The Download Blog

iPhone apps of the week

Before we get to this week's apps, I ran into a problem recently with my iPhone that I was able to quickly fix after a little online research. I had recently synced my iPhone only to find that most of my music was gone. When I got home and plugged in to my computer I saw that most of my storage space was taken up by "Other." Only about a third was music, about 900MB for apps (you better believe it!), and some smallish amount for photos. But more than half of the storage space out of … Read more

Featured Freeware: KidZui

KidZui for Windows and Mac seems like a kid-ified browser with social networking rolled in. Children can find their favorite YouTube videos, rate content using tags, and share opinions with other KidZui friends, all from a colorful interface with big buttons and labels. KidZui is anything but a standard childrens' browser, though, and what makes it so unique is precisely why it's such a safe tool for children.

KidZui is a closed system, not filter-driven, so all content that's available has been approved by editors into a whitelist database. Children can explore the Internet by using the search/… Read more

Firefox, Chrome virtually tied for JavaScript speed

On Tuesday, Mozilla released Firefox 3.1 beta 2 and Google released Chrome 0.4.154.33, so it's time for the latest installment of JavaScript performance testing.

Here's the highlight: Though Firefox remains the leader on the SunSpider test, with a score of 2,110, Chrome edged very close with 2,140. A lower score is better; because of some variation in results, the numbers I quoted are an average of several runs.

Firefox and Chrome aren't the only browsers out there, but they're interesting to compare for a few reasons. First, they're both … Read more

First Look video: Evernote for Windows, Mac, and Mobile

How do you take and keep notes to yourself? With a desktop calendar, or even with Post-Its?

The freemium note-taking service Evernote not only takes multimedia notes--audio, photo, and text--but also syncs them to your Mac, PC, iPhone, Windows Mobile phone, and to the Web. That puts your videos, photos, scribbles, dictations, and other notes to yourself within reach wherever you have Internet or one of free Evernote's apps.

Watch this Fist Look video to see how Evernote works on them all.

Which tax-prep service is right for you?

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

The prices for Intuit TurboTax and H&R Block TaxCut have shifted significantly, making it tough to tell how much you'll actually pay to file 2008 returns using their software or online services.

Among the good news is that both brands now offer free federal electronic filing, which has cost up to an additional $20 in the past. But some users of the market-leading TurboTax desktop software are venting bitterly on online forums about Intuit's new charge of $9.95 for each federal return prepared beyond … Read more

Picasa's Mac uploader now downloads too

Google's latest version of its software-based Picasa uploader for Mac has a handy new trick up its sleeve. It now lets you download entire albums back to your computer, making it a simple tool for backing up large photo libraries.

The Windows and Linux version of Picasa have allowed you to do this for some time, but seeing as Mac users do not (yet) have a version of Picasa to call their own, this is a far better option than downloading the originals one at a time from the Web, or having to use third-party programs.

I gave it … Read more

Appcelerator Titanium puts more Web apps on your desktop

The line between Web and desktop apps is getting fuzzier Tuesday, with the preview release of Appcelerator Titanium, platform designed to turn Web app developers into desktop and mobile phone developers.

Appcelerator, which makes an open source Web app framework, is targeting Titanium at Web developers who want to bite off a chunk of the desktop market while still using their HTML, CSS and JavaScript skills. Titanium will be going head-to-head against Adobe AIR, letting developers using Appcelerator's SDK compile installable versions of their apps for PCs and Macs (a Linux version is coming later).

Titanium apps are more … Read more

Firefox 3.1 gets some privacy

The much-anticipated Firefox 3.1 beta 2 is out and about for Windows and Mac users, incorporating the faster JavaScript engine TraceMonkey as the default setting and introducing Private Browsing, which has been in development for years. There are other improvements, of course, but the big one is the ability to turn off the cache and other private data settings with a single click.

Private Browsing works similarly to Google Chrome's Incognito, or Safari's setting of the same name. Go into Tools on the Menubar and click Private Browsing, and all your movements on the Internet will not … Read more

iPhone apps of the week

Now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing, maybe it's time to let Santa know he can always get you a gift certificate to the iTunes store so you can buy more apps! While there are plenty of great free offerings available, I've come across a couple of fun games in the paid section that might be perfect as a stocking stuffer. But just so you have something to download today, I discovered a great free game for those who don't want to fork over their hard cold cash.

TouchGrind ($4.99) is a high-quality … Read more

Second Firefox 3.1 beta due 'very shortly'

Update 6:15 p.m. PST: An earlier version of this story said the second beta version of Firefox 3.1 would likely be the last. Firefox is planning a third beta version. Also, added a comment from Paul Rouget about when the second beta version will likely be released.

The second beta version of Firefox 3.1 is "due out very shortly," Mozilla programmer Ben Turner said Thursday.

One big change in the 3.1b2 is the addition of "Web workers," a feature that lets the browser process tasks in the background. That feature, part … Read more