I tried using Surf Express last night and ran into a few problems. First among them as that I could not get the program to work with Navigator (although it did work very well with Explorer; cached pages appeared fully loaded in one instantaneous "pop"). I was especially concerned because two other readers had reported the same problem. I also could not get the "This page came from the Surf Express cache" message to appear at the top of the page (as the manual said it would). And I was still bothered about the implications of having to select a default browser (as mentioned yesterday). Connectix' Taran Reese untangled all of the puzzles for me, and provided an added "secret" feature. Here's the scoop:
- If you can't get Surf Express to work with Navigator, select Navigator's Preferences command and then select the Advance:Proxies window. Make sure "Manual proxy..." is selected and then click the Configure button. Now here's the critical part: the line that says "HTTP Proxy" must say "127.0.0.1" with a Port of "2400." If it doesn't, type it in yourself. In my case, the boxes were empty. When I filled them in, everything started working. Why weren't they filled in correctly when Surf Express was first installed? That's not as clear (it may be because I force quit the Installer after it was done, rather than restarting). But redoing the install would have likely also worked, according to Taran.
- As to the question of the purpose of the default browser selection, the selection is indeed only used to determine what browser is launched when selecting a page from Surf Express's FindCache. Surf Express will work fine with all your browsers, regardless of which one is the selected default. This info is also spelled out in Surf Express' Help files (as pointed out to me by Erik Mueller-Harder).
- As to why the "This page came from the Surf Express cache" message does not appear when a cached page loads: the message ordinarily does not appear. Turns out, it only appears when you load the page via Surf Express' FindCache feature.
Surf Express tip: Type the URL <http://surfexpress/> and you will get a trio of extra features, including "List HTML cache" which generates a list of every page in the cache, complete with a hypertext link to each page.
I took a closer look at Virtual PC 2.0 today. Connectix claims it is significantly faster and the demo appeared to confirm this. It also has a very neat new feature which allows you to drag a file from the Macintosh desktop to the Windows 95 display and have the file automatically copied to the Windows environment. You can go the reverse direction as well.
Insignia Software was showing SoftWindows 95 v. 5.0, released just a few weeks ago. It too touts greater speed, borrowing from the technology first implemented in Insignia's RealPC.