Utilities and drivers

CCleaner 3 delivers nuanced drive wiper

CCleaner hasn't seen many major revisions since Piriform launched it in 2004, but debuting today, CCleaner 3 includes some extremely useful new features that make it worth the upgrade.

One of the biggest is a drive-wiping tool that can wipe all the data from your hard drive, but can also scrub only the available free space. As with many of the tools in CCleaner, it's fairly nuanced and allows for a simple one-pass overwrite and three levels of secure deletion. These include a Department of Defense-level three-pass option, a National Security Administration-level seven-pass cleaning, and a 35-pass Gutmann-level … Read more

Quicken 2011 offers new features, better UI

Financial software might not be the type of thing to make your knees go weak, but a good program is a control freak's dream come true. Such is the case with Intuit's latest offering in the form of Quicken 2011, which is available starting today in a choice of three versions: Starter Edition ($29.95), Deluxe ($59.95), and Premier ($89.95).

It's immediately apparent that Intuit's acquisition of Mint last year has had a positive effect on the Quicken update. For one, the start-up process has been noticeably streamlined when compared with the previous version. … Read more

Take notes by hand--on the iPad

When the iPad first launched, we heard a lot of talk about possible uses for it in school settings. There was talk of downloading books (instead of carrying a heavy backpack); taking notes (even though the onscreen keyboard is less than ideal); and someday watching online lectures on the device (if sites would start using HTML 5 instead of Flash). So far, while the iPad has been a huge success with users, things that would really help students haven't quite come to fruition.

A new note-taking app called Note Taker HD ($4.99) for iPad might be the lecture … Read more

SanDisk Media Manager aims to ease transfer woes

SAN FRANCISCO--This may come as a surprise to those of us who have been using fully featured, multimedia-capable smartphones for a while now, but the idea of connecting one's cell phone to a computer isn't entirely natural for many consumers. At least, that's what SanDisk is banking on with its Media Manager pack, which the company showed off during MobileFocus at CTIA Fall 2010.

Although the term Media Manager may automatically associate with software in your mind (and you're not wrong), there's a reason I call it a pack. The product, which will be sold … Read more

Skype comes to Android 2.1 and above

Skype calling is now available as a free download on Android-based devices, the Internet telephony company announced today.

The Skype for Android software allows users to make calls to Skype accounts, mobile phones, or landlines. Users can also send and receive text messages via the application when communicating with Skype friends. Those who want to keep all their content in one place can sync their address book with Skype. The company also said that users will be able to receive calls on their Skype online number.

But there are some limitations. For one, Skype for Android is only available to … Read more

Share text files and kill all humans: iPhone apps of the week

When Josh Lowensohn bought and wrote about the TyPad--the Bluetooth keyboard and iPad case combo--I knew that I had to have it. Though it's a bit expensive for a case ($129), the included black keyboard and fold-over leather case just seemed too convenient and classy to pass up.

I just received mine today, and I'm already glad I bought it, but it does have some minor annoyances. There is no right-Shift key, for example, which will be tough for formally trained typists to get used to. It also makes it difficult to play a lot of games because with the added keyboard it can be pretty unwieldy. Still, the ability to quickly convert my iPad into a laptoplike experience will be better for working than using the onscreen keyboard, and the controls for music, cursor arrows, and tactile typing make the case worth it to me.

What do you think? Does the TyPad seem like a good deal to you or should I have just bought a laptop if that's what I wanted? Is there a better case/keyboard combo you know about? Let me know in the comments.

This week's apps include an iPhone/iPad text editor that automatically syncs up with your desktop, and a game in which you control a man-eating giant worm.… Read more

Dropbox comes to BlackBerry; updates for iPhone, Android

Dropbox continues to develop its cloud storage service for a trio of mobile platforms: Android, iPhone, and now BlackBerry. Dropbox for BlackBerry, which has previously been available as a beta, has now become available today through a Web download--just point the mobile browser to dropbox.com/blackberry.

As with other mobile Dropbox apps, the BlackBerry version lets you view uploaded files on your smartphone, including streaming music and videos. You're also able to upload files, like photos, to your Dropbox account.

There's prompting to add photos from your library or to snap a new one. A menu option … Read more

Exclusive: Stuffit 2011 for Mac

These days, most file compression activities are baked into your operating system, but there are still plenty of reasons to get a specialized compression utility. With StuffIt 2011 for Mac--exclusive to CNET Downloads today--you can create customized "Destinations" that let you drag and drop files or folders for automated compression and sending. Want to compress to ZIP format and upload via FTP, for example? With a quick setup, you can create your custom destination beforehand with your preferred compression algorithm, and you'll never have to worry about flipping through menus for this destination again. To top … Read more

QuickBooks update offers greater efficiency

The latest version of Intuit's small business accounting software, QuickBooks 2011, focuses on the fact that time is money for entrepreneurs. With that in mind, the update offers a host of new features aimed at streamlining important accounting tasks. Namely, QuickBooks 2011 hopes to make invoicing and collecting payments even faster and easier than before.

The main updates for QuickBooks this year are found in the two most popular versions of the software, Pro and Premier. The first thing seasoned users are likely to notice is a vastly simplified start-up process, thanks to the new Quick Start Center feature, … Read more

Jedi Mind changes its name amid Lucas pressure

Not even the Jedi Mind trick could get LucasFilm to change its opinion on Jedi Mind's name.

The small software developer announced on Tuesday that it has changed its name to Mind Technologies. In a statement, the company said it decided to change its name "to avoid potential infringement of trademarks owned by LucasFilm."

Mind Technologies has also redirected its former Web site, JediMindinc.com, to its new MindTechnologies.com.

Mind Technologies' name was just one part of the issue LucasFilm had with the company. It also didn't like that it used "Jedi" in … Read more