The Download Blog

Stick Google Calendar into your Firefox sidebar

Here's a quick way to make sure you never need to open your Google Calendar in a tab again: Open it in your Firefox sidebar instead. Discovered at Firefox Facts, it adapts some code from iGoogle and streamlines it down to just the calendar. This is a great hack if you can't or won't use the Google Desktop Sidebar.

Log in to your Google account first, and then load up this Google Calendar link in a regular tab.

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Zagat To Go: Find food while you hoof it

For 29 delicious years, the Zagat Survey (pronounced zuh-GAT) has been compiling restaurant ratings from user reviews all over the globe to help foodies and regular people find the perfect spot for a first date, romantic meal, or celebration. For considerably fewer years, it has made its renowned services available for mobile phones.

I reviewed the trial version of Zagat To Go (see all downloads) on a BlackBerry Curve (download) and Windows Mobile Palm Treo (download).

Zagat To Go for BlackBerry may have been custom-built for BlackBerry, but features a surprisingly basic home menu that's still stuck in the … Read more

Tipster: Tip calculator for fast meal math

For consistent 15 percent tipsters living in municipalities with a 7.5 percent dining tax, generating the perfect 15 percent tip is as simple as doubling the tax. If that's not you, Oh Arithmetic-Challenged One, you've got a bum deal. (See below for a quick computational technique.)

It's for this set, and for diners who frequently split a bill, that Ilium Software developed Tipster. The free, simple app for Palm, Windows Mobile smartphone and Pocket PC hurriedly computes your tax and total.

Tipster calculates tax in 5 percent increments up to 30 percent, and can evenly split … Read more

Power Downloader's fishy solution for system sluggishness

When Power Downloader returned to the Powerlair after finishing up a case, he knew he would have plenty of e-mails to go through before he could have any downtime. Powering up his computer, Power waited while his computer went through its normal startup routine and then proceeded to open his e-mail client to see how many new messages he had. To his delight, several of the e-mails were easily deleted and only simple confirmations or answers were required of his usual global contacts.

Close to the end of his list of new e-mail, Power Downloader found a message from Kitty … Read more

Fresh off the press: NewsGator, now freeware

Checking Web sites by typing in the URL feels like firing up a rickety 56k baud modem and logging on to CompuServe. It gets the job done, but really should only be used under extreme duress or nostalgia. Syndicated feeds bring the Web site to you, and when NewsGator made all its RSS clients free on Wednesday, they suddenly made a top-notch suite with tools for Windows, Mac, mobile, the Web, a podcast manager, and a Microsoft Outlook extension incredibly appealing. And by appealing, I mean you might not be able to imagine feeds the same way afterwards. It's that good.

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Countdown to Macworld

With the new year under way and the holidays on the back burner, CNET's first big coverage extravaganza of 2008 was CES. The annual Consumer Electronics Show, which runs through the end of this week, was predictably brimming with cool gadgets and new technology. Many of our editors were on hand to give their take on all the sleek new products. Check out our extensive coverage of CES here. Though I was jealous to see all of the cool new items coming out of Las Vegas while I remained in San Francisco, I knew the next week would be … Read more

Google's sky gets podcasting, maps with dragons

While computer monitors and TV screens continue to become the size of small stars, there's no beating the real thing short of visiting a planetarium, or lately--Google Earth. Yesterday Google unveiled the second iteration of Google Sky for Google Earth at the Astronomical Society's annual conference in Austin, Texas. Among the more notable additions is podcasting that's been integrated into the Earth and Sky layer. These short 90-second podcasts will tell you anything that's coming up this week (or that's historically taken place), and you can listen to them right from the app via … Read more

Rain and shine hit Google Maps and Google Earth

Two of the most useful online services have got to be maps and weather.

With this in mind, The Weather Channel Interactive is offering a new mapplet for Google Maps that lets people add customizable weather layers to maps and see weather data on Google Earth (download it for Windows or Mac OS X).

One click and you can see the clouds over San Francisco on Google Maps. Pop-up bubbles provide more detailed information like current conditions including temperature, humidity, wind speed and UV Index. You can also find links to forecasts and track storms.

The weather information combines data … Read more

FlyTunes makes your iPhone into an Internet radio

I got a demo at CES of FlyTunes, an Internet radio aggregator whose CEO, Roy Smith, is pitching as an alternative to Sirius Satellite Radio.

It's a stretch to compare it with Sirius, but FlyTunes is a worthwhile idea. A service designed for Safari on the iPhone and iPod Touch, it displays a curated list of Internet radio stations, and, over Wi-Fi, streams and records the stations you listen to. What's cool is that it can work when you're not online. It will record streams for your favorite stations. Then you can dock your iPhone or iPod … Read more

NewsGator drops fees for news readers

NewsGator is making its latest consumer news readers available for free.

The updated products are FeedDemon 2.6, NetNewsWire 3.1 for the Mac, NewsGator InBox 3.0 beta, NewsGator Online, and NewsGator Go for mobile gadgets. Premium subscriptions formerly cost $19.95 or $29.95 per product.

The tools synchronize content fed to the Web, as well as to desktop and handheld devices including the iPhone, BlackBerrys, and those running Windows Mobile.

Each account will include features that were formerly offered only in premium editions. Users who have paid for NewsGator products on or after December 9 can request … Read more