by FrostApps team on 2010-11-15 17:11:04
Version reviewed: Snappy Internet Control 18.104.22.168
In todays world it's very hard to contain the material you don't want your children or employees to have access to. With internet available in every home and mandatory in every office, everyone has access to all kinds of stuff, from which some can be considered dangerous, whether directly or indirectly. To help you with the task of parenting or maintaining healthy office atmosphere and minimizing risks to your computer/s Snappy Fox Software created Snappy Internet Control.
The first thing you are prompted after installing and starting the program is to set up a master password. It can be absolutely anything, there is no minimal number of characters restrain. If you wish, of course, password can be changed later in program's options dialog. When this is done you are taken to programs main window.
The main window consists of a vertical tab control with all main functions, status of internet filter (whether its on or off) and settings and help buttons. First tab in tab control is reserved for "Allowed web sites" filter. Here you can set which web sites you wish to leave enabled for everyone to browse when internet filter is on. You can add, edit and delete them from the list. We have tried to add trash strings aka non web site addresses and program allowed it. It is our belief that there should be some kind of filter for this. Also if you wish to delete several items from the list, you have to do it one by one, since multiple selection is not enabled. This is also a drawback since it can take you quite some time to delete multiple items. Also when clicking "Add" button and dialog with text box pops up for you to enter a new site we would like to see it automatically focus the text box which could speed up a process of adding quite a bit. We are aware that all these are minor drawbacks but still it would be nice if they were taken care of. Also we would like to see a link drag and drop function for this part of program since it can help speed things up with long addresses or blocking just a part of web sites (few pages) which are most of the time very long strings. Apart from these problems/suggestions, everything went smoothly.
Next tab is reserved for "Allowed programs" filter. Here you can add programs that you wish to allow web access when internet filter is enabled. This list has a filter letting only files with .exe extensions being added to it. Of course you could change any files extension to .exe and add it here. Again, you are not able to select multiple items so when removing programs from the list you have to go through it one by one. Apart from that everything works just fine. All programs that are not on this list won't have access to internet and all those are will have it.
"Allowed Services" is the next tab on the main vertical tab control. Here you can block or allow any ports by adding them to the list and either selecting or deselecting checkbox associated to them. When you click "Add" button you are asked for service name and port(s) it uses. This means that more than one port can be added under one service name which is good if you wish to enforce some rules for a short time. Of course service names mean nothing, you can add absolutely anything here to help you distinguish port(s) you assigned to them, program only blocks or allows the port(s) that you added. By allowing multiple ports to be added under one name this list doesn't need multiple items selection to be enabled, but it wouldn't hurt to have it.
Next on our agenda is "Allowed IP addresses" tab which lets you block certain IP addresses from accessing your computer. This is handy in business environments but most of the time not necessary. Blocking IP address from accessing your computer can be done in your operating system, but this is a nice addition to the program since it speeds up the process and saves you a lot of time setting up the rules in your OS of choice. This part of program does have filter so you have to enter actual IP address for it to be added. This is really nice to see, only one thing could make it better, doing something like when manually configuring you’re IP address in windows, make it so that the user doesn’t have to press "." between segments of the address, and when he does it takes him to next segment to fill. Again no multiple selection enabled in list view so that’s pretty much the only minus here.
"Blocked web sites" tab lets you change mode of blocking the sites by allowing you to set only sites you wish to be blocked and allowing your users visit any other site that is not on the list. There is also a mod which blocks all sites including the ones on the list and allows only allowed items. Since this does pretty much what the main mode of program does we will not mention this mode any more. This part of program is very much like "Allowed web sites" only with that one extra option for selecting protection mode. It has no input filter, no multiple selection and no support for drag and drop of links. So just like with "Allowed web sites" everything works perfectly and apart from these minor drawbacks needs no changing whatsoever.
"Time management" is a very handy tool that gives you full control over entire program. Here you can automate almost everything using schedules. Program has built in timer that you can start and lets users have internet access until the timer counts down to zero. You can also set days and times for entire week when you wish to block or unblock internet access for users. There are pre-defined times, but you can easily set up custom times if the existing ones don't cut it for you. We have seen no faults in this part of program and have no suggestions for improving it. It just looks and acts as it should.
Regarding programs settings there is not much you can do here. You can enable/disable changes to system time, hide programs tray icon, set filter to automatically turn on, on program startup and change the password needed to access program. Apart from these you can enable/disable event logging, and view it. As you can see not much options, but then again they do have covered pretty much everything you might want to change. Only thing that we dislike is absence of the offline help file. Program does have comprehensive help but its online only. This should be changed since it wouldn't take more than a few minutes to make the transaction.
Now concerning looks, Snappy Internet Control has it all. Nice icons, everything in its place, good looking theme. We wouldn't change anything here, GUI is very intuitive and easy to adopt to. Only thing that might be improved is letting users maximize the main window, which would lead to bigger list views hence help with overall visibility, but it's not imperative that this is done.
All in all Snappy Internet Control proved to be a comprehensive tool, delivering top capabilities for effective filtering of offensive content on the internet, thus restraining access to all or just a few sites or ports. The ease of use is just a breeze, as for the majority of users, it's set to handle all the tasks without prior modification to its default configuration settings. Sure, it might need some additional polishing given its lack of some basic logic in some parts, but simply put even this way, by combining all the right features into one noteworthy solution it's basically all you need to help you with restraining access to internet. At the end we can safely say you should give Snappy Internet Control a try, you won't regret it.