The Download Blog

First Look video: Free MP3 WMA Converter

It's not uncommon for music converters to swap around a handful of formats, but in this case, Free MP3 WMA Converter has been given short shrift. In addition to supporting the two titular formats, this straightforward application also converts for OGG, AAC, WAV, and APE files. The speedy converter sports a three-part user interface and lets more advanced audiophiles specify the frequency, bit rate, and compression for a given tune.

Featured Freeware: WorldWide Telescope

Possibly the best piece of software that Microsoft has published in ages, WorldWide Telescope lets users explore the universe with impressive content from the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center, and other famed ground- and space-based telescopes. Colorful nebulae, distant galaxies, black holes, and radiation clouds are all accessible from your desktop with a few clicks.

You can move around the sky by clicking with your left mouse and dragging the screen. Seven tabs help you navigate: Explore, Guided Tours, Search, Community, Telescope, View, and Settings. There are multiple mouse and keyboard commands … Read more

Featured Freeware: XnView

XnView is a robust program, an image browser and viewer as well as a converter that can handle more than 400 formats from Camera RAW, JPG, GIF, TIFF, and other still images all the way through AVI, MOV, MPEG, and a multitude of movie formats. Metadata EXIF and IPTC formats are also supported, ensuring that you don't lose any location or shooting data. There are also tools for taking screenshots.

In addition, you'll find tools for capturing screenshots and creating basic slide shows, as well as a simple audio player. The utility for generating Web galleries has been … Read more

Featured Freeware: iDump

iDump offers freeware fans a quick and slightly dirty way to copy music from an iPod to a Windows machine. Of course, by "dirty" I mean "unclean," as in, iDump runs a bit unstable.

Regardless, the app shows you the song's iPod path, cracking Apple's unusual file-saving protocol. A main window tab takes you to output options, and from there you just have to choose your songs and hit Copy. Clicking once on a song selects it, and there's also a smart feature that plays the song you've selected in iTunes.

The … Read more

Featured Freeware: KompoZer

If you dislike that achy, bloated feeling that other HTML editors can give your computer, KompoZer and its portable edition might be the freeware cure you're looking for. An open-source Web-development tool built on the NVU architecture, KompoZer aims to improve upon the NVU's bugginess.

It does a fairly admirable job of that, while not being bloatware. Major editing buttons live on the top three-tier toolbar, including a one-click Publishing icon as well as one-clicks for Image insertion and Table and Form creation. Font tweaks like Size and Style live in toolbars just below that, making for easy … Read more

Power Downloader shows you What's Running

One of Power Downloader's big concerns is that the average user lets his computer get away with too much. How many of us, Power D asks, truly know exactly which programs and processes are active at all times? There are several programs that can help you answer that question, and one of Power Downloader's favorites is What's Running.

What's Running is similar to Windows Task Manager, except far more informative and useful. The cramped multipane interface can be hard to read, but even it has its good points: it lists processes in a parent-child hierarchy--incidentally, not … Read more

Control BitTorrent downloads from Facebook with Morrent

So much for Scrabulous being an end-all diversion on Facebook. Try Morrent instead, a simple tie-in to the popular BitTorrent software uTorrent that runs right in Facebook (read: sans software) and lets you monitor your torrent downloads and uploads from wherever.

Aimed mainly at folks who want to check up on their downloads at work or away from their primary machines, Morrent is more than just a convenient status window--it doubles as a remote control. You can pause and re-prioritize downloads. You can also start downloading new torrents by uploading them back to your home machine.

While the same results … Read more

Featured Freeware: JetAudio

During installation, you have to be careful if you don't want to set JetAudio Basic as the default application for audio and video files. However, the freeware application gives you plenty of reasons to make it your only player.

The interface has a modern design that looks like an equalizer. You can customize each section of the program, from CD ripping to format conversion, to your heart's content. The program can convert files among some a number of formats, as well as read and edit MP3 tags. The built-in Cross-fader, Reverb, and Wide-sound modes provide a nice touch … Read more

Save ink and paper with the Nuke Anything Firefox add-in

I'm very stingy about installing Firefox extensions but one that made my short list is called Nuke Anything. Simply put, it lets you right click on something in a web page and remove it. I use it almost every time I print a web page to save on both ink and paper. Even web pages that aren't printer-friendly (and there are all too many of them) can be sculpted, if you will, reduce their paper and ink requirements.

Nuke Anything can remove both text and images. To remove text, first select it, then right click and chose the &… Read more

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