The Download Blog

Featured Freeware: Wubi

If you're looking for a safe and easy way to test out the switch from Windows to Linux, Wubi might be the program for you. Wubi's dialog interface requires users to select a mere six options to install Ubuntu, but don't expect direct help with this utility. Users are expected to have a basic understanding of Linux and booting into alternate operating systems, and you'll have to rely on the Wubi FAQ and forums for assistance.

Selecting the install drive, hard-drive space, language, username, and password is quick with pull-down selectors. The most difficult decision is … Read more

Power Downloader makes screenshots Jing-le

One of the most effective computer crime-fighting tools in Power Downloader's arsenal is the screen capture. When Power D grabs a cap and uploads it to the Web for the world to see, he knows he's presenting advice to computer users in a very unimpeachable way. Effective screen-capping used to be a tedious multistep process, but the Jing Project streamlines it all for both Windows and Mac users.

From the team behind the screen-recording utility Camtasia, Jing is able to capture still images as well as videos. Once you've downloaded and installed the program, click the Capture … Read more

Viigo 3.0 beta chases Yahoo Go 3.0 beta

Another Yahoo department has cause for concern. Up until last week, Yahoo Go was top dog in the mobile widget arena, pulling everything from weather, news, and finance to local listings, Flickr photos, and search onto Yahoo Go 3.0 beta, the company's rich application for smartphones. But Viigo 3.0 beta has added many of the same elements to what is essentially a faster-loading and more visually straightforward wrapper.

I've sung Viigo's praises when it was flexing new-found muscle as a superb RSS reader for Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices. The new beta, released June 19, … Read more

Featured Freeware: GOM Media Player

Along with VLC and the KMPlayer, GOM Media Player's support for a wide range of file formats has helped it stand out as a firm favorite. A pop-out playlist can save and organize your various media files, though the limited sort modes--two--hardly makes it a champ.

More impressive are the customizable settings on the control panel. Here you can adjust a video's image brightness, hue, and saturation. There's no preview window, and changes occur as the video runs, so unless you care for a rousing session of trial and error, be sure to tweak the settings after … Read more

Growl for Mac keeps you notified

When you're working on your Mac, sometimes things happen in the background that you would like to keep track of while working in another application, such as when a friend comes online in your chat client, you receive a new e-mail or Skype call, or your CD is finished burning.

Fortunately, there's a free notification system called Growl that has become a Mac favorite for its flexibility and elegant interface. You can configure Growl to notify you when a download is complete, when a DVD is finished ripping, when your FTP client is done uploading or downloading, or … Read more

Two quick fixes for Firefox 3

Just looking at the download count from Mozilla for the first 24 hours of Firefox 3, it looks like the browser upgrade is one of the fastest-adopted new program versions ever. Eight million downloads in the first 24 hours can't be wrong, right? Of course, no new program--even one as heavily beta-tested as FF3--is problem-free, and so I've got two fast course corrections for those struggling with incompatible plug-ins and Flash foul-ups.

Let's look at Flash first. Towards the end of my use of Firefox 2, before upgrading to Firefox 3, I noticed a peculiar Flash problem: … Read more

Featured Freeware: Yahoo Widgets

Although Google's Desktop is arguably the better-known miniapp desktop dock, the latest version of Yahoo Widgets--formerly known as the Widget Engine--is an excellent alternative for Windows and Mac users, making customization easier than before. It also comes with a revamped look.

The app has 22 default widgets, including a weather forecaster, a Yahoo Mail manager, a Wi-Fi signal checker, a calendar, and an iTunes remote. Though the true value of the app should be judged on the quality of the widgets developed, the platform itself is polished and easy to use.

A helpful tour introduces users to the basics … Read more

Clipping mobile coupons with Cellfire 3.0

In the Internet Age, clipping and keeping coupons is a bunch of busywork. Cellfire's compelling mobile coupons service, however, helps users redeem offers from the cell phone, today's essential pocketbook.

Version 3.0 of Cellfire for the mobile Web and for Windows Mobile phones, adds three new useful ways to work with mobile coupons in your area. That is, if your area happens to be in the U.S.

The first change is the ability to save offers of interest, which are generally good for a week, in a separate silo. From the offer details page, you'll … Read more

First Look video: Revo Uninstaller

One of the best programs out there for giving more control over Windows functions to users, Revo Uninstaller does far more than fast uninstallations. It has several levels of programs removal, from basic to giving your Registry a thorough scrubbing. Revo also provides in-depth resources for researching just what a program is and does, so you know what you're removing, as well as offering a suite of strong system tools. Check out what it can do for you in this First Look video.

Featured Freeware: RSS Bandit

If Really Simply Syndication is like a drug for news junkies, allowing headlines, blog posts, and podcasts to be sent automatically to a computer's desktop every day, then RSS Bandit is the risk-free delivery system.

The basics are all present and accounted for, with subscribing, managing, and reading the flow of news all easy to perform tasks. RSS Bandit has many attractive features, too, allowing a user to merge news headlines from multiple sources onto a single page and organize articles based on keyword, read-unread status, and age. The built-in tabbed browser lets users read the full article and … Read more