The Download Blog

Gift guide: What Web addicts want

We bet you know someone who does everything online, from banking to making friends, to kicking back. If you're stuck trying to find great gifts for the constant blogger, video vulture, or online socialite in your life, take a look at this virtual gift guide that shows you get it, and you care.

Camfrog takes a leap forward

Looking at previous iterations of Camfrog, the popular and free video chatting software, it was hard to deny that it offered a wide range of options and experiences for video chat aficionados. It was also hard to deny that the user interface was a disastrous mess of modular windows that made maneuvering through the program a frustrating and sometimes confusing journey. The new version of Camfrog has fixed that.

Read more

Power Downloader makes free calls

With the holidays in full swing, Power Downloader knows he'll be making a lot of phone calls to wish family and friends happy holidays. The only problem is that calling all of his contacts in several different countries would end up costing him a fortune. Fortunately, as a software superhero, Power knows ways to contact his friends and family without paying a penny.

To get in touch with anyone around the world on Mac or PC, Power Downloader uses Skype. With Skype installed on his and his friends' computers, Power can contact anyone he wants to without paying any … Read more

An early peek at tax apps: TurboTax and TaxCut

Although taxes aren't due until April, many people like to get an early start in step with the new year. Services from the two most popular digital tax-prep brands are available to try or buy, although state forms won't trickle in until mid-January.

As e-filing and online tax preparation become more popular, boxed applications and their Web-based counterparts offer most of the same tools and interface elements. As a rule of thumb, online products are ideal for one filer, while installed software can handle a bigger household. Although there are no revolutionary changes to TurboTax and TaxCut from … Read more

Apple publishes QuickTime fix for streaming flaw

A new version of QuickTime is available from Apple that plugs security holes in the software for both Mac and Windows users.

QuickTime 7.3.1 was published Thursday afternoon in order to plug unspecified "security issues," according to Apple's Web site. But the fixes appear to correct the Real Time Streaming Protocol issue identified in late November that could lead to unwanted visitors if you visited a Web site that contained code taking advantage of the flaw.

Four separate patches are available on Apple's site, three for the Mac OS X big cats Panther, Tiger, … Read more

Hands-on the Zumobi widget platform

The long-awaited beta for the Zumobi (download it for Windows Mobile 5+ from CNET mobile widgets platform (at least awaited by me) became available Friday to Windows Mobile 5 and 6 users and developers who register on the site.

Zumobi, like Yahoo Go (which just moved out of beta) and Plusmo, is an experiment in mobile widgetry that cooks up an interactive recipe for getting wanted Web content fast.

Zumobi's twist is part interface, part monetizing. The app opens to a grid of 16 tiles, each its own app readied for your click. Four tiles cluster around a central hub, what Zumobi likes to call its "flower." To access an app, click--I mean zoom--into the nearest "flower" foursome and use whatever navigation your phone provides to draw up the app you want.… Read more

New review: 'Hordes of Orcs' for Mac

It's extremely rare for me to talk about games two weeks in a row for the Mac Daily Download, but a recent release from our friends at Freeverse Software is too good to pass up. When I heard the makers of great Mac games like Kill Monty, WingNuts 2, and Burning Monkey Solitaire were making a new twist on the online hit Desktop Tower Defense, I was immediately interested. As with most everything that comes from the folks at Freeverse, I wasn't disappointed.

Hordes of Orcs puts a new spin on Desktop Tower Defense games with smooth 3D … Read more

Toolbar tussle for Internet Explorer

Browser wars? Check. Operating system battles? We got those, too. Web mail skirmishes? Search engine sorties? Nothing new there, except for a slightly drawn-out metaphor. We can also add to the list of hotly contested software the Internet Explorer toolbar. Having sort of fallen by the wayside in the past few years as Web-based widgets have replaced browser-based ones, the somewhat-ignored toolbar is seeing a resurgence, thanks to Google and Yahoo.

Google has just released Google Toolbar for IE version 5 beta of its feature-rich and ready-to-use toolbar for Internet Explorer, and Yahoo has also recently updated its powerful Yahoo Toolbar with Anti-Spyware that comes bundled with antispyware. How do they compare?

Read more

RealPlayer 11: A new way to handle online video

Back in May, Señor Bell wrote about the new RealPlayer, which promised users the ability to download video in a variety of formats (Flash, WMV, Quicktime) from a variety of sites (YouTube, Comedy Central, and so on) using a variety of Web browsers. Somewhat unsurprisingly, I've gotten a variety of results. RealPlayer is fresh out of beta (download Version 11 for Windows from perfect time to put it to the test, in my book. Personally, I don't find the latest version particularly useful for my video tastes, but you may find it compelling, … Read more