The Download Blog

'Second Life' enters the world of mobile phones

Demanding a better-than-average processor, a 1024x768 screen resolution, a boatload of RAM, and a strong video card just to take part, it's hard to believe that Second Life, the virtual world developed by Linden Lab (download for Windows and Mac), could ever survive on a mobile phone.

Yet on Tuesday, Vollee, a 3G streaming services provider, began offering the free, open beta version of Second Life for 40 Wi-Fi-enabled and 3G cell phones with more handset compatibility coming soon. That means you, iPhone.

In Second Life Mobile, users will be able to fly and teleport all over the virtual … Read more

Featured Freeware: CCleaner

Although it lacks a few of the bells and whistles found in other PC-cleaning applications, this free program offers more than enough features to make it a worthy download. CCleaner's interface is logically designed and makes it easy to wipe away your tracks from Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera, from various Windows system areas, and from some third-party applications.

CCleaner doesn't support the large number of extraneous programs that some competitors do, but it can erase traces from such popular programs as Spybot - Search & Destroy and WinZip. CCleaner now offers secure file erasing along with a … Read more

Capture NX 2 takes aim at Adobe

There are a lot of image editors out there, but few of them are designed with professional photographers in mind, and even fewer are designed by photographers themselves. Capture NX 2 for Windows and Mac is one of those rare editors designed by professionals but is easy enough for hobbyists to use, and Nikon has just given it a major overhaul.

Available for purchase at $179.95 or upgrade at $109.95, the program introduces a revamped interface, closer integration with other Nikon programs such as View NX, and a battery of new tools that simplify and enhance the photo-editing … Read more

First Look video: SolSuite Solitaire

As unexotic as it may sound, I really do enjoy a good game of digital solitaire from time to time. But once you've got the basics down, doesn't it get old? Probably not if SolSuite Solitaire is laying down the deck. A list of games nearing 500 tests luck and skill, and ranges from easy to difficult play. The game has a fair amount of customization, as well as automated tutors and ways to look up rules. High scores are also posted from around the globe. SolSuite Solitaire is thick with statistics that track how many points you … Read more

Quick Tip: Mini links for your Windows phone

When you want to convert a long link to a short one from your computer, all it takes is a visit to one of these 10 link-shrinking sites. From a Windows Mobile phone, prospects are much more limited. Thank goodness for ceSnipURL, a free, basic mobile application that threads your gargantuan URL through SnipURL's service and quickly returns a much shorter, more manageable bite. There are a few time-saving tricks packed into this link-swapping puppy, and they're all laid out in the video above.

Simplify your writing project with Storyist for Mac

Are you a writer? Do you dream about writing the next great novel? Whether you're an accomplished novelist or just want to get an idea for what it takes to pull elaborate settings, characters, and plot lines together for a book, I came across a program for Mac you should definitely check out.

Storyist for Mac ($59) attempts to take some of the confusion out of writing by offering a Web browser-like interface that's easy to navigate and organizes the many parts that go into writing a novel. While your creativity is still the key to success, Storyist … Read more

Featured Freeware: SyncBack

SyncBack is a straightforward backup utility that makes it a snap to safeguard and synchronize your files. Surprisingly flexible for a free program, SyncBack can save your files anywhere: on external hard drives, in ZIP archives, write them on CDs (using UDF), or transfer them via FTP. Recovering from a drive loss is also cinch, with a convenient restore tool that replicates folder trees along with the files in them.

It lets you define multiple scheduled backup jobs so you can just set 'em and forget 'em, too, allowing users to create specific backup jobs for certain folders or file … Read more

Featured Freeware: Revo Uninstaller

Where the built-in and sluggish Windows Add or Remove Programs option fails, freeware Revo Uninstaller picks up the slack. Revo is robust and fully loaded, making even the most insidious Registry-altering program breathtakingly simple to eradicate.

Four levels of removal balance against your comfort level mucking about in the Registry, but Revo does all the hard work, ferreting out Registry keys and letting you opt out of deleting them. The main view can be adjusted, and the context menu offers up a list of choices, from fundamentals like Uninstall and Remove from list, to Search Google, Show the installation directory, … Read more

Featured Freeware: KeyboardLink

KeyboardLink is a great little tool for turning your standard Windows keyboard into both a program launcher and a program controller. The app is open source and uses a scant 3MB of RAM. Getting started requires configuring the activation keys, called the master keys, in the program's General features tab. People can set one or two master keys, an important feature that prevents you from accidentally launching a program. Basic capabilities, such as running the app when Windows starts, also live in the General tab.

Other tabs allow customization of your media player and major software programs such as … Read more

Power Downloader boosts Vista's Start menu

Power Downloader spends a lot of his time looking at ways to improve Windows Vista. He still doesn't use it for his primary computer, but there are some cases where it's clearly better than Windows XP. One of them, however, is not the Start menu, which barely improves on XP's five-year-old design. That's why he recommends Vista Start Menu for users who want to put a bit more zing into their Vista experience.

Vista Start Menu does away with the translucent aero theme, making it opaque, and builds it out with several levels of features and … Read more