The Download Blog

Facebook, RIM, 'tis better to be greedy

Article updated 2/28/08 with new information about Facebook's mobile settings.

The old adage, " 'tis better to give than to receive" should never apply to mobile software, much less to cell phone versions of social networks.

I initially thought BlackBerry's maker, RIM, was the culprit of a unilateral experience using Facebook for BlackBerry that let me push data to friends' Facebook accounts without receiving notice of any messages in return. It's since been pointed out to me that the product isn't so stingy to most, who can and do receive notice of … Read more

New Review: Screensaver surveillance for Mac, PC

I was surfing the Web flipping through my bookmarks Sunday afternoon when I found a great screensaver for both Windows and Mac. SurveillanceSaver cycles through more than 400 surveillance cameras from around the world. Before you begin fashioning a hat from tinfoil and closing all your blinds, I should note these cameras are mostly wide-sweeping live shots from various countries.

SurveillanceSaver cycles randomly through each camera giving you about 2 minutes to take in the surroundings before switching to a new camera. You'll get live streams of a blizzard in Helsingborg, Sweden, followed by a shot of a lonely … Read more

Hands-on review: Skyfire mobile browser

Skyfire (video), the latest mobile browsing upstart, has been touted as faster, cleaner, and smarter than its competitors, and that's before it was released in private beta. It's easy to praise an app when it's first being demoed, and another story when users and reviewers can get their hands on a living specimen. Frankly, the hype is overblown. While Skyfire has its perks--very nice ones--it hasn't won the competition yet.

Like Opera Mini (see video), Skyfire uses a proxy server to help render pages and control text flow. Also like Opera Mini, Skyfire utilizes a mouse … Read more

David Gray, "You're the World To Me": Free MP3 of the Day

The British singer-songwriter rocketed to stardom in the late '90s with a husky-voiced folk-pop that sounded both sensitive-guy sweet and intriguingly hardbitten. That mix has spawned many lesser imitators--think James Blunt--but this greatest hits set reminds that the inventor still does it best.

Xdrive releases AIR-based file manager

Now that AIR 1.0 has officially shipped, it's time to start experimenting with applications based on the shiny new platform, like the AIR-based file management application for AOL's Xdrive, Xdrive Desktop Light. I got a quick demo of this new application at CES in January, but now that it's out we can take a look at how well an AIR-based application can compare with a mature desktop application.

I like AIR applications, but it's very early days for this platform, and it shows in Xdrive Desktop Light. The application is pretty, and it does a … Read more

Hands-on: LinkedIn's new mobile Web site

What do you do if you're billed as a business professional's Facebook, and a substantial portion of your more than 19 million members are jet-setting business types with fancy mobile phones and jobs that lend themselves to schmoozing? You build a mobile Web site so they can invite contacts as they meet them or identify in real life those they already have.

That was the impetus behind LinkedIn's mobile beta. (That and the fact that all the other social networks have mobile Web sites, too.) It's a good move for the social network, whose CEO, Dan … Read more

Blind Boys of Alabama, "Free at Last": Free MP3 of the Day

Everyone's favorite sightless Southerners continue their remarkable late-career run with "Down in New Orleans," a record that comes by NoLa love (a common theme these days) honestly and authentically. Helped by Allen Toussaint and local luminaries, the guys offer ideally seasoned gospel harmonies.

Tommy Guerrero, "Salve": Free MP3 of the Day

This San Francisco native distills many of his city's eclectic musical styles into one inimitable brew. Latin melodies mingle with shifty electro-beats, a busker's spirit meets a mixmaster's tools, and the improv spirit of jazz gets funneled through an R&B/folk voicebox.

Power Downloader monitors his memory

When Power Downloader is hard at work in the Powerlair he often has several programs running simultaneously. Though he has plenty of RAM in his super system, Power likes to keep track of memory usage to see what's taking up the most space. It also helps to have memory tracking apps when he needs to diagnose system slow downs.

To keep track of how much memory is being used by his mission-critical apps, Power Downloader uses FreeMeter. With this free program on his computer, Power can track disk space usage, memory usage, disk transfer rates, and more all from … Read more