The Download Blog

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

Featured Freeware: DriverMax

Behind a slick interface, this program backs up all your PC's drivers in case you mess up something fierce. From registration to implementation, DriverMax works fast, runs smooth, and does even more than mere backing up.

The application is nearly flawless. Its slick button navigation takes users through the four main sections of the program: Driver Operations, Updates, Identification, and Popular Hardware. Mousing over one reveals more choices, so you can export your drivers, import drivers, or view an installed drivers report. Backing up and reinstalling an "accidentally" deleted driver was as pain-free as could be, and … Read more

XNeat Windows Manager: Tweak your taskbar

I'd say that XNeat Windows Manager is tooting its own horn a little much if it weren't for "neat" being the first descriptor to bubble up when using it. Perhaps some new descriptors are in order.

Regardless, XNeat (as the application shall henceforth be known) tweaks XP and Vista's shell to unlock customizations in the appearance and behavior of your task bar and system tray. With XNeat, you can assign important windows always-on-top status, can hide windows, and can adjust the transparency of windows when you hover or focus on them. That's small potatoes … Read more

Featured Freeware: Foxit Reader

Adobe Reader is monstrously large, slow to load, and includes many features most users will hardly ever need. Foxit PDF Reader pares down its PDF-reading code and comes up with some neat features, like annotation tools, to give you a PDF reader that's far more appropriate for the average PDF user.

PDFs open from the Internet in their own Foxit window, instead of sucking browser resources, and the interface mimics Adobe's so you won't have to change your reading habits. In our test, the text readability wasn't much inferior to Acrobat's. The 1.6MB program … Read more

Featured Freeware: Paint.NET

For quick retouches, Photoshop is more than overkill--it's like going rabbit hunting with a nuke. All that bloat can take much longer than is necessary. Paint.NET, on the other hand, is an open-source editor with all the essentials, including tools to crop, rotate, resize images, adjust colors, and create collages. Unlike many free image editors, Paint.NET supports layers and has an actions manager. The pleasing interface boasts semitransparent windows for ease of use.

Paint.NET supports common image formats--JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and others--but not high-resolution RAW files. There are enough basic and intermediate effects and features … Read more

Featured Freeware: Belarc Advisor

Belarc Advisor is one of those tools for Windows users that you didn't know you were missing until you started using it. It's hard to understate how important this program can be, as it provides a free analysis of your machine's security weak points.

By looking at elements such as whether antivirus software and definitions are up to date, or whether all the security flaws in Windows have been patched, Belarc works quickly to inform you of what you're missing and provide links to how you can fix it. It uses the Center for Internet Security (… Read more