The Download Blog

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

Daily Featured Freeware and MP3 of the Day

If you were fooled by my little April Fools' prank last week, don't feel too bad--so were two of the CNET software editors! After serving up that heaping helping of fake software, I did feel a bit guilty.

Luckily, I'll make it up to you this week with a much better April delivery: free software and music downloads.

Frequent visitors to may have noticed the new Free MP3 of the Day promotion that Music launched in January. The software editors have recently joined the game as well, offering a daily … Read more

Video: Yahoo's new mobile services

At CTIA 2008 in Las Vegas, Yahoo unveiled three new cell phone apps that have been cooking in Yahoo's kitchen. We got a taste of all of them. There's Yahoo oneSearch 2.0 (hands-on review), which has debuted on selective BlackBerrys with a new feature to search for any term you speak or type.

Then there's a dynamic bookmarking feature, Yahoo onePlace, which focuses on managing your interests. In addition to bookmarking search results, like a flight number, it will also import sites you've previously starred on GoogleReader and Digg, and will develop a predictive search … Read more

Featured Freeware: Auslogics Disk Defrag

Hopefully, there aren't too many Windows users left who don't have Auslogics Disk Defrag. In case you don't, though, this is an excellent time to stop using the slow, native Microsoft defragger and upgrade--for free!--to an app that works better and faster: Auslogics Disk Defrag.

Even on older Windows XP systems, the program runs reasonably fast. Chose a hard drive from the drop-down menu to get a read on its stats such as free and used space and get a visual comparison in a pie chart. One click starts the defragging, and along with a visual … Read more

Control music from the Mac menu bar

Do you listen to music or streaming radio while you work? I find I'm much more efficient when there's some music in the background or maybe a podcast if I find something interesting online or at the iTunes store. But one thing that breaks my concentration is the need to continually go back to iTunes to make new selections. To keep the distractions at a minimum, I like to set up my music or podcasts beforehand and get to work.

As a software reviews writer, I spend a lot of time using a word processor with my hands … Read more