name that's already taken. Find out which names are up for grabs with a free search tool at http://www.checkdomain.com The real plus of Sane Solutions LLC's Checkdomain is it lets you try variations until you hit an available name that is exactly what you want to communicate.
Easy Does It
Can you put existing brochures, sales literature and product sheets up on the Web without spending excruciating hours tweaking hypertext code?
The payoff of Web publication, of course, is that your materials are available at any time to anybody with an Internet connection. But up until now, putting existing documents on the Web entailed painful translation work to make them Web-ready. No more, as new programs enter the market to make Web publishing a breeze. For instance, Net-It Now! ($295) from Net-It Software requires minimal practice to turn most existing text, charts, graphs and tables into good-quality Web pages. A demo is free from http://www.netit.com
A more powerful--but a shade more technically demanding--solution is InfoAccess' HTML Transit, which can even digest older-generation WordPerfect and Word files, and will
automatically turn a long document into short, hyperlinked Web pages. The program gives users considerable control over the look of the pages it creates, but the drawback is that to get top quality, you need to master the basics of Web page creation. It's priced at $495; a free demo is available at http://www.infoaccess.com
DataViz Inc., (800) 733-0030, http://www.dataviz.com
GTE Directories Corp., (800) 491-9771, http://www.superpages.GTE.net
InfoAccess Inc., (800) 344-9737,http://www.infoaccess.com
Inso Corp., (800) 333-1395, http://www.inso.com
Internet Marketing Group, (800) 932-7761, http://www.did-it.com
Net-It Software Corp., (888) NET- ITNOW, (415) 551-0600, http://www.net-it.com
Nynex Information Technologies Co., (888) 244-9355, (508) 762-2645, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sane Solutions LLC, (800) 407-3570, http://www.sane.com