ools of the Online Trade  for the Economically Challenged 
Educator. I am thrifty, stingy, cheap, call it what you will. 
And it doesn't take long to spend money in online education. 
Computer (with constant upgrades), printer, ISP provider, software
--the list is endless. Much of my experimentation with online 
education has been from my home computer on my personal budget. 
Like Tim the Toolman Taylor, I crave more computing power. My 
current home computer, purchased two years ago with a few upgrades 
since then, has a 686 Cyrix chip with 128 meg. of RAM, three hard 
drives (one 13 gig,. and two 3 gig.), a 20X CDROM drive, two 3.5 
inch floppy drives, a 19 inch monitor, and a 56K modem-arrhh arrhh 
Arrhhh. I put the system together myself. I shop for the best buys 
and bought most of the equipment for this computer at a local 
computer show.

With software, my experience as a book club junkie (I have been 
a member of nearly a dozen book clubs over the years) has taught 
me how to sniff out a bargain. My addiction to freeware approaches 
the legendary with our campus information technology staff. Below 
are my top choices for useful sites, software, and services. 

ZDNet http://www.zdnet.com/swlib/, in my opinion, is the best 
site for shareware and freeware. This site not only offers offers 
access to virus-free shareware and freeware, but also provides a 
wealth of information and resources, including product reviews of 
hardware and software, JAVA and programming utilities, and 
information technology information. Three programs I downloaded 
from ZDNet that I find indispensable are Arachnophilia 
http://www.arachnoid.com/, a full featured HTML/JAVA editor 
(I use it standalone and as the internal HTML editor in 
FrontPage 97); IrfanView http://stud1.tuwien.ac.at/~e92274474/, 
an image viewer/editor and multimedia player; and WS_FTP 
http://www.ipswitch.com, a file transfer client.

For creating graphics, I use PaintShop Pro 4 (I received a 
registered copy free with my XOOM modem, which tipped the scale 
in my modem purchase). I also use two online graphics generators: 
webGFX http://www.webgfx.ch/start.htm and CoolText.com 
http://www.cooltext.com/. webGFX allows users to create a variety 
of website graphics from logos to navigation graphics. CoolText.com 
allows users to create logos, buttons, and bullets. Both sites are 
worth a visit.

If you are looking to add full text search capabilities to your 
website, FreeFind http://www.freefind.com/ is very attractive. 
Once you have established an account, FreeFind will index your site, 
allowing visitors to search every page using keywords or phrases. 
FreeFind is customizable and supported by banner advertising (the 
banners load quickly and are not intrusive).

One resource I only recently learned of and haven't yet used is 
Response-O-Matic http://www.response-o-matic.com/. This site lets 
webmasters create custom-designed forms for their websites. 
Response-O-Matic handles the form processing, e-mailing the results 
to any address.

In addition to these websites, I receive several e-newsletters that 
keep me abreast of news, websites, software, and technology concerns.

Edupage and NewsScan offer short excerpts and summaries of news 
related to technology and education. These short articles are taken 
from a variety of news sources including Reuters, the Wall Street 
Journal, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Business Week. 
To subscribe to Edupage, send an e-mail to 
LISTSERV@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU and in the body of the message type: 
SUBSCRIBE Edupage YourFirstName YourLastName. To subscribe to 
NewsScan, send an e-mail message to NEWSSCAN@NEWSSCAN.COM with 
'subscribe' in the subject line.

Premium Links describes itself as "A Newsletter for the 
Discriminating Surfer." Distributed weekly, Premium Links features 
brief descriptions of web sites in five areas: Education, Business, 
The Arts, Home and Family, and Just for Fun, together with a few 
short commentaries by the author. To subscribe to this free 
newsletter, visit the website at http://premiumlinks.net or send 
an e-mail message to NEWSLETTER@PREMIUMLINKS.NET with "subscribe" 
(minus the quotes) in the body.

Lockergnome by Chris Pirillo of Des Moines, Iowa, is a daily 
e-newsletter that features software, websites, and computer tips 
for Windows 95/98/NT. To subscribe, visit http://www.lockergnome.com/.

Neat Net Tricks by Jack Teems is a bi-monthly e-newsletter providing 
software and website reviews and computer tips. To subscribe, visit 
http://www.neatnettricks.com/ or send an e-mail to 
MAJORDOMO@NEATNETTRICKS.COM and state in the text "subscribe 
neatnettricks" (all caps).

NetFuture, published by The Nature Institute, Ghent, New York, is an 
e-newsletter dealing with technology and human responsibility. 
Netfuture, which often discusses topics of interest to educators, is 
distributed every few weeks. Editor Steve Talbott is the author of 
The Future Does Not Compute: Transcending the Machines in Our Midst. 
To subscribe to Netfuture, send the message "subscribe netfuture 
yourfirstname yourlastname" to LISTSERV@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU
Current and past issues of Netfuture are available on the Web at 
http://www.oreilly.com/~stevet/netfuture/.

Save a buck. There are plenty of valuable resources available at 
little or no cost. Take advantage of these deals and set aside a few 
dollars for your next, inevitable, upgrade.

Bill Stifler
Copy Editor