Originally created 02/21/99

Answers to computer questions



Q: Do you know of a list of free Internet service providers?

A: Alas, there aren't enough free ISPs for there to be such a list. Here are a few scribblings, though.

There's a great source for free e-mail accounts, provided you are willing to listen to some advertising from a company called Juno. You can get the Juno software at www.juno.com or have it mailed to you for $8.82 by calling (800) 654-JUNO.

Finally, there's a new commercial -- but free -- service worth mentioning. Netzero.com, which was launched Oct. 19, says it has signed up more than 300,000 consumers across the country and is adding some 5,000 more each day.

As with Juno, you have to watch ads in exchange for the free service. You can download the software from their Web site, or order online via CD, but for some odd reason, they don't take phone orders.

Q: I have an old computer with a 486 DX processor and a very small hard drive, with only 33 MB of disk space. I would like to gain access to the World Wide Web. I'm afraid that if I install a browser I won't have any room left, or that the computer will be unsatisfactorily slow.

A: A couple of thoughts here: 1) Try cleaning up your hard drive. Delete Windows components you don't use. Get rid of temporary and setup files and back up old data files to floppies. I'd be surprised if you can't find yourself another 30 or so megs easy. 2) Look into a provider that offers shell accounts. You connect to one of these via a simple terminal emulation program that is part of all versions of Windows. It runs on the provider computer (there are no graphics), but the overhead on your home systems is negligible, so Web browsing can be quite fast. 3) If you want a full-blown Web browser that doesn't use a lot of resources, try Opera (www.operasoftware.com). It is compact and fast, and it will run on even a 386!

Readers: PC World's annual survey of ISPs, which we mentioned a few weeks back, has just been updated. AT&T WorldNet was ranked top service for both reliability and speed. You'll find the full report online at www.pcworld.com/mar99/isps.

Send questions to dolinar@newsday.com.