Desktop Enhancements posts on CNET - Page 4

Desktop Enhancements

How to automatically optimize your computer's display for time of day

Your computer is optimized for daytime use. Even if you're a mile away from a window, your brain still knows what time it is, and as the sun sinks below the horizon (wherever that may be), you need softer, cooler light. That's part of the reason it can be so hard to sleep after intense bouts of World of Warcraft or late-night coding; your brain is confused by mixed signals. Enter f.lux, a sweet, small, free app that works on all major platforms to automatically adjust the brightness and tone of your monitor based on time of … Read more

How to create shortcuts for Windows 7 settings

Instead of using the Windows 7 Control Panel to get to settings you use frequently, why not use shortcuts? You can create both graphical and keyboard shortcuts for Windows 7 settings. Here's how:

Category shortcuts Category shortcuts allow quick access to any category or subcategory of the Control Panel.

Step 1: Open the Windows Control Panel and navigate to the category you want to create a shortcut for.

Step 2: Hover over the text of the category you want, then drag it over to your desktop.

Task and configuration shortcuts Task and configuration shortcuts allow direct access to specific … Read more

Google closes 10 businesses to focus on bigger bets

Google chief executive Larry Page continued shedding marginal operations from the Web giant today, shuttering 10 different businesses, including everything from social search to desktop software to Web security.

In announcing the news, Google Senior Vice President Alan Eustace called it a "fall spring-cleaning." Since taking over as chief executive in January, Page has moved to streamline Google's operations, pulling back from niche businesses in order to focus on the biggest bets. Eustace wrote that the new cuts reflect that strategy.

"This will make things much simpler for our users, improving the overall Google experience," … Read more

How to organize all your files using tags

If you've ever had to look for that old letter of recommendation or sample design work from years past, you probably either wished you had an intern or prayed for a miracle. Media sorting has been far beyond other file management in terms of ease of use and quick searching thanks to the power of tags. Now you can use Elyse (for Windows and Mac) to tag your non-media files as well to make searching a snap. Here's how to get started:

Download and install the free Elyse app. (Also available from CNET Download.com.)  Fire up … Read more

Pokki: Serving the Web like bite-sized candy

Let's face it; your daily routine of checking Facebook, browsing RSS news, writing e-mails, sending tweets have evolved into quite the laundry list. Sweet Labs just released Pokki to sweeten up the task.

Pokki,  not to be confused with those delectable Japanese snacks, is a compact HTML5-based framework that allows users to view commonly used Web APIs in a pop-up shell.

As Web 2.0 continues to gain traction, companies are pursuing new ways to bridge the gap between the web app and the native desktop application. Sweet Labs has recognized that as … Read more

Change your screen and battle on Europa: iPhone apps of the week

Maggie Reardon wrote a post today on her Signal Strength blog about AT&T beginning to crack down on customers using the iPhone's tethering capabilities without paying for the service. Apparently the company has begun sending out e-mails and text messages to the offending customers inviting them to sign up with its tethering plan--$45/month for what it calls a "DataPro" 4GB service.

I haven't used this feature at all yet on my iPhone and I probably never will at $45 a month. But this story also brings up the old "Unlimited Data" plan argument. I think I was grandfathered in with an Unlimited Data plan (which frustratingly doesn't include texts for no reason I can understand accept that AT&T is nickel-and-diming us to death), but as you can see, my "unlimited" plan has very clear limits when it comes to tethering (and texting!). I don't know about you, but last I checked, unlimited meant without limits. Also, if the connection is going through my iPhone to my laptop, how is that any different than simply using the same connection on my iPhone without a laptop? It's the same connection, right? If not, is it really a $45-per-month difference? Somehow I doubt it.

Anyway, I just thought I would (vent) put it out there and see what readers think about the new tethering features, the pricing, and the highly limited "unlimited data" plans. Let me know what you think in the comments.

This week's apps include a unique background image collection app, and a combination first-person shooter and role-playing game that's set on Europa, the ice-covered moon of Jupiter.… Read more

At just $4.99, watch the weather unfold on your computer screen with YoWindow! 50% savings.

Not sure if you need your rainboots or an umbrella today? Look no further than your computer screen and YoWindow will not only tell you the temperature, but it will show you what the weather is like outside. There are a ton of desktop weather apps, but YoWindow is a different kind of a weather app that is fun and useful at the same time.

Why? Here is a quick summary of what YoWindow does:

Watch the weather unfold in your city or anywhere around the world--see if it's rainy, sunny, hailing, or snowing outside your house or on … Read more

SOLD OUT - For just $30, get $170 worth of apps from AVG, IObit, Smith Micro & Foxit

UPDATE January 7, 2010: This bundle has SOLD OUT and is no longer available. Check out our Software Deals page. for other great offers!

Got a new PC?

If you are one of the millions of shoppers in the market for a new computer this holiday season, you won't want to miss CNET download.com's "New Year, New PC" bundle. We've teamed up with AVG, IObit, Smith Micro and Foxit to offer you this exclusive deal for a limited time only - a $170 worth of software essentials for just $30. That's a total … Read more

Mac-ify your Windows desktop

If you like the interface of the Mac OS but are stuck using a Windows machine, this little app from Stardock can help--if only very slightly. The premise behind ObjectDock is very simple: it adds an animated, Mac-inspired dock to your desktop that provides easy access to useful shortcuts and can serve to replace your taskbar.

Read the full review of ObjectDock.

Adobe unveils new Acrobat X lineup

Adobe today announced the latest version of its Acrobat suite of products.

Set to hit the market in the next 30 days, the new Reader X and Acrobat X products are promising tighter security, better collaboration, and easier PDF reading.

The free Adobe Reader X will offer a new Protected Mode to sandbox, or isolate, JavaScript code, 3D rendering, and image parsing in order to better secure PDFs. Adobe has seen an increasing number of security holes in its PDF technology over the past few years, creating trouble for the many people who use the ubiquitous file format. The company … Read more