The Download Blog

Music and browsing take flight in Songbird

Music and browsing mashup Songbird has kicked the remnants of its shell to the curb. With the release of version 1.0.0 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, the program's main emphasis as a music browser couldn't be more clear.

If you looked at some of the earlier beta versions, Songbird's interface borrowed heavily from Firefox. More recent versions took their cue from iTunes, with Web browsing occurring in a second tab. Although toggling between your music library and the browser is as easy as switching tabs, since Songbird opens your library by default it's apparent … Read more

Zagat on iPhone: 'A disappointment' die-hards will still 'love'

Despite being a fan of Zagat's restaurant surveys, I've never been overly impressed with the mobile applications for Windows Mobile Smartphone and PocketPC, BlackBerry, and Palm.

Regrettably, Zagat To Go '09 for the iPhone and iPod Touch ($9.99 per year) isn't markedly different.

The components to a great mobile app are all there--venerable content, click-to-call, a Web site link, OpenTable reservations for some restaurants, and search and sorting filters--but the whole is somehow less than the sum of its parts.

Stability is a major concern, the app cries for an in-app browser, and Zagat To Go … Read more

Gmail comes to the desktop in gadget form

Google has put out an official Gmail gadget for its Google Desktop product, giving users the option to run multiple instances of different Gmail accounts as standalone gadgets. The tool includes several useful Gmail features like keyboard shortcuts, mail, and contact search, along with the option to star messages. Users can also compose messages in a little pop-out window, which keeps them from having to fire up their browser.

The app is currently Windows-only and requires Google Desktop version 5 or higher, leaving Mac and Linux users of Google Desktop out in the cold. Anyone looking to use Amnesty's Generator programRead more

Google Calendar officially comes to Apple's iCal

Google on Monday formally announced full support for the CalDAV protocol along with the release of a small piece of software for Mac computers that lets users easily link up their Google Calendars with the iCal application.

Google had previously launched CalDAV support back in late July, however, consumers had to manually add their calendars directly to CalDAV-supporting applications like Mozilla Sunbird and Apple's iCal. The new Mac utility, named "Calaboration" simply lets users plug in their Google Calendar username and password to send Google calendars over to iCal. The benefit of doing this is the two-way … Read more

MySpace helps develop OpenID extension for Flock

There's a new OpenID extension for "social browser" Flock, and it was created with the help of password management service Vidoop and News Corp.-owned social network MySpace.

It's now available for download for all Flock users who have upgraded to Flock 2.0. For MySpace, which initially announced its support for OpenID back in July, this is also a push for Data Availability, a universal-login project that the social network announced in May but has since only rolled out with a few partners.

Yahoo, one of MySpace's launch partners for Data Availability, has also thrown its weight behind OpenID.… Read more

Featured Freeware: FileMenu Tools

Nothing less than a boon for users looking to manage their file menus, freeware utility FileMenu Tools focuses on function with a simple interface. Most users should have no problem quickly learning to use FileMenu Tools to bend Windows to their will, but a detailed Help file is available for novices.

Operating FileMenu Tools merely means manipulating select pull-downs and function icons. Users choose a menu and use the Actions function list to add commands, submenus, or separators. Deleting and moving menu items also takes only a click. Clicking a menu item displays basic function descriptions and properties when available. … Read more

FARR goes the distance

Find and Run Robot keeps your hands right where you want them, if you're a keyboard addict. This launcher seems to have been designed for people who want to keep their digits pounding the plastic, so every step of the program has been keyed for those with quick fingers.

Hit the Pause/Break key to bring up the launching window, and as you type FARR narrows down your choices. Search results are numbered and automatically sorted using built-in scoring systems unique to the program. If you want returned result number 9, for example, simply type ALT-9 and hit enter--there'… Read more

Five financial Android apps to regulate your dough

With the economy in continuing decline, keeping tight control over your money is no longer just for obsessives. These financial apps for Google Android help you count every penny.

Personal Budget Droid is a simple budget- and bills-tracker that lets you create multiple monthly budgets for groceries, housing costs, and so on. You enter every budget name and transaction by hand, but the app keeps a transaction history and calculates how much you have left for each category.

The more sophisticated FireWallet works with budgets inside various accounts and protects your information behind a four-digit pin you change from the … Read more

Google reveals Chrome extensions plan

Google has published its plan to build into Chrome what is arguably its most requested feature: the ability to accept extensions that can customize how the open-source Web browser operates.

And guess what? Google's dependence on advertising notwithstanding, one of the extension examples the company points to is the ability to block advertisements.

The Chrome extensions document, spotlighted Saturday by Google programmer Aaron Boodman, doesn't include a timeline, but it does shed light on why the project is a priority for Chromium, the open-source project behind Chrome.

"Chromium can't be everything to all people," according … Read more

Featured Freeware: Portable FeedReader

The world is full of feed readers. Portable FeedReader's claim to fame is its portability, obviously, but there's more to like than just being able to cram it on your USB drive with room to spare.

The program offers a standard RSS feed-reading interface with three vertical panes. One lists the feeds, the second shows the titles of the selected feeds stories, and the third serves as a viewer. Although the panes' width can be changed by clicking and dragging, the viewer pane is a bit narrow to comfortably read a typical Web page story. Portable FeedReader offers … Read more