The Download Blog

Featured freeware: IdleBackup

If you're like me, backing up your computer is an irregular affair at best. Burning DVDs, dusting off external drives, cleaning up and preparing all of the's a hassle. For lazy downloaders looking to duplicate their critical files on an internal/external drive or network folder with as little muss or fuss as possible, the freeware IdleBackup might be a positive step toward assuming the necessary mantle of their backup responsibilities.

IdleBackup doesn't look like much at first glance, and unfortunately, its interface is not hiding any tricks behind "advanced" buttons. It does … Read more

Weather Channel Desktop gets better maps

When it comes to your weather-knowing needs, The Weather Channel Desktop 6, which moved out of beta this past week, contains a wealth of meteorological and atmospheric information that goes far beyond three-day forecasts. Of course, it does that, too. The app can predict weather for as short a period as the next 12 hours or as extended a span as the next 12 days. There's a storm watch and pollen count for your physical well-being and reports on cloud behavior over local golf courses, lakes, and amusement parks to help plan your day.

The Weather Channel Desktop also … Read more

Featured Freeware: Miro

The age of video distribution over the Internet has just begun, and open-source and DRM-free Miro for both Mac and Windows is perfectly poised to take advantage of the still-growing, still-unsettled paradigm.

Along with standard multicodec video playback, Miro supports torrents and completed torrent playback, watches to manage both old and new content in user-defined folders, resumable playback, video sharing and hosting, and assistance in creating videos. One of Miro's most compelling features are the channels that organize video feeds by topic--integration with Google, Yahoo, YouTube, and other search engines and video Web sites makes discovering favorites and new … Read more

Make an uninstaller your antispyware sidekick

True story, happening now. It's 1:48 a.m. on a Saturday morning and I'm hand-picking through a mountain of spyware and adware on a friend's laptop. I've borrowed the laptop and Internet connection to "quickly" finish some work, then quickly realized this was actually going to take all night. After a 20 minute start-up churn, I had only just gotten VPN running and Firefox loaded. It wasn't the interminable start-up that had me worried so much as the two casino icons squatting on the desktop. There's no way they were legitimate … Read more

Featured Freeware: The Opera browser

Although Firefox and Internet Explorer have claimed the lion's share of the Web browser market, that doesn't mean there aren't other worthwhile browsers out there. At the top of my list for a reliable second to Firefox, and holding the overall number one spot in many user's hearts, is Opera.

Available for Windows, Macs, and cell phones, Opera is stable, loads fast, and comes fully equipped with robust features including widgets and built-in syncing capabilities. The mobile version can now upload and download files directly from a phone without switching over to the phone's native … Read more

Power Downloader becomes Power Uploader

Power Downloader always keeps his eye out for little tweaks and tricks that make using his computer simpler, easier, or faster, and today he's got a Firefox plug-in that does all three. When uploading a file to the Web, it's always annoying to have to navigate your files through the Web site's "Browse" option before locating the correct file path. Dragdropupload, while possessing a name bereft of certain punctuation complexities such as spaces, delivers the easiest way Power's ever seen for adding files to those pesky text fields.

With the extension installed, you can … Read more

A help desk for Symbian cell phones

Cell phone users might never be aware that LogMeIn Rescue+Mobile even exists, though most should be pleased it does. The remote-access app from the makers of the popular LogMeIn family (including LogMeIn Free) are back with a feature-rich tool that's custom-built for peering into broken cell phones.

I got a preview of the app at work on Symbian phones at the CTIA 2008 Wireless show in Las Vegas this week (it's already available for Windows Mobile phones). I was impressed with how well LogMeIn Rescue+Mobile organized the phone's file system for quick fixing, while also … Read more

Wayfinder Active is a way cool GPS app

The full product launch of Wayfinder Active is arriving in North America just in time for seasonal outdoor pursuits. This free edition of the premium GPS phone navigation system, Wayfinder Navigator, includes goodies that are just right for outdoor enthusiasts taking their phones on a stroll, jog, hike, or geocaching expedition. There are tools for monitoring your speed, distance, and caloric burn, for mapping routes and points of interest, for pulling up a dynamic compass, and for sharing routes or stats. For solo wanderers, there's also a panic button for calling out your location to an emergency buddy.

Appropriately, … Read more

FreeMobile411 launches on 4/11. Ha.

There's no real killer app yet for retrieving listings information on your mobile phone, but there could be soon.

On Aptil 11, FreeMobile411 launches the consumer version of its carrier-offered services. Visting from your mobile browser gets you a decent-looking ad-supported WAP site that simplifies directory search and helps you avoid long waits while listening to ads from dial-in services like 1-800-FREE-411.

Enter the search term--it can be a business name ("Blockbuster"), business type ("video store"), or person ("Bill Blockbuster"). Then select the search type, and fill in either the city … Read more

BuddyFinder's friend-tracker: Kind of blah

At CTIA 2008 in Las Vegas, I took a look at LiveContacts BuddyFinder, Web app that launches on April 15.

To clear a little confusion, BuddyFinder and LiveContacts are two sort-of related names for the app, which is itself the free branch of the better-known FindWhere, a Dutch company with a much more useful, robust service--tracking people down (kids, an elderly parent, a wayward spouse) through their devices. FindWhere includes lost phone recovery, emergency alerts, and notification services if the device goes outside your specified bounds.

Of course, the free BuddyFinder doesn't do all that. Instead, it installs an … Read more