The Download Blog

Get under the hood of Opera 9.50

The browser wars are heating up again, and the first major browser update of 2008 is Opera 9.50. Available for Windows and Mac, there are some impressive new features worked into this release, even though it's not listed as a major-point update.

There's no reason to repeat the basics of why Opera is such an excellent browser to use. Suffice to say that it covers the essentials with built-in tabbed browsing, mouse-over previews, a customizable search bar, advanced bookmarking tools, simple e-mail and chat integration, mouse gestures, keyboard shortcuts, and drag-and-drop functionality.

Truly, it's Opera's … Read more

Firefox 3 to set download record on June 17?

Correction on June 13: The spelling of Johnathan Nightingale has been fixed.

On Wednesday, Mozilla announced next Tuesday, June 17, as "Download Day" for Firefox 3. The company also released Firefox 3 release candidate 3 as a final step toward full release.

With Firefox 3, Mozilla is attempting to set a Guinness Book of World Records for the largest number of software downloads within a 24-hour period. There is currently no Guinness Book record for that accomplishment.

Firefox 3 includes a new rendering engine, so pages load faster. It also uses fewer system resources, addressing a complaint in … Read more

Newly released Opera 9.5 bundles more protection

Opera 9.5, code-named Kestrel, on Thursday became available for download for Windows and Mac.

The new version of the browser, whose release candidate was released earlier this week, is a security-enhanced version of Opera 9. It includes antiphishing protection from Netcraft and malware protection from Haute Secure, as well as support for Extended Validation Secure Sockets Layer (EV SSL).

The browser also has a new "eurotechno" look and feel, a QuickFind address bar feature, better synchronization with its mobile cousin, and a Speed Dial feature for visually bookmarking nine of your favorite sites.

Scandinavia-based Opera Software still … Read more

Featured Freeware: Auslogics Registry Defragger

The Auslogics Registry Defragger looks good, but it's hard to tell if this or any Registry defragger or cleaner works. What's the challenge? Simple: It's not easy to gauge if these programs are effective because you'd need to benchmark your CPU against a range of programs before and after the Registry cleaning to properly test for any improvement, and that's an extremely time-intensive process.

Still, Auslogics is known for making effective Windows utilities, so perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt until more conclusive evidence is in. In any event, when you … Read more

Avidemux cuts out video editing stress

Making simple edits to videos of all formats shouldn't be tricky business, but most tools out there either do way too much or are so belabored with ads that who knows what evil lurks within their code.

Originally written by a French programmer known as Mean, and gloriously open-source on the GNU license, Avidemux is a breath of fresh air and available for both Windows and Mac. Cropping a video is as simple as selecting the section you want to remove and then hitting the Delete key. Re-encoding a video is equally painless: Merely select the output format from … Read more

First Look video: JetAudio Basic

iTunes and Windows Media Player rule the roost when it comes to media players, but they're certainly not the only show in town. In addition to media playback, JetAudio Basic features CD burning, audio recording, and conversion to other audio file formats. Special features include effects such as reverb, smooth transitions between songs, and the skinnable interface lets you personalize your player just the way you like it.

Still not convinced? Then check out this First Look video for JetAudio Basic from CNET Download.com's Jason Parker.

Docstoc launches simple e-mail attachment replacement

File host Docstoc is releasing a solution on Wednesday for sending large attachments to friends, family, and co-workers. Called OneClick (download), the small application must be installed on your machine to enable right-click contextual menus that let you simply click any file on your hard drive and send it either publicly or securely to others.

Once the file's been transferred, you'll get a link to the Docstoc-hosted document inserted into a new e-mail message that your recipient can open and read without needing to install anything.

Like Scribd's solution, which launched last week, OneClick has been designed to entice business and casual users to start simply uploading their documents instead of e-mailing them for the sake of compatibility and size.

Not everyone has Gmail or Office 2007, which offer popular file compatibility. Nor have all users implemented the small software tweak on older versions of Office that will let you read those .Docx files with ease. Instead, solutions like Scribd and Docstoc are taking office software out of the equation entirely.

It's also a pretty simple way to get users uploading more of their documents from a local machine. Instead of having to go through Docstoc's Web uploader (which is simple and easy to use), you can get them uploaded with just two clicks whenever you come across something you'd like to upload.

The small application is PC-only for now, but I'm told a Mac version will be on its way soon. To see a video of the tool in action, click the link below.

Read more

Firefox 3 gets a third release candidate

Updated at 12:30 p.m. PDT on Wednesday with links to the newly debuted release candidate.

If you were planning to host a Firefox 3 launch party this week, keep that bubbly on ice a bit longer.

Mozilla on Wednesday released Firefox 3 Release Candidate 3. Windows and Linux users won't likely feel a thing; the new browser is considered stable on those platforms.

The extra release candidate addresses some lingering issues on the Mac OS X operating system. The changes are internal.

The previous test version, Firefox 3 Release Candidate 2, can also be downloaded for Windows, … Read more

Featured Freeware: AM-DeadLink

AM-DeadLink tames your unruly bookmarks with a set of tools designed to keep your bookmark list svelte, healthy, and in fighting form. Its interface is packed with options, but tool tips and a logical layout make it easy to follow. The length of the verification process depends on the size of your Favorites list, but the wait wasn't bad in our tests. You can sort results by any of the columns, which include name, status, URL, and folder categories. You also can delete entries one at a time or by the group.

The Backup option is a welcome safeguard … Read more

Paltalk adds Express to its Scene

Popular video chat host and program publisher Paltalk on Tuesday introduces a beta of a complementary program to PaltalkScene. The new application, Paltalk Express, transfers the entire video chat apparatus to the Web and bolsters it with the kind of Web 2.0 bells and whistles that should make its appeal instantly obvious.

Based in Flash, Paltalk Express supports a decent range of features, even in the beta stage. Once logged in, the interface has the look and feel of a standard program, with a menu bar on the top left, your user status below that, and tabbed chat room … Read more