The Download Blog

Featured Freeware: CrossLoop

CrossLoop provides a quick, easy, and completely free way to give a colleague, a friend, or a relative access to your computer. Start the program, and your PC gets assigned a new 12-digit access code each time. Give that number to another user to virtually share your desktop. Once connected, that user will have full access to your machine.

The odd nature of sharing a desktop cursor and the inability to add multiple users makes CrossLoop not quite right for proper business presentations. However, the complete system access and 128-bit encrypted connection combine to create a great solution for low-budget, … Read more

Yoono now offering an elegant solution to social networking clutter

Note: Yoono is in private beta. We've got invites set aside for Webware readers. To get yours see the link at the end of the post.

Tonight Yoono, a browser add-on for discovering and sharing Web content is launching several new features designed to help you track what your friends are up to online.

The tool now integrates with several popular social networks and microblogging services including Twitter, letting you access and interact with the communities of all of them in one place. Previously users were limited to sending links to friends via e-mail, or interacting more easily with … Read more

Featured Freeware: Skype

Skype for Windows and Mac is well-regarded for offering stable, free VoIP to other Skype users and affordable computer-to-phone calls, to both landlines and cell phones. Call quality still varies depending on your Internet connection and what else you're doing with it while using Skype, although the latest version indicates some progress in ameliorating that through audio engine tweaks.

Since the introduction of free long distance to U.S. cell phones, Skype may have dropped a bit in popularity for domestic calls. For international purposes, though, it's still the standard and extremely popular. Newer features include conference calling … Read more

Featured Freeware: NoteTab Light

Once you explore the power of NoteTab Light, you may find this text editor beautiful despite its hectic interface. At its core, NoteTab Light is to Windows' Notepad as an iPhone is to a rotary phone. NoteTab Light incorporates top-level tabs similar to most Web browsers, so that you can manage several different projects at once. It can automatically replace Notepad so that Notepad's icons open NoteTab Light instead--although this helpful shortcut trick doesn't work in Windows Vista.

However, it's more than a mere replacement. The left column displays a list of commands, called Clips, that do … Read more

Power Downloader keeps up with Windows updates

The other day, Kitty Kilobyte called up Power Downloader with a pressing concern. Was there an easy way to tell if Microsoft had pushed Windows XP Service Pack 3 to her computer yet?

Some of you may laugh at Kitty, but besides displaying terrible social skills, Microsoft updates are no joking matter. Sure, Power knows that they may not always be released as planned, like with XP SP3 or Vista SP1 earlier this week, but when they do get downloaded to your machine they're important. Patching security holes and performance enhancements can make the difference between running a healthy … Read more

Photos: Yahoo Messenger for Vista Beta

After months of incubation as a mere preview download, Yahoo Messenger for Vista is now a full-fledged...beta. No matter, let the feedback loop continue with this dark and gleaming desktop chat application that elevates certain aspects of the instant messaging experience while falling a step behind in others. The new look and feel is certainly impressive, and beloved avatar and emoticons take center stage alongside the tinted display. But the multiprotocol IM client Digsby is snapping up a loyal following, and its adoption of Facebook chat adds strength to strength. Is Yahoo's effort strong enough to win back … Read more

Digsby makes Facebook chat work like it should

Do-it-all communication app Digsby (download) put out an important update yesterday that's made this blogger's life easier. It took Facebook's Web-only chat service and integrated it into a desktop application, something that Gabtastik (which I looked at yesterday) did to a limited degree by loading it in a standalone Webkit-powered mini browser.

While residing outside of people's primary browsers, Gabtastik's efforts were still running the pop-out version of normal FB chat. Digsby's solution is far more powerful. Despite the fact there are no API plugs for chat (for now), you can maintain conversations with … Read more

The fastest way to open a word processor

Faster is almost always better, at least when it comes to computers. So what's the fastest way to open a word processor?

You can create a keyboard shortcut to open Notepad, WordPad, Word, or any other word processor on your PC by right-clicking the program's shortcut on the Start menu, choosing Properties > Shortcut > Shortcut key, entering your keystroke combination of choice (be sure not to overwrite one that's already in use), and pressing Enter. I described how to get fast access to all your keyboard shortcuts in a post from last week.

Now press the … Read more

Featured Freeware: PrimoPDF

PrimoPDF converts just about any file type to a PDF, using the source program the file was created with and its print command. Two new changes make the program easier to use and more useful. The interface redesign is definitely easier to navigate, and users can now choose to e-mail the PDF instantly after its creation.

The conversion process from whatever document is on your screen to PDF is quick and efficient. Other features include secure formatting that allows the user to wrap the PDF in 40-bit or 128-bit encryption, PDF merging, and password protection. The user also can restrict … Read more

Ape eats Apple: Why MediaMonkey is an iTunes killer

At least on the PC, iTunes' performance has been less than stellar. Sure, it set the standard for jukeboxes early on, but most of that was probably tied to its then-exclusive ability to sync with the ubiquitous iPod. Now that device syncing, and especially iPod syncing, is a must-have feature, iTunes' other flaws are standing out like a mohawk in Mecca.

Swinging in to the rescue on one heck of a lengthy vine is MediaMonkey 3. The latest free version of this Windows stalwart, which has been beating its chest since the beginning of the decade, showcases some great new … Read more