The Download Blog

Skype Lite landing on Android phone, others too

Skype announced on Thursday the forthcoming release of Skype Lite for Google Android and other Java-enabled phones. Skype Lite marks the communication company's first native VoIP client for Java.

Skype is submitting the app to Google's Android Market on Thursday morning, though it could take Google a few days to offer it for download.

In addition, Skype Lite will also be available on Thursday to about 100 models of Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, LG, and Samsung phones. The app has been available in beta form for a growing number of handsets on Skype.com, and isn't expected … Read more

Microsoft releases Songsmith: Karaoke in reverse

Microsoft Research on Thursday is releasing software that gives musicians, both casual and professional, a new way to speed up song development. Called Songsmith, the $29.99 application creates musical accompaniment based on whatever is sung into the computer's microphone.

In order to do this, the software processes the pitch and tone of what's recorded and lets users hear how it might sound if they had a little backup in the form of a virtual piano, drums, and keyboard. Microsoft is expecting them to use the new track either as inspiration for further song development or as a … Read more

FileMaker Pro 10 released

Probably the most popular pro-level database maker for the Mac, FileMaker Pro has just released a major update to coincide with Macworld 2009. Offering a sleek new interface that's as nice to look at as it is intuitive, FileMaker Pro's new Status Toolbar puts commonly used features right where you need them. Even if you're not happy with the default layout of the new toolbar, you can easily customize the available icons to improve the work flow for specific projects.

The new browse feature gives you a centralized location for navigating to different parts of your database … Read more

Googlepedia for Firefox brings Wikipedia to you

If you're one whose search results lead you to a Wikipedia page nine times out of ten, you would do well to install the Googlepedia extension for Firefox.

This free, terrifically easy add-on pulls the Wikipedia article most closely associated with your search term into the right half of a Google search results page. Modest controls let you expand, shrink, or hide the article.

Here's the best part: clicking a link within the article feeds the term back into Google's search engine, and therefore back into Googlepedia's cycle of serving up Wikipedia articles.

Googlepedia will undoubtedly … Read more

Is this iPhone masseur worth the buzz?

An iPhone is many things, but a massage therapist it is not.

However, if you're in a pinch, the lightweight application Massager may soothe you until your next appointment.

The application takes advantage of the iPhone's vibrating motor to create four patterns based on Swedish, Shiatsu, deep muscle, and relaxation massage. Starting and stopping the massage are easy enough to accomplish by tapping and untapping the corresponding button.

While you can manually increase the intensity of the vibes by putting some muscle behind the iPhone's flat face, it still won't come close to what a pronged … Read more

Opera's new SDK: Better browsing on consumer electronics?

Article updated 1/9/08 at 1:45 p.m. PST with details on set-top boxes and a correction about the relationship with Wii. Article updated at 3:41 p.m. PST with more details on how to acquire the SDK. Correction, 10:55 a.m. PST: This story misstated the day the Opera announcement was made. It was Wednesday.

Opera has thrown a little more love at device developers by announcing an updated version of its software development kit on Wednesday at CES.

In a broad sense, the SDK will be available to all developers of consumer electronics that … Read more

Windows 7 beta: First impressions

Windows 7 could be one of Microsoft's greatest operating systems, if it fulfills the promise shown by the unofficial beta version (build 7000) we have been testing for the past couple of days.

Let me preface these quick impressions of Redmond's latest opus by saying that I came to Windows 7 after having happily run the much-maligned Windows Vista on my Intel Core 2 Duo-based PC for the past 18 months (alongside Ubuntu).

I found Vista to be a worthy upgrade from Windows XP SP2. Despite its obvious flaws (can you say "resource hog"?) and the … Read more

A quick talk with Scott Cook, Intuit's co-founder and chief booth babe

I spied Scott Cook, a founder and former CEO of Intuit, which makes Quicken and Quickbooks, at his company's Macworld booth, giving demos just like any booth worker.

That's curious--you don't see big company billionaires mingling with consumers in a frenzied trade show environment too often (although you should). So I snared him for a quick interview about his booth duty and the plans for Intuit overall.

Regarding hanging out with The People, Cook simply said that it's a great way to get customers to talk to him for free (versus paid surveys, I assume) and … Read more

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