Work-related Limited Access Woes

I work for a private company, but our worksites are largely in New Jersey state/county offices. Because of that, we do not control our own internet access; in each office, we are dependent on the access provided for the municipal staff. In the county in which I work, this means that there are two problems issues around which we need to work:

  1. Access speed is not constant. Early or late in the day, when there are fewer employees logged on, speeds are faster; when everybody’s on the system, speeds are slower. Further, at some times, speeds are so slow that I have actually been logged out of a secure site while I was waiting for a page to load (it is as if the network gods had decided to yank the largest piece of the pipe for some private purpose, leaving the rest of us with only the leakage around the edges);
  2. Many sites are blocked. This is certainly appropriate in a municipal office: taxpayers would be rightfully indignant if staffers were wasting time (and tax dollars) on shopping sites, entertainment, or porn. However, some of the blockages cause consternation – for example, the Google toolbar includes a spell checker that can be used in fill-in forms in Internet Explorer. But access to the Google Toolbar site is blocked.

Now, my company uses a web-based tracking and documentation tool, which must be accessed from a browser (that’s a program like Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Opera). Printing from this program requires an ActiveX control (a kind of code that will run a little program), and this only runs in Internet Explorer (and, in recent versions, setting the permissions for this to run makes Internet Explorer throw security advisories – but that’s a story for another day).

The careful reader will guess from number 2 above that I’d like a spell checker. Yeah, I know Firefox has one, but I can’t use Firefox, because of the ActiveX control on the work software. I’ve found one that worked on Internet Explorer 6, but it hasn’t been updated in years.

So I’m looking for a spell-checker for IE7 or IE8, that doesn’t depend on web access (to a site that may be slow or blocked), and that is free (or cheap enough that I’ll pay it myself!)

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