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The Download Blog

Opera Mini 4: First Look

Now here's a browser that puts more thought into mobile functionality than your everyday cell phone browser: Opera Mini 4. Rather than limply recreate a pared-down version of the desktop browser, Opera has explored eye-expanding ways to get at mobile content. Full or modified screen view? Landscape mode? Hot keys for scrolling? Yes, yes, and yes! See Opera Mini 4's features here in the First Look video below.

>>See all First Look videos

Hands-on: WorldMate Live for BlackBerry

I liked previous iterations of WorldMate, a travel organizer best suited for power business travelers, at least in theory. The app grouped valuable travel information in one place, but pricing made it impractical for most casual users. WorldMate Live for BlackBerry is an app I can get behind, with its clean, friendly interface; fully synchronized Internet maps and alerts; and a more congenial pricing model that assumes basic, free usage and provides frequent, but never obnoxious, opportunities to upgrade.

The revamped WorldMate Live adds more value with a brand new on-app itinerary section for inputting flight, hotel, car rental, and meeting details to go along with a corresponding Web app, where you can also input information. All trip data is stored on WorldMate's servers and synced in real time when the app opens and auto-connects online. Maps, powered by Google on your online account and by BlackBerry's native map on the device, are another new addition.… Read more

Killer Download: Fill out forms and generate secure passwords

As an Internet worker, I surf hundreds of different Web sites daily. A good portion of those--including online e-mail services, Web-based work tools, and members-only message boards--require a log-in information before I can gain access. In addition to sites and services that require only a login and password, I also occasionally need to fill out forms when I register for software, sign-up for a new service, or buy something online.

You might think it's not a huge amount of trouble to fill in log-in information, but if you're like most people, you use the same password (or a … Read more

Miro leaves beta, stability issues behind

The Participatory Culture Foundation's universal video player has finally left the development world with its first non-beta release, Miro 1.0 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There are very few changes to distinguish this version from the previous beta versions that have come out in the past two months. Beside the fact that you can now delete a video while it's playing with impunity, all the changes are minor bug fixes to sort out stability concerns and other small tweaks.

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IBM updates free Symphony suite

IBM is releasing an update today to its free Lotus Symphony productivity suite, which remains in beta testing.

The three desktop applications, Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations, are counterparts to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The latest iteration of Symphony is supposed to be faster than its predecessor, which debuted less than two months ago.

The package is one of several low-cost or free alternatives to Microsoft Office. Unlike products such as ThinkFree, Zoho and Google Docs & Spreadsheets, there is no online component to Symphony.

Like its close competitor, the $79 Sun StarOffice, Symphony works on Windows and Linux computers … Read more

ZoneAlarm: Anti-spyware free for a day

ZoneAlarm is offering its CNET Editors' Choice-rated Anti-spyware program for free today, until 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The $20 program battles spyware from a different approach than most other antimalware apps. Using its extensive knowledge of firewalls, ZoneAlarm Anti-spyware uses firewalls as a basis for providing protection. Unlike most popular antispyware software, ZoneAlarm scans commonly affected system areas rather than your entire computer.

While this method scans faster than other options and is mostly effective for catching intruders, I find a comprehensive system scan to be more desirable. Still, people familiar with the popular ZoneAlarm firewall software will recognize … Read more

VMware Fusion 1.1: free to select bloggers

VMware released version 1.1 of its Fusion virtualization software to run Windows on Intel-based Apple computers Monday--along with an offer for free versions of the software to some bloggers.

"I have convinced the powers at VMware central that there's big-time value in having a strong, open conversational relationship with the blogosphere," Peter Kazanjy, senior product marketing manager for VMware's Mac products, said in an e-mail sent to bloggers and seen by CNET News.com.

"I'm...offering an open NFR (not for resale) policy for people who are honest-to-goodness bloggers." There's "… Read more

Filemaker serves snack-size database for Leopard

Filemaker is betting that its new database software, Bento, will please Mac users seeking a multipurpose personal information manager. The application will ship in January 2008 for $49, or $99 for a family pack. A free test drive is available on the Web site of Filemaker, which is owned by Apple.

Like the Japanese lunch box for which it's named, Bento appears to be a tidy organizer. Sorting and searching options look elegant. The software could serve a variety of purposes, such as tracking freelance work gigs, sending party invitations, plotting an exercise regime, cataloging household items, creating libraries of possessions, and even rating stores where you shop or children you might teach.… Read more