The Download Blog

Widespread Panic, "Boom Boom Boom": Free MP3 of the Day

No one knew what would become of Panic after the tragic loss of guitarist Michael Houser in 2002, but the seminal Georgia jam act continues to offer excellent new material. "Free Somehow" showcases their classic mix of grizzled vocals, Southern rock grit, and jammy extrapolations.

bPhone gives BlackBerry the iPhone feel

Want an iPhone, but have a BlackBerry? You ought to look at bPhone for BlackBerry, a theme whipped up by 25-year-old computer programmer Matthew Rogers one afternoon last September.

You'll most appreciate the iPhone-like essence of one of Rogers' three theme layouts in the start screen, though the theme does also extend into the style of the context menu. "Icon" is the most typical theme, and the one that Rogers most prefers. "Zen" drops icons into a side bar, and "Today" makes a day planner of the home screen. You can install any … Read more

Power Downloader talks to everyone

Power Downloader loves to chat with his friends, but he's got a problem. Kitty Kilobyte uses Yahoo Instant Messenger, and Candace Clicks loves Google Chat. Even his grandfather, the venerable Robert Baud, gets online to chat sometimes--but he uses AOL IM. Power Downloader knows it's a pain to use three different chat programs simultaneously, which is why he uses the multiprotocol chatware client Pidgin.

Pidgin is open source and free, but Power Downloader knows that doesn't mean it can't get the job done. Besides Google, Yahoo, and AOL chat protocols, Pidgin also supports MSN, ICQ, MySpaceIM, … Read more

Switch your Dock with Dockulicious

You can't deny the beauty of Mac OS X Leopard, and all the new functionality is certainly a joy to use. But if a third party developer can come in and make some functionality better or more customizable to users I think it's worth looking at. One of the great things about Mac OS X and Apple in general is they pay close attention to design. But every user is different, which is why some developers make it possible to put your own brand of style on key interface elements of Mac OS X.

During my usual daily … Read more

'Guitar Hero III Mobile' comes to AT&T

Article updated 2/29/08 to correct headquarters location.

We were stoked when Hands-On Mobile, a San Francisco mobile games company, announced Guitar Hero III Mobile for Verizon. On Friday, AT&T brings the portable version of the wildly popular console game to J2ME phones.

The game is expected to launch on 30 handsets today, including Motorola V3 RAZR and Sony Ericcson 810, with more handsets joining the fray. The staggered launch means there's no guaranteeing that your handset will be supported when the game goes live today, but Hands-On Mobile suggests that eager phone gamers check back … Read more

Three free desktop-search alternatives face off

You've got your pick of free desktop-search utilities, nearly any of which are faster and less processor-intensive than Windows' built-in file-search feature. I've used at least a half-dozen different file-search tools in the last few years, but three have stood the test of time: Google Desktop Search, Microsoft's Windows Desktop Search (or simply Windows Search in Vista, where it replaces the old Indexing Service), and the oldest and best of the bunch, Copernic Desktop Search. After bouncing between the three, I've settled on Copernic for its speed, ease of use, and relatively small footprint.

That's … Read more

Play back your FLVs, fast and free

Sometimes, you just don't need the whole enchilada. Freeware video players like The KMPlayer, GOM Player, VLC Player, and others are excellent at what they do and are generally lightweight, but they look like top-heavy refrigerators compared with these nimble and zippy yet similarly named Flash players. But are Free FLV Player, FLV Player, Riva FLV Player, and BitComet FLV Player all the same, or does one pull ahead of the pack?

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The many flavors of Twitter

Pedestrians repeatedly thumbing their cell phones could be playing the latest mobile game, but it's just as likely they're microblogging addicts updating their Twitter accounts. Twitter's short-form service makes it ideal for two-sentence contributions from mobile phones, IM services, browsers, and desktop apps. Here are a few ultraconvenient third-party Twitter-updating apps.

From the phone

Twitter's mobile site, m.twitter.com, offers simple cell phone tweeting, and it's easy to set Twitter updates to your phone or IM. But on a BlackBerry, nothing is simpler than updating your feed than TwitterBerry, a bare-bones app that nevertheless … Read more

Lock up your files and hide the key

It's said that everyone's got something to hide, but not everyone needs top-notch encryption to do it. My Lockbox is a free privacy app for Windows XP and Vista that password-protects any folder of your choosing and then, poof!, can make it disappear from view.

The fairly simple interface has you setting up a password, with a hint. Keep it strong and different from your other passwords, or you're leaving yourself vulnerable to a forced lock. Passwords protect both the control panel and the folder path you've decided to conceal from Window Explorer's sights, for … Read more