Utilities and drivers

Living with XP

Although Windows Vista was released back in January 2007, Windows XP still maintains a stranglehold on personal computing. As of June 2007, according to Net Applications, Windows XP is used by 81 percent of all computer users, compared with 5 percent for Vista and 6 percent for Mac OS and MacIntel combined.

In his weekly column, Killer Download, Jason Parker recently took a look at three popular freeware apps that can extend the power and lifespan of your Windows XP system. CCleaner, RAMBooster, and Auslogics Disk Defrag have all become essential XP tools for those of us on the CNET … Read more

Flickr's Web uploader gets a much-needed overhaul

Flickr updated its Web uploader yesterday, adding a slew of improvements to what for many is their primary way of adding photos to the popular hosting service. The biggest update is that the upload cap of six photos at a time has been lifted. I was able to send off about 40 high-resolution shots (at about 3MB a pop), all at once, and without a hitch. Also new is a status bar for each photo, as well as a "master" bar to show you how far along you are on the entire upload--these were things you previously needed … Read more

Killer Download: Get the most out of XP

Though we have several machines here at Download.com running Windows Vista for testing purposes, I have to admit that I haven't yet made the switch at my workspace. Maybe it's because with Windows XP, I like the way things are set up; I like the look; and I can rest assured that all my favorite downloads are going to work without fail. I'm not saying Vista won't support my programs--and I'm sure I'll make the switch at some point--but for now I'm sticking with XP.

Even though XP is my choice for now, as a major-league software nerd, I still try to find ways to improve upon a good thing. Rather than leaving well-enough alone, I continually search CNET Downloads to see what programs I can find to make my OS run even more smoothly. A few downloads I've come across trim down existing applications, clean out system flaws, and keep the whole XP operating system running at optimal speed.… Read more

AM-DeadLink: Cure bookmark overload

If it takes you longer to locate a particular browser bookmark than it does to search for that same Web page, it may be time to rev up AM-DeadLink. This nifty freeware utility for managing browser bookmarks becomes increasingly useful as your favorites list grows more congested.

With one button, AM-DeadLink produces a list of bookmarks on the browser you select, pointing out broken or unlisted links. Another button bumps problem bookmarks to the top of the list, saving you from hunting and pecking among the thickets of text. A button identified by an image of cloned human figures reveals any duplicate bookmarks that may have been tucked away in multiple subfolders. Unwanted links are easily disposed of with a click on the recycle bin. For a quick reminder of what leads to what, users can preview bookmark destinations within the app. Backing up the bookmark list serves as a more long-term reminder.… Read more

Power Downloader sends secure zipped files

After a tip came through the wire that Phillipe the Phisher was vacationing in Paris, Power Downloader asked his friend Francois Foto if he might be able to snap some undercover pictures of the information pilfering villain. A week later, Power received an e-mail from Foto saying that he got the shots Power requested, but that he wondered how he could safely send the images without them being stolen in transit. Also, the image files take up a lot of space, so regular e-mail attachments would be too big for some e-mail clients to handle.

Understanding the need for both … Read more

Vista Battery Saver could save your day

Whether you want to use Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system or not, you're almost certainly going to get it if you buy a new Windows laptop. While reviews of Vista have been mixed, one thing is certain: some of Vista's features, such as the Aero interface and Windows Sidebar, can suck the life out of a laptop battery in no time. In particular, the Aero Glass interface has shown to be a major energy drain.

Luckily for new Vista laptop users, open-source software from Tamir Khason can help considerably. Titled Vista Battery Saver, the little 900K … Read more

Scan your programs for security updates with Secunia PSI

Earlier this week, security company Secunia released a beta version of a new, free tool that scans all of your installed applications and analyzes their security patch statuses. The Secunia Personal Software Inspector evaluates all of the installed programs on your computer and compares them to a list of over 4,200 software programs.

After the scan is complete, Secunia PSI will categorize each program as "Up-To-Date" (everything is OK), "Insecure" (you've got an outdated version), or "End-of-Life" (your version is no longer supported). The results table presents the name and version number of your install app; each--when clicked--takes you to a page that gives more information about that program.… Read more

iPhoneMiles (iPhone App)

If you do a lot of driving for your job, you probably have some system for recording miles that involves writing down your mileage regularly. The only problem is, those little papers and notepads get lost and nobody likes frantically searching through their glove box when it comes time to report their travel expenses. This little app for iPhone lets you record your mileage easily with touch controls that let you list the job, the distance, the date, and more. You'll need to register to use this free app.

iPhone link: http://iphonemiles.com

Killer Download: Better text editors for your PC and Mac

Every computer user needs a basic text editor for Readme files and simple note-taking capabilities. That's why Windows comes with Notepad and Mac OS X comes with TextEdit. However, if you want a program that is useful for more than just looking at Readme files, you need to look elsewhere. The best type of text editors come with numerous features and work great for writing quick notes, keeping a journal, coding Web sites, and pasting excerpts from the Web when aggregating research for a project.

While Notepad and TextEdit are useful in their own right, if I want added … Read more

Convert movies for your iPhone (or iPod)

I'm not sure how you people can watch movies and TV shows on those little screens, but you sure are doing it! Every time I turn around on the bus or in the airport, somebody is watching video on her iPod. (If she's supercool, she's watching it on her new iPhone.)

It's easy to buy videos designed to view on those little screens, of course, but if you want to get your own DVDs and Web movies onto your iPod or iPhone, you'll have to dive into the wide world of video converters.… Read more