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As a security precaution, some browsers disable automatic downloads. In most of these cases, a "security bar" may appear at the top of the browser window informing you a download has been blocked. To continue the download, click the security bar and … Read more

Featured Freeware: Evernote

Functional, useful, and always on, the note-taking application Evernote goes beyond mere cool program architecture and is also interesting. It's a true three-platform play: it works very well, and somewhat differently, on desktop computers, mobile phones, and over the Web. You can download it for Windows, Mac, and your mobile phone.

One of the cooler features is that when Evernote runs on your camera phone, it will automatically upload your snapshots to the Evernote server, creating a useful archive of them. The killer feature is that it also does OCR on your images so you can find them later … Read more

Featured Freeware: Xobni

Xobni integrates into your Outlook installation and shows you more about your e-mails than Outlook ever could. For each person who sends you e-mail, it shows you who else they communicate with a lot--their de facto social networks--and it finds their phone number from inside their e-mails. It also shows you all conversation threads you've participated in with the person, and all the attachments they've sent you. You can drill into message threads, and it has an admittedly redundant but snappy e-mail search engine built-in.

Unlike many Outlook add-ons, Xobni seems to add its functionality without dragging down … Read more

Find the right word with WordWeb

Are you ever at a loss for words? Whether you're writing an essay, a letter, a business proposal, or even a novel, there are inevitably times when the right word is just out of your mind's reach. In the old days, you might pick up a dictionary or thesaurus to find a specific word, but now most people know that resources on the Internet are only a couple of clicks away. There's one program I like to use, however, that's even easier than opening your Web browser.

WordWeb is a free program that lets you highlight … Read more

Guinness bestows download record on Firefox

The de facto registrar of superlative achievements has credited Mozilla for officially setting a record for downloads in a 24-hour period: 8,002,530 copies of Firefox.

Mozilla's Download Day on June 17, whose server-crippling success delayed its official start, sought to popularize the open-source Web browser. Mozilla, which oversees the Firefox project, projected at the time that it cleared 8 million, but the number is now official.

"As the arbiter and recorder of the world's amazing facts, Guinness World Records is pleased to add Mozilla's achievement to our archives," Gareth Deaves, Guinness' records manager, … Read more

Free utility lets you defrag files solo or in bunches

The disk defragmenter in Windows Vista leaves much to be desired. A couple of months ago, I recommended Auslogics' Disk Defrag as a free alternative. What that program lacks is the ability to defrag just one or a select set of files and folders.

If you use Windows XP, the free Contig program from Mark Russinovich of Sysinternals fame (now owned by Microsoft) lets you ensure that an existing file is stored contiguously rather than fragmented onto different disk volumes. You can also use it to create a file that will remain contiguous.

Why would you want to defragment a … Read more

Featured Freeware: RocketDock

Where most other docks fail, RocketDock soars. The Mac-style program dock and launcher for Windows 2000, XP, and Vista has it all, from a smooth installation to flawless icon transitions and an unobtrusive footprint.

The app is loaded with options. The dock can live on any of the four edges of your monitor, as well as autohide or be ever-present. It comes with more than 20 skins, and fonts and colors are fully customizable, as is the icon order. Program icons are customizable, too. The program publisher is also growing a community around the program, and the app's Web … Read more

Adobe unveils Reader 9 with Flash

Adobe released on Tuesday the first Reader application to bake movies and animation into the Portable Document Format.

With Adobe Reader 9, users can play Flash movies, Shockwave animation, and other rich media content without needing to open a third-party player.

PDFs are reaching new levels of interactivity with this release. Past versions of the nearly ubiquitous and free application, by contrast, have enabled dynamic forms but served largely to open print-ready PDFs.

The update is supposed to load more quickly than version 8, addressing the gripes of many users who felt that Reader slowed down Web surfing.

Adobe has … Read more

Extreme time-wasting software

If you work with a computer, temptation is all around. Just think how often you've lost yourself in a "quick" game when you ought to be analyzing that report. Uh-huh. We thought that might ring a bell. Give yourself one Slacker Point for each of these notorious time-sucks that makes mincemeat of your productivity.