The Download Blog

Nomee combines AIR with social information

Adobe AIR applications are typically well designed. They feature a sleek look and relatively fast response times. TweetDeck (Windows | Mac), a popular Adobe AIR app, has put the platform on the map. It has caused some developers to view AIR as a viable alternative platform to building a Web site.

Nomee (Windows|Mac), a company that helps users see what celebrities, prominent figures, or their friends are up to online, is one such app.

The basics Nomee is based on "cards." When you first sign up for the site (you can use OpenID if you don't want to create unique Nomee credentials), you'll be presented with celebrities and prominent figures who currently have cards on the site. But before you start thinking that there are scores of celebs on Nomee, think again: for the most part, those cards were created by Nomee users, not the celebrities themselves.

When you view a card, it displays an image of the person, followed by several sites or services that are related to them. When you click on one of those services, you'll be brought to its respective Web page. For example, if you click on the Twitter logo on my card, you can view my Twitter page.

If you like what you see, you can "add" the card to your Nomee Dashboard. From there, Nomee will track all the card updates. It will alert you when there's something new for you to check out.

Nomee's Newstream lets you view all the updates from every card you follow. Thanks to such a nice design and some filtering options, you shouldn't have any trouble finding exactly what you're looking for. It's arguably Nomee's best feature.

Card creation Of course, Nomee isn't just a place where you can see what your favorite celebrities are up to. You can also create your own card to share with friends. Those same friends can create cards and share their social profiles and links with you.… Read more

Latest Thunderbird rolls search changes

Mozilla released a major update Tuesday to the beta build of its desktop e-mail client Thunderbird, debuting a new search feature, "smart" folders, an activity manager for monitoring communication with your mail server, and better Gmail integration among the list of improvements. Thunderbird 3 beta 4 is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The smart folder view condenses your various in-boxes into one gestalt in-box, but it's easy to switch back to the traditional view if you don't like it. In the folders pane, use the left and right arrows at the top right to change … Read more

Firefox gets an early taste of 3D Web standard

A nascent technology called WebGL for bringing hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the Web is getting a lot closer to reality.

Last week, programmers began building WebGL into Firefox's nightly builds, the developer versions used to test the latest updates to the open-source browser. Also this month, programmers began building WebGL into WebKit, the project that's used in both Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome.

Wolfire Games picked up on the WebKit move and offered a video of WebGL in action.

Overall, the moves stand to accelerate the pace of WebGL development by making it easier to try … Read more

Gesture-based music control and a challenging tower defense game: iPhone apps of the week

If you're a strategy gaming type of person, you know there is no shortage of tower defense games in the iTunes Store. It shouldn't be that big of a surprise, I suppose, because the iPhone and iPod Touch touch screens might be the best interface for games of this genre. Using your finger to choose and place towers couldn't be more intuitive. But even with the huge amount of tower defense games, some manage to rise above the rest. One of my apps this week is a sequel to one of the more popular games in the … Read more

A utility suite for cheap and Madden football: iPhone apps of the week

Have you updated your iPhone to version 3.1 yet? Among the fixes and feature enhancements in the latest update, Apple added the Genius feature (formerly found in iTunes) to the App Store. Like its iTunes counterpart, Genius for iPhone apps looks at the apps you have on your iPhone and makes recommendations for apps you might like. I should point out that you need to digitally agree to Apple's terms and conditions, which you should read carefully before turning the feature on. The potentially objectionable part (that I have no objection to) is that Apple will track information, … Read more

A bug fix for arranging apps on iTunes

Prior to the release of iTunes 9 (Windows | Mac), arranging pages apps directly on your iPhone or iPod Touch was tedious and unpleasant. So when Apple touted app arranging as a new in iTunes feature this week we got very excited. We've spent the last three days with iTunes 9 and the new app arranging feature. While we're satisfied with it there is one bug that made it less than perfect. Luckily, we have a workaround.

Arranging app icons After connecting your device to a computer and launching iTunes 9, just go to the Applications tab as shown below. Once there, you can drag apps between thumbnails that represent the 11 home screens. Exciting, right? Well not so fast, since the process still is a bit painful if an app isn't currently assigned to one of the 176 spaces on the home screens (four spaces are reserved for the Dock). We have the same problem when arranging (or deleting) app icons on the iPod or iTouch.

If an app icon doesn't exist in a space, you won't be able to manage it until you figure out a secret. The check mark on the app on the left side of the window tells you that it's currently synced to your device. You can't manipulate "checked" apps unless they are sitting on a home screen. If the app is not on one of the 11 home screens you have to do the following.

Uncheck the app so that it won't sync with your phone. Place the app on one of the 11 home screens. Re-check the app so it will sync again.

If you forget to recheck it, you will delete the app from your device the next time you sync it with iTunes. Indeed, it's not a very intuitive process; I only stumbled on it accidentally. You'll also need to remember it for the tasks below. … Read more

Skype retiring third-party Extras

Starting Friday, Skype is effectively pulling the plug on its Extras program, which was designed to help third-party developers create add-ons for Skype's VoIP service (Windows | Mac)--like emoticon enhancements, backup services, and music player plug-ins. Unlike Firefox's similar third-party extensions, not enough people were installing Skype Extras, Skype said in both an e-mail and in a blog post to developers.

Developers and users will have some adjustment time, though. Skype won't certify any new submissions, but it won't yank support for existing Extras either, that is, until their certificates expire. You'll still be able … Read more

Snow Leopard update fixes Adobe Flash issue

Apple on Thursday released a relatively minor update for Mac OS X Snow Leopard that fixes an issue users had with the operating system that downgraded them to an older version of Adobe Systems' Flash Player.

When Apple released Snow Leopard on August 28, it included an older version of Adobe's Flash plug-in that was known to have security issues. Sophos security expert Graham Cluley warned users of the downgrade and urged anyone who installed the operating system to upgrade immediately.

Snow Leopard 10.6.1 addresses this issue by updating the Flash Player plug-in to version 10.0.… Read more

Yahoo Mail picks up Dropio for big attachments

Social-storage service Dropio on Thursday announced a partnership with Yahoo Mail to deliver a default application for the e-mail program's users. Dubbed Attach Large Files, Dropio's application will allow Yahoo Mail users to send attachments up to 100 MB in size.

When Yahoo Mail users log on to their accounts, they will now see Dropio's Attach Large Files listing included in the Applications drop-down box, which also features apps from Evite, Flickr, and PayPal, among others. When they click on Dropio's application, they can immediately start sending large files through their e-mail accounts.

The Dropio application … Read more

Mozilla patches holes in Firefox 3.5, 3.0

Mozilla on Wednesday released two new versions of its browser, Firefox 3.5.3 and 3.0.14, that patch three critical security holes and fix assorted other bugs.

The updates can be fetched through the Help menu's Check for Updates option, or can be downloaded directly.

Although Mozilla still supports the 3.0 version, it's pushing people to the 3.5 version, and support for the 3.0 series will end in a few months. Version 3.5, released in June, supports a variety of new Web page technologies and includes a faster JavaScript engine for running … Read more