"Christians And The Internet" newsletter CATI, Vol. 3, No. 3: January 18, 2002. _______________________________________________________________ TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. LETTER FROM THE EDITOR ON UPDATED VERSIONS OF CATI ARTICLES 2. FILTER YOUR EMAIL WITH ANTI-SPAM SOFTWARE FOR FREE! 3. UPDATED: DOWNLOAD, UNZIP, & INSTALL FILES FROM THE WEB (#1) 4. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: INFORMATION ON CATI NEWSLETTER _______________________________________________________________ The latest revision of this issue of "CATI" can be accessed online at http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati66.htm. The Web page edition makes it especially easy to visit the links. Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is Copyright (C) 2002 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved. See the end of this issue for more information on "CATI." _______________________________________________________________ 1. LETTER FROM THE EDITOR ON UPDATED VERSIONS OF CATI ARTICLES This week's issue contains not only some brand-new material (an article on how you can use free anti-spam software you can download from the Internet to filter out unwanted junk from your email), but also an updated version of an article that was published earlier in CATI (the first part of a discussion on how to download, unzip, and install programs from the Web). For Christians, knowing how to download, unzip, and install programs from the Internet is an important skill. For that reason, I published the first part of a discussion of that topic last year, but for some reason I failed to publish the second part. Thus this week I am re-publishing the first part (somewhat updated), with plans to publish the second part in next week's issue of CATI so that CATI readers will have the information together for their convenience. (My apologies for not publishing the second part earlier.) One reason for reprinting an earlier article is to bring the information up-to-date and to call the attention of newer CATI subscribers to the material. But another reason is that CATI is essentially a one-person effort, and events of this past week did not make it possible for me to write another brand-new article. (But I did warn you that I might have to do that from time to time in order to meet my goal of coming out with an issue each week in 2002, D.V.) As always, I very much enjoy hearing from CATI readers, and of the articles published in CATI, the more helpful ones are often the result of email notes I have gotten from readers of CATI. So please share your thoughts with me by writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org (more than you may realize, my hearing from you is what keeps me going!). _______________________________________________________________ 2. FILTER YOUR EMAIL WITH ANTI-SPAM SOFTWARE FOR FREE! Like everyone else who uses email, Christians also sooner or later have to deal with the problem of "spam." In some ways it is easier to avoid "bad stuff" on the Web, because all you have to do is "not go there." In the case of email, it is more difficult, because without your going to the "bad stuff" (or even "not-so-bad stuff" that is still a waste of time), it comes to you! <sigh> As I said, we're talking here about the problem of "spam." "Spam" is "unsolicited email," usually of a commercial nature (although "commercial" may be too dignified a term to apply to a category which includes invitations to visit pornographic sites, to get involved in get-rich-quick schemes, etc.). The spam comes unrequested and unwanted, and people put up with it because they know of no ways to combat it. Well, there are things that can be done, only one of which will be dealt with in this article. (We may discuss others at some future point in time). As a CATI reader, you know that it's possible to filter out "bad stuff" on the Web through the use of parental control software (programs such as CyberPatrol or CyberSitter) or the use of a family-friendly ISP (Internet Service Provider). Wouldn't it be nice if something like that were possible for email? Well, it is! Some very powerful (but easy-to-use) anti-spam software is available, and most of the better programs are actually free! It's like having a secretary who sorts your mail before it gets to you, saving you a lot of time, effort, and trouble. The "good stuff" gets to you, the questionable stuff is marked as such, and the obviously "bad stuff" (if you set up the program this way) can be disposed of before it even gets to your computer. Important: Most of these programs work only with standard email accounts (sometimes called POP3 accounts). If you are using instead AOL, MSN, or Web-based email (e.g., Yahoo or Hotmail), you may need to attack spam in a different way (and we may have suggestions for you in a future issue of CATI). If you are on AOL, you may find the following to be helpful: Anti-Junk E-Mail Tips for AOL Users http://www.coyotecom.com/aoljunk.html And if you are not able to use anti-spam software, you may find this page useful and encouraging: CompuGenie's Anti-SPAM Help http://www.rwschmitt.com/spam.html On that page, CompuGenie (Robert W.Schmitt?) questions the value and effectiveness of anti-spam software, but he offers some good general suggestions on combating spam that may be helpful to anyone. But I myself am persuaded that current anti-spam software can be very helpful in fighting spam, so if you have a standard (POP3) email account and thus are able to use such software, I recommend that you try it. The WebAttack site, an excellent site of downloadable software related to the Internet, is the best source I know of on the Web for anti-spam software: WebAttack http://www.webattack.com/ Some of the software is free (known as "Freeware"), while some of it is not (but rather "try-before-you-buy" software also known as "Shareware"). Here are the specific pages where you can find descriptions of (and actually download to your computer) anti-spam software: WebAttack: Anti-Spam Tools: Freeware http://www.webattack.com/Freeware/comm/fwspam.shtml WebAttack: Anti-Spam Tools: Shareware http://www.webattack.com/shareware/comm/swspam.shtml Note that most of the freeware programs have a rating of four or five stars, while most of the shareware programs have a rating of only three stars. So cost is certainly here no obstacle to your obtaining outstanding protection from spam for your email. The free programs are as good as (or often better than!) the ones you pay for! My advice is that you avoid entirely the three-star programs (unless you find one that has a very attractive feature that other programs lack) and that you try out one of the four- or five-star programs based on the program descriptions. (If you try a program and don't like it, simply uninstall it and try another.) In particular, in the freeware category you might try Spam Buster or Spam Weasel. Although I know less about them, EmC and SpamEater Standard may be also worth considering. (The program PureMail takes a different approach to filtering.) If you're more comfortable with software that costs money, in the shareware category you could try our SpamEater Pro, SpamKiller, or MailTalkX. (These range from $20 to $30 in cost.) Here are some Web pages for the products I've suggested you might consider: Spam Buster http://members.aol.com/contplus4/spambuster/index.htm Spam Weasel http://www.mailgate.com/products/spamweas/sw_feat.asp EmC http://www.abreuretto.com/anti-spam/indexi.htm SpamEater Standard (free) and SpamEater Pro ($24,95, shareware) http://www.hms.com/spameater.asp SpamKiller ($29.95, shareware) http://www.spamkiller.com/ MailTalkX ($19.95, shareware) http://softbytelabs.com/MailTalkX/index.html In general, such programs act as an intermediary between your host server and your email client (that is, the program you run on your computer to get, read, write, and send email, e.g., Outlook Express, Eudora, or Pegasus). As I suggested earlier, an anti-spam program acts like a secretary who will check your mail and see to it that the junk mail is discarded before the rest of the mail is put into your "In" box. If set up properly, "filtering" can be very effective (and some of the software - although easy-to-use - is surprisingly sophisticated, with some of the programs checking your email against lists of thousands of known spammers in addition to letting you set up, if you like, your own detailed rules for filtering. All of the software can be customized: At the end, you are the one who decides what gets through and what doesn't. If you are getting spam in your email box and have wondered if you could do something about it, you now know that help is available (at least for those with standard POP3 email accounts) and is inexpensive or free. (It doesn't even cost money to test-drive the shareware.) If you somehow got on a spammer's mailing list and are, for example, receiving unwanted invitations to visit pornographic sites, you can stop the messages from coming to your emailbox. Don't write back to the senders (that only encourages them, because it confirms that a real live person is receiving email at that address). Instead, make use one of these anti-spam software programs to take charge of what gets in your emailbox and what doesn't. For those who are interested in reading further on this topic (not only anti-spam software, but handling spam in general), About.com has quite a bit of helpful material, including lots of links to useful articles elsewhere: About.com: Anti-Spam Tools (Includes reviews of SpamKiller, Spam Weasel, Spam Buster, and EmC) http://email.about.com/library/ec/tp/aatp_spam_wi.htm About.com: Spam: General Information (Page 1) http://email.about.com/cs/spamgeneral/ About.com: Spam: General Information (Page 2) http://email.about.com/cs/spamgeneral/index_2.htm About.com: Spam Fighting, Tips, Tricks and Secrets http://email.about.com/cs/spamfightingtips/ About.com: Spam Filtering (Page 1) http://email.about.com/cs/spamfiltering/ About.com: Spam Filtering (Page 2) http://email.about.com/cs/spamfiltering/index_2.htm _______________________________________________________________ 3. DOWNLOAD, UNZIP, AND INSTALL FILES FROM THE WEB (PART ONE) [This article is being reprinted with some updating from CATI, 2/9. One reason I'm reprinting it is that for some reason I never followed through with a "Part Two," an omission I hope to rectify in the next issue. I described how to download a program called FreeZip, but I didn't go on to describe how to use it. This article and the next deal with especially useful skills you will need if you are to get maximum benefit from the Internet.] If you're looking for simple, step-by-step instructions on how to download, unzip, and install programs from the Web, this article is intended for you! I'll even tell you how to get and install a free and easy-to-use program to unzip the files. (If you already know how to do all this stuff, feel free to skip over this article and the follow-up article on the same subject.) Don't let that term "unzip" intimidate you. It simply means "unpack." Before you go on a trip, you probably pack your clothes in a suitcase. If you're like me (and I hope you aren't in this respect), you stuff and squeeze all you can into that suitcase, because you don't want to have to take two suitcases. Finally, it's all packed, and you leave for your trip. After you get to your destination, what do you need to do? That's right -- you need to unpack that suitcase! Well, it's like that when files take a trip over the Internet. To "zip" a file is similar to stuffing and squeezing it into a suitcase. (The "zipping" process makes the file take up less room.) When the file gets to its destination (perhaps it's a file you're downloading to your computer?), it needs to be "unzipped" (i.e., unpacked). There are various software programs that can be used to pack and unpack ("zip" and "unzip") files. One good full-featured program is called WinZip, but it costs money and it can be a bit complicated to use. Thus I'm recommending that you try a free and easy-to-use program called FreeZip. Important: there's also a copycat FreeZip! program (with an exclamation point) out there that you do NOT want! Here's where you can get the right one, the good FreeZip rather than the copycat: DS Software: Freezip version 1.4.9 http://members.ozemail.com.au/~nulifetv/freezip/ Here's how FreeZip is described: "FreeZip is a small, fast and efficient Zip utility for compression and decompression of files and directories in Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000. FreeZip integrates with Windows Explorer and uses file associations and context menus to zip or unzip files and subdirectories. If you know how to use Windows Explorer, then you do not have to learn anything new to use FreeZip. The setup is a single-click process and there are no options or settings involved." http://members.ozemail.com.au/~nulifetv/freezip/ "Compression" and "decompression" are simply different words to refer to the "packing" and "unpacking" I mentioned earlier. "Windows 9x" is a shorthand way of referring to Windows 95 or Windows 98. Basically, if you have Windows 95 or later, you can install and use FreeZip. Although the program is free, it has gotten top ratings at Tucows and other software sites as well as elsewhere. Here, for example, is what Chris Parillo had to see about Freezip in his Lockergnome newsletter: "Novices: Confused with ZIP files? Do other ZIP proggies [i.e., programs] offer too many confusing options? Do you just want to download things and get on with your life?... If you have ever used the Windows Explorer, then there's nothing new to learn with this puppy. Quick, painless, and nicely integrated with Explorer." http://www.lockergnome.com/issues/win95nt/feb98-28.html By the way, don't confuse Windows Explorer with Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is a Web browser program, but Windows Explorer is a file manager program. My Computer on the Windows desktop is really just a simplified version of Windows Explorer. (If you right-click with your mouse on the My Computer icon on the desktop and choose "Explore," what you get is Windows Explorer.) Here's how to get and install the FreeZip program. Go to that location on the Web that I mentioned earlier. Then scroll down the page to where it says "Download FreeZip v1.4.9" (with "FreeZip" underlined) and click on "FreeZip." That should start the process. Here's the sequence of what to do next (minor details may vary somewhat, depending on what version of Windows you are using): (1) Choose "Save this file to disk." (2) Click on "OK." (3) At the next display, keep clicking on the icon at the top right with the arrow in the yellow box until it says "Desktop" to the left. (The yellow box at this point probably turned gray.) (4) Click on the next icon to the right (the yellow box with no arrow in it). (5) Where it says "New Folder," replace "New Folder" with "My Downloads" and press enter. (6) Double-click on "My Downloads." (7) Click on "Save." The download process should begin and continue until it is done (at which point you may or may not be expected to click on "Close" to close that box or window). You have now successfully downloaded FreeZip to your computer! There's no need to unzip the software (it wouldn't make much sense for you to be expected to do that, since you presumably downloaded FreeZip because you need it to 'unzip" files), so the next thing to do is to install FreeZip. Disconnect from the Internet and close your Web browser and any other software that may be running. The "My Downloads" folder should now be visible on your Windows desktop. Double-click on the "My Downloads" folder to open it, and then double-click on freezip.exe inside to install FreeZip. Click on "Yes" and then soon thereafter click on "OK." Believe it or not, you have now successfully installed FreeZip. That's all there is to it! You may have noticed some interesting things stated in the license agreement (which is unlike most other agreements you may have read): "RIGHT-CLICK ON A ZIP FILE OR ANY FOLDER TO ACCESS FREEZIP HELP.... FreeZip is Freeware. Free for private or business use. Free for distribution and publication, but in unmodified package. FreeZip can be freely bundled with any product or application. Individual permissions are not required...." Incidentally, if in the preceding step you do not see a file named freezip.exe but do see one named freezip, this means that Windows is set to hide file extensions for known file types and that .zip is a known file type, which means that you most likely already have software installed to zip and unzip files. In that case, it's up to you to decide whether or not to continue with the installation of FreeZip. If it helps any in making a decision, I have more than one "unzip" program installed on my computer with no problems, and I think you may like FreeZip enough to switch over. It's the one I use on a regular basis. Next week we plan on downloading and unzipping some files using FreeZip, but now we should do a little housecleaning. I suggest that you right-click on freezip.exe (or freezip, depending on your Windows settings) and choose delete to get rid of the original file that you downloaded, since it is no longer needed. (If you should need it again, you can always download it again. Or, if you like, you can keep a backup copy rather than deleting it.) Then click on the "x" in the upper right corner of the "My Documents" folder to close that folder. What about the "My Downloads" folder itself? You could delete that as well, but I suggest that you keep it around, since we'll be using it in the next article in this series. As I said, next time we expect to be downloading, unzipping, and installing software, but don't panic if you've never done anything like that before. Once again I will be providing you with step-by-step instructions. These are important skills for a Christian on the Internet to have, and if you've never done these things before, it may surprise you to see how simple it is to learn how to do them. Hang in there! See you next week? _______________________________________________________________ 4. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: INFORMATION ON CATI NEWSLETTER Like to know what this is? This is the sixty-sixth issue of a free newsletter devoted to "Christians And The Internet" ("CATI," pronounced "Katy," but spelled with a "C" and an "I" for "Christians" and the "Internet"). Like to subscribe to this free email newsletter? Just send an email to email@example.com (but be sure to include your name in the note). Like to read past CATI issues and articles (or even search CATI for a particular subject)? Go to http://cati.org and you'll find an archive of past issues (arranged in reverse chronological order), a partial index of articles (arranged alphabetically by topic), and a search engine specifically for use with CATI. Like to pass along this issue to others? You may. Permission is hereby granted to pass along any issue of CATI to someone else, provided that it is passed along in its entirety with no changes made. (For now, I prefer that you send the complete issue, although I may in the near future provide guidelines for passing along individual articles.) Like to use material from this newsletter (say, on a Web page or in a publication)? For permission to do that, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org (explaining what you'd like to use and for what purpose). Reasonable requests are usually granted. Like to unsubscribe? That's also easy. Just send an email to email@example.com (but if you decide to unsubscribe, you'll be missed, so any thoughts about the newsletter that you would be willing to share at that time would be much appreciated). Like to tell your friends about CATI? That is not only much encouraged, but also an encouragement to the editor! CATI is a lot of work (albeit a labor of love) and (since it is a free newsletter and I intend it to stay such) provides no financial income, so what keeps me going with this personal endeavor is knowing that people are finding it to be helpful, instructive, and enjoyable. (Comments from readers are always welcome, so let me hear from you!) Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is Copyright (C) 2002 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.