The Download Blog

Featured Freeware: FormatFactory

Whether you're looking to change a video format to save space or because you lack a necessary codec, the freeware FormatFactory could be the last converter you'll need. It's not perfect, but it handles 12 types of video formats, six audio types, eight image formats, and DVD/ISO conversions with speed and accuracy.

The interface is simple and utilitarian, although spiked with format-icons and a big banner announcing the program's name for no reason other than to put lipstick on the pig. The left navigation menu has collapsible links to the various formats you can convert … Read more

Open your jukebox: Open-source alternatives for music management

Not mere freeware, but open-source alternatives are well-known for nearly every major category of software. Firefox and Linux are probably the most famous, but OpenOffice, GIMP, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Miro, and others have made themselves known in practically every genre. Heck, there's even an open-source firmware for your portable MP3 player--Rockbox.

One area that's been notably lacking some open-source love has been music jukeboxes. Competing with iTunes takes serious chops, even for programs that haven't opened their code like Winamp and MediaMonkey. However, there are a growing number of iTunes competitors that are gloriously open. Two that … Read more

First Look video: Facebook for iPhone and iPod Touch 2.0

Facebook's first attempt to migrate its vast social networking hub to an iPhone-optimized Web app was a success. Almost a year later, this new Facebook application for iPhone and iPod Touches running version 2.0 of the device firmware is even better, crowning many of the same anchor features with a few extra perks.

Watch the First Look video for a close-up view of the navigation and functionality, and see how Facebook chat on iPhone dominates the original online version. Also find out why this condensed application might actually be easier to use than Facebook.com, and finally, see … Read more

Kallout adds context-sensitive search to any Windows app

Lee Lorenzen, the man behind the Altura Facebook-focused venture fund, was at the F8 conference Wednesday pitching a non-Facebook project: Kallout. It's a software utility and Web service that lets you kick off a Web search from any word in almost any app. Lorenzen calls it, "a new way to search using only your mouse." All you have to do is select some text and wait half a second, and an icon appears on your screen that lets you pop up a Kallout search menu. Similar utilities are built into some browsers, but Kallout works across all … Read more

Spyware Horror Story: Once is enough

Published by Aaron; Arlington, Texas

My dad and I run a little tech support place for our neighborhood (we work for food). We have seen some nasty things around this area, but this next story is the worst. One of our family friends came over with her computer, telling us it was a "little" slow. So, we dragged my huge 17-inch CRT monitor with built-in speakers across the house to our little shop (not fun) and turned on the infected computer. We waited and waited until it finally loaded.

She (the family friend) had Ad-Aware loaded at the time, so we ran it, only for it to crash. At this point, we should have given up and just nuked the hard drive with a little Department of Defense-level program that writes zeros to every cell on the drive three times. But we didn't, and rebooted the computer in Safe Mode.

We then took a look at Ad-Aware and noticed that it hadn't been updated in a year, but we ran it anyway. Over 10,000 infections were picked up on an outdated program. At this point, we toyed with the idea of just taking out our gun and putting the PC out of its misery, but figured the owner wouldn't like that very much. So we tried to fix it.… Read more

Security patch for Thunderbird

Mozilla has released an update for its open-source e-mail client, Thunderbird. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, none of the changes in version 2.0.0.16 are flagged as critical or high, but it's still a good idea to update. They address remote code execution, spoofed peer certifications, and crashes because of memory corruption.

There's been no new information on when Thunderbird 3 will be released, but if you want to try a buggy alpha version, Shredder is the Thunderbird 3 alpha release and is available.

PageOnce iPhone app organizes your bills, life

Personal organizer PageOnce has a great iPhone application that I think many will find to be incredibly useful. Like its desktop sibling, PageOnce for iPhone is a feed aggregator the likes of Netvibes or MyYahoo. The only difference is that you're feeding it account information for utilities and services to get a quick overall view of your various balances and spending activity.

I've been using the application for the past few days, and have come to rely on it almost exclusively to keep track of bank accounts, mobile phone usage, and my Netflix queue. In fact, it's … Read more

Zimbra Desktop gives Yahoo Mail offline access

Update 11:03 a.m. PDT: I added more comment from Zimbra. Update 9:25 a.m. PDT: I added more background and details about my hands-on test.

Any of the 263 million Yahoo Mail users who were antsy for change now have something they can sink their teeth into.

The first real fruits of Yahoo's $350 million acquisition of Zimbra are becoming apparent with the release Thursday of the Yahoo Zimbra Desktop. The e-mail software, available as a free download for Windows and Mac, works when the user is offline, and it offers options for basic online word … Read more

Featured Freeware: Kruptos 2

This is easily one of the more useful freeware file encryption programs around. Kruptos 2's file menu and icon interface are the picture of simplicity. Encryption is almost effortless. You can drag and drop files to the Kruptos 2 window, and the latest version adds support for dragging and dropping folders.

The encryption algorithm is Blowfish 128-bit or 256-bit, and fast. A key feature obfuscates file names but leaves folder names unaltered. The program offers a feature to see original file names with the proper password, but it is invoked one file at a time. However, Windows integration means … Read more

New Reviews: The Mac uninstallers

As a software reviewer, I download a lot of programs to test them out. Some are great programs deserving of a space on my hard drive while others just are not up to snuff. With all the available software here at CNET Download.com, you've probably found a few gems worth keeping, but you've inevitably also downloaded a few programs that just didn't work out. We understand.

On a Windows machine, you can go to the control panel and choose the Add/Remove programs tool to find and uninstall software you don't want. But on a … Read more