The Download Blog

Paint with layers and defend the earth: iPhone apps of the week

Before I get to this week's apps, the folks over at Public Radio Exchange let me know there's a new version of Public Radio Tuner (which I've featured here before). Now called Public Radio Player, this new version has been redesigned from the ground up with a new interface, added station schedule information, and new On Demand radio shows you can stream. Past episodes of This American Life, Fresh Air, and many other popular public radio shows can now be streamed whenever you want to listen.

At the iTunes Store, I noticed a lot of the comments … Read more

Palm releases WebOS 1.1 for Pre; brings back iTunes syncing

This post was last updated July 24, 2009 at 7:50 a.m. PT.

Oh, snap! Things just got a little more heated between Palm and Apple. On Thursday, Palm released WebOS 1.1 for the Palm Pre, which, among other things, brings back iTunes syncing even with version 8.2.1, which disabled the feature. The news was posted on Palm's blog where it listed the new features and enhancements of the software update and nonchalantly added at the end:

Oh, and one more thing: Palm webOS 1.1 re-enables Palm media sync. That's right--you once again … Read more

LongBox aims to be iTunes for comic books

If you've ever wondered why comic books don't have a digital distribution and management platform the way music, movies, or books do, you're not alone. The good news is that one software company and one man--perhaps clad in an identity-concealing spandex costume--are here to save the day with LongBox.

In production for more than three years by QuickSilver Software, LongBox is a free, cross-platform iTunes-style jukebox for comic books. Judging by the proposed feature set, it's the most apt comparison, and one that LongBox CEO and founder Rantz Hoseley is happy to make. "One of … Read more

Sync devices to your iTunes collection

Up until last week, Palm Pre users could manage their media content on iTunes. Apple's iTunes update swiftly put an end to the openness. Yet Pre users and owners of other mobile phones can use a similar program as a workaround.

DoubleTwist (for Windows and Mac) is a beta effort led by a Norwegian man best known for reverse engineering DRM controls. In this How To video, CNET Editor Brian Tong shows how DoubleTwist easily syncs your mobile phone with your iTunes music collection, even when iTunes won't.

Thunderbird 3's latest beta out now

Thunderbird 3 beta 3 is now available to download for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. The beta introduces some significant improvements to the open-source desktop client, from performance to interface.

The new beta is built on Mozilla's Gecko platform, keeping it up to date with the latest changes that affect Firefox. Mozilla also claims that there are more than 500 changes in this version, and hints at more alterations to come by stating in a press release that many of them are ''laying the groundwork for future changes''. On his blog, Chief Technical Officer of … Read more

Changes to Google Docs hint at GDrive release

The sharp eyes over at the Google Operating System blog noticed that Google quietly changed some wording in Google Docs from "PDFs" to "files." While small, this could signal that Google Docs may soon support the viewing and editing of other file types, and possibly double as an online storage service--like the fabled GDrive.

Google has long-allowed users to upload PDFs to Docs. These could be viewed in Google's online viewer, but not edited. However, the service would not allow other items such as photos and videos to be imported, despite Google offering other … Read more

Firefox 3.0.12 patches five critical problems

Mozilla on Tuesday released Firefox 3.0.12, an update to the open-source browser that fixes five critical security vulnerabilities and fixes a handful of other bugs.

"We strongly recommend that all Firefox 3.0.x users upgrade to this latest release," Mozilla said on its developer blog. "If you already have Firefox 3, you will receive an automated update notification within 24 to 48 hours. This update can also be applied manually by selecting 'Check for Updates...' from the Help menu."

Version 3.0.12 fixes five critical problems and one high-level security problem, according … Read more

Comcast's consumer usage meter still in the labs

Comcast's Web-based broadband meter, which was rumored to be released back in January, is still not available to consumers. According to a Comcast representative whom I spoke with earlier Tuesday, it's still not ready for prime time, and is undergoing further employee trials before being released to the public.

Once released, the meter will let customers of Comcast's high-speed Internet service monitor how much of their 250GB monthly bandwidth quota has been used. This will help keep them from going over that limit--something that results in a termination of their service upon the second offense.

Comcast imposed … Read more

Skype for Mac gets new features

Skype, the solid chat, VoIP, and videocam software has been around for awhile now on the Mac and we have already sung its praises for its free computer-to-computer long distance. Call clarity has always been quite good and if you have one of many available USB handsets, you know it's just like talking on a regular phone. For a little extra money through the company's pay-as-you-go or monthly subscription services, you can call cell and land lines and the prices are fairly affordable. But today, Skype for Mac got some new features that definitely make it worth updating … Read more

Adobe rolls out new open-source projects

Web developers should appreciate two of Adobe's latest open-source initiatives announced Tuesday, both designed to help media companies and other publishers build richer Flash applications.

The first project, Open Source Media Framework (OSMF), lets designers create more sophisticated media players to run Adobe Flash presentations. The second, Text Layout Framework (TLF), helps developers add more advanced typography and font layouts to their Flash apps.

Both OSMF and TLF are available for free as open-source applications.

OSMF is the open source piece of the Adobe project formerly known by the codename Strobe, a framework for Flash media players. Using OSMF, … Read more