The Download Blog

Firefox 3.5 almost here

Fans of Firefox's beta builds can now download Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate 2 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The latest build contains bug fixes although, according to Mozilla's Director of Firefox, Mike Beltzner, these were minor stability issues corrected after the release of the first release candidate.

Belzner also addressed some confusion among the 800,000 or so beta users about Firefox's beta-naming conventions. When the beta moves into release candidate mode, he said, it takes on the name of the final version because if no further problems are found the RC build will simply become … Read more

Serve up a slice of Opera Unite

Opera's newest feature turns your browser into an app-extendable Web server. That's right: Opera Unite, the latest out of Norway for Windows, Mac, and Linux, runs counter to the cloud-based direction that most other programs are heading toward.

But is client-based serving a recipe for the future, or a return to the past? And is Unite truly client-based? See what the latest Opera 10 beta build can do in this First Look video.

Capture, record the screen with Jing 2.1: First Look

Its emphasis on getting screen captures and screencasts shot and shared makes the freemium application Jing extremely quick and easy to use for Mac and Windows users. I use its big brother, the professional capture app Snagit, at work (we take a lot of screenshots in these parts,) but I've often installed Jing on laptops and on other peoples' computers when I need something light and free.

The one irony for Windows users is that if you don't have the .NET framework installed, it adds a few more minutes of set-up time and a heftier footprint. The benefit … Read more

Digital postcards and an online flight sim: iPhone apps of the week

Of all the great enhancements, fixes, and goodies in iPhone OS 3.0 (video overview here), I quickly realized there was one glaring omission. With the useful addition of a Voice Memos app, an old problem reared its ugly head. The update put the Voice Memos app icon on the home page, pushing whatever lone app icon that sat in the lower right of the homepage onto its own screen on the next page. This meant that in order to maximize my use of page space (I have a lot of apps!), I now had to rearrange my apps on … Read more

Songbird 1.2 debuts new features

Browser and jukebox freeware mashup Songbird brings onstage four new features to help manage songs, communicate better with iTunes, customize volume, and expose more information from Last.fm.

Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Songbird 1.2's biggest new feature is the ability to automatically organize files across multiple folders according to each track's metadata. This can be especially useful both if your music is scattered across disparate folders, as well as forcing naming conventions on inconsistent files.

There's also the ability to introduce iTunes library tracks and playlists into Songbird, and export tracks from Songbird to … Read more

Minor update to Safari 4

Apple has released a minor change to Safari 4 for Mac users.

Safari 4.0.1 addresses incompatibilities between the browser and certain features in iPhoto '09, including Places and Facebook publishing. No changes were made to the Windows version.

When the original version 4 was released last week, it surprised many observers with its new position as one of the faster browsers available, rendering JavaScript at speeds comparable or faster than Google Chrome.

Mozilla pushes Firefox 3.5 RC to beta testers

If you've been using the Firefox 3.5 beta, you now get to upgrade to the release candidate for Firefox 3.5. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, The noticeable changes to the release candidate from beta 4 and the b99 pre-release version are not readily apparent. Generally, you can expect the release candidate to be more stable than its beta predecessors, although if you're using an add-on such as Nightly Tester Tools or MR Tech to force incompatible add-ons to work in the beta you may be compromising your stability somewhat.

The upgrades to Firefox 3.5 … Read more

Will new browsers really upgrade the Web?

Mozilla is exhorting users to "upgrade the Web" with Firefox 3.5 and variations on that better-browsing theme can be found with Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari, and Opera.

The hope is that the Web will evolve from a series of relatively static pages to a lively home for Web applications--everything from today's e-mail to tomorrow's spreadsheets. But it could take awhile for reality to catch up with the vision.

It's indeed a bright, shiny future for browsers, and the avant-garde is advancing rapidly. Web developers eager to invigorate their Web sites or build fancy Web applications have to reckon not only with the massive, slower-moving army of ordinary Web browsers, but also with inconsistent support for the latest technology.

Browsers of the future Many of new browser features stem from HTML 5, the still-not-finalized next iteration of the HyperText Markup Language standard that defines how Web pages are described. HTML 5 has spurred the arrival of built-in video and audio, local storage that Web sites or applications can use, "Web workers" that can perform background processing tasks for a Web application, drag-and-drop for better user interfaces, and other technologies. … Read more

Opera tries to Unite users across browsers

You wouldn't know it by eyeballing most of the latest browser news, but there is more to browsers than JavaScript speed. Mozilla introduced its add-on alternative called Jetpack, and on Tuesday Opera debuted Unite for Windows, Mac, and Linux, which turns your browser into a Web server and the Norwegian publisher hopes will "reinvent the Web."

That's fast become the browser equivalent of the cliched comic book tag, "In this issue: Everything Changes!" So United uses your browser as as Web server, but what does that mean?

"The initial applications offered by Opera … Read more

Inside 'Unite': Opera's browser-server

On Tuesday, Opera Software introduced a technical preview of Opera Unite, a component of its Opera 10 browser. Earlier this morning, I sat in on a Webcast where Opera's Chief Development Officer, Christen Krogh, ran through a demo and answered questions. Opera Unite, which uses your Opera ID to log in, is a Web server housed within the Opera browser. With it, you'll be able to host a Web site, and share files, music, video, notes, and chats with others.

The sharing process begins when you select the hard drive where your files are stored, and then select … Read more