The Download Blog

Opera 10 alpha claims Acid3 perfection

Thirteen-year-old Opera has been the perennial underdog in the browser wars, but Opera 10 alpha brings some unexpected firepower to the field. Unlike Google Chrome, Firefox 3, or any other browser on the market except for Safari 4 Developer Preview, Opera 10 will comply fully with the Acid3 test, according to the Norwegian publisher.

Expected to be available now for public testing, Opera 10 is powered by an update to its proprietary rendering engine. Presto 2.2 is supposed to be 30 percent faster than Presto 2.1, the engine driving Opera 9.5. Presto 2.2, says the company, … Read more

Featured Freeware: StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon wears a lot of hats: random Web site surfer, social networker, social bookmarker, site reviewer. It's a powerful little add-on for Firefox and Internet Explorer.

One click is all it takes to get going with this toolbar, which encourages random discovery on the Internet based on your interests. The "Stumble!" logo whips you around the Net, but at the your pace, based on categories you choose during installation. Hundreds of topics are available and can be updated at will, with no selection limit. Other StumbleUpon functions are just as user-friendly. A click on the toolbar's &… Read more

Google Earth browser plug-in arrives for Mac

Google has released a Mac OS X version of a plug-in that lets people use its Google Earth software as a browser plug-in.

The move means a smaller but significant crowd can rely on Web pages that employ the sophisticated aerial viewing options the software provides. But Mac fans should brace themselves for a 47MB download from the Google Earth API page.

The size is large because Google provided a universal binary file that runs on both PowerPC-based and Intel-based Macs, a Google representative said in a forum posting about the availability of the Mac version. "There are also … Read more

Apple deletes Mac antivirus suggestion

Updated 7:45 p.m. PST with expert comment, at 7:20 p.m. PST with context on previous coverage, and at 7:08 p.m. PST with background.

Apple removed an old item from its support site late Tuesday that urged Mac customers to use multiple antivirus utilities and now says the Mac is safe "out of the box."

"We have removed the KnowledgeBase article because it was old and inaccurate," Apple spokesperson Bill Evans said.

"The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out … Read more

Music and browsing take flight in Songbird

Music and browsing mashup Songbird has kicked the remnants of its shell to the curb. With the release of version 1.0.0 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, the program's main emphasis as a music browser couldn't be more clear.

If you looked at some of the earlier beta versions, Songbird's interface borrowed heavily from Firefox. More recent versions took their cue from iTunes, with Web browsing occurring in a second tab. Although toggling between your music library and the browser is as easy as switching tabs, since Songbird opens your library by default it's apparent … Read more

Google Calendar officially comes to Apple's iCal

Google on Monday formally announced full support for the CalDAV protocol along with the release of a small piece of software for Mac computers that lets users easily link up their Google Calendars with the iCal application.

Google had previously launched CalDAV support back in late July, however, consumers had to manually add their calendars directly to CalDAV-supporting applications like Mozilla Sunbird and Apple's iCal. The new Mac utility, named "Calaboration" simply lets users plug in their Google Calendar username and password to send Google calendars over to iCal. The benefit of doing this is the two-way … Read more

iPhone apps of the week

Before I get to this weeks apps, I found out about some bargain basement prices for a small selection of apps from Ambrosia Software. Aki Mahjong Mobile, Mondo Solitaire, and Mr. Sudoko are all on sale for 99-cents at the app store until November 30th (usually $9.99). If you have any interest in these games, now is the time to start downloading!

For this weeks apps, I'm including one free and one paid app.

The Weather Channel for iPhone and iPod touch offers a wealth of weather information beyond what you get from the free app that's … Read more

Featured Freeware: Twhirl

Built on Adobe AIR, Twhirl is a stand-out Twitter service that rolls the functionality of many ancillary services into one. For example, Twhirl automatically posts TinyURLs in place of long URLs, sends photos to TwitPic, and searches for Twitter topics using a built-in TweetScan engine. In the settings, you can configure Twhirl to cross-post updates to Jaiku and Pownce, much like the service Ping.fm.

Though cheery, the interface is also economical, providing extensive options for viewing and updating statuses and messages for all your Twitter and Friendfeed accounts without overcrowding the small screen. The preferences let you customize your … Read more

TextFlow makes multiple author edits less painful

TextFlow, a new way to collaboratively edit documents, is opening up to everyone Monday morning. Instead of going the real-time route like Zoho and Google Docs, the service opts to let a master editor corral multiple versions of the same Microsoft Word document inside of one file.

Each editor sends in a copy of the file (presumably via e-mail), and the master editor drags and drops all of them into a single bucket. The application then divides the edits into sections, letting the master editor pick whichever revisions make the most sense. When finished, he or she can convert it … Read more

Featured Freeware: AppTrap

Sometimes the best interface is no interface at all. Compared with other Mac uninstall programs, AppTrap is simplicity itself--and it really does seem to provide the uninstall functionality that Apple "forgot" in OS X.

AppTrap is not actually an app but rather a System Preference pane, which you install and then it runs in the background (and you can set AppTrap to automatically start at log-in). Whenever you drag an application to the Trash, AppTrap will prompt you to delete all the application's related files, including any files installed in that application's cache, library, or application … Read more