The Download Blog

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

Quickoffice launches Quickaccess: A mobile file streamer

Quickaccess is a new software product for mobile phones from the folks at Quickoffice.

It's a streaming technology that will let you access and edit office documents on your phone without having to depend on native mobile versions of the desktop software. It'll simply take your work from wherever it's stored (either on your hard drive or in the cloud), re-render it and then compress it to stream over the Web at a fifth of its original size. All of this work is done on an array of servers, meaning any number crunching is going to be … Read more

Featured Freeware: Google SketchUp

We all know that Google is more than capable of doing excellent webware for productivity, but isn't 3D design a bit of a stretch?

Google SketchUp for Windows and Mac is a 3D-modeling program of powerful drawing tools that boasts an intuitiveness many design programs fail to achieve. On first impression, SketchUp looks like it sacrificed function for simplicity, but that's not the case. Despite the extremely user-friendly interface, SketchUp offers a high-end range of powerful 3D-drawing tools that let you experiment and play with new designs.

Using basic shapes in 3D space for your outline, you can … Read more

First Look video: JiveTalk mobile IM

There are a few multinetwork IM clients for mobile phones, but JiveTalk is the one I keep coming back to on the BlackBerry Curve. It may not have the translation engine of Shape Service's more established IM+ All-in-One Messenger (all platforms), but it does have the emoticons, some file-sharing, and a more generous trial period than both IM+ All-in-One-Messenger and Mundu IM (all platforms), another excellent choice. JiveTalk costs about $30 for a lifetime license and is free for iPhone users.

Slide show: Software for vacationing workaholics

For most of us, checking into work on your vacation isn't any fun, but if it's a matter of no vacation or a tampered one, we'll help you find the most efficient ways to do your duty, so you can get back to doing...well, anything else. For the rest of you who are prone to nervous behavoiral ticks if you're away from your work for too long, these tools will equip you with a mini mobile office for your own brand of paradise.