Windows Software

Featured Freeware: Media Jukebox

The J. River Media Jukebox is a stripped-down but free version of the popular J. River Media Center. Popular in its own right, Media Jukebox uses the same interface as its big brother to deliver a feature set that's anything but little, but strictly limited to music support. Those in search of video and image compatibility will need to download the Media Center.

The program mimics the iTunes interface in a way that could benefit from more inspiration, but it doesn't stop the extras from shining through. You'll be able to burn and rip CDs, sync with … Read more

Featured Freeware: ooVoo

ooVoo is an iChat-like video conferencing and chat tool for Windows, loaded with useful, powerful tools that make it a viable alternative for small work groups using conference calls and screen-sharing applications. A recording feature lets users tape video chats with other participants. Since the video and audio are being recorded to the hard drive, the only time limit is how much free space the computer's hard drive has. In testing, a nearly 15-minute, four-way video conversation only took up 95MB, which ooVoo can convert into a workable FLV file.

A conference calling tool gives host and participants a … Read more

Featured Freeware: IZArc

I haven't touched WinZip or WinRAR in more than a year thanks to the lightweight archiving utility 7-Zip, and IZArc looks to be another excellent archiving alternative. It modestly bills itself as the ultimate archiving utility--I'm not so sure about that ''ultimate'' bit. Nevertheless, IZArc is definitely one of the best archivers out there. Compatible with a huge number of archive formats, all the major are represented, as well as 7-Zip's 7z, ISO, BH (Black Hole), and TAR, among others. It can create archives for many of the formats it can read, too, including 7z and TAR. … Read more

Essential back-to-school software

You might be enjoying the dog days of summer now, but look out! The school year is just around the corner, and teachers, books, classes, and winter will be here before you know it. Get a jump on the upcoming school year with a collection of downloadable software for communicating with classmates, managing your homework, learning new study skills, or harnessing the reference power of the Internet. You can even find software to let you call your parents free from college. (Seriously, your mom wants a call.)


Facebook profiles, instant-messaging networks, various Web mail accounts...who can track them … Read more

Featured Freeware: PicLens

Cross-platform, cross-browser, and proud of it, browser plug-in PicLens is to Web surfing as an IMAX screen is to a 13-inch laptop monitor. In theory, it takes the images it finds on a Web site, expands them to super-extra-large size, and then lets you surf through them in a classy scaling interface that we think we last saw in Iron Man. Or maybe it was The Dark Knight.

Installing it places a button on the Toolbar. When you're on a PicLens-enabled Web site, click the PicLens button to activate the PicLens interface. Your screen will go black, and all … Read more

Featured Freeware: Gizmo5

Cross-platform and instantly familiar-looking, Gizmo5--also known as the Gizmo Project--is trying to make in-roads against the domination of other VoIP and telephony programs.

Gizmo5's interface is compact and rectangular, with tabs on the top just below the Menu bar and a series of ancillary commands like Chat and Add Contact available at the bottom. There are very few differences between Gizmo's design and its biggest competitor's. A little originality could've gone a long way here.

Also similar to Skype, Gizmo provides free VoIP for computer-to-computer voice chatting as well as text chatting. It also allows … Read more

Verdiem's Edison helps you get green

This blog has been updated with the correct default kilowatt-per-hour rate.

Sometimes it's the little things that count, especially when it comes to your carbon footprint.

When it comes to PC usage, those little things include turning off your computer when you're not using it. Enter Verdiem, with its free download called Edison, which it is offering to consumers to help with their PC power management at home.

Verdiem has a similar product for large enterprise customers--and they of course charge for it. But Edison is free, and available at the company Web site, or from … Read more

Featured Freeware: Songbird

Deciding to recommend the cross-platform Songbird as a Featured Freeware required a bit of an internal struggle. On the one hand, it's the lovechild of a boozy Firefox-and-iTunes hookup, from the music jukebox interface to the browsing behavior. What's not to love about that mashup? However close it hops to the edge of its nest, though, the app is still in beta and buggier than an Alaskan summer. When considering that not-significant drawback against the music-management, music-discovery, and Web-browsing features that take wing along with broad MP3 player support, it's hard to deny that Songbird injects some … Read more

Featured Freeware: WavePad

"Size matters not," right? Audio-editor WavePad is a prime example of a small program that's got a lot of force.

Available for both Windows and Mac, the app furnishes plenty of tools for recording and editing sound. WavePad's interface is fairly well-organized, and the Command Bar feature provides quick access to the most frequently used functions. WavePad supports a variety of popular audio formats, including MP3, OGG, WAV, and WMA, and it includes a ripping function.

Once you open a file or begin recording via your sound card, you'll see a large rendering of the … Read more