SystemSuite 5 updates one of the best utility programs we’ve run in the past 20 years or so. In short, it’s great.

For instance: We got an e-mail from Symantec recently, warning us about a new worm virus that e-mails itself to everybody in your Windows e-mail address list. Symantec, which makes

its living primarily on anti-virus software, rated it a level 4 threat on a scale of 1 to 5 and recommended that users update their Symantec anti-virus software to combat it. We mention all this because SystemSuite 5 caught it and dumped it. We never even knew there was a problem until it was all over.

SystemSuite 5 is $60 and works with Windows 98 and up. PC World magazine gave it their “”best buy”” rating and we concur, with the small proviso that a few of the things it does are already included in Windows XP – if you can ever find them there.

SystemSuite 5 includes a terrific virus scanner from Trend Micro, Sygate’s excellent firewall to protect you from unauthorized access, a registry fixer, anti-spam software, GhostSurf’s anonymity software so you can roam the Web anonymously, and several others. But the parts we really liked were Recovery Commander and “”transport.””

Recovery Commander takes a system that has locked up and lets you return it to a previous point where everything was working normally. This feature is also built into Windows XP, but with SystemSuite 5 it becomes available to users of earlier versions of Windows, who normally would not have that capability.

The “”transport”” function of SystemSuite 5 does something wonderful: It lets you move an application to another computer. That’s not the same as moving files from one computer to another, which is a piece of cake. This is moving a program from one computer to another; that’s good stuff.

Last we’ll mention a space finder that provides a graphic view of your hard drive’s space allocation so you can see how much space is being taken up by what. You can clean out the junk once you can see it, or just click on the clean-up tab. The utility also let us uninstall a program that Windows XP’s uninstaller couldn’t handle.

SystemSuite 5 is from Vcom and you can find it at www.v-com.com.

ONE-CLICK CONVERTER

ContextConvert Pro 2.0 is kind of an unwieldy name for one of the handiest and easiest Windows utilities we’ve ever found. Simply right-click on any music, photo or video file and you can immediately convert it to any other media format. That’s what the maker says, and that’s just the way we found it to work.

You can also drag a bunch of files into a folder, or make a new folder, and with a right-click you can convert all of them at once. You can convert a file with an image that is normally spread over several pages into a file with the image on only one page. Or you can just grab the first page of a multi-page file as a kind of note page in case you’re compiling a catalog.

ContextConvert Pro recognizes 80 different image files for photos and graphics and can convert those into any of 27 files commonly recognized by other programs. Users can convert all their multimedia files into just a few types for easier editing and display. The program is $40 from Mystik Media at www.contextconvert.com. You can also download a free trial version.

INTERNUTS

Looking to find out how something works, well type in http://science.howstuffworks.com. It is one of the great ones. Pictures of atoms, how guns work, zippers, cloning, earthquakes, and even how a bowling alley pinsetter works. Also has a store for books and CDs.

Got an idea? Log onto www.confluence.org. So somebody had this idea, see. The idea was to take a picture of what things look like at the intersection of every “”whole number”” degree of latitude and longitude, except the ones at sea. The organizers of the site figure that works out to 16,160 locations on land. It’s a volunteer effort; if you’ve got one, submit the picture to the site. They also accept pictures of locations that are not whole number intersections. The results so far are almost unbelievably boring. Keep up the good work.

Looking for Bobby Fisher? He may be at www.itsyourturn.com. Correspondence chess. Just as in the past aficionados of the game would correspond with each other by mail, moving pieces on duplicate boards, so today you can do it over the Internet. A lot of people seem to like it. This site has a lot more than chess: over 60 different games, including checkers, battleship, backgammon, etc. Tune in.

Forms galore at www.xdrive.com/partners/pfForms. All the business forms you can eat. The site also has more than 1,000 U.S. federal and state tax forms, which you can download and print. Everything’s in good form. This is also a site for file storage, and offers a two-week free trial.

THE NUMBERS REPORT

According to comScore (www.comscore.com), Canadians visit humour sites much more often than Americans do. Not only that, they stay longer too. One in every three Canadians goes to a humour site at least once a month, compared to just one in five Americans. Of course, the regular news in American newspapers and TV is much funnier than it is in Canada, so there’s less need to look further.

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