The Download Blog

Give your laptop some 3G love

As we head into the long weekend here in the States, I caught word of a newfangled freeware called JoikuSpot Light that might appeal to traveling owners of laptops and 3G phones that can't get their Wi-Fi connection to, you know, connect.

Joikuspot, and its Windows Mobile sibling, WMWiFiRouter, let laptop users wirelessly connect to their phones' 3G signal, piggybacking on it to your messages out and get fresh data in. If you're stuck in an airport or hotel room with a crappy or nonexistent Wi-Fi signal, JoikuSpot will enable to you to connect. If you've got … Read more

Web Albums made easy on Windows and Mac

Just about anybody with a little computer experience can put a bunch of photos together onscreen and print them out. But what if you want something a bit more exciting? Maybe something that gives you the flexibility to control the layout, add captions, and upload your work to the Web so your friends and family can enjoy it. JAlbum, for both Windows and Mac is one of my long-time favorite programs. JAlbum just got a major upgrade, so if you're looking for a way to get your photos out to family and friends, it's definitely worth checking out.… Read more

NewsGator introduces feed suggestions

NewsGator converted its popular RSS feed aggregation clients to freeware in January 2008, and now that seed has borne fruit: recommended fruit, to be precise.

Partnering with SenseArray, a collaborative filter from Uprizer Labs, NewsGator now offers live RSS feed recommendations from feeds that the user hasn't already subscribed to. Currently available only on the online NewsGator client, the filter pulls information from NewsGator as well as its sibling desktop clients, FeedDemon for Windows and NetNewsWire for the Mac so that users who synchronize their RSS data will be contributing to the list of recommendations.

Brian Kellner, NewsGator's … Read more

Featured Freeware: Blender

If you've ever thought about making professional-quality animations but decided not to because of the cost of the software, your excuse just got up and walked out the door. For Windows, Mac, and Linux, Blender is a free, open-source 3D rendering program that puts the power of the medium back into the hands of the artist.

Blender features a laundry list of animation essentials that can be broken down into categories: Interface, Modeling, Rigging, Rendering, Animation, UV Unwrapping, Shading, Physics and Particles, Imaging and Compositing, and Real Time 3D/Game Creation. The interface, though loaded with complicated tools, is … Read more

IE7Pro adds even more features to IE

The one must-have add-on for Internet Explorer is IE7Pro. It gives Microsoft's browser many of the features that Firefox aficionados consider essential, such as mouse gestures, ad blocking, user scripts, and other basic tweaks. Now IE7 users can add a session manager and prefetching to that list.

Using IE7Pro is a snap. The add-on installs an icon on your IE status bar at the bottom, and you right-click it to access the IE7Pro options. Think of it as a context menu for your plugins. The Settings panel is accessible from that menu or using CTRL+F7 hotkeys.

The session … Read more

Ad-Aware improves for 2008

This year's major update to user favorite Ad-Aware looks to be more of a course correction from some of the missteps in the 2007 version. The adware and malware detection engine has undergone a significant overhaul, resulting in faster scan times, and the interface has been changed.

The changes to the detection and removal engine will be noticeable to long-time Ad-Aware users, with Lavasoft touting faster scan times and better rootkit detection. New users should notice that the app performs faster than integrated antivirus and antimalware programs, and that's because only the paid version of Ad-Aware comes with … Read more

Spyware Horror Story: Would you fall for this IM scam?

Submitted by Scott, Vernon Hills, Ill.

This past April, a friend of mine, Jeff, called me on a Saturday afternoon, letting me know that I was instant messaging him right then. I obviously wasn't. He said that after some lines of basic text, I acted panicked and asked for money to be wired to an African bank account, which Jeff knew immediately was bad news for the real me.

I immediately changed some passwords in key accounts and found that my Hotmail account had been mysteriously compromised. The evildoers had got a ton of my contacts and sent out … Read more

Microsoft boosts support for rival formats in Office

Microsoft is opening up Office to other file formats, slowly but steadily.

On Wednesday, the company said it plans to add new formats to Office 2007, including the OpenDocument Format (ODF), Portable Document Format (PDF), and XML Paper Specification (XPS). The new formats will be added to Office as part of Service Pack 2 for Office 2007, due in the first half of next year.

ODF, a rival document format to Office's native format, has become popular with governments and schools. Microsoft, acknowledging requests for compatibility with ODF, released a converter to allow Word users to open documents saved … Read more

Mozilla: Final Firefox 3 expected in June

Firefox fans looking for a major update to the open-source Web browser probably will get a final version of it next month.

"We're looking for final ship sometime in June," said Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, in an interview Wednesday. Mozilla, which was spun out of AOL more than 10 years ago, oversees the Firefox programming project.

One of the Firefox's strengths is the broad collection of hundreds of add-ons, but that also means things move more slowly when programmers must update their projects to be compatible with Firefox 3. And that's … Read more

Quick Tips: Color your BlackBerry trackball

There's a not-so-secret secret that BlackBerry Pearl owners in the know have been using to impress the socks off those astute enough to notice the glowing neon ball at the center of the handset. And that it isn't glowing white.

The trick is owed to a little software application called ColorPearl, which beams out multihued lights from RIM's famous navigation pearl by taking advantage of...well, we don't want to spoil the plot. Tune into this Quick Tip video from CNET Producer Randall Bennett to see the amazing Technicolor sphere in action.