The Download Blog

iPhone apps of the week

Now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing, maybe it's time to let Santa know he can always get you a gift certificate to the iTunes store so you can buy more apps! While there are plenty of great free offerings available, I've come across a couple of fun games in the paid section that might be perfect as a stocking stuffer. But just so you have something to download today, I discovered a great free game for those who don't want to fork over their hard cold cash.

TouchGrind ($4.99) is a high-quality … Read more

Featured Freeware: 'ESPN Cameraman'

This fun, free game for the iPhone requires fast fingers and judicious judgment. In ESPN Cameraman, you try to quickly find five differences between two nearly identical sports photos. Gameplay here is similar to popular electronic bar games like Photo Finder, albeit minus the scantily clad subjects. This one is definitely safe for children, although you might become a victim of the economy if you play it at work.

Touch the screen wherever you spot a difference on either photo while beating a countdown timer to keep from losing a life. You have three lives per game, as well as … Read more

Second Firefox 3.1 beta due 'very shortly'

Update 6:15 p.m. PST: An earlier version of this story said the second beta version of Firefox 3.1 would likely be the last. Firefox is planning a third beta version. Also, added a comment from Paul Rouget about when the second beta version will likely be released.

The second beta version of Firefox 3.1 is "due out very shortly," Mozilla programmer Ben Turner said Thursday.

One big change in the 3.1b2 is the addition of "Web workers," a feature that lets the browser process tasks in the background. That feature, part … Read more

Handy app bypasses AT&T's ridiculous iPhone Wi-Fi sign-up process

"They wrote this for you," Josh said in IM to me about Devicescape's Easy Wi-Fi for AT&T, an app that directly addresses my complaints about the free Wi-Fi that AT&T now provides to iPhone users at Starbucks and various airports.

As I wrote, I dislike the Safari/SMS two-step required to authorize the iPhone to use the AT&T free Wi-Fi. Yes, it's looking a gift horse in the mouth. But I am a professional crank. I really do get paid for this.

Anyway, the Easy Wi-Fi app bypasses the SMS … Read more

Opera 10 alpha: Compliant and faster--but not fastest

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

Testing Opera 10 alpha confirms it can boast that it's the second browser in development that is fully compliant with the Acid3 benchmarks. It's also markedly faster than Opera 9.62 at processing JavaScript, but it's half as fast as the fastest Web browser currently available.

On both Windows and Mac OS, it was no surprise to see the Acid3 standards test come up 100 out of 100 since that was the big news from Opera Software earlier today. The browser is also three times faster … Read more

This Kraken fights for good

If you're up on your pirate lore, or perhaps have your Pirates of the Caribbean plot flow-chart handy, you'll know that sea-faring criminals are no friends of Johnny Depp-devouring monsters. As it goes on the high CGI seas, so follow the stormy waters of the Firefox add-on world. Yesterday's Pirates of the Amazon plug-in, which adds torrent links to songs and movies in the store, is met today by The Kraken, a plug-in that adds links to torrent Web sites.

The Kraken is extremely simple and there's no configuration required. When you … Read more

Boxee gets support for Netflix streaming

Boxee is releasing on Thursday a new version of its media center software that adds support for Netflix Watch Instantly streaming movies.

Unlike streaming solutions from Roku and Microsoft's Xbox 360, Boxee's effort includes the option to both browse and search through Netflix's library. Roku's box and the Xbox are currently limited to showing users the videos from their saved queues. The two also require special hardware (and in the Xbox's case a paid Xbox Live Gold membership), whereas Boxee works on any Intel-Mac or Linux PC. Boxee's service is not yet available for … Read more

Chrome developer version bashes Street View bug

Google on Wednesday night released the new version of its Chrome browser to bash a bug that bit me by blackening the new big-screen version of Street View.

Indeed, I no longer get the problem. Now if the company could get its Google Earth browser plug-in to work with Chrome, it would look more like Google's right hand is cooperating with its left hand.

According to Chrome Program Manager Mark Larson, the new version also fixes "trackpad scrolling on more laptops (and the) Sogou Pinyin Chinese input method editor skipping the first letter typed.&… Read more

Shazam adds 2 million tracks to music library

Mobile-music discovery provider Shazam announced on Thursday that it has increased its music database from 6 million tracks to 8 million tracks, thanks to new partnerships with record labels.

Shazam, which provides the fourth most popular Apple App Store download of 2008, behind competitor Pandora, at No. 1, analyzes songs playing through a stereo or radio, and displays the song's title, artist, biographical information, and a link to purchase the track.

According to the company, the new tracks added to the library include additional North American, Asian, and European content, and will be linked to Shazam's existing products, … Read more

Stanza now over 40,000 eBooks strong

Stanza ( link | iTunes Link) from Lexcycle is one of the most downloaded iPhone apps, but it previously could not handle any content that was purchased from the eReader store. In order for you to view these formats you had to use eReader for the iPhone (iTunes Link), but that is not true any more.

Lexcycle has signed a license agreement with Fictionwise, the company behind the eReader format, to bring that eReader-compatible books to Stanza. Lexcycle will be launching a Stanza eReader store, giving Stanza users total access to 40,000 or more eReader titles. Stanza was recently … Read more