Desktop Enhancements

Best apps for iPhone

Did you get an iPhone or iPod Touch as a gift this holiday season?

Now that you've got your account set up, the first thing you'll want to do is check out some of the great apps in the iTunes App Store.

The question is, with more than 500,000 apps, which ones should you choose?

We rounded up our favorite apps across several categories so you can get started right away. In this collection of Best apps for iPhone, we've got everything from alternative browsers to the hottest games; they all have reviews you can read … Read more

Create fliers in just three easy steps--save 87%

If you haven't updated your latest fliers, certificates, or brochures templates for your business, events or products you may own, it's about time you upgrade and check out this app.

Within the last year, you may have noticed a surge of QR Codes in product informational pages, fliers and others, which allows customers to easily access the information they are seeking with their smartphones. All they have to do is scan and voila--they are on your informational page. If you've ever wondered how others do it, check out this app that will save you both time and … Read more

It just takes one click

Have you ever felt the need to capture what's on your computer screen? There are plenty of free apps out there for a simple task like this, but what if you wanted to do more? What if you wanted to show your parents how to download and install iTunes, so they can start using their brand-new iPhones? Instead of trying to explain this over the phone, you can use FileStream Take-1 Recorder to record your voice and your computer screen and send them a how-to video directly. That way, your parents can open up the video and follow along … Read more

Experience Google Earth as never before

Lover of maps, are you? I personally love getting lost in a big city, trying to get myself from point A to point B, but I guess I would never want to get lost in the middle of nowhere, whether that be with or without a map.

Nevertheless, maps get us to places we want to go and help us see the world from a different perspective; and that's exactly what this app does.

KMZ maps are Earth Maps that enhance and customize your Google Earth experience. With this app, you can easily wrap around the globe in your … Read more

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  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