The Download Blog

New Reviews: Tweaking OS X

Mac OS X looks great and runs smoothly right out of the box. But if you wanted to make minor tweaks to the interface or automate specific maintenance tasks, in the past you had to know how to use the command line. Fortunately, some savvy developers have made it possible to perform once-difficult tasks through the use of an easy-to-understand interface. We have a couple of freshly-reviewed programs this week that make tweaks and useful maintenance tasks in Mac OS X much easier for the regular user.

Cocktail (Leopard or Tiger) is perfect for those who like to tinker with … Read more

First Look video: YouNote for iPhone, iPod Touch

Earlier this week I compared Evernote and YouNote, two solid note-taking applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. With the thousands of Apple-approved iPhone apps springing up in the iTunes AppStore, finding the right program is becoming a test of patience.

In an effort to help slash your guesswork a bit, we took a closer look at one of those note-takers, YouNote. In this First Look video, we demonstrate the features that caught our eye and discuss what we'd like to see in YouNote's future versions.

Also check out other First Look videos on popular and must-have apps … Read more

Featured Freeware: AppCleaner

Correcting a long-standing oversight by Apple, AppCleaner completely removes unwanted programs from your Mac OS. Dragging applications to the Trash just isn't enough because almost every app installs various support files in several different places all over your computer.

AppCleaner is one of the best utilities around to help you track down and delete these files. It provides a slick, 3D interface and two options for deletion: you can either drag and drop applications onto AppCleaner's main window, or you can have AppCleaner list potential applications--and even widgets, plugins, and screensavers--to uninstall. The program will then show you … Read more

Decorate your Windows XP with Hyperdesk

It's been more than a year since Windows Vista was launched and Windows XP is still going strong. In my opinion, it's still a great operating system--though, it's not that hard to look great when compared to Windows Vista. Once thing is undeniable, however: Windows XP is getting old, especially in its aesthetic.

For this reason, on Wednesday, July 30, The Skins Factory launched Hyperdesk, a software package that will spice up your Windows XP, and turn it into a world of exciting themes, skins, and wallpapers. The software even allows you to create widgets for other … Read more

First Look video: Urbanspoon for iPhone, iPod Touch

There are just three simple instructions for finding local restaurants with Urbanspoon for iPhone and iPod Touch, an application developed by the makers of Urbanspoon.com:

Step 1: If you're one the iPhone, let the app use GPS to pinpoint your location. If you're on the iPod Touch, tap the button to enter your city.

Step 2: Vigorously shake the device up and down like you would a blocked-up ketchup bottle. Or simply press the "shake" button.

Step 3: Watch the application's slot machine wheels spin as Urbanspoon settles on a cuisine, price range, and … Read more

1Password makes Web log-ins portable

iPhone and iPod Touch users have a fantastic new solution for keeping track of log-in credentials from site to site. It's called 1Password, and like the name suggests, you only need to remember one password to access and use your log-ins across hundreds and thousands of sites.

Like RoboForm (download) and other desktop password solutions, 1Password lets you save these log-ins under the protection of a single master password. Unfortunately, due to the limitations of Apple's SDK, you can't run 1Password while you're randomly browsing in Safari, meaning you won't be able to enjoy the … Read more

Featured Freeware: FreeRip

Like a finely tuned laser, FreeRip 3 does one task: extracts songs from your CDs. You remember CDs, right? (Heck, I barely do.) Fortunately, FreeRip accomplishes its goal accurately--with little flair or window-dressing--and makes for an easy-to-use audio-track ripper.

The latest version of the program features some long overdue enhancements. Chief among them is the inclusion of the WMA format, and it's hard to believe it wasn't included before. FreeRip also supports WAV, MP3, Vorbis, and FLAC. Other features include multitrack ripping and an option to use the program as an audio-file converter. The options menu is extensive … Read more

Multimedia iPhone notes: YouNote and Evernote

YouNote and Evernote have won me over by making the iPhone and iPod Touch a powerful note-taking tool for anyone who frequently jots down thoughts and returns to them later. There's no absolute winner in this match, since each application takes a different note-taking approach, but by the review's end, we're guessing you'll have crowned one over the other.

Evernote for iPhone

Evernote has been a real hit with CNET editors since its March beta, and with good reason. The service lets you add, access, and synchronize notes from just about everywhere--your Windows or Mac desktop, … Read more

One Palringo to rule iPhone IM?

The new iPhone app from Palringo brings an official multi-instant messaging client to the Apple device. It supports eight chat protocols and includes some useful iPhone-specific features, but also suffers from several irritating limitations.

Palringo can handle Apple iChat, AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, Gadu Gadu, ICQ, Jabber, and Windows Live Messenger. Assuming you've got no problems with the iPhone keyboard, creating a profile for one of these accounts is as simple as selecting the proper icon and typing in your username and password. First, though, you must set up a Palringo account. Not to worry: when you open … Read more

First Look video: Dashwire 2.0

What's more efficient: managing your cell phone from a cramped screen or managing it from the comfort of your desktop computer? From the computer, of course. Dashwire 2.0 is a free service for Windows Mobile phones that lets you control your phone's address book, text messages, photos, videos, and ringtones from an online dashboard. Come for the ergonomic advantage and stay for the extra perks, like updating your social status on Facebook and Twitter from Dashwire's status bar, and using visual voice mail.

Learn more about Dashwire's strengths and weaknesses in this First Look video.… Read more