The Download Blog

Seesmic continues to tweak features

Seesmic on Monday released an update that adds more minor features to the Twitter and Facebook desktop manager.

The cross-platform Adobe AIR app will now auto-complete Twitter usernames, a feature that competitor TweetDeck has offered for a while. Seesmic 0.5 also adds a home timeline configuration, so you can include or exclude replies, private messages, and search results from one column.

Other minor changes include maximizing and bringing to the front the Seesmic window when you click on the notification pop-up window, and optionally minimizing the program to the system tray in Windows. The full list of changes can … Read more

Windows 7 jump lists come to Chrome

Google Chrome fans who live on the edge and use the developer's build now get access to one of the best features in Windows 7. Browser jump-list access had previously been limited only to Internet Explorer, but Chrome version supports it.

The jump list, accessible by right-clicking on the Chrome taskbar icon or by holding down the left mouse button and dragging, mimics the Internet Explorer jump list. What IE calls "Frequent", Chrome labels "Most Visited Sites", but both merely show your most frequently visited Web sites. Both lists of URLs … Read more

Search for words and provide planetary defense: iPhone apps of the week

The latest Apple rumor is that the iPhone 3G will soon be replaced by a low-priced 8GB iPhone 3GS. Apparently, Rogers Wireless in Canada sent out a memo that implies the $99 iPhone 3G pricing announced at WWDC earlier this summer was to get rid of inventory to make way for the faster 3GS. Though nobody knows what the price might be on the new iPhone (or even if this rumor is true), it would be exciting to see a smaller 3GS for those who don't need all the space. While we wait to see what the next thing … Read more

Microsoft joins HTML 5 standard fray in earnest

After leaving much of the creation of a new version of HTML to Apple, Google, Opera, and Mozilla, Microsoft has begun sinking its teeth into the Web standard.

The move adds clout to the effort to renovate HyperText Markup Language, the standard used to describe Web pages, which last was formally updated in 1999. In a mailing list posting on Friday, the software giant offered a host of questions and concerns with the present proposal.

"As part of our planning for future work, the IE team is reviewing the current editor's draft of the HTML5 spec and gathering our thoughts. We want to share our feedback and discuss this in the working group," said Internet Explorer Program Manager Adrian Bateman in the message. "I will post our notes as we collect them so we can iterate on our thinking more quickly. At this stage we have more questions than answers, but I believe that discussing them in public is the best way to make progress."

HTML 5 in its current draft form includes a number of significant advancements, notably several that make the Web a better foundation for applications, not just static Web pages. Among the present HTML 5 features are built-in video and audio, the ability to store data on a local computer to enable use of Web applications even when offline, Web Workers that can perform computational chores in the background without bogging down Web application responsiveness, Canvas for creating sophisticated two-dimensional graphics, and drag-and-drop for better Web application user interfaces. … Read more

When one Dock isn't enough

As an integral part of the Mac OS X interface from the beginning, all Mac users know the Dock is where people can launch their most-used software and check to see which programs are currently running. I always find it interesting to see how people use the Dock on their Macs because its inherent flexibility makes it something personal for every user. Everyone has a specific way they work or play, and the Dock is easily customized to fit each person's style.

A program I discovered today makes the Dock in Leopard even more flexible and customizable for the … Read more

Prototype gets ribboned

I am possibly the only one among my co-workers who hasn't moved to Office 2007. I just can't stand the ribbon toolbar, which makes working with documents require a lot of mouse clicking. The traditional menus have been working just fine and I prefer being able to move around with keyboard shortcuts.

It's sad that together with Windows 7, Microsoft is forcing this new user interface on all of us. Applications that come with the new operating system, such as Write or Paint, are also using the ribbon toolbar instead of menus.

And it seems Sun is … Read more

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