The Download Blog

WikidPad wikifies your life

I'm more than a bit skeptical of many of the online fads for staying organized, like 43 Things. They all seem to emphasize learning their system as much as using it, which does not inspire much confidence. WikidPad doesn't work that much differently, so I was hesitant to give it more than a second thought. What it does benefit from is the incorporated note-taking aspect, which links your work to your To Do list, and by an intuitive filtering system intuitive that helps you stay on top of stuff through a wiki lens.

Open-source, free, and cross-platform WikidPadRead more

Featured Freeware: iTunes

As old as it is, iTunes isn't the oldest free media player around. Since it was married to the iPod, though, there's been no denying that it's the industry standard for multipurpose jukebox software and that the program has become practically synonymous with media playback. Available for Windows and Mac, iTunes handles music and video equally well in a clean layout.

The bundling with the iPod and iPhone have made it the powerhouse that it is: neither device will function unless you connect it to iTunes first. The connections to the iTunes Store and App Store are … Read more

Featured Freeware: iSquint

Want to watch AVIs, MPEGs, and other movie files on your iPod? iSquint is a free utility that can help you do just that, without the need for QuickTime Pro. From the makers of the more feature-packed VisualHub, iSquint has a simple, streamlined interface that's designed around the app's basic, hassle-free functionality.

You just drag all the files that you want converted into the iSquint window, choose whether you want to optimize for iPod or TV viewing, and you're off. iSquint can give you even faster and better compression than QuickTime, especially when you choose H.264 … Read more

Bubbles and Fluid turn your favorite sites into apps

I may get fired for saying this, but I miss the convenience, focus, and robustness of desktop apps. Sometimes I just want the clarity of a dedicated app--or the isolation; all too often when I'm in a browser, a rogue JavaScript-heavy site will crash not just its own window but the 20 different tabs I have open at that moment.

Building a Site-Specific Browser (SSB) is possible with technologies like Prism from Mozilla, but that doesn't do much for non-developer users. If all you want is an icon to click on your desktop to open a specific URL, … Read more

Featured Freeware: Senuti

iTunes makes it really easy to put music from your computer onto your iPod--unfortunately, the reverse is not true. If you want to get music from your iPod onto your computer--say, if you had a hard-drive failure, or you just bought a new Mac--you either need to know how to use Terminal or you need an app like Senuti.

This cleverly named utility essentially does what iTunes does backwards, acting as an "iPod ripper" that lets you move your music, playlists, videos, everything, onto your Mac. Senuti has been around for a few years, but it's still … Read more

Featured Freeware: WordPress

Originally intended for blogging, but customizable into just about any configuration, WordPress is the Firefox of cross-platform content management systems, including the iPhone. Extensible and proud of it, the program itself is known for having one of the simplest installations of any CMS available.

The download is a ZIP file that comes with instructions on how to install it to your server, requiring an FTP client and administrator-level rights. Documentation for the ''five-minute install'' at its Web site is extensive, clear, and concise. The WordPress support forums haven't failed me yet in answering even my most difficult questions.

Without … Read more

Simplify Media for iPhone brings music to you

We've talked about Simplify Media here before as a great way to listen to music from your friends' iTunes music libraries (Windows and Mac). In fact, Simplify Media was one of our 10 best downloads of 2007. The minute you fire it up, you'll see why--as long as you and your friend both have a free account with Simplify Media, you can stream and listen to each others entire music collections on both Windows and Mac. But, the latest release of Simplify Media for iPhone and iPod Touch lets you take all of that music with you.

To … Read more

Oops! iPhone app publisher waits on Apple to fix big mistake

Today I had one of those what-the-heck software moments that occurs when a program breaks where it's least expected. A premier feature in the iPhone application I was tinkering with had vanished after a version update.

1Password for iPhone, first reviewed by my colleague Josh Lowensohn, is better known by its Mac counterpart, which encrypts log-ons and passwords on the Mac and automatically fills them in on Web pages. Windows users can think of it as the rough equivalent to RoboForm.

Since a smooth move like that requires multiple programs to run concurrently--something presently prohibited for iPhone applications--1Password for … Read more

Featured Freeware: PDF Download

The problem with opening PDF files in Firefox is that it tends to slow down your performance, especially if you open a number of them. This simple little extension gives you complete control over PDF files in a Toolbar button.

Rather than stick you all alone with a browser-jarring PDF file, the PDF Download extension provides you the option to: download the file locally, open it with Firefox using the PDF download options settings, view the PDF as an HTML file in the browser, bypass PDF Download, or cancel the link. The first two options are self-explanatory, while the "… Read more

Ditch the VPN for LogMeIn?

A funny thing happened on the way to Boston: the CNET office disappeared. Our Cambridge office is moving to a new location, so when I arrived on the East Coast for a short stay, I found myself without a cube to call home. More importantly, I couldn't work from a computer already inside the CNET firewall, which left me with two choices: use a VPN client, or use a remote access program.

I haven't encountered a single VPN client review without some degree of legitimate complaint, and my own experience with them has left much to be desired. … Read more