The Download Blog

Microsoft's Tellme launches its best app ever...for BlackBerry

OK, Mike McCue, CEO of recently-acquired-by-Microsoft Tellme: Tell me again why your brand new mobile phone app--the cool one that lets you speak a business name or category into the phone and then gives you nearest matches on your screen--is out first for the BlackBerry, and not Windows Mobile?

As McCue explained it to me, Tellme had the BlackBerry app well into development when Microsoft acquired his company. But why BlackBerry at all? Because it's a better platform for Java, which the app is built on, than is Windows Mobile.

Of course, Tellme will build a Windows Mobile version … Read more

Featured Freeware: FoxyTunes

FoxyTunes inserts a music player control panel into the Status Bar of Firefox and Internet Explorer, eliminating the scramble to switch windows so you can skip that Barry Manilow ditty you forgot to delete from your collection. The interface is easy to use and is highly customizable.

When opened, it shows a navigation array with buttons for Play, Pause, Mute, Next Track, Last Track, Volume, and the useful Show Player, which brings your music player to the front. There's also a Hide Player button, as well as a music Search tool, keyboard shortcuts, skins, and a mini player that … Read more

Killer Download: Top MP3 apps not named iTunes or WMP

When it comes to software media players, computer users understandably follow what I'll call the "path of least resistance" rule of life: they use what's available on their computer out of the box. If you're a Windows user, that means Windows Media Player. Mac users have iTunes. Once Windows users take the step of adding their iPod (if that's their chosen player) into the fray, they will likely download iTunes to make it easy. But what if you don't like iTunes or Windows Media Player?

Before companies tied their portable players to their … Read more

Microsoft mistakes Skype for a Trojan

Users of Microsoft Windows Live OneCare may have found their antivirus protection a little too proactive. Over the weekend, OneCare informed some Skype users that the popular voice-over-IP application was infected with the Trojan Win32/Vundo.gen!D.

Not true, says Skype, which noted that Microsoft has since repaired its overzealous signature file.

On Friday, OneCare subscribers started seeing their access to Skype blocked. Microsoft says it was trying to block a multiple-component family of programs that deliver "out of context" pop-up advertisements, and mistakenly included Skype.

On Tuesday, four days later, it sent out a revised signature … Read more

Spyware Horror Story: Addicted to cracks

In which two readers were burned by high-risk computing.

Submitted by Peter; Tamuning, Guam

Well, to begin with, I tried to get Microsoft Office Enterprise Edition from torrents site mininova.com. There was even a whole bunch of comments saying that it worked "great." So when it finally finished downloading, I opened it, and got it installed. It really did work "great." But then after a few times running it, things started to go wrong. So I tried deleting, but it keeps saying that its "write-protected." I opened the folder and deleted random files … Read more

Ma.gnolia as a del.icio.us alternative

[UPDATE: It took about three days, but the import of my del.icio.us links finally completed.]

Don't get me started on weird period-ized names.

As I've written about previously, social bookmarking hasn't advanced a whole lot. Frankly, I don't care a whole lot about the social aspect beyond maybe keeping an eye on the links of a few friends who I know turn up interesting stuff. However, I've found that keeping my bookmarks in the Cloud rather than in my browser works well for me. Doing a daily link post with some short commentaryRead more

RSS, Fire Eagle join LightPole's lookup posse

If I had to describe LightPole in 10 words or fewer, I'd call it an interface for accessing location-aware services from mobile phones. More than anything else, LightPole's downloadable application offers a listings and mapping format that many location-based services, such as Yelp and Yahoo Local, can squeeze into to gain more visibility or avoid creating their own rich cell phone applications.

It works like this. Users looking for stuff--a good restaurant, happy hour specials, or Internet cafe--can click open LightPole, select a service (MappyHour and Hotspotr are two more,) and can read about the establishment, call the … Read more

Featured Freeware: VLC media player

When it comes to video files, nothing is ever as easy as it should be. Thankfully, VLC media player offers a one-stop solution to the file-format and codec problem for Windows, Mac, and thumbdrives with a portable version. The open-source program supports playback of OGG, MP2, MP3, MP4, DivX, DVD, and what seems like thousands of other file types. In addition, it also can function as a streaming media server.

Though the interface varies from platform to platform, the sparseness of the standard version leaves plenty to be desired. Some skins perks things up slightly, but the program seems to … Read more

The Webware 100 winners

We still might not exactly be able to define "Web 2.0," but we certainly know it when we see it. The CNET Download.com team has been gradually building a catalog of more than 2,300 editorially selected Web-based software products in categories such as Audio, Bookmarking, Security, and Social Networking.

Almost everyone uses a Web-based e-mail client like Yahoo Mail, Gmail, or Hotmail, and I know that many users are shifting from Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice.org Calc to Google Docs & Spreadsheets for their basic spreadsheet needs, or for sharing documents with friends, family, and … Read more

First Look: IrfanView 4.1

IrfanView has long been one of the more popular freeware image-editing applications on CNET Download.com, and with good reason. Other than the fact that everyone loves freeware, IrfanView comes in multiple languages and packages a range of features to draw in beginners and keep the more advanced users interested.

You also can't discount the lovably homegrown interface that, to me, anyway, underscores the app's birthright as one developer's pet project (it matches well with the author's photos of his Bosnian hometown on IrfanView's Web site.) This video takes a quick look at IrfanView 1.… Read more