The Download Blog

Spyware Horror Story: Uncool Web search

Published by: Bob; Boston

I have an XP Systemax unit that has worked flawlessly for two years. Until today. I checked my e-mail in the morning and noticed it was a little sluggish, so I rebooted--I admit, it had been a while since my last reboot. When the computer came back up, it was almost at a dead stop. Neither my ZoneAlarm nor AVG Anti-Virus would load. Any program I tried relating to anti-anything would not work, either.

After several reboots I was able to launch AVG and found hundreds of spyware files dumped on my system, from CoolWebSearch to … Read more

Three useful Firefox 3 'awesome bar' hacks

The Firefox 3 honeymoon is over.

It is indeed awesome, but it could use a little tweaking to keep your surfing a high-speed affair, right? You're in luck, because there are some easy tweaks.

The other day, we pointed you toward how to get rid of the updated address bar's new features completely, but why not just tweak what you see, instead? Here are some tips to bail you out.

1. Control how many listings you're getting. The default number of sites that show up on the Smart Location Bar, or "awesome bar," of the … Read more

Featured Freeware: Glary Utilities

This powerful application offers extensive utilities to improve your system's performance and protect your privacy. Glary Utilities' well-organized interface allows users to easily choose from several tools. It cleans unwanted junk files and removes invalid and broken shortcuts, freeing up valuable disk space.

There's a registry cleaner that allows you to scan, remove, and back up faulty entries. You also can wipe out Internet Explorer traces and tweak start-up programs and memory optimization. Privacy-conscious users will certainly appreciate the inclusion of a government-standard file shredder to securely delete data. Users who are looking for an effective and easy-to-use … Read more

First Look video: SugarSync file-syncing

For serious syncers who routinely work from multiple computers or mobile phones, SugarSync is, in more ways than one, a premium solution to file-transferring problems. More flexible than some competing PC-to-PC syncing software or mobile and PC remote access services, Sugar Sync weaves in elements of both. Lite sync some folders for online back-up and fully sync folders or files to load them on each of your computers. A change to one file exacts a change to all.

SugarSync doesn't do everything, and the mobile functionality could use some usability finessing. There are also a few tricks worth knowing … Read more

Screencast.com springs into version 1

YouTube isn't the only way to share video, and it's certainly not the way to store and share professional screencasts with hiked-up bitrates. After 18 months as a beta mewling, on Wednesday, TechSmith's Screencast.com graduated to a full-fledged release.

Version 1 of Screencast.com continues to receive screen recordings produced in the freeware Jing Project (for Windows and Mac) and premium Camtasia Studio, though it's available to anyone willing to register and pay for storage. It has come some distance from the site covered by Webware.com as part of a July 2007 review of … Read more

Statistics show Firefox 3 spreading fast

Firefox 3 is spreading fast, claiming more than 4 percent of the share of Web browser usage less than 24 hours after its release.

According to Net Applications, which monitors browser usage at major Web sites, Firefox 3 rapidly ascended to what I'd call force-to-be-reckoned-with status, something Web designers shouldn't be ignoring. For comparison, Apple's Safari had 6.25 percent share in May, and Opera had 0.71 percent.

Undoubtedly, most Firefox 3 activity is from existing Firefox users, but it's still a notable achievement, given that software companies constantly struggle to get users to adopt … Read more

'New York Times' goes social with TimesPeople

The New York Times has added a new feature to its Web site that takes a few cues from Facebook and Digg: TimesPeople, now in beta.

TimesPeople users can build up friends lists and can see a "news feed" of which stories their friends are recommending, sharing, and commenting on. Times online readers have been able to comment on stories, as well as rate reviewed restaurants and movies, for some time now, but recommending is new.

TimesPeople is currently available only as a Firefox browser plug-in, but software engineers told CNET News.com that it would eventually be … Read more

Featured Freeware: Avidemux

Making simple crop edits to videos of all formats shouldn't be tricky business, but most tools out there either do way too much or are so belabored with ads that no one knows what evil lurks within their code.

Open source on the GNU license, Avidemux for Windows and Mac is a breath of fresh air. Cropping a video is as simple as highlighting a section to remove and then hitting the Delete key. Re-encoding a video is equally painless: select the output format from the drop-down list, save the file, and you're good to go. When choosing … Read more

Get to know Skype 4.0 beta

It's been a while since a major Skype release, and on Wednesday, the eBay-owned VoIP communication service will issue the first of several planned version 4.0 beta builds for Windows that are anticipated to drop over the next few months.

The biggest changes to come with Skype 4.0 beta (download) are visual and organizational. For the first time, the program contains complete prompts for running sound and Webcam checks within the program set-up. After two failed tests buffered by common troubleshooting suggestions, Skype will recommend hardware--like headsets and a Webcam--to reverse incompatibility errors.

Redesigned interface Skype 4.… Read more

12 must-have add-ons for Firefox 3

Extensions, plug-ins, add-ons, whatever you want to call 'em, Firefox 3 has 'em. In fact, though it may seem that many of your favorites haven't yet updated, you might be in luck. By visiting the home pages of several of the plug-ins I use, I found that most of them had either a functional, stable beta or a full update ready to use with Firefox 3. This collection of add-ons I use both at home and in the office, and can be used for the Windows, Mac, and Windows Portable versions of the browser.

You wouldn't think that … Read more