The Download Blog

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

Power Downloader e-mails large files

Summer is fast approaching, and Power Downloader is fielding lots of vacation-related questions. Kitty Kilobyte wants to know what's the best way to send her friends and family photos and video of her upcoming trip to South America. Pando for Windows and Mac is the way to go, says Power D.

Power then explains that with Pando installed, Kitty can drag and drop her large folder of images and WMVs into the Pando interface, which lets her send Power D, Francois Foto, and virtually anybody else in her address book a message with a link. When Power clicks that … Read more

First Look video: Adobe Reader

While there are other PDF readers out there, the Adobe Reader for Windows and Mac is used the most. Adobe's mastery of the Portable Document Format has been nearly indisputable until recently, and even with stiff competition the Adobe Reader has the name recognition that most users trust. But is it really the best one out there? Get up close and personal with the Reader in this First Look video, judge for yourself, and let us know in the comments below.

Opera 9.5 to include antimalware protection

On Friday Opera announced that version 9.5 of the browser (download Opera 9.5 beta for Windows or Mac) will include built-in antimalware protection from Haute Secure (download for Windows 32-bit or Windows 64-bit).

This is, of course, to counter the antimalware protection built into Firefox 3, currently available as a final release candidate (download for Windows or Mac). Firefox uses data from Google and StopBadware to block a site before it loads on your browser.

Haute Secure counters that its offering is better because it relies upon a community of dedicated users to inform the product when to … Read more

Enhance OpenOffice.org with free extensions and templates

You could create every document, spreadsheet, and presentation you work on from scratch, but if you're like me, you'll likely spend more time futzing with the file's layout and design than entering the data that comprises it.

That's why I rely on the many free templates and extensions for my favorite productivity apps. I've written in the past about places to find add-ons for Microsoft Office, but there's also a wealth of free extensions and templates for OpenOffice.org's Writer word processor, Calc spreadsheet, and Impress presentation program.

Start at OpenOffice.org's … Read more

Featured Freeware: Session Manager

Session Manager can save, backup, restore, and manage multiple Firefox tab sessions. It comes with the option of loading the last saved session, not loading a previous session, loading a specific older session, or asking the user to choose. If it stopped there, it'd still be more powerful than the native Firefox session manager is but it has more to offer.

In addition, it can save more than 20 older sessions, and offers users several options for session management when closing Firefox. The plug-in automatically backs up sessions in the event of a crash. Users can also configure how … Read more