The Download Blog

Add permanent keyboard shortcuts to Google.com

If you're a keyboard shortcut junkie in Google Reader, Gmail and Google Docs you might have noticed Google.com, the mother of all Google services, is a bit lacking in the keyboard shortcuts department. There is currently an official Google-sanctioned experimental keyboard shortcuts program you can opt into, although there's the slight chance that the company may one day kill it off. That and it won't remember to give you the shortcut keys the next time you search if you're not signed in to your Google account.

If both of these things are holding you back … Read more

iLife '09 adds feature tweaks and fun

At the Macworld 2009 keynote presentation this morning given by Phill Schiller (Steve Jobs was absent this year due to widely reported health issues), one of the more exciting new software developments was to the iLife suite of software for Mac.

Long touted as the comprehensive suite from Apple to manage your digital lifestyle, iLife includes the popular Mac apps iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, iDVD, and iWeb. Over the course of the speech, several enhancements to each software were given screen time, and many of the new features were those long requested by fans as well as innovative new features from … Read more

New year, new MP3 tags

According to a recent New York Times article, 80 percent of people who make New Year's resolutions abandon them before Valentine's Day. But we can all beat the odds, right?

This year, I'm hoping to make some sense of my digital music collection. I'm a big fan of the audio-tracking site Last.fm (my username is "field_day" if you want to friend me), but I'll often get an error when trying to "scrobble" a song because my ID3 information is missing or erroneous.

ID3 is a metadata format within MP3 files … Read more

Fring spiffs up VoIP app for Windows Mobile

Windows Mobile may be an ugly stepchild of mobile platforms, but among more ambitious publishers, it hasn't been forgotten.

Months after adding file transferring abilities to its Symbian version, Fring, a free VoIP communication company, is conferring this and other features to an updated versions of Fring for Windows Mobile.

In addition to sending images, audio, and video files to friends on Skype, SIP, Yahoo, Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, AIM, and ICQ, the latest version of Fring for Windows Mobile also packs on support for add-ons, an indicator message as contacts type out an IM response, and long-overdue … Read more

Truphone adds Skype, Twitter to iPhone client

The Internet telephony company Truphone has turned its client for the iPhone and iPod Touch (download) into an aggregator for a range of popular VoIP and instant-messaging applications.

Truphone announced the new functionality on Tuesday at the Macworld 2009 expo in San Francisco. Starting next Monday, all Truphone subscribers using one of Apple's handhelds will be able to use the free client for Skype, Twitter, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger two-way communications.

Truphone's users have already been able to use Google Talk voice chat functionality, but they will now be able to make calls to their … Read more

TechSmith's screencast service Jing goes pro

On Tuesday, TechSmith released Jing Pro, a paid premium version of its free screen capture and casting software. The new service, which runs $14.95 a year, upgrades videos to H.264 encoding, takes off the Jing watermark in the bottom corner of recorded clips, and gives users the option to upload directly to several popular video hosting sites including Facebook, YouTube, Viddler, and Vimeo.

Of the news, one of the biggest changes is the move to the MPEG-4 AVC video format. It's the go-to format for iPods and iPhones, as well as set-top boxes like the Apple TV … Read more

Skype 2.8 for Mac to launch Tuesday

Skype 2.8 for Mac will ship on Tuesday, with new features including screen sharing and an integrated Wi-Fi hot spot connector.

Available only for Mac OS X at first, the new version will add screen-sharing capabilities to the app's voice, video, and chat communications features. Skype spokespeople told me that users will be able to run all four channels at once with acceptable performance.

Screen sharing is useful in business settings (I get a lot of demos over apps like Webex, for example), but it has personal applications as well: People could share photographs, and presumably videos as … Read more

SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone announced

Updated at 10:00 AM Pacific.

Six months after announcing its intention to bring SlingPlayer to the iPhone 3G, Sling Media has another announcement to make--just not the one you're wishing for.

SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone isn't ready yet, Sling said on Tuesday, but it is on its way.

Like SlingPlayer Mobile for Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian, UIQ, and BlackBerry (beta) platforms, this iPhone version will let you access one or more Slingboxes from your mobile device, and watch your TV stations on-the-go. It will also be compatible with the iPod Touch.

You'll also be able to … Read more

Site Launcher turns bookmarks into shortcuts

Firefox extension Site Launcher (download) lets you replace your bookmarks toolbar with an overlay window of links that can be pulled up at any time using a simple keyboard shortcut. You pick which sites you want on the list, and a one-letter keyboard shortcut is given to each. When pulled up, you simply hit the key for the site you want and it goes straight to it. Once you've memorized which sites are on your list, you can make use of an alternate key combination that lets you skip to each site without having to view the menu at … Read more

Hands-on with Picasa for the Mac

I'm a somewhat dissatisfied owner of a new MacBook. One of the things I was looking forward to with the computer was the vaunted easy photo management I kept hearing about. But I found the Mac's free photo management app, iPhoto, frustrating to use, compared to the product I had become accustomed to on Windows: Google's Picasa. I didn't like the fact that I had to manually import photos into the product--even photos already on my Mac--and that the import process made duplicates of my photos when I did so. I much prefer Picasa, which simply … Read more