The Download Blog

Ambrosia games bundle for Mac

Our friends at Ambrosia Software just told us about their 15th Anniversary Games Bundle, and if you're looking for a great gift for the Mac gamer in your life, this is a great deal.

The $19 bundle includes six games from Ambrosia's stable of fun and creatively-written games for the Mac: Apeiron, Bubble Trouble, Redline, SketchFighter, Aki Mahjong, and Darwinia.

Apeiron and Bubble Trouble are arcade-style, friendly games with bright graphics and entertaining game play for kids and adults alike. Aki Mahjong is an elegant take on the tile-based Chinese Solitaire-type game.

SketchFighter is designed in a pen-and-ink … Read more

Yahoo shows ads in IM chat windows

Updated 4 p.m. PST with further Yahoo comment.

Yahoo Messenger (Windows | Mac) long has shown ads on its buddy list window, but the Internet pioneer is testing them in the instant-messaging chat windows as well.

The ads are part of a test that began in August and ends in December, Yahoo said in a statement. One example we saw here at CNET shows an ad for MasterCard.

"Ads in Yahoo Messenger will allow us to put even more resources behind developing and delivering valuable free features and services," Yahoo said. "Yahoo Messenger is a free service … Read more

Evernote now syncs your files across devices

Evernote, a tool Rafe Needleman and I both use regularly to take notes and archive scanned documents, put out a new and useful feature early Wednesday. Now, when attaching a file to a note it will be available everywhere else once it's been synced. If a change is made to that file, those changes get updated in all other locations shortly thereafter, mimicking the behavior of creating and syncing text notes on the service.

While not being an official hard drive in the cloud, this step brings Evernote a little closer. You still have to attach your files to … Read more

Turn Google, Yahoo search results into tag clouds

Search Cloudlet is a Firefox extension from the International Software and Productivity Engineering Institute (INTSPEI) that gives users a cloud of tags to help modify and focus searches on Google and Yahoo. Once installed it will show up on top of search results and provides a simple way to tweak the original query by offering up keywords pulled from the results.

Words that appear more often in the results appear as bigger, bolder tags that you can click on to re-start the query with that word tacked on. The creators recommend dialing up the number of default search results to … Read more

CNET TV: 10 Firefox keyboard shortcuts

Which gives you faster browsing in Firefox, the keyboard or the mouse?

The keyboard, of course. Every time you lift your fingers to open a new page or switch tabs, you lose seconds of productivity time.

Commit some of CNET Executive Editor Tom Merritt's tips to memory, however, and that precious time can become yours again.

Control Tab is my favorite shortcut. Which is yours?

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, 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