The Download Blog

Featured Freeware: Google Desktop

Simple, small, and free, Google Desktop for Windows, Mac and, Linux indexes your hard drive the way the company's own servers index the Web. Your search results are returned in a Web-page format that's similar to the Google Web site, and the app's sidebar shows regular updates to your favorite programs, from e-mail to your My Pictures folder to RSS feeds and weather.

Although the initial indexing process can take a long time--especially if you have a lot of e-mail, contacts, chat transcripts, and documents for it to parse through--it's well worth the wait to be … Read more

With AIM 6.8, AOL begins revenue-sharing plan

AOL plans to launch a new program called AIM Money on Tuesday that lets programmers write applications that run in the AOL Instant Messenger buddy list--and lets programmers get a cut of any resulting revenue.

The move is made possible through use of an open interface in AIM 6.8, another new development. Version 6.8 also includes "mini-applications" that run at the bottom of the AIM buddy list window; 150 new CBS radio stations in AOL Radio; and restoration of the ability to save and import buddy lists, a feature that helps move a to a new … Read more

Video: Erase personal data from the iPhone

Before tossing out your first-generation iPhone for the iPhone 3G we're all anticipating on July 11, you'll need to wipe off personal data, including your passwords and user IDs. CNET's Tom Merritt shows off three paths to iPhone data-cleanliness using iTunes for Mac and Windows. The first method is simple, but will likely leave a swatch of information behind. The second method is for the ultraparanoid with a lot of time on their hands, and the third method averages techniques to get the data coffers mostly spotless. Check it out.

Celtx preproduction app gets scripts together

When it comes to most endeavors, preparation is everything. Without the proper ingredients lined up, your major project will be dogged by inefficiencies. Segue to Celtx for Windows and Mac. The free preproduction application helps intermediate-to-advanced amateurs and professional creative teams plan out scripts, props, camera angles, and storyboards, and share them with teammates before any film is loaded, actor takes the stage, or cartoon is sketched.

Celtx 1.0, the first software release, delivers a few substantial improvements over the beta version. For one, it runs on a more finely tuned scheduling database in which the data you enter--props, … Read more

Apple launches Web 2.0 infrastructure: MobileMe

At the WWDC on Monday, Apple announced the next evolution of its .Mac service, MobileMe. A cloud storage solution that handles e-mail, calendar items, contacts, photos, and other documents, it will arguably compete with Microsoft's Live Mesh, as well as several other data synchronization start-ups like SugarSync (download).

MobileMe will replace Apple's consumer Web site service, .Mac, and adds to that service additional storage (.Mac's 10GB gos to MobileMe's 20GB), plus support for the new iPhone and for Windows PCs.

The big pitch for the new service is its synchronization capabilities. E-mail to your MobileMe account … Read more

Meet Sense Networks, the latest player in the hot 'geo' market

What if your nightlife agenda was dictated not by text messages, phone calls, or your city edition of Time Out, but by a shifting pattern of dots on a Google Map?

As absurd as it may sound, a New York company called Sense Networks thinks that's the solution. On Monday, the company emerged from stealth mode and simultaneously released an "experimental" product called CitySense, an urban navigation product that puts a new spin on the hot market of location-based mobile networking.

Backed by hedge funds rather than the venture firms that typically fuel tech start-ups, Sense Networks … Read more

Featured Freeware: Security Process Explorer

Security Process Explorer is a freeware replacement for the Windows native Task Manager. It comes with some useful functions, but the simplistic layout doesn't adapt well when displaying deeper investigations into the relationships between different processes. Still, it's worth looking at.

It offers many of the same functions that other process-managing programs offer. You can explore the connections between different processes, block processes, end them, and view in-depth information about a particular process. You can even search on the Web for a particular process, but unlike other programs, Security Process Explorer takes you to a proprietary page to … Read more

Featured Freeware: doPDF

doPDF is a fairly simple program. Even though it's utterly bereft of features beyond its main function--to let users create PDF documents from within any program using the native Print option--it's still worthwhile because it does the basics very well.

Along with whatever printer you've got hooked up that shows up in the Print dialog box, doPDF adds an eponymous option. Select it, hit print, and you get the chance to change the name of the PDF you're creating. Hit enter again and the PDF gets created, then automatically opens for you to proofread. Lacking any … Read more

Featured Freeware: Scribus

Despite occasional oddities and a distinct lack of polish, Scribus offers up an open-source freeware desktop publisher robust with a full complement of useful features. Available for Windows, in a portable edition, and for Macs, too, they compare very favorably against more expensive competition.

The detailed Web site includes a wealth of documentation, tutorials, and notes on everything from installation problems to drawing a grid to creating a text frame. As with other similar open-source apps like Blender, the online resources for Scribus are nothing less than invaluable. The interface doesn't sing, but it does hit all the right … Read more

DriverMax gets an Agent

Freeware driver back-up utility DriverMax gets a full point upgrade, but the big feature promised for this version doesn't seem to be quite ready for prime time. DriverMax Agent, which is supposed to bulk out the program with a customizable driver update check, currently only works on the Windows Vista 32-bit operating system. Sorry, XP users.

The irony of this product update coming during a week when Redmond has spectacularly backtracked on Vista isn't lost on me.

The agent does seem to work well on Vista, in so far as I can both manually check if my drivers … Read more