The Download Blog

VoxOx 2 sounds better--but is it?

When VoxOx was released last November, it was hard to deny that the communication tools it offered were impressive. Multi-protocol chat, VoIP, some rudimentary e-mail updates, and an SMS-callback feature to initiate international calls for the cost of a local call were all rounded up under one roof. It had a problem, though: stability.

VoxOx 2, available for Windows and Intel Macs running Leopard but no longer for PPC Macs, truly looks like it's fixed the stability issue. Along the way, its publisher TelCentris, has gifted it with a robust Personal Assistant feature, a super-address book that attempts to … Read more

Google updates Gears for new Firefox 3.5

For those who use Firefox 3.5 but also want to use Gmail with no network connection, Google has an answer: a new version of its Gears plug-in.

Gears endows browsers with some new abilities, including accessing some Web applications even while a computer is offline and juggling multiple simultaneous tasks more effectively. And using Gears, Google last week began letting people see their location on Google Maps by clicking the small circle below the navigation controller and above the zoom controller.

Major updates to Mozilla's open-source browser often break add-on compatibility, and the earlier version of Gears wouldn'… Read more

VoxOx 2 wants to make it personal

Multi-protocol messaging and VoIP communication client VoxOx is back with some new and impressive features amid claims of a more stable platform. Available for Windows and Mac, the freeware offers a robust Personal Assistant feature that includes call recording, call forwarding, call routing, and call screening, as well as expanded social-networking features and stronger back-end support to keep its multitude of services from getting disconnected.

VoxOx also has made a new-user sign-up bonus available to CNET Download.com users, which I'll explain at the bottom of this story.

The Personal Assistant feature introduced in the new version underlines VoxOx'… Read more

Create photo presentations and race 4x4s off road: iPhone apps of the week

Last week I mentioned how long it took to sync my iPhone to iTunes and it seems I'm not alone. I think almost all Mac users reported that syncing only took a few minutes, but a lot of Windows users (with some exceptions) were having the same experience as me. Is Windows doing something to muck up the process or is syncing different across platforms? Hopefully, this is something Apple will look into in future updates.

Following your advice, and the advice of other iPhone forums, I restored my iPhone and then used my latest backup to get my … Read more

Silverlight 3 debuts ahead of Friday's launch

The final version of Silverlight 3 has been released to the Web, a day ahead of the product's launch event in San Francisco.

The release, noted by enthusiast site Neowin, marks Microsoft's latest effort to take on Adobe's Flash.

Microsoft detailed Silverlight 3 at the Mix09 event in March, releasing a beta version of the software.

Among the product's new features is technology that allows the software to utilize a PC's hardware to accelerate graphics processing. It also allows for programs that run outside a browser on both the PC and Mac.

NBC has said … Read more

An epitaph for the Web standard, XHTML 2

XHTML 2, we hardly knew you.

XHTML 2, a technology intended to build a more powerful Web from the ground up, met a quiet end last week, spotlighting the difficulties of standardization in a fast-moving Internet. Introduced in 2002, XHTML 2 was a centerpiece of standards work at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

But incompatibility with the existing Web and a direction at odds with Web developers' desires doomed it to a slow demise. On Thursday, after a long reconciliation with browser makers who'd struck off in a different direction, the W3C announced that it will wind down … Read more

HideTab lets you cloak embarrassing tabs quickly

Besides blazing fast JavaScript benchmarks, privacy mode is the big new feature in modern browsers. The latest version of Firefox includes many privacy enhancements that can keep others from seeing what you've been up to while online. But what if a friend, family member, or boss wants to borrow and/or look at something on your computer? How do you play it cool and hide tabs you don't want them to see?

Developer Diego Ruiz has come up with a solution called HideTab that does just that. You can very quickly hide one or all open tabs with … Read more

Chrome's new-tab page gets more interactive

Opening a new tab in a browser is a moment ripe with opportunity, and Google has begun testing a version of Chrome that can present new options when users do so.

Chrome's current new-tab interface, which also shows by default when the browser is first launched, displays a three-by-three array of thumbnails of the most commonly visited Web sites. It also sports a history search box, a list of recent bookmarks, and a list of recently closed tabs. That changes in Chrome 3.0.191.3, a developer preview version released Monday.

The new layout, though, features a thumbnail … Read more

Google Apps shed beta label

Google Apps have all grown up.

No longer must Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Google Talk carry the beta tag of shame; they are all now full-fledged members of the Google family of products. Google has been hinting this was coming over the past few months, but is finally ready to make the official announcement along with the news that Fairchild Semiconductor has decided to embrace Google's suite of Web-based office productivity applications.

In truth, it's hard to tell exactly what technical advancements may have prompted the decision to lift the products out of beta. Matt Glotzbach, … Read more

VideoLAN releases VLC 1.0.0: Your media will never be the same

VideoLAN's VLC media player, arguably the world's best media player, hit version 0.9.9 in early April. Three months and more than 78 million downloads later, VideoLAN has announced VLC 1.0.0, or "Goldeneye."

Your media will never be the same.

In fact, with VideoLAN's VLC media player for Windows, Mac, and Linux, it doesn't have to be. One of the amazing things about VLC is that it can play anything that you've ever even thought about playing. That random media format that one site in Ecuador requires--VLC likely plays it, … Read more