The Download Blog

Cure for Twitter spam: Worse than the disease?

Article updated on 4/28/08 with new information.

I've been very popular on Twitter lately. Too bad it's not personal. Many subscribers seem to be gaining more attention than they've earned, and probably a good deal more than they want.

This past month has seen a surge in Twitter spam, subscriptions from followers who have created faux accounts to advertise their links or wares. The noticeable uptick has alarmed the blogosphere enough to warrant journalistic notice, off the record in intra-office chatter and on it. The disingenuous among my own modest list of followers don't … Read more

Make flawless screencasts on your Mac

Have you ever made a screencast? A screencast is when you capture and record all the action that takes place on your desktop so you can view it as a movie. Many people use screencasts for presentations and instructional videos for software, though there are many other uses. Sometimes you probably wish you could make a screen recording for less computer-savvy friends and family so you wouldn't have to have those exhaustive phone calls: "No grandpa, I said Save the it."

I found a program for Mac today that makes creating screencasts easy. It'… Read more

First Look: Avira Antivir 8.0

Barely noticed before last summer, Avira Antivir has received an increasing amount of attention since garnering the highest score of any free security program on AV-Comparatives independent testing service for on-demand testing.

It fares a bit worse on the "Retrospective/ProActive" test, although still better than any of the other applications tested. However, it's hard to find anybody who finds the virus definition file update speed to be fast: it's notoriously slow. We put Antivir through the CNET Reviews Labs benchmarking process and came up with some unsurprising results.

When running alongside other high-drain processes, such … Read more

Featured Freeware: Flock

Flock is the first major browser geared toward social-networking addicts. Built on Firefox code and available for both Windows and Mac users, it will do absolutely nothing for you if you're looking to get away from MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blogging, and other Web 2.0 mainstays. If, on the other hand, this is one addiction you're looking to feed with a shovel, Flock has everything you need to stay one step ahead of the bleeding edge.

Nine buttons at the top of the collapsible sidebar make accessing any of your social-networking or frequently used Web sites easier … Read more

AVG Free joins its siblings in the land of 8.0

AVG Technologies, formerly Grisoft, has updated AVG Free to Version 8.0. The other antivirus programs the company publishes updated in March, following AVG's pattern of updating the free version about a month after the paid editions get their new coats of paint.

As before, AVG Free 8.0 features all the essential functions of AVG Internet Security, but none of the bells and whistles. So the new engine is intact, with combined antivirus, antispyware, and the formerly independent LinkScanner technologies rolled into one. However, there's no antirootkit protection, and other features included in AVG Anti-Virus such as … Read more

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