The Download Blog

First Look: Facebook for BlackBerry

You won't be able to turn people into zombies with Facebook for BlackBerry (quick link), but you will be able to perform the essential Facebook maneuvers to keep up with your friends. Since launching in late October 2007, the wildly popular app has topped 1,000,000 downloads. With intuitive actions and a familiar look and feel that mimics the online site, it's easily a must-have BlackBerry app.

Be forewarned that the application doesn't scrimp on profile photos, so data transfers can sometimes limp along. Have patience. Also, since Facebook for BlackBerry's functionality is currently limited … Read more

Stop the Firefox session bloodletting

Here at CNET central, we love Tab Mix Plus. It's so close to perfect, but the one thing it lacks is a decent method for restoring lost multi-tab sessions. Crashes can often lead to important tabs being irrevocably lost. Lucky for us all there's the Session Manager plug-in, a stand-alone extension that, when used with Tab Mix Plus, bestows the power of resurrecting dead multi-tab sessions to all us hapless tab abusers.

The easiest way to run Session Manager with Tab Mix Plus is to disable TMP's session recovery. It can only save two sessions, … Read more

Spyware Horror Story: Toxic Wine

Submitted by Chris, U.S.A

I was--and still am--running UbuntuStudio 7.10. Now, even though this is Ubuntu, I can run Windows programs with Wine.

My friend's brother was playing on my computer and got into my e-mail. He opened up the Elvis e-mail, which contains a virus. I found out later that the virus got into Wine. Not too much later after the contamination, I started running Microsoft Office, when Ubuntu came up with an error. Firefox randomly crashed. Then Wine started running Notepad instead of the application I wanted.

I used Ubuntu's virus scanner and … Read more

Opera Mini preview for Google Android

While Google's mobile phone platform, Android, and its Open Handset Alliance have been on the brink of significantly changing the mobile landscape since mid-November 2007, little has come out of the young software developer kit with its still-developing community and code.

On Thursday, Opera Labs announced a technical preview release of the Norwegian company's popular Opera Mini mobile browser for the Android platform. Not only are developers encouraged to scoop up the just-released app, Opera is itching for programmers' feedback to help smooth over any rough edges for an upcoming beta release.

Opera's Chris Mills provides a … Read more

Featured Freeware: The KMPlayer

KMPlayer lacks a help file but makes up for it by being one of the most powerful freeware video players we've seen. It includes a vast array of video- and audio-capturing options, as well as skins, a plethora of playback controls and tweaks, and broad DVD support. You'll have to learn the ropes yourself, but if you're familiar with where things ought to be, and willing to patiently wait for the mouse-over label to confirm your suppositions, KMPlayer has the potential to be immensely rewarding.

It supports nearly every file format we could think of testing. It … Read more

DAZ Studio provides 3D for free

Google SketchUp landed with a big splash last year, but it's not the only freeware option for budding 3D designers. From the makers of the popular scene-rendering program Bryce comes DAZ Studio for Windows and Mac, a powerful freeware 3D modeling and CAD program that looks great, but is a resource hog and can be sluggish for the average user.

The publisher recommends at least 256MB of RAM, but I found that to be wishful thinking at best. The program runs choppily on anything less than 1GB, although some of the more complex rendering was processed more slowly than … Read more

Video: Tie default settings to your user account

Ramesh Srinivasan has clearly known the tensions of shared computing, especially the bickering over which mail app and browser to set as defaults when two or more users disagree.

Thanks to Srinivasan's two apps, DefaultMail and DefaultBrowser, families and roommates can cool it on the tug-of-war and continue clashing over important things, like drinking milk straight from the carton. The free apps smooth things over by linking default browser apps and e-mail clients to each user account.

Tune in to the video to see how the apps work, but forget typing those long URLs to download the apps. We'… Read more

Thunderbird's advanced search helps you find mail fast

Compared with Outlook and other commercial e-mail programs (are there any other commercial e-mail programs left?) Mozilla's free Thunderbird e-mail client has a lot going for it. Not the least of Thunderbird's time-saving features are its search capabilities.

If you don't see the search toolbar directly above the main Thunderbird window, click View > Toolbars > Search Bar. By default, you can view all your mail, all your unread mail, all mail with one of Thunderbird's five built-in labels attached (Important, Work, Personal, To Do, Later), mail from people in your address book, messages received recently, … Read more

Featured Freeware: FileZilla

Rich in Web content, short on cash? Open-source FTP application FileZilla is handy if you're looking for a feature-rich tool for Windows, Macs, and Linux machines to handle transfers and don't want to part with your bucks. The multilingual app caches directories to speed up browsing, and multiple secure connection options ensure that you can move files around without concern.

FileZilla supports all the major features you'd expect from a top-notch FTP client: bookmarking, a site manager, QuickConnect for fast switching on the fly, the ability to connect to multiple servers at once, and a powerful filter. … Read more

Now playing: Adobe Media Player 1.0

Clarification: Adobe TV is one of many channels available from the Adobe catalog.

Adobe Systems on Wednesday plans to release Adobe Media Player (AMP), a free download for playing Flash-based Web videos on Macs or PCs. (Get it from for Windows or Mac.)

Written with Adobe's AIR, AMP is a hybrid online/offline application that lets people subscribe to different video Webcasts. Adobe has signed on some initial partners including CBS, PBS, MTV Networks, Universal Music Group, CondeNet, and Scripps Networks. (See my colleague Rafe Needleman's review of AMP on Webware.)

The videos are either streamed … Read more