The Download Blog

Featured Freeware: NetVideoHunter

Don't be deceived by this Firefox extension's unassuming user interface, it's actually a very capable video player.

NetVideoHunter operates via a tiny icon and counter that appear in your status bar. When you click on the icon, a window appears for viewing videos. A step-by-step guide walks you through the process--a definite plus for novices. Watching a YouTube video, for example, adds it to the counter. From there, click on NetVideoHunter's tiny icon to reveal a video link. We had two choices: to play or download the video. Play starts the video, while download saves the … Read more

iPhone apps of the week

Note: The iPhone 2.2 firmware update is now available. Connect to iTunes to get all the details. My app update issue is fixed!

One of the great things about my job writing about iPhone apps is I sometimes get to look at what's coming up in the future for the iPhone. I was invited to a small gathering of developers and reviewers this week to see the latest games and apps from premiere software companies. The future of iPhone apps looks great.

While many of the apps were must-haves, one of the best of the bunch was a … Read more

Geodesic takes aim at SMS with Mundu IM

Although text messaging is still one of the favorite pastimes for children and adults alike, software firm Geodesic believes that mobile instant messaging will cannibalize SMS and become the de facto form of communication through cell phones, going forward.

The company offers a tool called Mundu IM, which recently entered its fourth iteration. The software provides users with an IM service that works with AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, and Jabber accounts, with collaboration across the Web and wireless devices.

Mundu IM is currently supported on most mobile phones running Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, and Java platforms. … Read more

Ziibii: iPhone RSS with a twist

It isn't so much the technology behind Zumobi's free app Ziibii that refreshes RSS on the iPhone and iPod touch as it is its presentation. Ziibii, which means 'river' in Algonquin*, extends the metaphor to depict posts from your various RSS feeds as rafts floating along a stream of information.

Watching posts float by is fun concept--for a few minutes at least--and one that's heightened by the fact that stories, photos, and friends' status updates appear in random order as a round-up of all your RSS subscriptions.

Ziibii's feed flexibility is good, but not great. Twitter, … Read more

Featured Freeware: Click&Clean

Firefox and Internet Explorer extension Click&Clean is aimed at those who prefer the history-sweeping CCleaner to Firefox's built-in browsing tracks sterilizer. Click&Clean takes the same number of mouse clicks or keyboard strokes to activate as the native cleaner, opening a CCleaner window preconfigured for cleaning Firefox. Obviously, you must download CCleaner for Click&Clean to work.

Click&Clean adds only a single button to your Firefox toolbar, so it won't clutter your browser window. Clicking it opened the CCleaner interface immediately, and from there you can have it wipe your tracks with … Read more

MySpace app for BlackBerry a RIM record-breaker

Remember that little old BlackBerry app for MySpace that premiered last week? Apparently it struck a chord with users because RIM reported just after midnight on Friday (EST), that it hosted more downloads for the product's first week than it has for any other app.

While 400,000 downloads in one week for the BlackBerry-compatible MySpace software is a drop in the bucket compared to Firefox 3's 1 million downloads in 24 hours, it did beat out the initial release of RIM's Facebook app.

RIM did not reply with comparative numbers.

In a statement, RIM's co-CEO … Read more

Cooliris adds YouTube search, image save to iPhone app

Cooliris has put out a useful update to its iPhone application that adds YouTube videos to its search results. This joins the image search that made the application so popular to begin with.

You might be asking yourself how this is helpful since the iPhone comes with an official YouTube application. The answer to that is that Cooliris' presentation is slightly more appealing. Where the official YouTube app forces you to scroll down a long list, with Cooliris you can simply rock your phone back and forth an endless array of thumbnails until you find something you like. Videos play … Read more

Best iPod-compatible iTunes alternatives

For better or worse, buying an iPod also means committing to Apple's iTunes software. Apple's seamless combination of hardware, software, and online store has made it many fans, but for some folks, the iTunes way of doing things feels unbearably confining.

If you love your iPod, but can't stand being tied to iTunes, there are some compelling and capable Mac and PC iTunes alternatives that can sync with your iPod. Depending on your iPod model, you'll probably still need to keep iTunes around for firmware updates, video purchases, games, and some advanced features (calendar syncing, for instance), but there's no reason you can't sync your music and podcasts using a different program.

Each of the following media jukeboxes has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. This list isn't meant to be comprehensive (by all means, add your own suggestions in the comments section), I'm just taking an opportunity to highlight my personal favorites. Also, every application listed here is free, so there's no reason not to try them all and see what sticks.

Media Monkey http://www.mediamonkey.com/ (Download Media Monkey from Download.com)

Ideal user: File hoarders, control freaks, meticulous taggers, boutique format users (FLAC, Ogg), people with messy collections.

Pros Ideal for large, scattered collections Advanced tagging features and auto tagging Supports iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2G Copy songs from iPod to computer Album art lookup Skinnable Podcast catcher… Read more

AOL Sync beta launched for Outlook, phones

It's been a busy two days for AOL Mail. On Wednesday, AOL launched a beefier version of the AOL Mail gadget for iGoogle. On Thursday, AOL won a few more fans with the introduction of its beta feature AOL Sync.

AOL Mail for iGoogle improves upon the previous gadget by replacing the preview-only capability with functionality that lets you compose, reply, and fully manage your in-box from the iGoogle page.

AOL Sync beta, launched today, targets mobile and desktop users with the ability to sync their AOL address book and calendar in real time to Microsoft Outlook, the iPhone, … Read more

Google drops Picasa's 'beta' (and pigs fly)

Only two and a half months after announcing Picasa 3 beta, Google has done the uncharacteristic and on Thursday has issued Picasa 3.

Here's the clincher:Picasa 3 is the exact same desktop organizer and editor it has been under the beta flag. (This is a good wagon for the Gmail team to climb aboard--Google's e-mail service has been in beta since 2004 and its latest releases have been earthshaking themes and emoticons.)

Although Version 3 beta users won't see changes in this release, those switching from Version 2.7 will enjoy the substantial boost in features. … Read more