The Download Blog

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

Firefox 3.5 'Web upgrade' planned for end of June

Mozilla plans to issue a release candidate for Firefox 3.5 on Friday and the final version by the end of the month, Firefox director Mike Beltzner said Tuesday.

The browser, code-named Shiretoko, began its life as a modest 3.1 upgrade. But as Mozilla's ambitions expanded and other browsers such as Google Chrome exerted competitive pressure, the new Firefox was promoted to version 3.5 and its planned ship date slid back several months. You can grab the Firefox 3.5 beta for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Firefox 3.5 comes with a spate of new features--5,000 … Read more

Flip Video gets channels, iPhone app for viewing

Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the Flip series digital video recorders, has a new update for its FlipShare software going out Tuesday that makes it easier to share videos without having to use YouTube, MySpace, or another video hosts.

Users can now create channels that can only be accessed by users who have been invited by e-mail. Any time you add a video to one of these channels, the people on your list get a message that contains thumbnail previews and direct links to the newly added clips. While the video quality may not be up to snuff compared with … Read more

Safari numbers still dwarfed by Firefox downloads

Apple has been desperately trying to turn Safari into a mainstream browser player. Unfortunately, its numbers simply don't compare to Firefox.

Safari 4.0 notched 11 million downloads in just three days. While significant, this number is almost a rounding error compared with Firefox 3.0.11, which pulled down 150 million downloads in just 24 hours, as Mozilla's Asa Dotzler reports.

With more than 300 million active users of Firefox, Mozilla is miles ahead of Safari in terms of users. Firefox also dwarfs Safari (and Internet Explorer) in community; indeed, it is Firefox's rich ecosystem of add-ons and extensions that arguably render irrelevant any performance advantages Safari claims.… Read more

Peggle for iPhone goes on sale

Have you played Peggle? This iPhone game came out some time ago and was an immediate hit at the app store for its strange and extremely addictive gameplay. The game just went on sale for 99 cents, but it will only last until midnight Sunday, June 14.

The object of Peggle is to shoot balls from the top of the screen and hit all the orange pegs before you run out of balls. You can use the touch screen or the scroll wheel to aim your shot, but make sure that the shot ricochets in a direction that will hit … Read more

10 widgets for Opera users to sing about

When Opera released its widget software development kit last year, there was little doubt that some cool applications would make their way to the company's browser. More than a year later, they indeed have.

I've been sifting through hundreds of Opera widgets that all work with the Opera browser for your Mac, Linux box, or PC. I've found 10 that stand out from the others. Opera users should definitely try these out.

10 Opera widgets

Brainkrieg Brainkrieg is a fun game that does its best to "exercise your brain." The tool gives you a variety of games to play that test your memory and help you think. The point of the game is to decrease your brain age. It's somewhat similar to Brain Age on the Nintendo DS, but the latter is a bit more sophisticated.

Dotoo Dotoo is a to-do list widget in your Opera browser. You can create a host of to-do lists and access them all from within the widget. Adding tasks is as simple as pressing the "+" button under your list and inputting your task. It's not a sophisticated widget, so you won't be able to track your progress. But if you want to quickly add a few tasks, you should be happy with what you find.

Facebook Notifier Facebook Notifier gives you a listing of all your friends' recent status updates. You can't update your profile in the application, but you can easily access your profile with the links in the widget. It might not be the most useful app, but if you want to see what your friends are up to while you're browsing outside Facebook, it's a fine choice.… Read more

Bookmarks, security updates for Firefox 3.0.11

Mozilla has fixed a number of security holes and made some stability improvements to the public version of Firefox. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Firefox 3.0.11 also addresses a specific bug that would corrupt a user's bookmarks database.

According to the Bugzilla report, the corrupted bookmark database was the most common bug reported via Live Chat and in the Firefox support forum.

The security patches in v3.0.11 fix a hole in a JavaScript chrome execution along with other arbitrary code executions, URL spoofing, and memory corruption. The full list of security fixes can be … Read more

Live a virtual life and race against the clock: iPhone apps of the week

In addition to the big Apple announcements of new laptops and the iPhone 3G S at this weeks WWDC, other well-known developers used the conference as an opportunity to release some big name iPhone applications. I usually try to balance my coverage of iPhone apps by talking about one game and one useful utility, but with this week's big releases, I'm going to talk about two games. These games are both $9.99, so with the higher price point, I think it's worth it to give you the rundown of both so you can decide if you … Read more

Budget Shopping Tips: Software

Many of you already know how to get a great deal on software, but for those who could use a reminder, we've compiled a list of tips that take freeware, Webware, and boxed software into account.

Ditch the features

Ask yourself how many features of that $30, $60, or $200 program you're really going to use. If the answer is less than half, you can probably make do with freeware or with a less expensive shareware application. If you're already comfortable finding, downloading, and using freeware alternatives to pricey, branded software, then congratulations.

If you're not, there are a few ground rules to know. The programs may not always be as flashy or as feature-rich as the reigning app you're familiar with, and they may require you spend some time with the ReadMe file or Help Manual if they operate differently than you're used to. Yet on the whole, the freeware category is growing ever-more sophisticated in everything from interface design to customer support. If you hate the app, it costs you nothing but trial time, and you can always buy the full-priced software to replace it.

For a real-life example, take an image editor. Unless you're an advanced or frequent user, you may not actually need a program as fully caffeinated as Adobe Photoshop, especially if Paint.NET or GIMP's core features are what you'll actually use the majority of the time. With a little research, you can even find two or more freeware programs that cover the feature spectrum in a suite of pro-grade software. In fact, that's how we cobbled together our own Adobe Creative Suite.

How do you find freeware? We recommend CNET, of course, as your go-to source for discovering and downloading Mac and Windows freeware (also Mobile and Webware.) It's especially useful if you narrow your search results by free licenses (see the illustration at left).

You can also find Windows, Mac, and Linux alternatives from similar download catalogs. is another good source for the more adventurous and savvy users who are unafraid of choosing from a list of active builds and downloading through mirrors. Forums run by the open-source community may also reveal worthy freeware for those with time to investigate. While search engines are another path to freeware titles, some sites--especially those advertising cracks and serial numbers--are notorious for delivering malware. We recommend for Windows users to at the very least install an application to rate your search engine results as safe or suspicious, such as McAfee Site Advisor for Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Start off with these top freeware security apps and all-around apps for Windows. Mac users will find freeware in this Mac Starter Kit, plus less expensive alternatives to popular programs that are worth the asking price.… Read more