The Download Blog

Opera 9.5 Beta 2 adds neat URL look-up

If you can't remember the URL of a site you've once visited, what do you do? You can either scour your history, willing the evasive address to remain listed, or you can search in Google by the keywords you remember and hope the site you want floats near the top of the results.

The latest version of Opera Software's 9.5 Beta browser, released Thursday for Windows, Mac, and Linux, makes fishing for past Web addresses much easier with a new feature called Quick Find.

Quick Find essentially bundles the keyword search directly into the Opera browser'… Read more

Get Facebook chat minus Facebook

So you've been having fun with Facebook's somewhat half-baked chat service for the last day now, but are you growing tired of having to first log-in, then pop-out the chat window? For those of you who want to chat without this two-step process, there's a nice little tweak discovered by Mozilla Links that lets you set Facebook chat to pop out in Firefox's side bar.

I'm not really a fan of sidebar driven applications (gDocsBar not included), but this implementation works out pretty well. It will load up your buddy list and work just like … Read more

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 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 alternative

[UPDATE: It took about three days, but the import of my 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