The Download Blog

LimeWire mixing social networking, P2P

LAS VEGAS--Get ready for the collision of social networking and peer-to-peer file sharing.

With the beta release of LimeWire 5.0 (download for Windows| Mac), which was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show here, the popular P2P service is incorporating a social element that will enable people using Jabber-compatible services like Gmail to share files with friends on their buddy lists. Lime Wire calls this a "personal sharing network."

The idea, said Lime Wire CEO George Searle, is to add trusted context to user searches for content, given that people are more likely to want--and feel comfortable with--content … Read more

FileMaker Pro 10 released

Probably the most popular pro-level database maker for the Mac, FileMaker Pro has just released a major update to coincide with Macworld 2009. Offering a sleek new interface that's as nice to look at as it is intuitive, FileMaker Pro's new Status Toolbar puts commonly used features right where you need them. Even if you're not happy with the default layout of the new toolbar, you can easily customize the available icons to improve the work flow for specific projects.

The new browse feature gives you a centralized location for navigating to different parts of your database … Read more

A quick talk with Scott Cook, Intuit's co-founder and chief booth babe

I spied Scott Cook, a founder and former CEO of Intuit, which makes Quicken and Quickbooks, at his company's Macworld booth, giving demos just like any booth worker.

That's curious--you don't see big company billionaires mingling with consumers in a frenzied trade show environment too often (although you should). So I snared him for a quick interview about his booth duty and the plans for Intuit overall.

Regarding hanging out with The People, Cook simply said that it's a great way to get customers to talk to him for free (versus paid surveys, I assume) and … Read more

iLife '09 adds feature tweaks and fun

At the Macworld 2009 keynote presentation this morning given by Phill Schiller (Steve Jobs was absent this year due to widely reported health issues), one of the more exciting new software developments was to the iLife suite of software for Mac.

Long touted as the comprehensive suite from Apple to manage your digital lifestyle, iLife includes the popular Mac apps iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, iDVD, and iWeb. Over the course of the speech, several enhancements to each software were given screen time, and many of the new features were those long requested by fans as well as innovative new features from … Read more

TechSmith's screencast service Jing goes pro

On Tuesday, TechSmith released Jing Pro, a paid premium version of its free screen capture and casting software. The new service, which runs $14.95 a year, upgrades videos to H.264 encoding, takes off the Jing watermark in the bottom corner of recorded clips, and gives users the option to upload directly to several popular video hosting sites including Facebook, YouTube, Viddler, and Vimeo.

Of the news, one of the biggest changes is the move to the MPEG-4 AVC video format. It's the go-to format for iPods and iPhones, as well as set-top boxes like the Apple TV … Read more

Skype 2.8 for Mac to launch Tuesday

Skype 2.8 for Mac will ship on Tuesday, with new features including screen sharing and an integrated Wi-Fi hot spot connector.

Available only for Mac OS X at first, the new version will add screen-sharing capabilities to the app's voice, video, and chat communications features. Skype spokespeople told me that users will be able to run all four channels at once with acceptable performance.

Screen sharing is useful in business settings (I get a lot of demos over apps like Webex, for example), but it has personal applications as well: People could share photographs, and presumably videos as … Read more

Google to release Picasa beta for Mac

Google plans to release on Monday a beta version of Picasa for Mac OS X, helping Apple fans catch up to Windows and Linux users already employing the free tool for editing, cataloging, and uploading photos.

The Mac version largely matches the features in Picasa 3 for Windows, said Jason Cook, Picasa's marketing manager. Though the company has been scrambling to include some secondary features such as geotagging and the ability to get photos printed, the core abilities of Picasa are present, he said.

Picasa lets people edit and print photos, create collages and movies, and add labels, star ratings, and tags. More significantly, given Google's cloud-computing focus, it also lets people upload their images to the company's online Picasa Web Albums site where images can be shared. Google acquired Picasa in 2004.

"We have many Mac users," Cook said, though declining to offer any estimates, "and we think they'll be excited about this. It makes the Picasa Web Albums experience better." … Read more

Soonr launches killer document sync for iPhone

Soonr, a Webware 100 winner in 2007, has a fresh new look and a killer iPhone application.

Soonr's free service and accompanying App Store download allows users to store up to 500MB of files, which they can access on the go, from the iPhone or a standard Web browser.

New users create their account on their iPhone and then download a desktop application (available for PC or Mac) which handles the synchronization of files. In the same form of other desktop-syncing applications, the user only has to choose the directories that they want to keep updated, and any changes … Read more

New Firefox themes for a new year

Tonight you're probably going to make some hefty New Year's resolutions, which statistically you're never going to keep. Why not at least make a change you know will make a difference immediately? A Firefox theme can change the feel of your browser and all it takes is a simple download. You can't just waltz into a new year without making a few changes, right?

We've put together a nice slide show of downloadable Firefox themes so you can improve your browsing experience in the New Year.