The Download Blog

Video and hands-on review: Digsby IM

The shouts of indignation from defenders of the two big multiprotocol IM apps, Pidgin or Trillian, are a bit more hushed these days. The newest chat client in town makes them both look passe.

Digsby is a free beta release of a supercharged communications client that gathers up major IM networks like Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Google Talk, Jabber, and ICQ with Web mail and social networks. From a single skinnable interface, people can chat, check e-mail, update Twitter, and view MySpace and Facebook activity feeds. Instant messaging, e-mailing, texting, file transfers, and voice and audio chat can all be launched … Read more

FindWhere: Your GPS gizmo is your phone

The other day my esteemed colleague Leslie Katz mentioned a lightweight gadget you can slip into a car's glove compartment or onto a pet's collar to locate the things you care about wherever they are. If the device doesn't provide enough stats for your detail-hungry brain or seem adequate to cover human cargo, FindWhere offers a similar tracking service using a gadget that your teen/workforce/elderly parent most likely already has--a mobile phone.

Like the Zoombak Universal GPS Locator, FindWhere offer worriers no-go zones whose border crossing sends text message or e-mail alerts to whoever's … Read more

Featured Freeware: WordWeb

WordWeb is a handy utility that gives you the definition, synonyms, and antonyms of any given word without requiring you to go online, though it can connect to the Internet for expanded functionality. The interface should feel familiar, since it resembles many office application dictionaries. Users can manually type words into the Lookup text field, but the real strength of the program lies in the hot key function that lets users find definitions with a single keystroke.

The bottom pane offers tabs for such items as synonyms, antonyms, and related words. There are tools for changing the database to one … Read more

Camtasia Studio 5.1 now supports iPhone, iPod Touch

For professional screen-recording software, it's hard to top Camtasia Studio, a popular--and pricey--application for capturing, editing, and producing screencasts, especially tutorials and presentations. One of Camtasia Studio's strengths is its well-rounded list of preset production values for multiple media formats, including Web-optimized Flash, DVD, and iPod. On Tuesday, TechSmith released Camtasia Studio 5.1, an update that officially packages your screen recordings as MV4 files for playback on the iPhone and iPod Touch. This is good news for owners of Apple's vanguard media players and great news for corporate Camtasia producers trying to reach them.

In addition … Read more

The new Google Earth has landed

Article updated at 8:05 p.m. PST.

Greetings, Earthlings. There's big, round news in the world of software, and its name is Google Earth. Hot on the heels of major improvements to Microsoft Virtual Earth, Google Earth has had a few big announcements of its own. On Monday, KML, the markup language behind Google Earth, was approved as the international standard by the Open Geospatial Consortium. The Google Earth Blog also announced a research project to simplify placing images into precise locations within Google Earth. Anyone who's tried this knows it requires some advanced photo-matching techniques, so … Read more

Firefox extension keeps you from clicking NSFW links

If you're one of the millions of people who does some occasional Web browsing while at work, chances are sooner or later you're going to click on something you probably shouldn't. In most cases, you don't know what you're getting into until it's too late--a situation developer Pratham Kumar (maker of the now defunct 2View) has solved with a small and simple Firefox extension called No-NSFW (download).

Once installed it will give you the heads-up every time you mouse over a link. You'll get a small warning in the lower right hand corner … Read more

Avira revamps AntiVir

One of the fastest rising security stars is Avira's AntiVir antivirus and antimalware. Since earning high marks from AV-Comparitives in 2006, it's stayed at the top of the pack and consistently earned scores near or at the top of the charts for both on-demand comparisons and retrospective/proactive tests. The latest update includes an overhauled detection engine that runs faster, a zippier definition file updater, and a retooled interface.

I've been impressed with AntiVir since I found it last October, and the new version works even better. It completed a full system scan on my Windows Vista … Read more

Hands-on with Fring's almost-free VoIP for the iPhone

This morning I've been playing with the prerelease version of Fring's talk software for the iPhone. It enables users to place VoIP calls in place of their plan minutes, giving people a cheap international calling alternative to their carrier's expensive per-minute charges. The one caveat (besides the need for a "jailbroken" handset) is that it requires the thick river of data only available over Wi-Fi, which means you won't be able to make or receive VoIP calls without being in range of a hotspot.

Besides VoIP, the app excels in instant messaging. You can … Read more

JuiceCaster 6.0 coming to T-Mobile Java phones

This article was updated at 1:21 p.m. PDT to correct information on video quality.

Generation Y (and Z) are in for a big treat. As social-networking services like, Facebook, and Twitter have exploded as the definitive way to keep in touch, mobile content companies have begun to offer up some sophisticated ways to capture that energy and broadcast photos, videos, audio, and text from mass market phones.

I've been impressed with what I've seen from JuiceCaster, a mobile-media broadcasting app that's available as a WAP site from any Internet-enabled cell phone, and very … Read more

Google Earth gets snail's-eye view

Part of the fun of Google Earth is flying over the virtual planet like Superman. But let's face it: we're ground-dwelling creatures, and the street-level view is useful, too. Even Superman has to land sometimes.

Enter Google Earth 4.3, due for release at about 8 p.m. Tuesday. It the Street View feature from Google Maps for a ground-level view of some areas, and a new navigation method makes the software more like a first-person video game, Google said in a statement.

The new version also lets users watch time-lapse views of sunsets and sunrises, either locally … Read more