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November 4, 1996

Java-based app speeds Web pages to your browser

A small software company plans to release a browser enhancement that can dramatically speed up the delivery of Web pages to your screen without any change to your hardware.

The new software, a Java application that currently works with Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer and Netscape Communications Corp.'s Netscape Navigator, doesn't try to increase the transfer rate of your modem. Instead, the developers have implemented an idea that seems so simple you'll say, "Why didn't anyone think of this before?"

Whenever you view a Web page, the software automatically starts downloading in the background all the text and graphics of each link displayed on that page. If you spend a minute or two examining the home page for Company XYZ, you may find that the contents of each of the links you click on are already waiting for you. It does not matter whether the links refer to another page located on the same site or a page at a site half a world away.

The software is called Peak Net.Jet and is in the final stages of development by Peak Technologies Inc., in Bellingham, Wash. A free trial version of the software will be available on a Web site in a matter of days, according to sources within the company.

I explored several sites on the World Wide Web while trying a bootleg beta version of the software. I'll leave exact performance measurements to a future review by the InfoWorld Test Center. But the difference was noticeable. When Peak Net.Jet had successfully downloaded a link, that link -- graphics and all -- was displayed almost instantly when I jumped there. In cases where I ran ahead of Peak Net.Jet, there was no perceptible difference from my browser's usual speed.

Peak Net.Jet won't replace offline readers, which work overnight to download all the sites you specify. But it's not intended to. Offline readers are best used when you want the contents of the same few Web pages each day. Peak Net.Jet helps you when you're searching online for a piece of information you need immediately. Peak Net.Jet provides its own disk cache, separate from the browser's cache, which you can size to fit your needs.

Peak Technologies has underwritten real-world research showing that typical browser users employ their modem's full bandwidth only 10 percent to 15 percent of the time. The rest of the time, the user is reading a page. People who "graze" the Internet in this way may find they gain significant relief from delays by using Peak Net.Jet.

The free trial version of Peak Net.Jet will appear soon at There is nothing at the site now, so wait until this weekend. Once you install the software, you run Netjet.exe, which in turn starts your preferred browser for you. While your browser is running, you click on a small, floating Jet window to configure the disk cache or see a Pre-Cache Diagram. This diagram shows which links, if any, are currently downloaded.

After 30 days, a dialog box will ask you to either pay $30 or uninstall the trial software.

To err is confusin'

Due to an editing error in my Oct. 21 column (see "Make printouts of your listings with Microsoft's secret operating system"), a slash-s (/s) was changed to a backslash-s (\s) in a command line. The correct DOS command to save into a file all instances of .DLL files on drive C:, sorted by file name, is:

attrib c:\*.dll /s | sort /+14 > c:\dll_list.txt

Brian Livingston is the co-author of the new Windows 95 Secrets and author of three other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

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Copyright © 1996 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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