Too many days I found myself constantly checking the same financial news web pages for any news about the companies I was currently invested in. Between clicking on these web pages and constantly clicking on other financial web pages to obtain stock quotes, I was driving myself crazy and wasting a lot of time that belonged to my employer. After all he does not pay me to surf the web. But if I didn’t keep track of investment information, I could lose a lot of money. I thought there had to be a solution other than taking Valium. Why should I watch web pages for stuff when my computer should be able to do this for me? This is when I discovered a software program called Easy Web Page Watcher by Patrick DiRienzo.
As the author’s home page explains, “Easy Web Page watcher watches HTML web pages for your information by continuously downloading and inspecting each web page you specify for the text you specify”. A web page is just a file containing HTML text, therefore Easy Web Page Watcher is really downloading and reading an HTML file looking for your text.
I came to understand that this program could only detect changes that are part of the HTML text, but that was all I needed. Most of the web pages I wanted to watch were pure HTML pages (no Java, etc. involved).
After seeing a seal of approval from PC Magazine, I decided to try this software. The first pleasant surprise was that the program was immediately easy to use. A toolbar with large buttons provided all the user interface I needed. One button allowed me to enter web pages and another button allowed me to enter text such as my stock names and dollar amounts. I realized that this was probably a limited user interface, but the fact that it got the job done without wasting my energy on a learning curve was all I cared about.
The program worked as advertised. I was alerted with an audible alarm when my stocks appeared in a press release at Yahoo’s financial web site. I soon discovered that the program could also email these alerts to me. This was great because now I could run the program on my home PC using my full time broadband Internet. My employer could not accuse me in any way of constantly being on the Internet at work.
Another one of those large toolbar buttons allows you to change the watch mode to “Just Tell Me If The Web Pages I Specify Change”. In this mode, Easy Web Page Watcher will notify you when any changes or updates occur on the web pages you specify. It does this by continuously downloading and comparing the HTML file with the initial HTML file recorded at the start of the watch session. If the HTML file changes Easy Web Page Watcher notifies you. I soon had a use for this operating mode. I could now watch my Web Site’s HTML log file for visitors. I subscribe to one of those services that provide you with an HTML log file that updates with visitor information every time someone clicks on one of your web pages. Instead of constantly checking this HTML log file with my Internet browser, I let Easy Web Page Watcher watch it for updates. It is a lot of fun to know immediately when someone visits your site.
Easy Web Page Watcher Home Page: http://www.patdirienzo.com
About the author:
Bill Peifer holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and has written several computer technology related articles.