The Download Blog

Spyware Horror Story: Confounded by hosts

Published by Mesila; San Francisco, CA

I recently had unknown malware that was causing Windows to keep rebooting at odd moments. Another thing it did was install a kazillion services and then have all of them running at once. It wasn't something that any scanner would pick up--and being big on file sharing, I've made it a point to keep a whole army of antimalware programs around. I'm assuming the culprit was either one that was new at the time, or a variant that had morphed itself from an older version. Eventually, after a lot of fussing … Read more

First Look video: WordWeb

This excellent freeware program will stop you from ever fretting over a definition or antonym again. WordWeb offers hot-key lookup and offline resources in a smart package.

In addition to displaying definitions, synonyms, and antonyms, WordWeb can find sets of related words. The database has more than 150,000 root words and 120,000 synonym sets, and plenty of proper nouns, pronunciations, and usage tags. It can't tell you when you've split your infinitives or garbled your gerunds, but it gives great word accuracy on the fly.

Yahoo inks InstallShield deal to help propagate toolbar

Upate 9:40 a.m. PT--I clarified the partnership terms for companies that want to bundle the toolbar.

Yahoo announced a partnership with Acresso Software, which develops the InstallShield software installer product, that the companies say will make it easier to spread the Yahoo Toolbar.

Through the deal, it will be easier for the 71,000 software organizations using InstallShield to bundle the toolbar into the installation process, the companies said Thursday. Of course, software companies still must want to bundle the toolbar, but the Acresso option makes that easier to do if they so choose.

The Yahoo Toolbar adds … Read more

YouMail puts voice messages on the mobile screen

YouMail, a free visual voice mail solution to organize cell phone messages like e-mail for online playback and response, announced on Thursday that customers can start viewing those same voice mail messages from their mobile phones.

By pointing the mobile browser to YouMail's home page, fans of the service can access their account with the usual login and pin to view contact's images, play back messages in any order, and forward or reply to voice messages in a form factor tailored from YouMail's servers to many high-end smartphones.

YouMail certainly isn't the first visual voice mail … Read more

Featured Freeware: Jahshaka

If you're looking for a free, professional-level video editor, Jahshaka for Windows and Mac should top your list. With every release, it gets more stable and gains more features.

The list of what the application can do is extensive and exhaustive. It can handle real-time image processing with node-based effects; edit DV, SD, HD and film; do real-time 3D compositing and Flash animation; OpenGL-based paint; and it has a text module. There are also modules for color correction, keying, and tracking, and an array of media support. It comes with JahPlayer, a media player that claims to work with &… Read more

Zumobi and Squace: Read the mobile Web in squares

The widgets story has always locked icons and links in a race to recover your most-wanted data quickly and accurately. When it comes to cell phones, there's been no clear winner, only trade-offs. Mobile browsers such as Opera Mini and Skyfire promise rich desktop search augmented by straightforward links to favored sites, while well-designed widgets applications such as Yahoo Go supply clear paths to tightly-focused content, some of it user-customized.

Seattle-based Zumobi and Swedish newcomer Squace are two companies I spoke to this week that are pitching icons over links. On Wednesday, Zumobi announced a version update that gives … Read more

Firefox 3 final inches closer

For those of you waiting with bated breath for Firefox 3, Mozilla has just published Release Candidate 2 for Windows, Mac, Linux and Windows Portable. There are no new features to celebrate or examine: what we're looking at is pure, unadulterated bug fixing. Users can expect a somewhat more stable browser, with the regular mix of security tweaks and otherwise minor changes.

Full release notes can be read here.

First Look video: Spyware Terminator

Spyware removal, real-time protection, and integrated antivirus for free? These compelling ingredients form the siren song of Spyware Terminator. Digging out spyware is the security tool's chief job description, but the application also adds real-time blocking and integrates the free ClamWin Antivirus tool at your behest. Spyware Terminator scans and zaps on three levels, and helps guard against malicious code swimming in through applications, system files, and the Internet.

Microsoft plug-in lets users try group search

Microsoft's Research group announced an Internet Explorer 7 plug-in called SearchTogether on Wednesday that turns Web searches into a group activity.

The plug-in lets people set up what amounts to search chat rooms, in which a group of people can jointly peruse search results. Users can chat, annotate specific results with comments, ratings, and recommendations. Members of a group also can return later to view the annotated search session.

It also lets people perform a "split search," in which results are divided among different users in separate browser tabs. Many hands make light work, as the saying … Read more

Pandora auditions desktop version of music service

Streaming-music service Pandora announced on Tuesday that it is testing out a beta version of a downloadable desktop application for Windows and Mac.

Until this point, Pandora had offered only Web-based music. A desktop application has been on the start-up's to-do list for some time, the blog post explained, and was also a common request from members.

The application is built using Adobe Integrated Runtime, or AIR, the Web-meets-desktop software that debuted in February and now powers a number of popular light applications like Twitter client Twhirl.

Pandora is ad-supported to handle the licensing fees that inevitably come from … Read more