The Download Blog

Featured Freeware: Find and Run Robot

Small and swift, Find and Run Robot makes searching files and launching programs go faster than a Black Friday deal. Also known as FARR, the program is great for those who love options. If you're the indecisive type, though, you may want to stay clear.

Running in your system tray, FARR is innocuous and uses little RAM. Hit the Pause/Break key to bring up the launching window; as you type, FARR narrows down your choices. In that sense, FARR functions like many other launchers. Search results are numbered and automatically sorted using built-in scoring systems unique to the … Read more

Firefox 3.1 gets some privacy

The much-anticipated Firefox 3.1 beta 2 is out and about for Windows and Mac users, incorporating the faster JavaScript engine TraceMonkey as the default setting and introducing Private Browsing, which has been in development for years. There are other improvements, of course, but the big one is the ability to turn off the cache and other private data settings with a single click.

Private Browsing works similarly to Google Chrome's Incognito, or Safari's setting of the same name. Go into Tools on the Menubar and click Private Browsing, and all your movements on the Internet will not … Read more

Second Firefox 3.1 beta brings significant changes

Usually not much happens to a software product from one point release to the next, much less one beta version to the next. But Mozilla has made quite a few changes with the second beta of Firefox 3.1, released Monday.

In the new version are support for video and audio built into Web pages, a built-in service for telling Web sites a user's location if users permit it, private browsing, Web worker support for more powerful Web-based programs, and my favorite feature, the TraceMonkey engine for running the JavaScript programs used to build sophisticated Web sites. TraceMonkey was … Read more

KidZui brings its child-safe browser to Firefox

KidZui, the child-safe browser maker, has put out a Firefox extension that offers all the functionality of its standalone browser right inside of Firefox.

Once installed and activated by a parent, it locks the child (or anyone else for that matter) out of accessing non-Kidzui approved sites, or other areas of the computer, by taking up the entire screen. A password, which is chosen by the parent, is the only way to exit the KidZui browsing experience, essentially turning your computer into a kid-friendly Internet kiosk.

The browser extension has full support for the company's paid subscription service, which … Read more

Snowy screensavers

Though days have become short, dark, and cold here in the Northern Hemisphere; winter has a way of casting its own idyllic spell.

If you can't resist appreciating crystalline icicles, endless banks of soft snow, and intricate snowflakes, you're not alone. Celebrate the season by transforming your desktop into a winter wonderland with this collection of snowy screensavers.

Yule Log comes to the iPhone

For those without a fireplace and/or an ability to carry a tune, TV stations have for decades offered the Yule Log, an on-screen fireplace crackling as Christmas Carols play in the background.

According to "The Holiday Yule Log" book, the first televised fireplace was in 1966 on New York's WPIX-TV. With carols on in the background and no commercials, it was an instant hit and was adopted by other stations around the country.

But what if the holiday season takes you even further afield, so that you don't even have a plasma TV to keep … Read more

Featured Freeware: Instant Memory Cleaner

If you need to free up system memory or if you think you do but aren't sure, this little tool will provide the help you need.

Instant Memory Cleaner provides an easy-to-use front-end interface for Microsoft's command-line ClearMem and FreeMem commands (for XP and Vista, respectively). It installs an icon to your system tray, and its color provides a handy clue about your system's memory use. When the icon is green, the system's free memory is more than 30 percent of the total physical memory; yellow means less is available; and red means its time for … Read more

Turning the iPod Touch into a phone

Updated at 2:45 p.m. PST with Fring details.

Apple may have a new mobile phone to compete with--one that runs on its iPod Touch.

The MP3 player can be transformed into a mobile phone with the help of a free application from Internet telephone company Truphone.

The Truphone application allows users with a Wi-Fi connection to make and receive phone calls via voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, with other iPod Touch owners, users of the Google Talk's messaging service, and customers of Truphone's Internet telephone service. The company said it expects to add the ability … Read more

Featured Freeware: RegAssassin

It requires care when using, but this portable executable eliminates unwanted Registry keys. RegAssassin's business-like interface sports only a text entry box, a pair of check boxes, and a function button. Using it requires experience editing the Registry, but for some pernicious malicious software, deleting their registry entries is part of the cleaning process. The program does display warning messages, but inexperienced users could easily crash their system by deleting an important Registry key.

Operating RegAssassin is simple and quick. Users merely enter a Registry key name and delete the key with a single button click. The application includes … Read more

Featured Freeware: Process Terminator

Greatly improve your process-killing ability with Process Terminator, a utility with a simple list-and-button interface that is immediately operable by intermediate to advanced users. You probably won't even crack open the simple four-paragraph Help screen.

Operating Process Terminator is intuitive and simple. On start, the app loads the list of running processes. Selecting a process displays its start time, total CPU time utilized, maximum physical memory used and amount allocated, thread count, handle count, and whether the Process UI is responding. Double-clicking a listed name opens the folder where the process is located. Any process is easily killed with … Read more