The Download Blog

Rename files with ease

Batch File Renamer could've been called Easy File Renamer, because although it's cursed with a bland layout, that belies the effortless renaming of massive quantities of files.

The features combined with the tiny size make this one of the best freeware file renamers around. You can set entire directories to rename, and select all files, or filter out the ones you don't want to change by their extension. A handful of presets let you convert filenames to upper or lowercase instantly, as well as replace characters in the filenames, add a number sequence to the name, and for advanced users you can even run your own command line on source directory files.

Read more

First Look: Videora iPod Converter

The very popular Videora iPod Converter is one case in which an app shouldn't be too hastily judged by its name. This video-converting freebie transforms files for the range of Apple's ilk--three types of iPods and the iPhone to boot. Videora iPod Converter can grab and convert YouTube videos through an in-app browser (this is good for owners of the classic iPods), and will also work over files stored on your desktop (this is good for everyone).

However, Videora iPod Converter isn't the only free converter in town, and it has some notable drawbacks. Decide if it'… Read more

PDFescape comes close to replacing Adobe's Acrobat

Hot on the heels of my writeup of PDFMeNot yesterday, reader Bonexaw tipped us off about PDFescape, another Web based Adobe Acrobat replacement. This time around, PDFescape pulls double duty not only as a free PDF reader, but also as an editing tool and Web host for PDF files.

PDFescape lets users fill out forms--one of the most commonly used features (besides reading). Additionally, the authoring tools let users create their own forms and send them out to others to fill out and send back. The best part is that the entire system is set up to avoid recipients having … Read more

Mozilla releases third Firefox 3 beta

Mozilla has released a third beta version of Firefox 3, bringing about 1,300 changes to the widely used open-source Web browser.

Firefox 3 Beta 3 should be more stable, perform faster, use memory more efficiently, and fit in better on various operating systems than its predecessors, Mozilla said.

Having tried the new version out for a while this morning, my top impression hasn't changed since beta 2: the best thing about the new version is faster performance. Pages load faster.

Other improvements, according to the Firefox 3 release notes, include a better tool for seeing who owns a … Read more

Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins: Free MP3 of the Day

During a break from her duties as frontwoman for Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis indulges in a mix of vintage country and soul on her '06 solo offering. With the crystal-clear vocals of the Watson Twins backing her, Lewis shines as a bewitching, modern-day chanteuse.

Watch DVDs on your iPod, iPhone, PSP, etc. with HandBrake

So you just bought an iPod touch or iPhone and want to stock it with movies from your DVD library. There are countless commercial utilities that promise to rip DVDs, but I recommend trying HandBrake. This open-source (read: free) utility for Windows (download), Mac (download), and Linux converts your DVDs for viewing on iPods, iPhones, Sony PSPs, and other portable media players. It's by no means new, but I just had to share my newfound appreciation for it.

I recently picked up the hilarious Flight of the Conchords on DVD. I also just acquired an iPod touch (quite simply … Read more

Make your own Valentine's Day cards

If you think you've got it tough on Valentine's Day, consider your poor, humble Download.com editor. My wife's birthday is on Valentine's Day! Luckily, we've been together long enough that I don't have to impress her with dozens of roses, buckets of chocolates, and the rest of the conventional commercial holiday paraphernalia. However, a homemade card is always a great way to demonstrate my love.

Creating your own Valentine's Day cards with commercial design software like Adobe Photoshop or CorelDRAW will provide you with a wide array of options for tweaking your … Read more

Rediscovering Identity Finder

Ask yourself this: Should a hacker leap over your firewall and duck your antivirus to successfully deliver a rootkit and poke around your system, what would the thieving perp find?

Unless you've painstakingly encrypted every instance of your driver's license, bank account, and mother's maiden name there's a good chance your privacy jig could be up were someone to apply the right kind of malicious script. Identity Finder seeks out, and shreds or encrypts personal data sprinkled throughout your computer files, Web tracks, e-mail, and registry. Ahem. That is, if you're a registered, paying customer.

If you're not, Identity Finder will constantly point to your deficiency with nag screens galore and crossed-out circles where interface functions should be ("Demo users--No outlet!"). Until you pony up the cash, Identity Finder won't let you undo your data show-and-tell, or even supply the location of those files which are overly inviting. However, even if scanning with the trial version is all you do, you'll get an idea of how often you hang on to sensitive data that's best hidden or removed.… Read more