The Download Blog

Make those function keys work for you

While few keyboards have reached the high level of customization or the exorbitant price of the Optimus Maximus, not to be confused with Optimus Prime or Fortress Maximus, KeyboardLink is a great little open-source tool for turning your standard Windows keyboard into not just a program launcher, but also a program controller.

Compatible with Windows 2000, XP, 2003 Server, and Vista, and using a scant 3MB when in use, KeyboardLink gives you the power to set nearly any hot key combination for launching programs and controlling your media player.

To get started, once you've installed it, you need to … Read more

Pete Rock, 'Till I Retire': Free MP3 of the Day

A hip-hop student of the older-than-old-school radio jock Marley Marl, New York-proud Pete Rock has built a solid career on equally sturdy rhymes and decent beats that skate the line between thug rap and backpacker hip-hop. If Nas wasn't so militant or if Wu Tang were consolidated into one person, the result would be very Pete.

First Look: Avvenu Access 'n Share

This article was updated 6:00 pm on 3/16/08.

Let's get right to the point: Avvenu Access 'n Share is phone-to-PC remote access service with a strong base and a lot of good potential. With it, you can view and edit files stored on your PC from any smartphone. Provided your computer is running when you log in to your Avvenu account, you'll see your file system reproduced on the phone's screen. As long as your phone is outfitted with a third-party document viewer, you'll be able to remotely read and edit documents. Photos … Read more

USB flash drives need a condom

Many Windows users are annoyed by the Autoplay feature. But Leo Notenboom recently explained why it is dangerous, rather than annoying.

Many of us, when we run across an unknown USB flash drive (a.k.a. thumb drive, pen drive, memory stick, etc.) will stick it in a computer to see what's on the thing. It's at this point that Autoplay can screw you big time.

Unlike with CDs, Autoplay on a USB flash drive will run a program immediately, no questions asked. Quoting Leo "USB Thumbdrives or flash drives are a non-obvious but easy way to … Read more

St. Patrick's Day downloads

St. Patrick's Day has changed much over the years. Once a feast to commemorate the Christianization of Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is now celebrated by guzzling green beer, sporting plastic top hats, and pinching anyone who isn't wearing green. Launch yourself into the March 17 spirit with this collection of Irish-themed downloads.

St. Patrick's Day Slide Show Images, blessings, and proverbs come together to make an entertaining slide show, with traditional Celtic tunes.

Shamrock's Gold Snatch the jackpot at the end of the rainbow with this Minesweeper-like puzzle game.

Drunken Leprechaun 3D St Patrick's Day ScreensaverRead more

Power Downloader feeds his news

Hunting down dastardly captcha hackers and spyware slimeballs is busy work, even for a man as talented as Power Downloader. Power doesn't have a lot of free time, so it's hard to remember to check all the Web sites that are important to him. His solution: instead of surfing a list of bookmarks, Power Downloader uses RSS feeds and FeedDemon to make the news and podcasts come to him.

FeedDemon is one of the best programs for managing your RSS collection. The interface is slick and easy to personalize, which is important since Power wasn't too impressed … Read more

Joongel makes searching social sites simpler

Joongel (rate it!) is a new plug-in for Firefox and IE7 that lets you search through various social media and news sites using the same query. Unlike a search aggregator that mixes up all the results, you have to view them on each service's results page. It's simply emulating the same effect of having each site's custom search installed in your browser's built-in search bar.

If you're a search junkie, this is a whole lot faster than having to navigate to each site and then use the search tool. Essentially it's saving you one … Read more

Shed wasted space with Xslimmer

If you spend a bit of time searching the Download.com Mac catalog, you might notice a lot of applications that seem identical. These are separate installers for the same programs, but one is for a Mac with an Intel processor, and the other is for a PowerPC chip. Not every program has separate installers, though, and once you've got your program up and running that can lead to a lot of wasted space.

Xslimmer is an effective shareware tool that costs a lot less than buying an brand-new hard drive, even at the plummeting cost of memory. For … Read more

Two quick-launchers for Palm apps

Having something come to you is always better than having to go to it. Like Launchy for Windows and Quicksilver for Mac, Duh Button Launcher Plus and Initiate save you time by getting your apps open fast. OK, it's not like the Palm OS app launcher is an irrevocable time suck, but these apps just make the process smoother.

Duh Button Launcher Plus

Let's start with Duh Button Launcher Plus, because it's the free one. With just a little bit of work, you can map a list of your favorite apps to pop up with the press … Read more

Quicksilver: One of the best Mac apps

I was working on my Mac recently when a co-worker came up and asked me a question regarding a feature I wrote a while back. I turned back to my Mac, hit a couple of hot keys, and quickly found the piece in question. My Windows-using co-worker immediately asked me what the little program was that I brought up with the hot keys, and after a couple of key strokes, I proudly brought it up again: Quicksilver.

Quicksilver is one of those programs that is so useful I never even think about it when I use it. To open files, … Read more