Desktop Enhancements posts on CNET - Page 11

Desktop Enhancements

First Look video: Google Earth 5

Google Earth 5's big new features include the other final frontier, the 20th century, and the Red Planet.

For Windows and Mac, Google Earth 5 maps the ocean, explores the past with historical maps, and shows you there's more to Mars than red dust. Check it all out in this First Look video.

Video: Google Earth dives into the sea

Google Earth is adding an ocean feature, allowing people to dive into the deep blue right from their desktop, CBS News Correspondent Daniel Sieberg reports.

John Hanke, director of Google Earth and Maps, said, "Vast parts of it are largely unexplored and we don't really know what's down there."

While the visibility in the water has been cleaned up, everything you see is based on actual data. It's not quite swimming with the fishes, but it will let you see where they live.

Hanke showed Sieberg some impressive images that can be found with the … Read more

Hands on: Google Earth 5 delightful but imperfect

Google Earth upped the cartographic ante again today with Google Earth 5 for Windows and Mac. As CNET News reported back in April 2008, the latest version incorporates even more data from NASA, the BBC, National Geographic, and other proprietary sources to create one of the most unique map offerings ever, meshing comprehensive real-time data on Earth's surface with information on the oceans, the stars that we see, historical maps, and topographical information on Mars.

Conceptually, the oceanic maps are great. It is beyond cool to be able to see ocean-related points of interest like shipwrecks, and have cross-referenced … Read more

Weather apps: Six more weeks of winter?

Even if you're not one to trust a groundhog's shadow as your weather vane, watching a pet rodent emerge from a hole before hundreds of onlookers is a fascinating North American ritual. The rest of us may not have the prognosticating meteorological savvy of a Punxsutawney Phil, Buckeye Chuck, or Shubenacadie Sam, but on February 2, we can have the next best thing--weather widgets and applications.

Here are some of our favorite ways to read the mercury on our Windows PCs.

Weather Watcher Live A full, but well-ordered display, detailed forecast, animated map, and severe weather alerts are … Read more

Windows desktop bling

If you're glued to your computer, you should make it as inspiring as you can.

That was our goal back in September 2006 when we first put together a collection of top desktop enhancement apps.

Since then, Microsoft's spiced-up graphics have added a charm to Vista that XP out-and-out lacked, but is the blue look you, or can you still do better? We've picked out the best free and free-to-try downloads to give you a brightly colored taskbar, animated wallpaper, and dynamic cursor options for your XP or Vista box. Check out the desktop eye candy in … Read more

Fractal flair

We all know what fractals are, even if we can't explain them very well (myself included). In simplest terms, fractals are geometric shapes that can be split into increasingly smaller, yet identical, fragments.

In 2002, Scott Draves created something called "fractal flares," which are a class of fractals that use nonlinear transformations and color in a way to create spectacular images. His work was put into a free, open-source fractal-flame called Apophysis.

I've been playing a bit with Apophysis this week, and be warned: once you get started, you may find yourself spending hours creating increasingly … Read more

New Firefox themes for a new year

Tonight you're probably going to make some hefty New Year's resolutions, which statistically you're never going to keep. Why not at least make a change you know will make a difference immediately? A Firefox theme can change the feel of your browser and all it takes is a simple download. You can't just waltz into a new year without making a few changes, right?

We've put together a nice slide show of downloadable Firefox themes so you can improve your browsing experience in the New Year.

New Year's downloads

Goodbye, 2008 and hello, 2009!

A new year means new calendars, new personal resolutions, and an end-of-year celebration to ring it in. Our collection of applications for your PC has bartending and DJ downloads for all that party planning, a calendar to keep you up to date, desktop sticky notes to remind yourself of those all-important resolutions, and screensavers to get you into the spirit of the season.

Fireworks Screensaver

This classic fireworks screensaver lets you get interactive with the spectacular display you shoot onto your desktop. Have fun choosing the number of rockets for a grand finale that sends … Read more

Christmas screensavers for a merry mood

How do you know that the Christmas season is officially underway? People are more generous, the air is a little lighter, and that evergreen tree is decorated to the hilt with ornaments and lights.

Now, how about your Windows PC? Drop that tiny tinsel and put down that computer-top angel. This flashy collection of Christmas screensavers will put you and your rig into a happier holiday mood as you count down the days to yuletide.

Appcelerator Titanium puts more Web apps on your desktop

The line between Web and desktop apps is getting fuzzier Tuesday, with the preview release of Appcelerator Titanium, platform designed to turn Web app developers into desktop and mobile phone developers.

Appcelerator, which makes an open source Web app framework, is targeting Titanium at Web developers who want to bite off a chunk of the desktop market while still using their HTML, CSS and JavaScript skills. Titanium will be going head-to-head against Adobe AIR, letting developers using Appcelerator's SDK compile installable versions of their apps for PCs and Macs (a Linux version is coming later).

Titanium apps are more … Read more