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Happy New Free Tools

Jan 12, 20044 mins
Enterprise Applications

Happy New Free Tools

Here we are, just having crossed the threshold of a new year – renewed, re-inspired and dreaming of the Nasdaq hitting anything north of 4,000. Before we launch into our first geeky topic of 2004, we’d like to ask you for some feedback and guidance.

In all the reader surveys Network World has conducted, Gearhead has consistently scored very high. This, we conclude, means that we are doing something right. But we want to ensure that we carry on this winning streak, so we’d like you to write in and tell us what you want us to cover.

Do you want more overviews of network and related technologies, or do you want more detailed bits and bytes about what goes on under the hood? Do you want to see more programming-type tutorials? What technologies would you like to see us examine? Do you want more product reviews? And with the increasing use of Linux, would you like to see more discussion of the system’s details and techniques and related products?

Please drop us a line to let us know what is on your plate and on your mind.

Email Extractor

To begin this week we have a neat freeware tool written in JavaScript called Email Extractor Lite, written by Benjamin Leow. The tool, which requires Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 4+, is used to strip out e-mail addresses from blocks of text, removing duplicates and returning the addresses in a comma-separated list (you can specify the use of any separator you like).

The script is embedded in a Web page that you save and load from a server or your local drive. You simply paste the input text block into one field, select the options you want, click on the extract button and copy the result from the output window. The total number of extracted addresses are displayed, and you can group addresses in blocks of whatever number you like, with each group separated by a new line. You can even have the addresses sorted alphabetically and optionally extract only addresses that contain specific text.

All this in a 2.87K-byte download! We used it to create an address list from almost 6,000 messages stored in an Outlook folder. We exported the messages as a text file, opened the resulting 6M-byte file with Windows Notepad, copied the first megabyte of text from the file and pasted it into Email Extractor Lite. You have to limit the amount of text you place in the input field or ugly locking-up things can happen under Windows.

We pasted the results into another Notepad file and repeated the process five times until we’d processed all the text. We then copied all the extracted text back into Email Extractor Lite and processed it again to remove any duplicates that might exist because of breaking the original file into several parts. We wound up with a list of 785 unique addresses totaling about 19K bytes.

Note that when you run Email Extractor Lite with any sizable amount of text, Windows will most likely announce that “A script on this page is causing Internet Explorer to run slowly. If it continues to run, your computer may become unresponsive. Do you want to abort the script?” And it is true – on our 1.8-GHz Pentium 4 based machine running Windows XP, processing 3M bytes of text pushed the CPU utilization to 100% for so long that our clothes were going out of style.

The Yak

We also stumbled across another very cool tool: the Yak, possibly the best Java-based button applet we’ve ever seen.

This 7K-byte applet, which is used to present sexy animated buttons on Web pages, is incredibly powerful. You can configure it to always show a sequence of images or do so only on mouseover or mouseout. You can use up to 100 images and set the animation speed. And you can create a button that uses only a single image or one that presents a traditional two-state toggle animation.

The Yak also supports sound, allows for various layout presentation styles and lets you select text font and style specifications. When the button is clicked it can load the link in the same window, a new window or a frame. And it is fast! The animations are smooth, the sound delivery clean, and it works with both Netscape and Internet Explorer.

And did we mention it is free? What a great utility!

Come on, tell us what you want at


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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