The Download Blog

The home stretch: Skype's third 4.0 beta

Those of you following the progress of Skype's beta series for version 4.0 already know that the seminal VoIP caller has been striving to get people interested in--and even aware of--Skype other features by rearranging its program's interface in time for version 4.0.

On Thursday, Skype released Skype 4.0 beta 3 for Windows, the third--and as far as we know, final--beta in the development series.

In addition to Internet telephony, Skype wants to make it easier to switch among IM and phone conversations, to place calls to non-Skype users' mobile phones and landlines, and to … Read more

A reason you'll want to scratch your iPhone

If you've been champing at the bit for a way to really scratch up your iPhone, this may be the application for you. No silly, I don't mean "scratching," but more like "scratchin'."

Hiroshi Okamura has released an iPhone application that lets you try out your mix-mastering skills by scratching on a virtual record. The application is called Re

If you've never tried scratching before, you have to start somewhere, right? And this way you don't run the risk of embarrassing your in front of a crowd or forcing you neighbors to … Read more

Daily Tidbits: Delicious goes on the road

Social-bookmarking site Delicious announced Tuesday that it has launched a mobile site to allow users to view saved pages while on the go. Delicious Mobile allows users to browse saved bookmarks, view their in-box, and browse recent bookmarks and tags from the Delicious community. The company says it will integrate its social search engine into the mobile site next.

Analysts from market research firm Gartner said Wednesday that organizations need to understand how social networks are "altering the recruitment landscape and adapt recruiting strategies and systems accordingly." Gartner analysts went on to say that by 2011, organizations that … Read more

Report: Google Chrome 'coming out of beta'

Google's Chrome Web browser is coming out of beta testing, according to a TechCrunch report Wednesday.

Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of user experience, told TechCrunch's Mike Arrington as much in an interview at Le Web 08, according to the report. However, there was no word about when the move might take place.

One possibility would be to announce it Thursday at Add-on-Con, a conference about browser extensions at which Nick Baum, a product manager on Google Chrome, is scheduled to speak on a panel about the future of Web browsers. Also on the panel are Joshua … Read more

Featured Freeware: KidZui

KidZui for Windows and Mac seems like a kid-ified browser with social networking rolled in. Children can find their favorite YouTube videos, rate content using tags, and share opinions with other KidZui friends, all from a colorful interface with big buttons and labels. KidZui is anything but a standard childrens' browser, though, and what makes it so unique is precisely why it's such a safe tool for children.

KidZui is a closed system, not filter-driven, so all content that's available has been approved by editors into a whitelist database. Children can explore the Internet by using the search/… Read more

Skype's latest beta: A worthy Windows Mobile update

Skype for Windows Mobile 2.5 beta, released on Tuesday, essentially brings changes made to Skype's desktop VoIP client (download|review) to Windows Smartphones and Windows Pocket PCs.

The application's display is compact, intuitive, and full-featured.

The mobile version places tabs for your various actions at the bottom of the app. By switching among them, you'll be able to change your online status and see missed calls and instant messages, initiate IMs, or place a call to your contact's Skype account, mobile number, or land line if you've purchased Skype Out. There's also a … Read more

Firefox, Chrome virtually tied for JavaScript speed

On Tuesday, Mozilla released Firefox 3.1 beta 2 and Google released Chrome 0.4.154.33, so it's time for the latest installment of JavaScript performance testing.

Here's the highlight: Though Firefox remains the leader on the SunSpider test, with a score of 2,110, Chrome edged very close with 2,140. A lower score is better; because of some variation in results, the numbers I quoted are an average of several runs.

Firefox and Chrome aren't the only browsers out there, but they're interesting to compare for a few reasons. First, they're both … Read more

First Look video: Evernote for Windows, Mac, and Mobile

How do you take and keep notes to yourself? With a desktop calendar, or even with Post-Its?

The freemium note-taking service Evernote not only takes multimedia notes--audio, photo, and text--but also syncs them to your Mac, PC, iPhone, Windows Mobile phone, and to the Web. That puts your videos, photos, scribbles, dictations, and other notes to yourself within reach wherever you have Internet or one of free Evernote's apps.

Watch this Fist Look video to see how Evernote works on them all.

Which tax-prep service is right for you?

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

The prices for Intuit TurboTax and H&R Block TaxCut have shifted significantly, making it tough to tell how much you'll actually pay to file 2008 returns using their software or online services.

Among the good news is that both brands now offer free federal electronic filing, which has cost up to an additional $20 in the past. But some users of the market-leading TurboTax desktop software are venting bitterly on online forums about Intuit's new charge of $9.95 for each federal return prepared beyond … Read more

Picasa's Mac uploader now downloads too

Google's latest version of its software-based Picasa uploader for Mac has a handy new trick up its sleeve. It now lets you download entire albums back to your computer, making it a simple tool for backing up large photo libraries.

The Windows and Linux version of Picasa have allowed you to do this for some time, but seeing as Mac users do not (yet) have a version of Picasa to call their own, this is a far better option than downloading the originals one at a time from the Web, or having to use third-party programs.

I gave it … Read more