The Download Blog

EFF introduces Switzerland...the program

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released an open-source, cross-platform program designed to track your packets and determine if your ISP is throttling your connection to torrents, VoIP, and other legal, high-bandwidth consuming communications. Called "Switzerland" and licensed under the GPL, it's very much in an alpha state and is only a command-line tool at the moment. Also, you're going to have to compile it yourself--that's not the most challenging task, but this isn't a simple self-extracting app.

According to the EFF, Switzerland works by spotting IP packets that have been forged or modified between … Read more

PicLens adds YouTube, Amazon

The fun browser add-on PicLens has incorporated YouTube and into the short but hopefully soon-to-grow list of supported Web sites. Compatible with Firefox on Windows and Mac, Internet Explorer, and Safari, PicLens recreates your surfing experience with a futuristic graphical display.

As Rafe talked about in February, PicLens highlights the image content of a site and allows you to whip back and forth using mouse gestures instead of conventional static browsing. If you're familiar with how it works with an image site like Flickr, the YouTube interface is identical. The PicLens plug-in will install a grid button … Read more

New Reviews: Tweaking OS X

Mac OS X looks great and runs smoothly right out of the box. But if you wanted to make minor tweaks to the interface or automate specific maintenance tasks, in the past you had to know how to use the command line. Fortunately, some savvy developers have made it possible to perform once-difficult tasks through the use of an easy-to-understand interface. We have a couple of freshly-reviewed programs this week that make tweaks and useful maintenance tasks in Mac OS X much easier for the regular user.

Cocktail (Leopard or Tiger) is perfect for those who like to tinker with … Read more

Featured Freeware: AppCleaner

Correcting a long-standing oversight by Apple, AppCleaner completely removes unwanted programs from your Mac OS. Dragging applications to the Trash just isn't enough because almost every app installs various support files in several different places all over your computer.

AppCleaner is one of the best utilities around to help you track down and delete these files. It provides a slick, 3D interface and two options for deletion: you can either drag and drop applications onto AppCleaner's main window, or you can have AppCleaner list potential applications--and even widgets, plugins, and screensavers--to uninstall. The program will then show you … Read more

Open your jukebox: Open-source alternatives for music management

Not mere freeware, but open-source alternatives are well-known for nearly every major category of software. Firefox and Linux are probably the most famous, but OpenOffice, GIMP, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Miro, and others have made themselves known in practically every genre. Heck, there's even an open-source firmware for your portable MP3 player--Rockbox.

One area that's been notably lacking some open-source love has been music jukeboxes. Competing with iTunes takes serious chops, even for programs that haven't opened their code like Winamp and MediaMonkey. However, there are a growing number of iTunes competitors that are gloriously open. Two that … Read more

Security patch for Thunderbird

Mozilla has released an update for its open-source e-mail client, Thunderbird. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, none of the changes in version are flagged as critical or high, but it's still a good idea to update. They address remote code execution, spoofed peer certifications, and crashes because of memory corruption.

There's been no new information on when Thunderbird 3 will be released, but if you want to try a buggy alpha version, Shredder is the Thunderbird 3 alpha release and is available.

New Reviews: The Mac uninstallers

As a software reviewer, I download a lot of programs to test them out. Some are great programs deserving of a space on my hard drive while others just are not up to snuff. With all the available software here at CNET, you've probably found a few gems worth keeping, but you've inevitably also downloaded a few programs that just didn't work out. We understand.

On a Windows machine, you can go to the control panel and choose the Add/Remove programs tool to find and uninstall software you don't want. But on a … Read more

Gloss: Flock goes fashionable

Social-networking savant Flock has announced a re-branded version of its browser aimed at fashionistas. At the very least, it's aimed at people who like the color pink and lipstick marks on their advertising. Called Gloss, it's a pink-and-purple themed edition of Flock 1.2 that comes with fashion-related feeds and bookmarks pre-loaded.

The list of baked-in feeds for the Windows-only Gloss includes Cosmopolitan, TMZ,, PopSugar, and These Boots Are Made for Stalking.

Gloss is getting pimped as a "fun" version of Flock, although I could've sworn that Flock received the same PR campaign … Read more

First Look video: iTunes (Mac)

iTunes needs little in the way of an introduction--especially for Mac users. Apple's popular media player comes equipped with the capability to play your music, rip CDs, help you buy music from the iTunes Store, and much more. Those with new iPhones (or the latest firmware update) should definitely download this latest version to gain access to Apple's iPhone App Store.

Check out this First Look video with's Jason Parker to find out a little more about iTunes, along with some features and hot-keys experienced users may not already know.

Featured Freeware: TrueCrypt

The ultimate open-source encryption program, TrueCrypt is loaded with powerful features that those concerned with protecting their data from thievery should want--and have.

It offers 11 algorithms for encrypting your private files in a password-protected volume. You can store your encrypted data in files (containers) or partitions (devices). TrueCrypt works hard to offer powerful data protection, recommending complex passwords, explaining the benefits of hidden volumes, and erasing telltale signs of the encryption process, including mouse movements and keystrokes. Though the interface may not be immediately intuitive, its powerful, on-the-fly encryption for no cost still earns the freeware security tool a … Read more