MAIN's Internet service includes everything you need to use and enjoy the World Wide Web. But the cutting edge of technology is always advancing, and there are many tools available that work with your MAIN subscription to make your surfing experience faster, more efficient, or just plain easier.

Some of these tools are one-time purchases, and some are subscription services. If you would like to show your support for MAIN while you enhance your Internet experience, we have noted with an asterisk (*) those products that will provide us a small commission when you purchase through our link. For free software, follow the links to "Public domain programs".

Please note that MAIN can not provide technical support for these products, and we do not specifically recommend any of them. We have provided information that should help you research any product that interests you. Please be sure you are comfortable with the company's own tech support system before making any purchase.

Looking for spam and virus filters or web accelerators? MAIN has solutions just for you. Sign up for our Postini service for only $10 per year. Click here for more details. We also offer dialup acceleration plus popup-blocking through our MegaSpeed feature!

Internet Call Answering

These products monitor your phone line while you surf to check for incoming phone calls that would otherwise result in a busy signal for your caller. In most cases, you will need to have certain features on your phone line (usually "Call forwarding on busy"), for which you will have to make arrangements with your phone company. Make sure you understand the technical requirements of any program before you buy!
ProductInternet Call Waiting
Operating SystemWindows; Macintosh; WebTV; Linux
DescriptionWhen you receive a call while online, the caller is forwarded to a toll-free number, where the caller hears your recorded greeting and leaves a message. You receive instant notification of the call via a popup on your screen, and can listen to the message online.
Price$5.95/month (Free trial available)
More InfoConsumer Guide; reviews

Operating SystemWindows
DescriptionBuzme! comes in both free and pay version. In the free version, you receive a Caller ID popup box on your screen that identifies the incoming call. You may then choose to either ignore the call or send a text-to-speech message to the caller. The pay version adds a voice mail and remote message retrieval functions, plus additional features.
PriceFree/$3.95 per month (with free trial available)
More InfoInternet Telephony review; CNET user opinions
To buyClick here

ProductInternet Answering Machine*
Operating SystemWindows
DescriptionHear messages through your PC speakers while online, or click a button to talk directly to your callers. Has a free "Alert" service, and paid premium services.
PriceFree/$3.95-$7.95 per month (with free trial available)
More reviews
To buyClick here

* MAIN receives a commission when you purchase through our "To buy" links.

More Internet call answering: Internet Call Manager; Internet Caller ID

Parental Controls

These products allow parents to monitor and/or control web use by their children. Be aware that such programs have been somewhat controversial - some believe they discourage other more active forms of parenting and some may limit access to legitimate or valuable web sites on topics such as breast cancer. If you choose to use such a program, this site offers some tips on features to look for.
Operating SystemWindows
DescriptionCybersitter filters more than 30 categories of content, updated automatically with no subscription fees. Parents can override blocked sites and add their own sites to the block list. Features also allow for instant message logs to be saved, and reports of activity emailed daily.
Price$39.95 (Free trial available)
More InfoPC Magazine review

Operating SystemWindows
DescriptionCyberPatrol lets you manage children's Internet access as well as limit or block them from programs on your PC, such as computer games or home finance packages. It helps protect against harmful content online, safeguards against inappropriate language in chat sessions as well as protect kids from divulging personal information. CyberPatrol parental control software is designed to work on standalone Windows-based PCs.
Price$39/year (14-day free trial available)
More InfoPC Mag review; CNET user opinions

ProductKids Server (Personal Edition)
Operating SystemMacintosh OSX
DescriptionKidsServer PE uses more than 10 different filters to screen Internet content, and filters search engine results, downloads and video streams among other features.
Price$40/year (with free trial available)
More InfoMac Update user opinions

More parental filtering: Net Nanny; McAfee Parental Controls 1.0

Looking for other utilities? You can find thousands of free and low-cost programs at places like and Reviews of many shareware products are available at


Spyware or adware usually sneaks onto your computer attached to some other program to collect personal information, most often for use by advertisers. Often you won't know it's there until you start receiving unusually high numbers of pop-up ads or system crashes. These software applications will scan your system for spyware programs and help you eliminate them from your hard drive.
Operating SystemWindows
DescriptionAd-aware scans memory, registry and drives for software known as spyware. Their database is updated regularly, and the interface and scanning functions may be customized
PriceFree for personal use
More InfoPC World review

ProductSpybot Search & Destroy
Operating SystemWindows
DescriptionSpybot functions in much the same way as Ad-aware.
PriceFree for personal use
More InfoPC Mag review

Operating SystemMacintosh Classic and OSX
DescriptionPerforms spyware scanning and removal functions for Macintosh computers

More anti-spyware: from