freeware

Power up Skype with live remote access

Gogrok is a companion program that runs with Skype (download for Windows and Mac) to give people remote-access capabilities. More than a typical plug-in but not able to stand on its own, the Skype-Gogrok combo makes for a good voice- and remote-access tech-support duo that's not quite dynamic.

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Power Downloader talks to everyone

Power Downloader loves to chat with his friends, but he's got a problem. Kitty Kilobyte uses Yahoo Instant Messenger, and Candace Clicks loves Google Chat. Even his grandfather, the venerable Robert Baud, gets online to chat sometimes--but he uses AOL IM. Power Downloader knows it's a pain to use three different chat programs simultaneously, which is why he uses the multiprotocol chatware client Pidgin.

Pidgin is open source and free, but Power Downloader knows that doesn't mean it can't get the job done. Besides Google, Yahoo, and AOL chat protocols, Pidgin also supports MSN, ICQ, MySpaceIM, … Read more

Three free desktop-search alternatives face off

You've got your pick of free desktop-search utilities, nearly any of which are faster and less processor-intensive than Windows' built-in file-search feature. I've used at least a half-dozen different file-search tools in the last few years, but three have stood the test of time: Google Desktop Search, Microsoft's Windows Desktop Search (or simply Windows Search in Vista, where it replaces the old Indexing Service), and the oldest and best of the bunch, Copernic Desktop Search. After bouncing between the three, I've settled on Copernic for its speed, ease of use, and relatively small footprint.

That's … Read more

Play back your FLVs, fast and free

Sometimes, you just don't need the whole enchilada. Freeware video players like The KMPlayer, GOM Player, VLC Player, and others are excellent at what they do and are generally lightweight, but they look like top-heavy refrigerators compared with these nimble and zippy yet similarly named Flash players. But are Free FLV Player, FLV Player, Riva FLV Player, and BitComet FLV Player all the same, or does one pull ahead of the pack?

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Send video mail without the hassles, or the cost

When e-mail was young (and dinosaurs ruled the earth), no doubt some IT managers swore that there was no way the people in their organization were ever going to have access to that time-waster. "Haven't we already provided them with telephones?" Same for Web browsers, which some workplaces still ban, or at least restrict severely.

I'm sure they have their reasons, but for most workers it would be difficult to deny the productivity boost these new technologies provide. Now the same restrictive IT mentality may be blocking the playback and recording of video. Yes, much corporate … Read more

Security patch closes holes in Thunderbird

Following the early February Firefox update comes a Mozilla Foundation security patch for its popular Thunderbird e-mail client. Download it for Windows and Mac.

The fix addresses one critical flaw that could've potentially allowed an attacker to run arbitrary code, and closed up three other holes that only posed moderate risks, according to Mozilla. One of those included addressing persistent albeit minor crashes caused by memory corruption. More substantial fixes are expected when Mozilla releases Thunderbird 3.0, due later this year.

AVG upgrades popular security suite

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is one of the most popular products on CNET Download.com, with 61 million downloads. On Thursday, publisher AVG Technologies, formerly known as Grisoft, plans to introduce the full version of AVG Anti-Virus 8.0. This upgrade will feature significant changes to the program, integrating the previously stand-alone tools of AVG Anti-Spyware, AVG Anti-Rootkit, and recent AVG purchase LinkScanner as well as showcasing an entirely new interface.

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Keep your data safe by following the Password Commandments

Your first--and sometimes only--line of PC defense is your password. Even the most carefully crafted password can be rendered useless if you don't keep it secret. This is not such an easy thing to do, especially considering all the clever tricks data thieves have come up with to grab it, with or without your knowledge. More dangerous is the lackadaisical approach many people take to creating, using, and protecting their passwords. Here are 10 ways to use passwords to best effect.

1: Don't write it down. Ever. Either it will be so easy to find that you might … Read more

Test-build your Lego masterpiece digitally

Do-it-yourself magazines like MAKE and basement-brewed steampunk anachronisms might be at the forefront of home engineering projects, but 50-year-old Lego is still the name builders know best. Now you can play with them on your computer in the official freeware program Lego Digital Designer, available for both Windows and Mac.

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UltraExplorer is nearly perfect

There are several good freeware file-browsing alternatives out there. In the past, we've written about both free and shareware alternatives such as 2xExplorer Z1, Xplorer2 Lite, and others. However, none of them come close to the voluminous feature set of UltraExplorer.

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