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Author Topic: Surfulater 3 - huge price hike (166%) + where is the Firefox add-on?  (Read 14855 times)
Carol Haynes
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« on: November 13, 2008, 08:01:12 PM »

I got an email today announcing the release of Surfulater 3.

Rather surprised at the pricing. When I purchased a copy in 2006 the full cost was £21.10 (I got a DC 30% discount so I paid £17.36) - today the full cost of the software is £56.30. Even with a 50% discount for upgrading that means it would cost £28.15.

Is it me or does this price hike seem a little much ???

Personally I won't be upgrading. I have downloaded the final version 2 release and installed it (though I haven't used it in ages).

On another matter does anyone have a recent copy of the Firefox add-on for Surfulater version 2 with Firefox 3? I only have old copies on my hard disc and they won't install in Firefox 3 (even with version checking disabled). For some reason the download is not on the Surfulater website any more (it seems to be integrated in the version 3 installer - I suppose I could install version 3 and then roll back to version 2 but it would be easier just to install the FF add-on).
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CWuestefeld
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2008, 08:08:51 PM »

though I haven't used it in ages
Ditto. I bought and paid for it, but then found that Evernote does the job much better. On the other hand, Evernote put themselves in the doghouse for me...
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J-Mac
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2008, 10:29:05 PM »

Don’t feel bad...  I purchased Ultra Recall only a few months ago and the developer just posted last week that it is basically being abandoned. If Surfalater was an application I really liked and used, a price hike might be a little less biting than dropping all development for it!

BTW, over at OutlinerSoftware.com I saw a post saying that the web clipping in Surfalater 3 outdoes Evernote's clips and praising the developer. I've not tried it so I can't comment either way.

Jim
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2008, 02:57:21 AM »

For anyone that is interested I got an answer from Surfulater support.

You can download the Firefopx Extension here (look for attachments at the bottom of the post - if you click the link in the post it just takes you back to the main download page on the website which doesn't have a link).

Not exactly obvious!
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app103
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2008, 03:29:23 AM »

Surfulater 3 includes the Firefox plugin, so if you have upgraded you will not need it. The seperate downloadable plugin is only for version 2.

For anyone that is interested I got an answer from Surfulater support.

You can download the Firefopx Extension here (look for attachments at the bottom of the post - if you click the link in the post it just takes you back to the main download page on the website which doesn't have a link).

Not exactly obvious!

I just installed version 2 on my new computer yesterday and went bonkers looking for the plugin, myself. I contacted support through the forum yesterday and also got a reply pointing me to the same forum post. The Firefox plugin was added today, probably in response to the 2 of us (maybe more?) asking where it is.

I also mentioned how much I love their application, but that I wouldn't be upgrading, due to the huge price increase. I can't afford to pay that much, and even with the 50% upgrade discount it's still too much for me. It's $79 US (up from original $35 US), $39.50 US for upgrade,

I won my copy of v2 in a drawing here. (lucky me!)

I would rather stick with the older v2 than use Evernote or Google Notebook. (I never really liked either one of those.)

I guess I have until the next version of Firefox (that won't work with the current plugin) to find a replacement.  Sad

(I am also wondering how difficult it would be to hack together something to make it work with K-Meleon)
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2008, 03:33:12 AM »

I was suprised by the price hike allright  undecided

I notice if you actually go to buy, you (all) get a 12% discount, but the 50% upgrade is only valid if you bought Surfulater in the last two years - must check when I got mine, about two years ago I'd say Sad

from the email announcement
Quote
# Tags: Tag your articles with single or multi-word tags in addition to the existing folder structure.
# Tag Tree: View trees of tags, allowing you to sort and organize your articles in almost any conceivable way.
# Editable templates
# Full Windows Vista IE7 support
# One-step Firefox install
# Expanded rights: A single license now gives you the right to install it on up to five computers for a single user.
# Many other features. Read them in the Release Notes.

blog post here
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Tom
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2008, 04:19:29 AM »

In my horror at the price hike I hadn't noticed the 2 year rule on upgrades!

That's the nail in the coffin for me - no way I would be tempted to pay for the product from scratch - what a rip-off.

Good example of how to alienate customers - there hasn't even been the opportunity to upgrade in the last two years!!  thumb down thumb down thumb down thumb down thumb down
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tomos
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2008, 04:57:00 AM »

I hadn't noticed the 2 year rule on upgrades!

That's the nail in the coffin for me - no way I would be tempted to pay for the product from scratch

Yeah, I find it a bit harsh in any product but especially in such a relatively young product
hmm ...
in fairness it upgraded to version 2 Dec 2006 which is almost two years now .. but still - I think he should at least offer 25% reduction to people who bought a version 1
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Tom
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2008, 06:32:56 AM »

Personally I think there should be an upgrade price for all previous users - if it is 50% so be it. What does it say to early adopters who put up with buggy software in version 1  in the early days (which was basically almost a beta testing version) that they now have to shell out the full price at 166% mark up on their original purchase. I can't see many users doing that or recommending the software in future - is that a sensible marketing policy.

Even at 50% discount it is significantly more expensive than the previous full price for software that essentially duplicates the functionality of many other programs that are either free or a lot cheaper.

I have been stung twice now - I bought NetSnippets even though they had a free version (and that has now disappeared completely) and now Surfulater has hiked its price to the point where it isn't really worth the money.
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2008, 07:18:22 AM »

I won a copy here also!

With the exchange rate at mo being over R10 to the $.... R500 for upgrade - I think not!  thumb down
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2008, 12:22:58 PM »

I had decided to take a good look at it but declined when I saw the price. As I mentioned above, I purchased Ultra Recall just a few months ago and yesterday I was just browsing on their forum to see if any informative posts had been made - it is not an easy app to pick up; not real intuitive, but powerful. I found out that they had made an announcement that they had decided to stop all further development of Ultra Recall. The developer posted that message in place of their "Roadmap".

After a bit of an outcry from their users they replaced that announcement with a much-scaled down version of their roadmap, but most seem to believe that was done so they could continue selling Ultra Recall and not suffer anymore revenue-wise.

I mention that because Ultra Recall is also a fairly expensive software application - The price of the Pro version I purchased is $99. That's not to say that Surfulater is planning the same kind of abandonment, but it certainly makes me extremely gun shy about purchasing expensive software from small developers. There are no guarantees at all!

Jim
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2008, 01:48:41 PM »

it certainly makes me extremely gun shy about purchasing expensive software from small developers. There are no guarantees at all!

true, I worry about that at times, unfortunately there's no guarantees from big companies either ...

EDIT/ apart from (maybe) the guarantee of bloat and (probably) the guarantee of slow or no response to your queries and/or bug reports  Sad Grin
« Last Edit: November 14, 2008, 01:50:59 PM by tomos » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2008, 03:59:25 PM »

@Carol Haynes - I hear you on that mega price hike. I won't be upgrading either.

I am currently looking at Metaproducts Inquiry basic/pro.
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Darwin
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2008, 03:59:39 PM »

it certainly makes me extremely gun shy about purchasing expensive software from small developers. There are no guarantees at all!

true, I worry about that at times, unfortunately there's no guarantees from big companies either ...

EDIT/ apart from (maybe) the guarantee of bloat and (probably) the guarantee of slow or no response to your queries and/or bug reports  Sad Grin

Witness the GemX debacle...
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2008, 05:15:34 PM »

Surfulater Version 1 was released in Dec 2004. All new upgrades and major new releases have been free and gratis until now. That is nearly 4 years of free upgrades with many major new features and capabilities added along the way. Something you don't see too often in the software industry. I take great personal offense at people saying they purchased buggy beta software. Every one has been able to upgrade all the way up to V2.52.10.0 at absolutely no charge. All of you who use Surfulater regularly and spend any time on our forums know that I provide support second to none, and have done so for the past 20+ years of my software development career.

Surfulater started off priced way too low at $35 with a 25% early bird discount on top of that, not to mention Donation Coder and other specials. Unless you have a mass market product it is difficult to build a long term sustainable business at such low prices. The time spent on one support request instantly removes any profit. So we raised the price to $59 a while back and reduced the early bird discount amount. With Version 3 we have added more important new functionality with lots more to come in the 3.x series. We have increased the price again, to $79 which we feel is reasonable and necessary. There is a $10 discount which makes this only $69 for new customers. And for the first time in four years we have charged for an upgrade. We possibly should have extended the paid upgrade period beyond two years and we will reconsider that.

Software and software companies come and go - fact of life. If you can't build and sustain a commercially viable business you won't survive. Some consumers seem to have little interest in this, just wanting the cheapest price or better still free. I predict the rate that software products will cease development and disappear from the market will just keep increasing. Development costs, cost of living, office rental etc. keep going up and the amount some consumers seem to want to spend goes down. And of course we have all the free software to muddy the water. So you do the math. You can come to forums like this and complain, but at the end of the day if you want to see products survive and thrive, someone has to pay. Simple as that.
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« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2008, 05:50:05 PM »

Hi Neville. And thank you for posting that explanation here; regardless of the posts above complaining about the pricing, I'm certain that your post is appreciated by all here. Just the fact users are posting about Surfulater shows that they are indeed following and interested in Surfulater.

I do apologize for mentioning Surfulater in the same post about Kinook's stopping development on Ultra Recall. I was not trying to imply that Surfulater is contemplating anything similar, as I have not heard anything remotely suggesting that. To be honest, all comments I have read about you and your responsiveness over on outlinersoftware.com have been extremely complimentary!

My point was just that for many personal users, those of us who are not using PIM/database applications for any kind of business reasons but for purely personal use, prices in the range of Surfulater are getting tougher to justify - particularly in light of what happened recently with GemX and Ultra Recall. I have not purchased Surfulater so I am not one who should comment on the upgrade pricing to you; I'm sure someone else will.

Thanks again for the post.

Jim
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« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2008, 06:27:37 PM »

I, too, had the initial reaction that the new price was a bit of a 'gulp'.

A little thought, however, reminded me that it's nothing compared to the prices we used to pay for commercial software some years ago, nor to the prices that many larger vendors are asking. I think we've been spoiled.

It was my good luck to qualify for the upgrade price for v.3 (especially since I'd decided to fork over the full price if need be). What decided me to go ahead (apart from the improvements to the software itself) was unfailingly polite, helpful and prompt responses to any and all queries.

Neville's points about the realities of commercial life are more than valid. I certainly don't offer my clients 50% discounts!.

Acceptable cost comes down to how much an individual values a particular product or service. Surely there cannot really be any 'rights' or 'wrongs' to a price structure. The market will decide whether or not Neville's pricing is appropriate.  My own view is that if we want something to survive we should be prepared to support it. If not, well...


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« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2008, 06:57:49 PM »

I can understand that point of view - and yes Neville is polite, prompt and helpful. I genuinely hope he succeeds and that people buy the product. Personally I cannot afford that much for an application I rarely use - now if the upgrade was $19.99 I would probably splash out anyway but at $80 forget it!

My concern is that most shareware products from small scale developers just aren't that expensive and almost all offer reasonable upgrade prices to existing customers. If the first reaction on seeing the price is to wonder if the product is worth it then I think the price is probably wrong.

Ironically if it was priced at $39.99 and there was a 50% discount on upgrades I would shell out for it without giving it too much thought - even if the upgrades appeared every year. That is why I think the pricing is wrong. I'm pretty sure that a title like Surfulater will make more money by appearing affordable even with annual paid updates. Annoying the existing customer base by saying that the early adopters are not even eligible for an upgrade and expecting people to pay the full price at such a large increase is just going to make people look at the alternatives more carefully. When people find that Evernote does a similar job and is effectively free (along with a number of alternatives other) which direction are people likely jump?

All this at a time of global financial uncertainty where global unemployment and insecurity are on the rise!!! Products need to be priced to encourage upgrades not to drive your existing customers away in droves - and it is personal recommendations and positive comments in forums like this that will bring new customers on board.

As I say I wish Neville well, but I personally think he has made a big mistake and will come to regret it. Good will is hard to build and easy to lose!
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« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2008, 11:18:08 PM »

I can understand that point of view - and yes Neville is polite, prompt and helpful. I genuinely hope he succeeds and that people buy the product. Personally I cannot afford that much for an application I rarely use - now if the upgrade was $19.99 I would probably splash out anyway but at $80 forget it!

My concern is that most shareware products from small scale developers just aren't that expensive and almost all offer reasonable upgrade prices to existing customers. If the first reaction on seeing the price is to wonder if the product is worth it then I think the price is probably wrong.

Ironically if it was priced at $39.99 and there was a 50% discount on upgrades I would shell out for it without giving it too much thought - even if the upgrades appeared every year. That is why I think the pricing is wrong. I'm pretty sure that a title like Surfulater will make more money by appearing affordable even with annual paid updates. Annoying the existing customer base by saying that the early adopters are not even eligible for an upgrade and expecting people to pay the full price at such a large increase is just going to make people look at the alternatives more carefully. When people find that Evernote does a similar job and is effectively free (along with a number of alternatives other) which direction are people likely jump?

All this at a time of global financial uncertainty where global unemployment and insecurity are on the rise!!! Products need to be priced to encourage upgrades not to drive your existing customers away in droves - and it is personal recommendations and positive comments in forums like this that will bring new customers on board.

As I say I wish Neville well, but I personally think he has made a big mistake and will come to regret it. Good will is hard to build and easy to lose!

I am with you on this Carol.  I bought Surfulater v2 last year and I don't think I will be upgrading either.  Price hike is just too much (for my usage) even after the 50% upgrade discount.  Tagging is cool, but v2 is sufficient for now with the # of articles I have in my knowledge base.  Good luck to you though Nevf.
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« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2008, 07:42:07 AM »

I agree that for a software to still have possibility to grow, it need good users who are pleased with the product, and who gives very much in free advertising, or confirm the value of the product in groups or among friends.

This is an "factor" the developer has to take into account.

When price for upgrade shall be evaluated, then one have to find the mark where the price cost not exceed the willingness to upgrade.

If we look at this thread, we see a some people that don't want to upgrade, because the price is to high....and I agree.
We see some  people who look for alternatives, this will again lead to talk in groups and among friends.

The attitude goes from positive information to negative information...this is "waste of direct marketing money" that don't show up on the spread sheet at once, but will in the long run.

I will recommend any software developer to have this in mind.
If someone first have bought your product...and stay with you...then I agree we shall pay for improvement (major upgrade....since this is version 3....there has just been 2) but since they already have invested in the "ground product" (and registered it) I would say the upgrade price should not exceed more then a third of the full price.
Of course the evaluation of the price must been seen in comparison to the uniqueness  of the product....are you alone, then can you ask much more, then if you have one where there goes 13 on the dozen.

This is said in general terms...since I don't use or own Surfulater.
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« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2008, 09:30:41 AM »

Surfulater started off priced way too low at $35 with a 25% early bird discount on top of that, not to mention Donation Coder and other specials. Unless you have a mass market product it is difficult to build a long term sustainable business at such low prices. The time spent on one support request instantly removes any profit. So we raised the price to $59 a while back and reduced the early bird discount amount. With Version 3 we have added more important new functionality with lots more to come in the 3.x series. We have increased the price again, to $79 which we feel is reasonable and necessary. There is a $10 discount which makes this only $69 for new customers. And for the first time in four years we have charged for an upgrade. We possibly should have extended the paid upgrade period beyond two years and we will reconsider that.
I think that there are a number of elements of wishful thinking in here.

The first is about paying for support. Corporates expect it and are willing to pay. Most users of low price software will take it if they can get it, but are happy enough with support through forums with much of it coming from experienced users rather than the developers; they are rarely willing to pay anything/much for support. So, if you split support activity into two (those dealing with issues/bugs where users are actually providing free help to improving the software and those helping users use features already present and correct) and the second type of support is proving considerable, then an assumption that customers will be ready to pay for it may not be correct and it might be better to cut back on that support.

Second, experienced users are likely to be less expensive users of support and should therefore be cheaper customers in terms of future costs. They also cost nothing to acquire (and I would point out that new customers are expected to be expensively gained in most industries).

Thirdly, there may be NO price at which the desired (needed) income is achieved. The number of customers at higher prices will be lower; it is very easy to increase price and reduce income. In many ways it is easier to increase price from a low price base than to increase the number of customers after reducing price. It is certainly important to avoid shocking customers and potential customers. One approach to doing this is to choose a high or very high price point but to have a lot of offers and low upgrade prices; over time the average % reduction of the offers can be reduced and the customer base will have gradually shifted to a perception that the 'correct' price is high.

Fourthly, any software prooducer needs to know their market well. Especially if they are trying to charge more than their most direct competitors. I've never bought or trialled Surfulater, though I have read the threads here. I do have Evernote 2 & 3, Ultra Recall Pro and OneNote (and Do-Organiser), and expect to buy IQ at some point; I never saw Surfulater as an alternative to them from my own perspective and therefore have no idea what a realistically competitive price is for Surfulater. I do know that I never paid as much as $69 for any of these products. And many of the reactions here suggest that the new price is too high for many people.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2008, 09:53:42 AM by Dormouse » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2008, 07:29:29 AM »

I use Surfulater a lot for research in writing my newsletter for teachers.

I wanted to review the Upgrade product because this represents an application of tremendous value for teachers. In fact, my previous reviews of the product placed it in the "Must Have" category for teachers.

Unfortunately, the upgrade price puts this application out of a range that most teachers can afford. Perhaps the company will consider academic pricing in the future.

I asked the company for a review copy before learning about the price increase, but never heard back on that request.

I suppose that I will pay for the upgrade if it is half-price. I believe that there might be a new feature to allow installation on up to three computers, i.e., home system, laptop and office system. This makes sense for a workaholic researcher.

The previous version of Surfulater was great for a writer, teacher, researcher. Programmers and coders wouldn't find the graphical capture very interesting. If I can't obtain the upgrade at a reasonable price, I'll reinstall Version 2. (Since previous upgrades were without charge, I upgraded, thinking that this version was also free. Surprise!)

The capture never worked completely for Firefox, but functioned correctly for IE. The lack of cross-browser support is limiting, especially for teacher that work in Mac environments.

My favorite text information capture program is InfoSelect (also not a low cost program). This program has a portable version allows selected database information to be carried on a Palm Pilot. Great for technical support.
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« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2008, 03:10:30 PM »

I asked the company for a review copy before learning about the price increase, but never heard back on that request.

Dear Joseph,
On 4th Nov we received an e-mail from you requesting a free upgrade to Surfulater version 3. We had previously provided you with a free evaluation license for Surfulater version 2. On 12 Nov Avi e-mailed you the following:

Quote
Joe,

Sure, we would love to have you do a review. Have you downloaded the Surfulater 3 trial yet, and just need a license?

Avi

We never received a reply to our e-mail. We have had problems communicating with you in the past. Most likely because of spam filtering at your end. We have notified you of this and asked you to check your spam folders and spam filters. I really don't know what else we can do, especially seeing you never followed up with us.
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« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2008, 04:00:31 PM »

I replied to Avi the day after I received his reply, and I did check all SPAM filters for several days after that.

After the post on Donation Coder this morning,  I purchased the Upgrade to Surfulater 3 (because I convinced myself of my need for the product).

I assumed that, because Avi took 9 days to respond to my original message, that he just hadn't gotten around to my reply, especially since I placed a timeline for being able to review the product for my November Newsletter. I also had a number of suggestions.

Besides suggesting that Surfulater offer educational discounts, I also pointed out the benefit for developing a server version of the program since this would be a selling point to school district IT professionals.  (Stand alone applications on individual desktops basically get installed when the system are re-imaged. School districts seldom have the staff for machine-by-machine software installs. School districts represent a huge, untapped market, and teachers require real tools to integrate technology into their lesson planning and lesson delivery.

I also asked about site licensing for school campuses, and about reselling the product.

I still have these interests, although the review will have to wait until the January 31, 2009 issue of my newsletter.

I continue believe that the product is a "must have" for teachers, even if few of them will be able to spring for the cost of a personal copy. This is where a USB port of the program would be viable. Teachers conduct the majority of their research and lesson planning at home, then carry their work in to school. Or, they E-mail their work to themselves. Of course, saving a lot of Web page graphics on the USB drive might present storage issues, but I am sure that there is a work around. USB drives continue to fall in price, and the cost of the drive might be bundled with the application.

Thanks for your interest and concern.
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« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2008, 05:39:45 PM »

I have checked with Avi and he never received a reply from you. Who knows why. No e-mail came to our normal support address either. Maybe you could re-send it.

The best place to discuss Surfulater is over on our support forums. We also have a "Private Messaging" service there, that is a great fallback when e-mail communications isn't for whatever reason working.

Our Affiliate program is run by eSellerate who also handle our eCommerce and licensing system. For details and signup please see
http://www.esellerate.net/affiliates_retailers.asp
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Neville Franks, "Save anything you see on the Web or on your PC" with Surfulater
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