The Download Blog

First Look video: BitComet

Taking a slightly different approach to solving the multimedia lover's dilemma of how best to download torrents is BitComet, which goes to great lengths to integrate familiar features like bookmarking with torrent management and discovery.

Although the program has moved on from the scandals of its past, it's still heavily reliant on advertising. Join me in this First Look at BitComet to help you decide if it's worth the download.

Yahoo releases Delicious plug-in for IE

Delicious, Yahoo's "social bookmarking" site that lets people archive, tag, and share Web site addresses, got its start closely tied to the Firefox open-source Web browser (download Delicious for Firefox). Now Yahoo is branching out to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, too.

The company released a beta version of the IE plug-in Tuesday (available on Though there are differences, the IE version is similar, offering users the ability to add and tag bookmarks and to search their own bookmark collection.

"We're very excited about this release, as we have many users who use Internet … Read more

Travel through the universe

Last night, Microsoft Research released WorldWide Telescope--new, free software that enables users to 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. The software has been released for free in honor of Jim Gray, a Microsoft researcher who was lost at sea last year.

Google Earth added a similar feature called Google Sky with its Version 4.2 release. Google also … Read more

Times Reader headed to the Mac

The New York Times is bringing its e-reader desktop application to the Mac this month. The newspaper publisher unveiled its latest efforts last night, with a slew of screenshots. The Times' First Look post notes that the application will be running on Microsoft's Silverlight technology, enabling rich-media effects and rendering. Users will be able to read, browse, and search the entire publication while offline.

The big difference between the PC application and the Mac version will be the ability to view pages in three different sizes, all of which have been crunched on the company's servers instead of … Read more

Opera Mini 4.1 steps out of beta

On Tuesday, Opera sewed up a short beta run of Opera Mini 4.1. After a mere month and a half, the Norwegian software company declared the cell phone browser build stable enough to institute as the latest product standard.

Opera Mini 4.1, like Opera 9.5 Beta 2, can now guess the URL you want when you enter a search term in the address bar, a praiseworthy ability. It can also highlight terms on a Web page to let you zero in on most-wanted data bites. You'll use this Find feature, common to desktop browsers, by hitting … Read more

Google chooses 50 finalists in Android Developer Challenge

Google has chosen 50 finalists in the Android Developer Challenge, doling out $1.25 million in the process.

As part of a bid to heighten interest in Android, Google's forthcoming mobile operating system, the company has been running a contest for prospective Android developers to submit their ideas for the platform. A total of 1,788 entries were received from 70 countries.

Android is envisioned as a mobile phone operating system for mass-market phones, not necessarily smart phones like the iPhone or BlackBerry Bold. Google and its partners in the Open Handset Alliance hope to release phones running the … Read more

Red Hat lives on the edge with Fedora 9

Red Hat on Tuesday released the ninth incarnation of its enthusiast version of Linux, making a move that rival Ubuntu couldn't: the inclusion of the KDE 4 user interface.

That's because Fedora and Ubuntu have different approaches to new projects such as KDE 4, which is new, significantly different from KDE 3.5, and not yet settled down.

Red Hat has two versions of Linux, the free Fedora that's designed as a proving ground that can get new projects into the hands of early adopters while helping those projects to mature, and the subscription-fee-based Red Hat Enterprise LinuxRead more

Mac Office sales soar on Apple's gains

While Apple's market share gains are cause for consternation for many in Redmond, one unit is clearly benefiting.

Microsoft's Mac unit is set to disclose on Tuesday that copies of the new Office for Mac 2008 are flying off the shelves at three times the rate of its predecessor. The company wouldn't disclose sales numbers, but said the sales are the highest in the 19-year history of the unit. That continues a trend that has been going on for some time.

Senior marketing manager Amanda Lefebvre declined to give all of the credit to Apple, but said … Read more

Featured Freeware: K9 Web Blocker

For a free Internet filter, K9 Web Blocker does its job well, providing a broad collection of options for customizing your remote Web supervision needs. The app comes with a handful or so of predesigned filters and an option to customize. With more than 50 categories for organizing Web sites, and the keyword-free proprietary K9 rating system, the Web monitoring and blocking aspects of the software functioned well. K9 also has categories for blocking sites that have been detected as potential malware threats. Equally impressive--and a little bit scary--was the log that detailed not just blocked Web sites but also … Read more