The Download Blog

Find the right word with WordWeb

Are you ever at a loss for words? Whether you're writing an essay, a letter, a business proposal, or even a novel, there are inevitably times when the right word is just out of your mind's reach. In the old days, you might pick up a dictionary or thesaurus to find a specific word, but now most people know that resources on the Internet are only a couple of clicks away. There's one program I like to use, however, that's even easier than opening your Web browser.

WordWeb is a free program that lets you highlight … Read more

Guinness bestows download record on Firefox

The de facto registrar of superlative achievements has credited Mozilla for officially setting a record for downloads in a 24-hour period: 8,002,530 copies of Firefox.

Mozilla's Download Day on June 17, whose server-crippling success delayed its official start, sought to popularize the open-source Web browser. Mozilla, which oversees the Firefox project, projected at the time that it cleared 8 million, but the number is now official.

"As the arbiter and recorder of the world's amazing facts, Guinness World Records is pleased to add Mozilla's achievement to our archives," Gareth Deaves, Guinness' records manager, … Read more

First Look video: WorldMate Live

Woeful is the international business traveler who bolts across the airport to make it to a changed gate and who arrives to a meeting an hour late because of travel-addled math skills. WorldMate Live, reviewed here for BlackBerry, smooths the journey with comprehensive itinerary and flight status updates, weather reports, directions, and unit conversion tools.

The strong Web component is one way that WorldMate Live--for Windows Mobile phones and BlackBerry--differs from past and still fully functional versions of the WorldMate application for multiple platforms. Based on the information you enter on your online itinerary, the program alerts you of changes … Read more

Fight Phishing with Flagfox for Firefox

A big part of phishing scams and identity theft is fooling people into thinking they are on one website when they are actually somewhere else. The technical tricks to accomplish this include lookalike and phony domain names, zapping the hosts file, tricks with URLs and assorted attacks on DNS servers. What's a normal person to do?

Flagfox is an unobtrusive extension for the Firefox web browser that offers some assistance by placing a flag in the bottom right corner of the Firefox window. The flag (shown below) indicates the country where the website physically resides.

If you don't … Read more

IE 8 to have antimalware protection

On Wednesday, Microsoft announced new security features within the upcoming release of Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2. The features are designed to combat the rising tide of drive-by downloads and malicious scripts contained within carefully crafted links embedded in e-mail and Web pages. Most of the new features require systems to be running Windows Vista SP1 or Windows XP SP3.

Perhaps the most anticipated addition is Internet Explorer's new antimalware protection. Opera 9.5 and Firefox 3 both recently added antimalware protection. Safari has so far not announced plans for similar protection. Using mostly its own antimalware technology, Microsoft … Read more

Free utility lets you defrag files solo or in bunches

The disk defragmenter in Windows Vista leaves much to be desired. A couple of months ago, I recommended Auslogics' Disk Defrag as a free alternative. What that program lacks is the ability to defrag just one or a select set of files and folders.

If you use Windows XP, the free Contig program from Mark Russinovich of Sysinternals fame (now owned by Microsoft) lets you ensure that an existing file is stored contiguously rather than fragmented onto different disk volumes. You can also use it to create a file that will remain contiguous.

Why would you want to defragment a … Read more

Featured Freeware: RocketDock

Where most other docks fail, RocketDock soars. The Mac-style program dock and launcher for Windows 2000, XP, and Vista has it all, from a smooth installation to flawless icon transitions and an unobtrusive footprint.

The app is loaded with options. The dock can live on any of the four edges of your monitor, as well as autohide or be ever-present. It comes with more than 20 skins, and fonts and colors are fully customizable, as is the icon order. Program icons are customizable, too. The program publisher is also growing a community around the program, and the app's Web … Read more

Pluribo summarizes Web content, starting with reviews

When I'm parsing product reviews on I usually look at two things after the price tag: the rating and how many people have reviewed it. This simple system tends to breaks down when it comes time to dig deeper into those sometimes thousands of reviews, which is where Pluribo comes in handy.

This small browser extension will go over everyone's ratings and pull out bits and pieces it finds noteworthy based on a similar words that pop up in rated reviews. The developer says it currently works the best on electronics items but that other items … Read more

Adobe unveils Reader 9 with Flash

Adobe released on Tuesday the first Reader application to bake movies and animation into the Portable Document Format.

With Adobe Reader 9, users can play Flash movies, Shockwave animation, and other rich media content without needing to open a third-party player.

PDFs are reaching new levels of interactivity with this release. Past versions of the nearly ubiquitous and free application, by contrast, have enabled dynamic forms but served largely to open print-ready PDFs.

The update is supposed to load more quickly than version 8, addressing the gripes of many users who felt that Reader slowed down Web surfing.

Adobe has … Read more

Fring gets Facebook, other third-party add-ons

After so many announcements for this or that application's Facebook appearance, it's nice to see Facebook play a supporting role in kind.

On Tuesday, Fring, a VoIP and IM application for a range of mobile phones, added the ability to fold Facebook into the communicator, through a new Settings menu option called fringAdd-ons. Gmail Notifier, Orkut, vTap videos, and Yandex.mail are also in there, together representing the first extensions created by third-party developers using Fring's application programming interface.

Exactly how many add-ons join this handful will depend on Fring's popularity with casual developers. Fring is … Read more