The Download Blog

TweakVI needs tweaks of its own

When a new program asks you if you'd like to create a system restore point before you finish installing it, there's only one reasonable conclusion: something bad could happen to the computer, the programmers know this, and so they're offering you a bit of Teflon for protection.

In TweakVI, the Windows Vista settings utility, it's a mighty fine idea to take the advice and create the restore point. It's not that the program hosed my computer when I installed it, but it's definitely a buggy program and the current version, at least, should be … Read more

Dashwire 2.0 improves phone-management software

Dashwire (review), a dashboard for synchronizing and managing the contents of your mobile phone online, has let loose with Dashwire 2.0 for Windows Mobile 5 and 6. Tuesday's release enriches the syncing client application with photos and with Facebook and Twitter updates.

The previous version of the downloadable Dashwire app, which opens the syncing channels between the phone's content and the online dashboard, was pretty much a blank placeholder--all back-end functionality and very little front-end personality. Now the screen displays your primary photo, status message, and a media ribbon of the photos and videos stored on your … Read more

Memeo launches Share for sending photos to grandma

Tuesday morning software company Memeo launched a new product called Share. Aimed at people who don't use photo- or video-sharing sites, Share lets you take what you've captured on your digital camera and beam it to friends and family members without clogging up their e-mail in-boxes with full-resolution shots.

The product is not aimed at the Flickr crowd, but instead at people who want to create small circles of people to share their shots with. That's not to say there's not a social element, since it can be configured to automatically upload your shots to Facebook. … Read more

Evernote 3.0 now open to all, still awesome

Today, Evernote 3.0 (download), the note-taking application I raved about in March, opens to the public for Windows and Mac users. I highly recommend this product. It's functional and useful, and beyond that its architecture is also interesting. It's a true three-platform play: it works very well, and somewhat differently, on desktop computers, mobile phones, and over the Web.

On a PC, Evernote is a good note-taking application. The current version also fixes some issues I had with earlier betas, and I'm seriously considering finally dumping OneNote, the note-taking application I use now, for this new … Read more

Featured Freeware: M8 Multi Clipboard

Beneath this clipboard manager's deceptively drab exterior lays a smart set of clip-management tools. Rather than holding one clip at a time, as the Windows Clipboard does, M8 Multi Clipboard can hold up to 25 items.

If you want to save a particular clip, you can store up to 25 in a single group. From there, you can create up to 100 clip libraries, with each of those holding 100 groups. The libraries, groups, and clips can be renamed for better organization, and it's easy to move or copy clips from one group to another.

The program's … Read more

First Look: RingtoneExpress

A personalized ringtone is worth a thousand preset tones. It's no wonder why so many users produce their own, and why so many developers join the talent show. While all ringtone-making software share some commonalities, they usually vary by some degree of pricing, audio editing sensitivity, and delivery mode. RingtoneExpress, for instance, is light on editing tools, but offers four methods for loading MP3 and WMA content onto the phone. The pricing is kept low, about $10 for limitless ringtone creation, and uniquely, it can also suck the audio out of YouTube videos for conversion to an MP3 ringtone.… Read more

Five ways to master bookmarks in Firefox 3

Besides the face-lift, one of Firefox 3's less flashy, but incredibly useful features, is the new bookmarking system. Yeah, there are still folders and bookmarklets, but joining the party are useful items like tags, smart backup, and a new way to track which sites you're actually visiting to help weed out what's unneeded.

We've put together a small guide to help you take advantage of bookmarking in Firefox 3. If you put these lessons to use, you'll go from having a big, clumsy menu of sites you like to an ever-changing list that can quickly be parsed and prioritized with minimal effort.

Step 1: Master the quickie On a site you like? Don't bother with keyboard shortcuts (although Ctrl+Shift+L is dead easy); just hit the new star button in the address bar. It'll quick-save it to your bookmarks list the same way the keyboard shortcut does, although it saves a click or two by skipping the "edit this bookmark" dialogue that usually pops up when you try to squirrel a link away.

If you do want to access that dialogue without having to delve into the full-fledged bookmark editor, just click on the star again and you'll get that same drop-down menu with quick fields you can fill in to edit tags or simply remove the link from your bookmarks.

Step 2: Use tags Tags are helpful. If you're bookmarking a site you think you're going to keep around, it's worth tagging. The biggest reason is that Firefox will now use tags as shortcuts in the address bar, meaning that if you tag this article "awesome," typing awesome into the bar will automatically pull up this page as one of the top results. It'll also take any tags you've previously added and autofill them for you as you type. This makes it easy to fill in some simple descriptions quickly and efficiently.

To quickly add pre-existing tags without typing anything, just hit the little down arrow in the bookmarking menu. This will list all of the tags you've typed in before, and simply clicking on any one of them will add it as a tag.

Step 3: Use smart bookmarks and folders to discover new content Are you an iTunes user? If so, you may be familiar with smart playlists, the playlists that will automatically fill with tracks based on what boolean values you set up. Firefox 3 has two similar features called smart bookmarks and smart folders that let you do this using query strings or simple searches. Now as a warning, this isn't as simple to do as it is in iTunes, which has drop-down menus, but the good news is… Read more

AIM's Windows Mobile chat app nails a bullseye

Updated 6/23/08 at 5:40 pm PST to correct details about the texting feature.

After the sophistication of desktop chatting, mobile instant messaging services often tend to look like rough, rickety wire frames. Not so for AOL's first house-made application for mobile phones, a rich AIM client for Windows Mobile phones versions 5 and 6.

Released earlier this month, the IM application is in beta stages and there are plenty of known issues, including the one that number-locks the keypad on T-Mobile Dash phones and made for a dead-end first attempt. Past that obstacle, AIM for Windows … Read more

Featured Freeware: Xplorer2 Lite

This slimmed-down file manager trumps Windows Explorer on many counts, but it may have too much flexibility for some users.

Xplorer2 Lite's interface is easily adapted to your preferences. Toolbars and information windows can be moved on a whim. You can browse two or more folders in one window, using program tabs and different panes. What's more, you can customize search windows and save the settings for later use. Visual filters improve crowded directory readability. You can easily rename multiple files at once, split or merge files, synchronize folders, and shred data to prevent recovery. However, Check Duplicates … Read more

Featured Freeware: Notepad++

Notepad++ is a Notepad replacement with an eye toward programmers, although it should also appeal to the casual user who wants a cross between Notepad and WordPad. Notepad++ has some noticeable differences from WordPad. Support for tabs is key, letting users manage different documents simultaneously. Line numbering is important, too, a feature that nobody mucking about in C should be without.

The interface is much simpler compared with some of its competitors. A familiar row of icons with their mouse-over labels sits at the top, and one row of tabs is just below that. The rest of the screen is … Read more