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The Download Blog

Tab tearing live in latest Firefox test build

Good news for Firefox users who have lusted over Chrome and Safari's option that lets you "tear" away tabs from an open window. The latest build of 3.1 offers it as a standard feature--and it works marvelously.

As in Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari browsers you simply pull away a tab from the interface and it turns into its own window. Likewise you can drag it back into an already opened window, just like you'd do to re-order your existing tabs.

While not a ground-breaking feature, tab tearing is a large step … Read more

Google SketchUp 7 wants to shape you into a 3D artist

Google has released SketchUp 7 (download), the latest free version of its 3D modeling software, along with its premium counterpart, SketchUp 7 Pro.

Like previous iterations of the software, SketchUp 7 will enable you to model just about anything you'd like as long as you start with a predesigned template. The new version, released Monday, offers simple templates that help you gauge size through feet or meters, but it also includes architectural design, Google Earth, and a product design template to aid you in your modeling endeavors.

Once you choose a template, you're brought to a relatively simple … Read more

Featured Freeware: The Filter

The Filter is a multijukebox plug-in for Windows and Mac that uses artificial intelligence and the All Music Guide database to create custom iTunes, Winamp, and Windows Media Player playlists based on a variety of user inputs, such as a few songs of your choice, specific artists, or music genres. It also works for video, including movies, TV shows, and Web-only videos.

Upon start-up, The Filter scans your entire music library, which takes considerable time if you have more than 10,000 tracks. It compares the metadata for those files against the All Media Guide database, as well as your … Read more

Adobe answers cries for 64-bit Flash on Linux

Starting to answer the clamorous demand from open-source fans, Adobe Systems plans to release an alpha version of its Flash Player technology on Monday for those using 64-bit Linux software.

Linux has moved more rapidly than Windows or Mac OS X to support 64-bit processors, in part because the developer-friendly compile-your-own-software ethos that prevails makes it easier for the technically savvy to make the switch. But one of the obstacles in the switch is that people could only use the 32-bit Flash plug-in, which meant that they only could use the 32-bit version of Firefox.

The company plans to release … Read more

Featured Freeware: Lockdown

Lockdown is a donation-ware application that can help you secure your Mac against physical tampering. It disables your Mac to would-be intruders by sounding an alarm whenever a variety of user-specified triggers is set off, including your Macs motion sensor. It also can lockdown the keyboard, mouse, and other external devices, or--for MacBooks--your lid, trackpad, or MagSafe adapter.

Lockdown sounds a loud alarm and prevents your Mac from being put to sleep or muted, and it can also take and e-mail a picture using your iSight camera. Lockdown is most effective by far when combined with an Apple Remote, which … Read more

Featured Freeware: Baku

Remove the detritus of Windows with this very helpful freeware. Baku's interface is a lesson in clean, efficient design, and cleaning up your computer is easily completed using the three wizards to remove unwanted files, invalid Registry keys, and Most Recently Used lists.

This flexible program lets you search for specific junk file types and easily exclude folders or drives from the scan. Results can be sorted a number of ways, with buttons to select (or deselect) all items for deletion. One oddity: Instead of going back to the main interface Baku completely closes if you cancel a search. … Read more

Wireless carriers: You can't install apps on our phones, and it's for your own good

At about 18 and a half minutes into a panel I was co-hosting at the Under the Radar: Mobility conference on Wednesday, things began to get ugly. Our panelists on the "No filters: Ask the carriers anything" session were representatives from U.S. wireless carriers Verizon Wireless, Alltell, T-Mobile, and AT&T. We took an audience question from an entrepreneur who was trying to start up an SMS-based business. He was frustrated because he had to jump through hoops to get the carriers to look at his service before he could roll it out. He appeared to … Read more

iPhone apps of the week

One of the first criticisms people had about the iPhone was that it was too hard to type effectively using the touch screen. It was all over the tech news sites and even here at CNET. Of course, as time went on and anyone who had the iPhone for a while figured out, you eventually got used it. Now, I can rattle off text messages and e-mails faster than I ever could using a regular mobile phone. But there are still some who find the keys on the touch screen too close together (or have large fingers) and no matter … Read more

StreamDesk brings Web shows to your desktop

If you've ever wanted to watch streaming video right on your desktop, and organize all your favorite streams in a single bucket, it's worth checking out StreamDesk. This cross-platform desktop application plays video streams from a variety of sources in a simple player that cuts out the browser completely and turns each show into a small, floating window.

Included are more than 100 various streaming video shows from a small handful of providers. If you come across one that isn't live, you're out of luck, otherwise live shows begin to stream in almost instantly. Shows you … Read more

Making the Internet safe for kids, one vid at a time

When you first look at it, KidZui seems a bit like a kiddified Flock, a Web browser with social networking rolled in. Children using Windows or Macs can find their favorite YouTube videos, rate content using tags, and share opinions, all from a colorful interface with big buttons and clear, clean labeling.

Billing itself as "the Internet for kids," it turns out that KidZui is anything but a standard kids' browser, and what makes it so unique is precisely why it's such a safe tool for children to use.

KidZui is a closed system of pre-approved content, … Read more