The Download Blog

Power up GIMP with plug-ins and GIMPshop

So you've been convinced to make the leap from Photoshop to GIMP. You've downloaded the program, run the executable, figured out that old instructions decrying the difficult installation are outdated for the current version, but now what? Now, my GIMP Padawan, is when you start treating GIMP like it's Firefox and you get your plug-ins on.

What about GIMPshop, you say? No worries, as my Australian friends would say. We're going to take a look at the GIMP-plus-Photoshop mash-up, too.

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Killer Download: Top free image editors

Once I've taken care of installing security software on a new a PC, one of the first programs I end up downloading is an image editor. Whether I'm using it to make a quick edit to a screenshot, convert a digital photo to a more Web-friendly image format, or even something as mundane as cropping an image for a desktop background, an easy-to-use image editor is a must have. Those of you with recently acquired computers probably have a lot of holiday photos you've resolved to go through, so this little collection will definitely come in handy.… Read more

New year, new PC

Computing hope springs eternal every new year. Certainly 2008 will be the year we finally get our ducks in a row, right? No more in-boxes filled with hundreds of unread messages. No more junk files from apps uninstalled long ago. We'll keep adequate free space on our hard drives, and even defragment them regularly! (Well, at least for a month or two.)

For those of you who scored new PCs for Christmas or your year-end holiday of choice, it's literally a year of new computing. Your top-of-the-line, screaming-fast, quad-core machine is only as good as what you can do with it, however, and that requires quality software.

Luckily for you, we've collected some of our favorite downloadable software for Windows in two collections perfect for new PC owners. Our Security Starter Kit ensures that your pricey investment is properly protected, and the Windows Starter Kit provides a bevy of top-rated products from a wide range of categories that are free or free to try. Start editing pictures, chatting online, swapping files, or burning music mixes with this collection of essential apps for new PC owners.… Read more

First iPhone Trojan horse reported

Seen more as a prank than an actual threat, a Trojan horse for the Apple iPhone, first reported on Saturday, has already come and gone. Still, users should be on the look out for a package called "iPhone firmware 1.1.3 prep," described as something you need to install before updating to the new 1.1.3 firmware. Billed as an "important system update," the code does little more than cause annoyance. According to various sources, once the Trojan is installed it simply displays the word "shoes."

However, the Trojan also overwrites several … Read more

Hands on: Yahoo Go 3.0 beta

This article has been updated to include new information.

Does the new Yahoo Go 3.0 beta herald Yahoo's new mobile strategy? That's what Yahoo would like you to think.

At first glance, the new Yahoo Go, a portal on the mobile phone to Yahoo's proprietary services--e-mail, Flickr, messaging, maps and directions, weather, and categorized news--looks strikingly similar to the old Yahoo Go. Sure, it's more celestial-looking with a burnished blue sky, pillowy clouds, and rays of emanating light that replace the bubbly signature yellow of its predecessor. But the carousel layout and offerings are essentially the same.

Here's what's not. The carousel is unfixed, which means users can delete Yahoo's default widgets and add their own for a much more tailored experience. The new Yahoo Go also makes use of keypad shortcuts. Pressing '#' gets you back to the carousel and '0' (zero) launches oneSearch. Reminders are tucked into most context menus.

The start screen is another brushup, helpfully summarizing your Yahoo inbox, and letting you add customized "snippets" of information, like a stock price, Web link, or RSS feed. Quick links are also shown on this page--users can select from various Yahoo services or include links to favorite Web sites. I liked both ideas, but questioned the implementation of a long, scrolling page layout that puts my quick links far below the snippet section, defeating the purpose of immediate access.… Read more

Avoid accidental killings with GoneIn60s

GoneIn60s is a neat little program that makes those Homer Simpsonesque "D'oh!" moments where you close Firefox instead of iTunes a thing of the past. Weighing in at a hefty 206KB, Gone keeps closed programs running in your RAM for an additional 60 seconds after you hit that tantalizing red X, just in case you hit the wrong one.

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IE7Pro update reminds us why it's easy to love

Internet Explorer 7 disappointed many of our users by offering far too few features much too late. After all, Firefox was way ahead with tabbed browsing, greater stability, and a seemingly bottomless pit of extensions. Then came IE7Pro, one extension with enough oomph to make IE7 worth using.

IE7's bump up to Version 2.0 doesn't actually add a whole lot more than a chance to remember what we liked about the app in the first place, but there is new support for 64-bit machines, and a hot-key combination (Control+M) that shrinks IE windows to a tray icon. In order to rustle up some revenue while keeping the program free to use, IE7Pro announced it runs search from a Google-powered toolbar, and presumably runs operations from the proceeds. Finally, Version 2 replaces the download manager with a MiniDM that's not actually so mini.

The big show, of course, is IE7Pro's major assist to Microsoft's market-dominating browser. There's a lot here--ad- and Flash-blocking, spell check (which requires installing an OpenOffice.org dictionary,) and tabbing features. Double clicking shuts down a tab, while typing a URL automatically opens it in a fresh tab. That shaves off time and steps in the course of a browsing day.… Read more

Two useful Facebook apps for the socially promiscuous

I wanted to touch on two Facebook apps this afternoon that are highly useful for people with a lot of friends. One is to keep an eye on them, while the other is simply a means of extending your presence on multiple networks at the same time.

The first is called Unfriender, and it's been kicking around since last month. Once installed and given access to your data, it'll keep an eye on people you've added as friends and let you know if they've removed you as a friend later down the line. As a reason … Read more

Green light for Yahoo Go 3.0

As part of the Consumer Electronics Show extravaganza in Las Vegas this week, Yahoo has opted to announce the next iteration of its mobile offering, Yahoo Go. The new beta product arrives at a time when just about every other huge name in tech--Google, Apple, you name it--is making a bigger push for the handset market, and (slightly) smaller brands like Facebook and MTV have been tweaking their mobile products.

Yahoo, however, isn't about to put out a Yahoo Phone. The new Yahoo Go 3.0, rather, is a free downloadable application compatible with about 30 different handsets so … Read more