The Download Blog

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

Appcelerator Titanium puts more Web apps on your desktop

The line between Web and desktop apps is getting fuzzier Tuesday, with the preview release of Appcelerator Titanium, platform designed to turn Web app developers into desktop and mobile phone developers.

Appcelerator, which makes an open source Web app framework, is targeting Titanium at Web developers who want to bite off a chunk of the desktop market while still using their HTML, CSS and JavaScript skills. Titanium will be going head-to-head against Adobe AIR, letting developers using Appcelerator's SDK compile installable versions of their apps for PCs and Macs (a Linux version is coming later).

Titanium apps are more … Read more

Syncing your Google and Outlook calendars

Last January, a Worker's Edge post described how to swap data between your Google Calendar and the calendar in Outlook 2003 or 2007, using the import/export functions of each product.

A few months later, Google released a free program that not only moves data between the two calendar apps, but it also syncs the calendar entries automatically at the interval of your choice.

Google Calendar Sync is so fast and simple to use that my calendars were synced before I knew it. When you install the program, you're asked where you want to place the utility's … Read more

Skyfire hops into the UK, onto VGA phones

Skyfire's latest update to its mobile browser, version .85, brings forward a flurry of minor features and functionality, including support for new phones and the official release of its beta to the UK.

The prior restriction to North American phone numbers may not have stopped industrious users overseas, however. When Skyfire announced the proxy browser's availability on Symbian and Windows Mobile phones in Canada, a CNET reader going by 'Oatcake 1' admitted to using it on a UK network since late October.

To sweeten the deal for British residents, and, well, everyone else, Skyfire has also done away … Read more

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