The Download Blog

LightPole turns on local services aggregator

LightPole doesn't think of itself as a search hub, an RSS reader, a mobile apps platform, or a maps source, even though the mobile app, publicly released on Tuesday, is all these things rolled into one.

LightPole's interface is a bit like Viigo's, but instead of hosting various news channels, LightPole (mostly) hosts channels for interactive services, targeting people on the move who are looking for activities around them.

People seeking a nearby hot spot, for example, would open the channel for Hotspotr, which sniffs out W-iFi cafes and other Internet gateways. MappyHour acts similarly for happy … Read more

MusicIP plug-in deejays your iTunes

Late Monday afternoon, music recommendation engine MusicIP released a beta of its MyDJ iTunes plug-in for Windows (available as a free download from the company site). I've spent the last few hours playing with the plug-in, and thus far I'm impressed. Like the company's standalone program, MusicIP Mixer 1.6, the MyDJ iTunes plug-in scans and analyzes your music library to ferret out similar songs and artists. But the standalone software requires you to organize music in MusicIP, then export the playlist to your media player software. The plug-in lets you automatically generate playlists without leaving iTunes. … Read more

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