The Download Blog

Twitter app Twinkle shines on Apple's new device

One of the things I've noticed in the emerging wave of iPhone applications is that many of the highest rated applications could be found on the App Store's illegitimate precursor--Nullriver's application installer. Several of these applications have been under almost constant development for the greater part of a year, long before Apple made the SDK available. In the case of newcomer Twinkle, that extra time really shows.

You might remember our hands-on with Twinkle back in April. Its claim to fame is that it mixes in location-based services with Twitter, not only letting you tweet with your … Read more

Featured Freeware: Digsby

Digsby will easily be the instant messaging freeware of choice for the super social set. Web 2.0 fans, that's you. In addition to supporting the major IM networks--Yahoo, MSN, AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, and Jabber--Digsby also pulls in Web mail feeds, as well as access to MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. Updating Twitter is a breeze from the application's main interface, though users wishing to do anything more than read Facebook and MySpace feeds will be redirected to their online accounts.

Windows users can initiate text, video, and audio chat from the conversation window, and transfer files, … Read more

Featured Freeware: TrueCrypt

The ultimate open-source encryption program, TrueCrypt is loaded with powerful features that those concerned with protecting their data from thievery should want--and have.

It offers 11 algorithms for encrypting your private files in a password-protected volume. You can store your encrypted data in files (containers) or partitions (devices). TrueCrypt works hard to offer powerful data protection, recommending complex passwords, explaining the benefits of hidden volumes, and erasing telltale signs of the encryption process, including mouse movements and keystrokes. Though the interface may not be immediately intuitive, its powerful, on-the-fly encryption for no cost still earns the freeware security tool a … Read more

Featured Freeware: Lightning

Lightning makes Thunderbird soar above Outlook for home use, and places it on nearly equal ground in the office. It includes an overhauled interface with easy-to-use buttons for jumping between e-mail and your calendar, LDAP directory support for event invites, and Sun Java Calendar Server support.

Work on the plug-in is now handled by Mozilla as it prepares to integrate its code into Thunderbird for the big Version 3 update coming later this year, but that doesn't mean Lightning isn't ready to be used now. A menu bar for switching between mail and calendar views can live either … Read more

Power Downloader's task master

When Power Downloader needs to set a schedule for his computer to do basic tasks when he's not around, he needs to rely on a robust scheduler that can handle not only shutting down the computer, but also launching programs, leave him reminder notes, and cleaning directories. For all that and--cliched as it sounds--more, Power D relies on the freeware Z-Cron.

Similar to the Unix Cron scheduler, and far more powerful than the native Windows task scheduler, Z-Cron is an aggressive sergeant-at-arms, able to tell your computer what to do and when to do it, leaving you to get … Read more

Trillian adds Facebook, IRC support to Astra

My favorite IM application, Trillian, has just put out a brand new build of its upcoming Astra product for alpha testers. New are Facebook notifications and quick shortcuts to jump straight to things like photo galleries and user profiles. Sorely missing from that, however, is Facebook's chat, which is what I think many Trillian users have been pining for (myself included). Free competitor Digsby has had Facebook chat integration since the beginning of May, shortly after the service was launched.

Scott Werndorfer, co-founder and head developer of Trillian, tells me his team is waiting on proper XMPP (Extensible Messaging … Read more

First Look video: Yelp and Where for iPhone

Yelp and Where are two free location-finding iPhone applications that take vastly different approaches to direct you to what you're looking for.

While my personal preferences anoint Yelp for iPhone (review) the better service for its broader and more objective listings, Where for iPhone's (coverage) plotting of only partnered services will also have its cluster of followers. The bottom line is this: though serviceable, they both need work. Yelp's developers should hone the accuracy and breadth of this application's listings and stabilize performance against crashes. Where would benefit from letting users customize their choices by selecting … Read more

Featured Freeware: gAttach

Doing for Gmail what the MailTo link does for Outlook, the wonderfully simple gAttach is a small utility that reassigns Gmail as the default mail account from Windows documents. With gAttach installed, selecting Send from Windows Explorer, Firefox, and Microsoft Office automatically attaches the files to a Gmail composition instead of opening a new e-mail in your mail client.

Though effortless, we wish we could associate some file types with gAttach and let others default to the e-mail client. Also missing is a way for gAttach to automatically divide, where possible, e-mail compositions that breach the 20MB upload limit.

Remote everything using Remobo

There are a lot of notable remote access programs out there, but Remobo is one of the few that's free. It's also an early beta, so I expected to encounter a lot of bugs. And so: there were. But overall, Remobo was surprisingly stable and reasonably effective at allowing remote access both to a secondary computer that I controlled and a friend's machine.

Here's a quick rundown of what Remobo can do. It allows users to create multiple accounts under one user name, so that they can access a secondary or tertiary machine from afar. It … Read more

First Look video: SplashID for iPhone, iPod Touch

Life is so much easier when you have your most pertinent personal information on hand. SplashID for iPhone and iPod Touch is a premium application ($9.99) that encrypts and password-protects the credit card, frequent flyer, and bank account numbers you've entered into the neatly arranged application. See how it works in this First Look video.

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