Windows Software

Featured Freeware: EclipseCrossword

For crossword fans, the question isn't why you should download this freeware crossword creator, but why you possibly wouldn't. EclipseCrossword may not be glamorous, but it will make quality crosswords of varying sizes in mere seconds. Better yet, your final creations will be printable or publishable in a number of formats, including Web pages.

The program uses a wizard-style interface to guide you through the steps of making your own crossword, starting with entering the clues and answers one by one and ending with a crossword puzzle that fits your size specifications. Both puzzles and word lists can … Read more

CNET TV: Top 5 worst downloads of summer 2008

Every few months, we like to playfully poke fun at some of the less successful software on the site. While there are countless great products created (and covered in this blog, hopefully) every week, these five software applications are not included in that group. These programs are the other sort of download software--the head-scratching variety.

We love you, software publishers, we really do. Some of your products...are another story.

Watch CNET TV's Tom Merritt count down this summer's list of the worst software on Download.com, and see if you don't find yourself wondering, "What … Read more

Featured Freeware: Glary Registry Repair

While the jury is still debating the efficacy of Registry cleaners, Registry Repair from Glary seems to do its main job quickly and accurately. True to its name, the utility scans your PC's Registry, then fixes any errors it finds. Some of the extras are worth noting, too.

The app's main interface is easy to grasp at first sight, letting you check and uncheck boxes when deciding which portions of the Registry to scan. For instance, the program looks for such entries as obsolete software, invalid fonts, bad shortcuts, and even spyware. It's also handy that Registry … Read more

PicLens adds YouTube, Amazon

The fun browser add-on PicLens has incorporated YouTube and Amazon.com into the short but hopefully soon-to-grow list of supported Web sites. Compatible with Firefox on Windows and Mac, Internet Explorer, and Safari, PicLens recreates your surfing experience with a futuristic graphical display.

As Rafe talked about in February, PicLens highlights the image content of a site and allows you to whip back and forth using mouse gestures instead of conventional static browsing. If you're familiar with how it works with an image site like Flickr, the YouTube interface is identical. The PicLens plug-in will install a grid button … Read more

Decorate your Windows XP with Hyperdesk

It's been more than a year since Windows Vista was launched and Windows XP is still going strong. In my opinion, it's still a great operating system--though, it's not that hard to look great when compared to Windows Vista. Once thing is undeniable, however: Windows XP is getting old, especially in its aesthetic.

For this reason, on Wednesday, July 30, The Skins Factory launched Hyperdesk, a software package that will spice up your Windows XP, and turn it into a world of exciting themes, skins, and wallpapers. The software even allows you to create widgets for other … Read more

Featured Freeware: FreeRip

Like a finely tuned laser, FreeRip 3 does one task: extracts songs from your CDs. You remember CDs, right? (Heck, I barely do.) Fortunately, FreeRip accomplishes its goal accurately--with little flair or window-dressing--and makes for an easy-to-use audio-track ripper.

The latest version of the program features some long overdue enhancements. Chief among them is the inclusion of the WMA format, and it's hard to believe it wasn't included before. FreeRip also supports WAV, MP3, Vorbis, and FLAC. Other features include multitrack ripping and an option to use the program as an audio-file converter. The options menu is extensive … Read more

Featured Freeware: 360desktop

The public beta of 360desktop makes some intriguing promises. "Unlimited desktop space" is one, and the capability to save any part of the Web directly to your desktop is another.

Surprisingly, there's a lot more than screensaver snake-oil here. When you run 360desktop, you get a panoramic desktop with custom widgets. Quit, and you're back to basic Windows. Switching between the two didn't cause problems when tested, although quitting 360desktop completely required killing the process a few times.

A persistent "QuickNav" area in the upper-right side of your screen lets you scroll or … Read more

The problem with (Not so) OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org (download for Windows | Mac) has a range of problems: Monolithic architecture, declining interest in fat-client software, etc. But it's primary problem may be its corporate ownership, as Michael Meeks, long-time OpenOffice developer and Novell employee, notes:

I think one of the sad things we see at the moment is the decreasing amount of interest in investing in OpenOffice.org. So we see Sun cutting back their developer count on OpenOffice.org, while we still see them demand ownership for all of the code, which kinda retards other people investing in it....

But the sad thing is [Sun's] failure to build a community around it, getting other people involved. And that's tied to Sun owning OpenOffice.org. It's a Sun project. They own all of the code, they demand ownership rights, and that just really retards developer interest. I mean: [Who] would want to work cleaning someone else's gun?

This isn't just a Sun problem. Michael's comment speaks to a much broader problem as more and more open source goes corporate: How do you encourage development as a corporation?… Read more

Featured Freeware: Z-Cron

You can rely on Z-Cron as a robust scheduler that can handle not only shutting down the computer, but also launching programs, leave reminder notes, and cleaning directories. Similar to the Unix Cron scheduler, and far more powerful than the native Windows task scheduler, Z-Cron is an aggressive sergeant at arms, able to tell your computer what to do and when to do it, leaving you to get on with your life when you're away from your machine. Besides tasks, Z-Cron also has the capability to schedule tasks to run daily, weekly, monthly, once, and regularly at your system … Read more

Featured Freeware: Photozig Albums Express

No-frills but effective Photozig Albums Express offers a step-by-step process so you can design your project from start to finish.

Big button icons with descriptions make it easy to start your project and select the preferred output for your images including sending in e-mail, burning to a CD, or uploading to a Web site. The finished product is a basic layout of thumbnails that you can click to enlarge, but you'll have no skins to choose from with this one. Still, Photozig sports three configurations for beginners, intermediates, and advanced users, keeping it simple until you know what you'… Read more