The Download Blog

First Look: WindowBlinds desktop themes

A few months ago, I shared a great-looking combo of themes that give Windows XP and Firefox a dark, unified look. WindowBlinds is an app that achieves the same end, but brings a large gallery of theme options to you. Dress your desktop up or down with default selections or choose specially-formatted third-party themes that download straight into WindowBlinds. Either way, the sharp visuals and full-featured, easy-to-use configuration manager make this application a recommended choice for anyone interested in pimping out their desktop. Aww, yeah.

Featured Freeware: ManyCam

ManyCam is the freeware tool users who need their Webcam for more than one chat program simultaneously. It creates a "virtual" Webcam that replicates your currently installed camera. It then lets multiple applications access the video stream without conflict.

ManyCam is compatible with Yahoo, MSN, CamFrog, PalTalk, ICQ, Skype, YouTube, and more. Once you've installed it, you need to set ManyCam as the primary input for program that you want to use. It'll automatically start when activate your Webcam through that program. The application includes a bunch of gimmicky features that let you change aspects of … Read more

CNET Top 5: Worst downloads of 2008 (so far)

2008 is nearly halfway over, which means that poor CNET senior content manager Peter Butler has reached deeply into the trash heap to pluck out, shake off, and crown with glory the most useless downloads published this year. He's handed the best of the worst over to CNET Executive Editor Tom Merritt for show and tell. Hey, even truly horrendous software deserves its moment of shame fame.

OpenOffice 3 beta: More compatibility, new features

Sun Microsystems has released the first beta for 3 for Windows and Mac. The new version of OpenOffice, which is a popular open-source competitor to Microsoft Office, looks to offer users improvements on every component from interface to features to behavior.

OpenOffice now natively supports OS X, so Mac users won't have to install the X11 module before running the suite. Full Vista support is also included in the beta, and didn't cause any problems during light testing. Notably, OpenOffice 3 includes filters for the new Microsoft Office document formats such as DOCX and XLSX as … Read more

Featured Freeware: LogMeIn Free

The name might be LogMeIn, but the motto should be SignMeUp.

The fact that it's free to use for multiple remote PCs, with reasonable monthly plans if you need more--five computers for $20 per month or $200 per year--makes this remote-access program instantly appealing. The program differs from its competitors in that the application runs in your Web browser. If you're running Firefox, it asks to install a plug-in, then opens an emulator of the remote PC in a new window.

The control window gives you some standard options such as Ctrl-Alt-Del (which kills the connection) and changing … Read more

Tab your Windows Taskbar

Tabbed browsing is one of those software features that didn't seem like a big deal at its inception, but later went on to become more popular than sliced bread. It's simply must-have functionality for any respectable Web browser. Who among us hasn't had 40 different Web sites open in one browser window...and loved it?

Fans of Mozilla Firefox and Opera might claim that their favorite browser invented tabs. However, according to most accounts, tabbed interfaces have been around since the 1980s and in browsers for at least 10 years. Arguments will persist as to the first … Read more

Spyware Horror Story: Stowaway pirate

Submitted by Peter; Cordoba, Argentina

I'm a writer, currently living in Argentina. My native (and working) language is English. Obviously, word processing software is a vital tool for me. I bought my last computer, a beefed-up HP 2200, in Cordoba, Argentina. Unfortunately, I had to accept the Windows XP Pro OS, in Spanish, that the vendors supplied it with. I specified that MS Office should be included and it was; alas, in Spanish. When I contacted the MS people in Redmond, Wash., about a download in English--there are complicated restrictions about getting CDs through the local customs--I was informed … Read more

Microsoft resumes XP, Vista updates

Microsoft on Tuesday said it is resuming two major Windows updates that had been halted because of a conflict with one of its own software products.

A week ago, Microsoft delayed the release of Windows XP Service Pack 3 because of a problem that could lead to data loss when running the XP update in conjunction with its Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System program. It also halted automatic updates to Windows Vista Service Pack 1 because of a similar issue.

The software maker on Tuesday said it is releasing XP Service Pack 3 for Web downloads, and resuming automatic updates … Read more

Iterasi goes live with personal Web-archiving tool

Web bookmarking tool Iterasi just launched the first version of its Firefox extension to people who have signed up for the beta. The service, which I wrote about in January, lets you capture a Web site in its entirety, complete with links, formatting, and a time stamp to help sort it out later.

The company was set to release the plug-in back in late February but has been busy for the past few months resolving some security issues, as well as tweaking usability with a small group of beta testers. One of the reasons for the delay was to ramp … Read more

Featured Freeware: Safari

As the Web-browsing world waits for Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 8, Apple makes its intentions known with a hard push of Safari for Windows and Mac. No, the sky has not fallen, and we have yet to see the spontaneous evolution of avian bacon.

Much like iTunes, the Windows version of the Mac application works fine but lacks a certain tightness. It feels unfinished because it is, but its browsing engine is solid and has been independently clocked at speeds faster than that of Firefox 2. Still, Safari lacks most customization features. Skins and other aesthetic options exist in … Read more