The Download Blog

Google brings GrandCentral to the desktop with 'Vocito'

Google has released a new application for Mac users called "Vocito" that puts GrandCentral calling right on your desktop. It integrates with OS X's address book, Automater app, and third-party applications like Blacktree's QuickSilver to let you start a GrandCentral-powered call no matter what you're doing on your machine.

Similar to JaJah and Jaxtr, Vocito's system for setting up calls involves you first picking who you want to call, then choosing which one of your GrandCentral-connected phones you want it to be connected from. You then hit dial and GrandCentral does the rest. It'… Read more

LogMeIn now rescuing distressed BlackBerrys

There's some good news for BlackBerry owners with broken or misbehaving phones on their hands: starting Monday, service providers and company IT departments using LogMeIn Rescue+Mobile to remotely cure mobile phones from whatever ails them can now support BlackBerry phones.

LogMeIn Rescue+Mobile is desktop software with a mobile component that lets technicians access the phone's entire file system from their remote dashboard (previous coverage). Prior to this release for BlackBerry OS 4.3+, the remote control software was compatible for Windows Mobile 5+, Symbian UIQ 9.0+, and Symbian S60 7.0+, in addition to Windows … Read more

Tab tearing live in latest Firefox test build

Good news for Firefox users who have lusted over Chrome and Safari's option that lets you "tear" away tabs from an open window. The latest build of 3.1 offers it as a standard feature--and it works marvelously.

As in Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari browsers you simply pull away a tab from the interface and it turns into its own window. Likewise you can drag it back into an already opened window, just like you'd do to re-order your existing tabs.

While not a ground-breaking feature, tab tearing is a large step … Read more

Google SketchUp 7 wants to shape you into a 3D artist

Google has released SketchUp 7 (download), the latest free version of its 3D modeling software, along with its premium counterpart, SketchUp 7 Pro.

Like previous iterations of the software, SketchUp 7 will enable you to model just about anything you'd like as long as you start with a predesigned template. The new version, released Monday, offers simple templates that help you gauge size through feet or meters, but it also includes architectural design, Google Earth, and a product design template to aid you in your modeling endeavors.

Once you choose a template, you're brought to a relatively simple … Read more

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