The Download Blog

Featured Freeware: ThunderBrowse

ThunderBrowse remains one of the best plug-ins for Mozilla Thunderbird. It's a favorite of mine, but if you haven't tried it recently there are some excellent new features worth noting.

If you've never used it before, ThunderBrowse lets you open Web links in Thunderbird's preview pane. It's that simple, which is why it's such an useful tool to have. From social networking friend invites to quickly scanning that hometown article sent by Your Dear Ma, ThunderBrowse cuts out huge chunks of time from your work flow by speedily opening HTML pages in its own … Read more

Password helper PassPack goes offline (in a good way)

PassPack is a password-saving service I first checked out back in January of last year. This past week it released a really cool and smart password-saving tool that exists separately from your browser and lets you manage your passwords while offline. It also syncs up with PassPack's cloud storage to let you access your shared passwords, then sync them to multiple, authorized computers.

The application's claim to fame is that you can access your passwords while offline and without the use of your browser. If you don't feel like installing a new, standalone app, you can get … Read more

Featured Freeware: Adium

Formerly one of the most popular and customizable third-party clients for AOL Instant Messager, Adium faded from the public eye during development. The supercharged new version emerges from hibernation as Adium X. It supports multiple services, including AIM, Yahoo, MSN, and Napster. Part of what made the original Adium so attractive was its multitude of options, which still forms the core of this revision.

Adium allows for an incredible level of customization, with near-infinite tailoring of the user interface to make the buddy dock and chat windows look and behave as you wish. Adium supports group chats, displays your status … Read more

Featured Freeware: Evernote

Functional, useful, and always on, the note-taking application Evernote goes beyond mere cool program architecture and is also interesting. It's a true three-platform play: it works very well, and somewhat differently, on desktop computers, mobile phones, and over the Web. You can download it for Windows, Mac, and your mobile phone.

One of the cooler features is that when Evernote runs on your camera phone, it will automatically upload your snapshots to the Evernote server, creating a useful archive of them. The killer feature is that it also does OCR on your images so you can find them later … Read more

Guinness bestows download record on Firefox

The de facto registrar of superlative achievements has credited Mozilla for officially setting a record for downloads in a 24-hour period: 8,002,530 copies of Firefox.

Mozilla's Download Day on June 17, whose server-crippling success delayed its official start, sought to popularize the open-source Web browser. Mozilla, which oversees the Firefox project, projected at the time that it cleared 8 million, but the number is now official.

"As the arbiter and recorder of the world's amazing facts, Guinness World Records is pleased to add Mozilla's achievement to our archives," Gareth Deaves, Guinness' records manager, … Read more

Adobe unveils Reader 9 with Flash

Adobe released on Tuesday the first Reader application to bake movies and animation into the Portable Document Format.

With Adobe Reader 9, users can play Flash movies, Shockwave animation, and other rich media content without needing to open a third-party player.

PDFs are reaching new levels of interactivity with this release. Past versions of the nearly ubiquitous and free application, by contrast, have enabled dynamic forms but served largely to open print-ready PDFs.

The update is supposed to load more quickly than version 8, addressing the gripes of many users who felt that Reader slowed down Web surfing.

Adobe has … Read more

Featured Freeware: Google SketchUp

We all know that Google is more than capable of doing excellent webware for productivity, but isn't 3D design a bit of a stretch?

Google SketchUp for Windows and Mac is a 3D-modeling program of powerful drawing tools that boasts an intuitiveness many design programs fail to achieve. On first impression, SketchUp looks like it sacrificed function for simplicity, but that's not the case. Despite the extremely user-friendly interface, SketchUp offers a high-end range of powerful 3D-drawing tools that let you experiment and play with new designs.

Using basic shapes in 3D space for your outline, you can … Read more

Apple updates Leopard to 10.5.4

Apple has released Mac OS X 10.5.4, the fourth update to Leopard since it was released last October.

The new version contains the usual mix of bug fixes and security updates, with iCal getting the most attention. iCal won't delete events without telling you as a result of the latest update, for example, and Apple said the update "improves overall iCal reliability." Airport and Spaces & Expose also received some updates.

MacRumors.com notes that the update paves the way for Apple to release the MobileMe service, the successor to .Mac unveiled by Apple at … Read more

Power Downloader makes screenshots Jing-le

One of the most effective computer crime-fighting tools in Power Downloader's arsenal is the screen capture. When Power D grabs a cap and uploads it to the Web for the world to see, he knows he's presenting advice to computer users in a very unimpeachable way. Effective screen-capping used to be a tedious multistep process, but the Jing Project streamlines it all for both Windows and Mac users.

From the team behind the screen-recording utility Camtasia, Jing is able to capture still images as well as videos. Once you've downloaded and installed the program, click the Capture … Read more

Growl for Mac keeps you notified

When you're working on your Mac, sometimes things happen in the background that you would like to keep track of while working in another application, such as when a friend comes online in your chat client, you receive a new e-mail or Skype call, or your CD is finished burning.

Fortunately, there's a free notification system called Growl that has become a Mac favorite for its flexibility and elegant interface. You can configure Growl to notify you when a download is complete, when a DVD is finished ripping, when your FTP client is done uploading or downloading, or … Read more