The Download Blog

Mac OS X 10.5.8 update is out

Apple released an update to its operating system Wednesday, version 10.5.8.

The update is said to fix issues related to compatibility and reliability when trying to connect a Mac to an AirPort network, as well as restore Display System Preferences, and Bluetooth reliability. The latter will likely bring a sigh of relief to users who have complained of their Bluetooth keyboard or mouse periodically disconnecting from their Macs.

Also included in the update: an upgrade to Safari 4.0.2, with improved accuracy of search history; a fix for importing large photo and movie files from cameras; better … Read more

Multi Links speeds up your browsing, bookmarking

Here's a must-have Firefox add-on. Called Multi Links, this extension lets you simply right click and drag your mouse across the screen to select multiple links at once. It's just like selecting multiple files on your computer, and highly effective for tearing through a page of links you want to look at or save for later.

By default, selected links open up in new browser tabs, although you can go into the options to choose whether you want them to open up in new windows, or be bookmarked instead. You're also able to change the color scheme … Read more

Defcon: What to leave at home and other do's and don'ts

Attending Defcon and Black Hat can make you feel a bit like a deer in a forest full of hunters.

With virus-infected USB drives, Wi-Fi network sniffing, badges with built-in microphones and even security experts getting hacked, it seems like it's only a matter of time until your number comes up if you're not careful.

I asked some security experts for suggestions on what they do to protect themselves at the events and here is what they said.

Do's: • Have minimal software on your laptop, such as only the operating system and necessary applications.

• Make a backup … Read more

New Firefox patches authentication security holes

Mozilla on Monday released two new versions of Firefox, 3.5.2 and 3.0.13, to patch two critical security holes. You can download the Windows and Mac versions of 3.5.2 from CNET, or go to Mozilla for the Linux build and Firefox 3.0.13.

"We strongly recommend that all Firefox users upgrade to this latest release," Mozilla said in a blog posting about the security issue.

The first vulnerability could let an attacker run arbitrary code on a person's computer by sending specially crafted authentication information called certificate.

The second vulnerability, … Read more

Find concerts easily and enter a boxing ring: iPhone apps of the week

I went to Portland, Oregon, to visit my parents last week and had a great time spending time with my family and checking out the local breakfast spots. I even found new places to explore (thanks to my trusty iPhone). One thing I knew going up there is that my father and his girlfriend had already bought two iPhone 3GS phones and I would not be hearing the end of how much better theirs were than my year-old iPhone 3G. But my mother and stepdad live up in Portland too, and once they saw how cool and fun my iPhone … Read more

Firefox: 1 billion downloads only part of the story

At about 8 a.m. PDT Friday, Firefox crossed the billion-download threshold--a notably large number for Mozilla's open-source Web browser but one that doesn't tell the whole story.

Firefox fans love their statistical milestones, and Mozilla enjoys fanning the flames by providing plenty of opportunities for self-congratulation. In 2008 was the Firefox Download Day, with more than 8 million downloads in 24 hours. Next came the Firefox 3.5 debut and its download tracker.

And now we have the billion-download figure on the Spread Firefox site. That includes updates people have fetched deliberately, not automatic updates, Mozilla said. … Read more

Newsgator goes all in with Google Reader

The publisher of popular RSS readers FeedDemon and NetNewsWire is ditching its proprietary online RSS synchronization in favor of Google Reader. Newsgator's eponymous online service will cease on August 31..

When the beta version of FeedDemon updated earlier this year with the ability to synchronize to either Newsgator or Google Reader, fans of the program rejoiced. Google Reader synchronization, the company says, was one of the most requested features for the Newsgator desktop clients. They have instructions for users who need to move their feeds to Google.

Google Reader may frustrate some, but it has far more users than … Read more

Themes support now lets you reskin Chrome

Google's Chrome tries to make a virtue out of its minimally intrusive browser interface, but that doesn't stop people from wanting to change its colors. So customization fans probably will be happy to learn that themes are now activated in the newest developer release of Google's browser.

Themes have been gradually getting simpler to activate in the browser, but they became enabled by default in the newest developer releases this week, version and a hasty bug-fix release Wednesday night, version No longer must you mess with pesky "--enable-extensions" command-line switches or other nitty-gritty options. … Read more

Safari plug-ins that improve your browsing

Many people who use Firefox know that there are some really great add-ons for the browser that help extend its functionality. But it's not the only browser that does that. Apple's Safari browser also works with plug-ins that, like Firefox's add-ons, make the browser a little more useful.

Before we get into those plug-ins, I should note that since combined Safari market share is only about 8 percent in the browser market, there aren't nearly as many plug-ins for Safari as there are for Firefox, which commands more than 20 percent of the browser market. That said, I've found some that are worth trying out.

Safari plug-ins

Cooliris Cooliris is a nice plug-in that displays videos and photos in Safari in a Cover Flow-like arrangement.

Aside from a beautiful design, Cooliris features a search box in the top right of the display that allows you to search for Google images, Hulu videos, Flickr pictures, and a variety of other multimedia content. You can bring one image to the front of the display or hold the left-click down and drag your way across the page. Cooliris helps you enjoy your browser in a different way. Check it out.

CosmoPod CosmoPod allows you to download videos from the Web, so you can view them in iTunes or on your iPhone and iPod.

CosmoPod's icon is placed in the Safari address bar. Whenever you get to a page containing Web video, you can click the CosmoPod button and the plug-in will automatically start downloading the video onto your desktop. You can even play the video while you download it. It couldn't be a simpler (or more useful) app, but be aware that it will set you back about $10 if you want to keep it after the free trial.… Read more

10 Adobe AIR apps that make you more productive

Adobe AIR apps are some of the best designed, most useful applications you can have on your desktop. Last month, I highlighted 10 applications to try out, if you're thinking about using AIR apps. This time around, I want to take a look at 10 apps that will make you more productive. Trust me, they will help you save some time.

Be more productive

Agile Agenda Agile Agenda is a project management tool that helps project managers keep their team on track.

Agile Agenda is quite impressive. You can add your team and input information about the tasks you need to perform. You can set priority, dependencies, when a task should be completed, and more. You can also edit milestones so you can track how the project is coming along. Most importantly, the app's fantastic design makes it easy to use.

Agile Agenda gives you the option of trying it for 3 days or 30 days, or buying a license. If you're buying one license, the software will set you back $70. More licenses reduce the price.

Doomi Doomi is an extremely simple to-do-list app that lets you quickly add items you need to complete. That list is displayed under the input box. You can set how long it should take to complete the task and mark the box next to it when it's complete. It's a simple app, but it's far more effective than writing your to-do list down.

File Furnace File Furnace is a unique app. Instead of impressing you with a nice design and several menus, the app displays a simple image of a fire. Over that, the app displays a message that reads, "Drop unwanted files here." It also features the sound of a crackling fire. As long as you follow the directions of File Furnace, and drag and drop unwanted files or directories into the fire, it permanently removes them from your computer. It's a slightly unusual app, but it's much easier to delete files with File Furnace than waste time with the Recycle Bin.… Read more