The Download Blog

Featured Freeware: The Filter

The Filter is a multijukebox plug-in for Windows and Mac that uses artificial intelligence and the All Music Guide database to create custom iTunes, Winamp, and Windows Media Player playlists based on a variety of user inputs, such as a few songs of your choice, specific artists, or music genres. It also works for video, including movies, TV shows, and Web-only videos.

Upon start-up, The Filter scans your entire music library, which takes considerable time if you have more than 10,000 tracks. It compares the metadata for those files against the All Media Guide database, as well as your … Read more

Featured Freeware: Lockdown

Lockdown is a donation-ware application that can help you secure your Mac against physical tampering. It disables your Mac to would-be intruders by sounding an alarm whenever a variety of user-specified triggers is set off, including your Macs motion sensor. It also can lockdown the keyboard, mouse, and other external devices, or--for MacBooks--your lid, trackpad, or MagSafe adapter.

Lockdown sounds a loud alarm and prevents your Mac from being put to sleep or muted, and it can also take and e-mail a picture using your iSight camera. Lockdown is most effective by far when combined with an Apple Remote, which … Read more

iPhone apps of the week

One of the first criticisms people had about the iPhone was that it was too hard to type effectively using the touch screen. It was all over the tech news sites and even here at CNET. Of course, as time went on and anyone who had the iPhone for a while figured out, you eventually got used it. Now, I can rattle off text messages and e-mails faster than I ever could using a regular mobile phone. But there are still some who find the keys on the touch screen too close together (or have large fingers) and no matter … Read more

StreamDesk brings Web shows to your desktop

If you've ever wanted to watch streaming video right on your desktop, and organize all your favorite streams in a single bucket, it's worth checking out StreamDesk. This cross-platform desktop application plays video streams from a variety of sources in a simple player that cuts out the browser completely and turns each show into a small, floating window.

Included are more than 100 various streaming video shows from a small handful of providers. If you come across one that isn't live, you're out of luck, otherwise live shows begin to stream in almost instantly. Shows you … Read more

Making the Internet safe for kids, one vid at a time

When you first look at it, KidZui seems a bit like a kiddified Flock, a Web browser with social networking rolled in. Children using Windows or Macs can find their favorite YouTube videos, rate content using tags, and share opinions, all from a colorful interface with big buttons and clear, clean labeling.

Billing itself as "the Internet for kids," it turns out that KidZui is anything but a standard kids' browser, and what makes it so unique is precisely why it's such a safe tool for children to use.

KidZui is a closed system of pre-approved content, … Read more

Firefox updates include a dozen security fixes

On Wednesday, Mozilla released Firefox 3.0.4 (download for Windows and Mac) and Firefox 2.0.0.18 to address a dozen security flaws, half of which the browser maker ranks as critical. Among the critical is one that could allow an attacker privilege escalation after a session restore. Another could allow arbitrary code to execute with compromised Flash media files.

The updates are pushed automatically to current users and will take effect the next time the browser is restarted. Updates will soon no longer be available for users of Firefox 2; the update is a security update only. … Read more

Pixelmator: Image editing for the rest of us

Though Photoshop rules the roost when it comes to image-editing software, not everyone needs many of the more advanced functions Photoshop has to offer. Many casual digital camera users probably don't want to spend the money on higher-end software, either.

That's where Pixelmator comes in. With Pixelmator ($59) you get most of the tools, color-correction features, effects, and layer management options you would find in a program like Photoshop, but without the steep price tag. The recently released version 1.3 adds several more useful features and fixes bugs from previous versions.

Familiar image-editing tools like the selector, … Read more

BrowserPlus escapes Yahoo walled garden

Yahoo has improved its BrowserPlus technology for more sophisticated Web applications and now lets other Web sites besides its own use it, the company said.

BrowserPlus, like Google's Gears, is software that can be plugged into a person's Web browser to make Web-based applications work more like native desktop programs.

One key feature, for example, is a better upload interface that gets around the tedious requirement at most Web sites that people individually select each photo, video, or other file to be uploaded. Another is desktop notifications, letting a Web-based e-mail, calendar, or instant messaging application notify a … Read more

Featured Freeware: Read It Later

This Firefox extension should appeal to anybody trying to minimize bookmark and open tab clutter. Read It Later gives you a one-click option for saving the links and keeping track of which ones have been read. It also now sports deep integration with Google Reader, adding little check marks next to blog posts. Clicking one lets you mark it to read later on.

When you first start the extension, it will prompt you to install the two Toolbar buttons that are used to control the extension and manage your reading list. Users can also control adding bookmarks to their reading … Read more

iPhone apps of the week

I hate to start off this week's post with a another pet peeve I have, but I must say something about a problem I have with the iPhone/iTunes marriage. As always, please let me know if I'm missing something that might help my problem in the comments!

My question is this: Why can't I buy an app from the app store through iTunes on any computer and download it to my iPhone?

Understandably, I synced my iPhone to my home computer because that's where all my music is. But when I come to work and … Read more