Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

November 1998

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Web Willy Watch 3.0

By: Mark Dodel <>

Web Willy Watch Version 3 is being promoted as an web site blocking utility for OS/2 and win32 operating systems. When I first saw the announcement my first thought was this was something I have no use for since the only access to the net in my home are the pc's in my office and I'm the only user. I also thought it strange that a brand new product was being labeled as "version 3.0". Well all of this was cleared up for me when Netscape Communicator for OS/2 arrived on the scene. when I installed Comm/2 NetExtra stopped working properly. If you are unfamiliar with Net Extra, it is a web site tracking app by Innoval that I have used for a couple of years. It basically is a replacement for Netscape's bookmark facility. You can selectively add/delete and logically group URL's and can search previously browsed sites based on part of the site name or URL. Every time you access a site it grabs the URL from Netscape (or Web Explorer) and stores it in a monthly log.

This worked great in Netscape Navigator for OS/2 2.02. but when I installed Communicator it could no longer find the URL's. this was a problem for me since I have come to rely heavily on Net Extra's search function when I needed a URL I had previously visited. turns out that the method Net Extra used to grab the URL just won't work anymore because navigator in Comm/2 does things entirely differently. So what was the fix for this problem? Easy upgrade to Web Willy Watch. turns out that Web Willy Watch is really Net Extra with the added porn site blocking feature and a different method of obtaining the URL. Hence Web Willy Watch version 3.0.


Installing WWW works like most shareware. You unzip the download file into a new directory (or over top of the NetExtra directory if you are upgrading) and then run the install.cmd. it asks you if you want it to create a desktop object, then it's quickly completed. you then have to go through several screens to configure the application.

First it asks for the location of Web Explorer if you have it installed, next it asks for the location of Netscape. Once you give it the location of Netscape you have to start the browser and run a process to find the URL entry field. Then it displays a parental control screen where you can enable/disable this feature and key in a password to use. Finally it asks if you are finished. And then it opens the Web Willy toolbar:

How it works:

The toolbar contains 7 icons and is not customizable. If you forget what an icon does, there is fly over help for each. In addition the online help is pretty useful, though not necessary for the basic functionality.

The first Icon is the configuration menu. Here is where you can access the parental control configuration, browser configuration, page mining settings, web page download/edit function and Web Willy properties.

Next icon is for the jump list. selecting this gives a window of all the most recent web sites you have visited. This includes previous sessions as well as the current session. From this window you can select any of the displayed URL's and it will start your browser (unless it is already started) and display that web site.

The third icon is for the book mark List. This is equivalent to Netscape's book mark list but is easier to use. It works in conjunction with the fourth icon which is used to add a URL to the book mark list. When you are at a site you want to save, click on the add book mark icon, and select a folder to save it to, or create a new folder. Folders can be nested, and you can drag and drop them to arrange them. The book mark list shows the number of URL's in the folder as well as the number of sub-folders contained if any.

The fifth icon shows a magnifying glass symbolizing one of Web Willy's strongest assets, it's search function. You can search based on the URL or the site title, for a specified time frame. You can also open the log for a specific month and view all the sites visited that month.

The sixth icon on the toolbar is for loading a URL. I have never used this function myself, since it's just as easy to start Netscape and enter the URL myself in the URL window.

The seventh and last icon is for switching to your browser (or starting a new session if none exists ).


Generally once you set up the browser in the install you shouldn't have to do much to configure it. If you move the URL line to a different position (this can be done by dragging it with the left mouse button depressed) you will have to go into the Web Willy properties for Netscape and have it re-find the URL window. In the properties notebook you can configure the page mining function (what file extensions to download and what to ignore) and also configure a proxy for the ftp and http functions. Here is also where you can set the minimum and maximum number of URL's for the jump list. The default is 40/60.

Configuring the page mining function is rather simple. Enter the page mining function off of the Web Willy pop up menu (icon 1). You enter the main URL to start with, and how many levels to check. You can also set a limit on the number of files to download. Once you have configured a page mining agent and also what files to download in the Web Willy properties, Web Willy will automatically go to the web site and download the files when you are connected to the net and you can then view them offline or use them as a mirror of the main site.

The Parental controls offer a feature not available to OS/2 users in any other product I'm aware of. If you start Web Willy at startup and the parental controls are active you can not shut Web Willy down or for that matter the system itself without entering a password. This applies to closing it from the window list also. If you go to a site that is flagged by the parental controls, you will see the site start to load and then up pops a screen with Willy saying "I'm sorry This page has been blocked by Web Willy Watch".

You control how this works from the Parent watch options notebook. You have to enter a password to get into these options, even if Parent Watch is not enabled. The General options screen allows you to change your password, enable/disable parent controls, and also there is a button to display the last site blocked and the reason and date and time it was blocked. Prevent Text and Prevent URLs allows you to set specific text and URls you don't want to be typed into the URL field in the browser. Pattern Analysis defines how tight you want to control sites based on the word content with a pattern value assigned to certain word strings. Web Willy examines each page up to the limit you set (20k is the max), and adds up the pattern score. If it is over the value you set as the pattern threshold then the site is blocked. Web Willy comes with a pattern list created by Innoval (and you can check for updates to this list by using the Update tab of the options). You can also add your own strings and pattern values as well.

The Extra page gives you specific items to check for on a page to determine if it should be blocked. This includes things like 900 telephone numbers, 800 and 888 phone numbers and numeric ip addresses. You can enable or disable these features.


Some folks griped about the fact that there was no upgrade price from Net Extra for OS/2 users, but Innoval's registration price is more then reasonable and about what most would charge for an upgrade anyway. The Family registration is only $20.00 and allows you to use it on one or more computers at your home or work. They also have a group registration, which for $159.00 allows any Church, School (K-12); or business or organization with fewer then 100 members to distribute copies to associated families for use in their work place or at home.

The features make this product unique at least for OS/2 users. The parental control is not a panacea, and the parent still needs to review logs if they are concerned about their youngons web surfing. Nothing can totally take the place for direct adult supervision though. I sure that a technically competent youngster could go into a command prompt and find a way to defeat this process. Perhaps using this in conjunction with a desktop security product would make it more kid proof.

I use NetExtra, ah, I mean Web Willy Watch for it's book marking functions and it's elephantine memory for previously viewed web sites. The page mining is a bonus if it's something you can use.

Finally if you still use Netscape Navigator for OS/2 2.02, be aware that if Web Willy is configured to use Communicator, when you open NS/2.02 the URL entry window goes nuts, opening and closing constantly until you can manage to close down Web Willy. I tried changing the program name from netscape.exe to ns2.exe and that didn't make a difference, probably because both 2.02 and 4.04 report themselves as Netscape in the window list. This is more of an annoyance then anything else.

Web Willy Watch, 3.0; InnoVal Systems Solutions, Inc,
Family registration - $20.00
School/Church/Business/Organization registration - $159.00

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