The Download Blog

Adobe offers sneak peek of CS4 apps

Adobe Systems is offering two-day trials of three beta applications from its next Creative Suite package.

The previews of Dreamweaver for Web design, Fireworks for image editing, and Soundbooth for audio editing became available Monday.

Trials expire after 48 hours for most people, but registered CS3 users get to keep using the CS4 betas until the final applications replace them.

Adobe hasn't publicly confirmed its planned shipping date or the name for the next Creative Suite, which we're nicknaming CS4. Adobe Creative Suite 3 was released in March 2007.

We took a quick test drive of the Dreamweaver … Read more

Google brings all of Earth to your browser

SAN FRANCISCO--This morning at the Google IO conference here, the company announced a new browser plug-in that enables users to get the same high-flying experience they've been getting in the standalone geography software application Google Earth (download for Mac and Windows).

The diminutive plug-in, which weighs in at just 300k turns Firefox 2 (3 RC1 is not currently supported) or IE6 and 7 into 3D-capable mapping solutions. The technology ties into the Google Earth API, and the current example found here (download from CNET Download.com) lets you zoom around all of earth, complete with 3D topography. The controls … Read more

Featured Freeware: Rockbox

If you can't stand the native operating system on your portable MP3 player, you can make it rock out with Rockbox. Open-source Rockbox is firmware that represents the first step for audiophiles regaining control over how they interact with their portable devices.

Compatible with more than two dozen MP3 players, including most iPods, iRivers, and Archoses, Rockbox comes with a detailed and lengthy installation and usage guide. The last time I tried out the auto-installer I found it easier to install Rockbox by hand. Reading the manual thoroughly is a must, given the complexity and potential risk to your … Read more

First Look video: SmartFTP

Do you maintain a Web site or blog? If so, you've probably experimented with several FTP clients to keep your site up to date. While there are a lot of good File Transfer Protocol apps available, SmartFTP continues to stay high on our Most Popular list for good reason: It has the features you need and it's incredibly easy to use.

Whether you're a pro Web designer or are looking to start your own site, check out this First Look at SmartFTP, the affordable shareware FTP client with pro-level features.

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