The Download Blog

Cell phone users: Get pitas, haircuts for less

I like Cellfire, a mobile coupons app that's optimized for BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile, and has a WAP site for cell phones (www.cellfire.com from your phone's browser.) They've got a smart business plan, good partnerships, and wide accessibility to users through support for multiple carriers and platforms.

Too bad some of the national offerings are so pedestrian, such as Cellfire's partnerships with Supercuts and Extreme Pita, announced Wednesday. That's only mundane if you're a snob like me. If you're most people, Cellfire's deals with local, regional, and national retailers … Read more

Dwight Yoakam, "Just Passin' Time": Free MP3 of the Day

Mixing uptempo quasi-rockabilly songs with introspective ballads that are heartfelt but never saccharine, Yoakam's got a rare ability to move both Nashville stalwarts and alt-country scenesters alike. This song's from his his stellar 2005 album "Blame the Vain."

Spyware Horror Story: Extra painful XP recovery

Published by Aaron; Monroe, Mich.

Hooray for an event-filled Saturday afternoon with FailDows eXtraPainful edition (Windows XP)! I have been having a Trojan problem for the last week, but thought it was no big deal. Its name was something starting with "CC/." I forget the rest, but it didn't show up in either Symantec or McAfee's databases.

I updated my Avira AntiVir and started a full system scan. After about 40 minutes of scanning, it found one Trojan in three different parts of my hard drive. One was in the system restore files, one in my … Read more

Zumobi ditches beta, gets its act together

Surfing the Web on a cell phone screen can be the laggy, draggy pits, but companies like Zumobi want to make it a rush. The announcement of Zumobi's first full release (for Windows Mobile 5 and 6) brings the Microsoft-birthed, now Microsoft-partnered platform for delivering mobile content closer to the dream.

I've been following Zumobi's young career for some time and happily, its character is catching up to its glitz. Version 1.0 corrects many of the beta's more glaring errors, including major functionality potholes that are now mostly paved over.

For the uninitiated, Zumobi is a grid of 16 thumbnails that users access by zooming into a quadrant and then zooming in again to an often-customizable "tile," each of which is populated by the content partner and updated several times a day. For instance, Amazon's tile operates a portable-book store that also links to Amazon's mobile site. AP News, MTV, Epicurious, and Flickr are other well-known brands.… Read more

Customize your Windows right-click menu

Who doesn't love to right-click, especially when browsing the Web? Whether saving images we like to our local drives, copying HTML links to send to friends, or scanning downloaded files for viruses, the right-click has become an essential part of most users' computing lives.

Yet how many times have you right-clicked on a file in Windows and then painfully scoured a long list to find the only option you need; sometimes it's the only one you ever use. Wouldn't life be much simpler to have only the items you want in your right-click menu? Well, for Windows … Read more

Guilty Simpson, "Getting Riches": Free MP3 of the Day

It's high time the J Dilla protege, a Jaylib contributor, got a feature full-length, and Simpson proves a muscular and engaging voice on "Ode to the Ghetto." Pouring years of Detroit wisdom into every track, he manages, with his powerful baritone, to both intimidate and endear.

Insider Secrets: Don't get scammed by phishers

Responding to an urgent e-mail about your compromised bank account is tempting, almost involuntary. That's exactly what phishers are counting on when they link you to a false site and pump you for personal details. Learn how to skirt their tricks in this Insider Secrets video, and remind yourself of other ways to avoid suspicious Web sites that might not have your best intentions in mind.

Mozilla Thunderbird 3.0: New calendar, better search

A new Mozilla Foundation effort to improve its Thunderbird open-source e-mail software now has an official name--and its first public goals.

Thunderbird 3.0 is due to ship by the end of the year with a more comprehensive search feature and official integration of the Lightning calendar add-on, said David Ascher, chief executive of the newly named Mozilla Messaging subsidiary. The first alpha release will come sooner, though, for those who want to test the software.

"I'm expecting we'll have some public releases probably within three months," Ascher said.

Mozilla is best known for its success with the Firefox browser, which has dented Microsoft Internet Explorer's dominance and sparked programmers to build a rich selection of extensions. Now the group is trying to apply the formula to e-mail software. Even though many rely on Web-based services for the chore, e-mail software is still widely used, and Thunderbird could open another major beachhead for open-source software in mainstream computing.

Although Mozilla Messaging's priority is to produce good software, not specifically to dethrone Microsoft's dominant Outlook software, the new calendar ability makes Thunderbird a more viable competitor, particularly in corporate environments.

Adding a third Mozilla group can be confusing, so let me spell out the distinctions for those of you who haven't scrutinized every development in the last 10 years since Netscape and its acquirer, AOL, spun off the Mozilla project in 1998. The Mozilla Foundation, a not-for-profit group, is in charge overall; for-profit subsidiaries Mozilla Corp. and Mozilla Messaging run the Web browser and e-mail projects, respectively.

Mozilla Messaging also has named a three-person board of directors: Ascher; Chris Beard, general manager of Mozilla Labs; and Marten Mickos, CEO of MySQL, the open-source database company Sun Microsystems has just agreed to acquire for about $1 billion. More are likely to be added later as the organization grows, Ascher said.

Read more

How to use Ad-Aware 2007

Despite a notable backlash from some Ad-Aware SE fans, Ad-Aware 2007 is still a very powerful weapon in the fight against malicious software. Ad-Aware 2007 is bigger than its previous editions and it tends to use up more system resources. Most unfortunately, all of Ad-Aware 2007's premium (paid) features, and even applications such as Ad-Watch 2007 and the Host File Editor, are included with the free version, but are nonoperational. Despite those minor complaints, the new program did add valuable features, including support for multiple browsers, a Web privacy tool, and multilingual support (although French is the only available … Read more