The Download Blog

Yahoo shows ads in IM chat windows

Updated 4 p.m. PST with further Yahoo comment.

Yahoo Messenger (Windows | Mac) long has shown ads on its buddy list window, but the Internet pioneer is testing them in the instant-messaging chat windows as well.

The ads are part of a test that began in August and ends in December, Yahoo said in a statement. One example we saw here at CNET shows an ad for MasterCard.

"Ads in Yahoo Messenger will allow us to put even more resources behind developing and delivering valuable free features and services," Yahoo said. "Yahoo Messenger is a free service … Read more

Evernote now syncs your files across devices

Evernote, a tool Rafe Needleman and I both use regularly to take notes and archive scanned documents, put out a new and useful feature early Wednesday. Now, when attaching a file to a note it will be available everywhere else once it's been synced. If a change is made to that file, those changes get updated in all other locations shortly thereafter, mimicking the behavior of creating and syncing text notes on the service.

While not being an official hard drive in the cloud, this step brings Evernote a little closer. You still have to attach your files to … Read more

Hands-on: WinOptimizer 6

Since its early days, WinOptimizer has folded a ton of PC-optimizing tools into an attractive, compact, and easily navigable interface. WinOptimizer 6, released on Wednesday exclusively on CNET, adds some new tweaks to keep things interesting and efficient. We've got the summary and pros and cons below.

What's new AntiSpy module: This tool claims to "deactivate potential spy functions." Upon closer inspection, the module really goes after apps and services that send data back to Microsoft. That's ideal for privacy nuts, but sensationalistic if that kind of app behavior doesn't bother you. … Read more

Featured Freeware: Wise Disk Cleaner

A reliable freeware application, Wise Disk Cleaner Free may surprise you with its quick scanning pace. Novices will appreciate its optional wizard to guide you through the process of naming and taming space-sucking files. More experienced users can proceed on their own.

As you would with any system cleaner, you'll still need to take precautions when fixing problems. Luckily, this app wisely lets you move files to the Recycle Bin in the event you've deleted something important.

Wise Disk Cleaner Free is simple, has just enough options for more serious users, and can quickly make a difference in … Read more

Turn Google, Yahoo search results into tag clouds

Search Cloudlet is a Firefox extension from the International Software and Productivity Engineering Institute (INTSPEI) that gives users a cloud of tags to help modify and focus searches on Google and Yahoo. Once installed it will show up on top of search results and provides a simple way to tweak the original query by offering up keywords pulled from the results.

Words that appear more often in the results appear as bigger, bolder tags that you can click on to re-start the query with that word tacked on. The creators recommend dialing up the number of default search results to … Read more

Palm releases its own app store. So what?

In the year since Palm released the Centro as an attempt to revive its lagging business, I've barely heard a whisper about new applications or energy for the Treo and Centro lines. Yet late Monday night, the device maker released its own app store download for Centro and Treo users to more easily access the applications.

The arrival of Palm's free app store--for both Windows Mobile and Palm operating systems--was undoubtedly spurred on by the success of Apple's iPhone App Store, Google's Android Market, and the upcoming BlackBerry app store that's slated to debut in … Read more

Adobe Lightroom 2.2 supports 5D Mark II

Adobe Systems released Lightroom 2.2 on Monday night, catching up the photography software's support for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and several other newer cameras, building in the camera profiles feature, and mashing a number of bugs.

The update (downloads available for Mac OS X and Windows) is the second half of Adobe's one-two punch for supporting the "raw" image files produced by several higher-end cameras. The first half came in late November when Adobe updated Photoshop's raw-conversion software.

Raw files provide more editing flexibility than camera-produced JPEGs, but they also require manual processing. Software such as Lightroom and Apple's Aperture can handle this processing, along with cataloging, labeling, and printing. With the constant parade of new cameras, the software must be frequently updated.

Another change in version 2.2 is built-in camera profiles, which give photographers various options for tone and color for their images. I've been strongly recommending them since their release on Adobe Labs; I apply the "camera faithful" profile when importing my images to give what I feel is a more natural look. However, Lightroom profiles aren't available for all cameras.

Since Canon started shipping the 5D Mark II in late November, photographers have been avidly blogging about the arrival of their new $2,700, 21-megapixel, full-frame SLRs--or not-so-avidly about them being backordered. One refrain notes the absence of Lightroom support; Adobe and Apple write their own raw conversion software, which must be updated for each new camera's proprietary raw file format. … Read more

CNET TV: 10 Firefox keyboard shortcuts

Which gives you faster browsing in Firefox, the keyboard or the mouse?

The keyboard, of course. Every time you lift your fingers to open a new page or switch tabs, you lose seconds of productivity time.

Commit some of CNET Executive Editor Tom Merritt's tips to memory, however, and that precious time can become yours again.

Control Tab is my favorite shortcut. Which is yours?

Ad-Aware gets an antivirus cousin

Updated December 17 at 9:00 a.m. PST with a comment from Lavasoft.

Lavasoft on Monday unveiled a new antivirus application it hopes will do as well as its runaway hit Ad-Aware.

The encore, Lavasoft Anti-Virus Helix, is Lavasoft's first full-fledged antivirus application. The problem is, it's nearly identical to one that already exists: Avira AntiVir.

A Lavasoft vice president told CNET in an e-mail:

Yes, we do have a technology partnership with Avira for the anti-virus engine technology, as our company expertise is in anti-spyware. We have customers who have been asking us for years to … Read more

Zannel brings media-rich microblogging to iPhone

Zannel, a media-rich microblogging service that launched in late 2007, has a new and free iPhone application that puts many of its features on to the popular portable device.

Called CityWatch, the app takes a similar approach to Loopt and Whrrl in allowing you to see and interact with what's going on in your general proximity. It does this by taking each item that's been posted to Zannel and overlaying it onto a map using its geo tag. This also includes items from other networks, like Twitter, Flickr, and eventually any other service that has an open API.… Read more