freeware

Quicknote reinvents the jot

While most Notepad replacements expand on features, very few rebuild the concept of a lightweight text editor. Quicknote introduces an entirely unusual interface and features that don't exist in its cousins, importing the traditional concept of notes--as a mix of text and doodles--but in a decidedly unpolished package.

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PhotoScape makes editing easy and free

If you're looking to put together a Valentine's Day collage for your sweetie, it's mighty late to be worrying about creative gifts from the heart. So get a jump on that photo mashup (or is that car crash?) you've been planning for next year's Valentine's Day with PhotoScape, a freeware image editor that's surprisingly feature-rich.

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Sync folders fast

This Java-based freeware program synchronizes files and folders, even across network drives. Light but lacking any personalization features, Directory Synchronizer is an early beta, but looks promising.

Befitting a program possessing such a small footprint--the EXE doesn't require an installer, since it's only 22 KB--there's not much to this application. Directory Synchronizer can be set to sync based on either date or content. Users can preview two folders that they're thinking about syncing with the Compare tool, and simply check off a box to exclude a subdirectory from the process.

Users can also save sync tasks, … Read more

Rename files with ease

Batch File Renamer could've been called Easy File Renamer, because although it's cursed with a bland layout, that belies the effortless renaming of massive quantities of files.

The features combined with the tiny size make this one of the best freeware file renamers around. You can set entire directories to rename, and select all files, or filter out the ones you don't want to change by their extension. A handful of presets let you convert filenames to upper or lowercase instantly, as well as replace characters in the filenames, add a number sequence to the name, and for advanced users you can even run your own command line on source directory files.

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Watch DVDs on your iPod, iPhone, PSP, etc. with HandBrake

So you just bought an iPod touch or iPhone and want to stock it with movies from your DVD library. There are countless commercial utilities that promise to rip DVDs, but I recommend trying HandBrake. This open-source (read: free) utility for Windows (download), Mac (download), and Linux converts your DVDs for viewing on iPods, iPhones, Sony PSPs, and other portable media players. It's by no means new, but I just had to share my newfound appreciation for it.

I recently picked up the hilarious Flight of the Conchords on DVD. I also just acquired an iPod touch (quite simply … Read more

Make your own Valentine's Day cards

If you think you've got it tough on Valentine's Day, consider your poor, humble Download.com editor. My wife's birthday is on Valentine's Day! Luckily, we've been together long enough that I don't have to impress her with dozens of roses, buckets of chocolates, and the rest of the conventional commercial holiday paraphernalia. However, a homemade card is always a great way to demonstrate my love.

Creating your own Valentine's Day cards with commercial design software like Adobe Photoshop or CorelDRAW will provide you with a wide array of options for tweaking your … Read more

Firefox releases another security update

Mozilla has published a new version of Firefox to address lingering security concerns. The most noticeable problem that Version 2.0.0.12 (for Windows and Mac) hopes to fix are program crashes and corruption of stored passwords.

Other remedies include sealing up a variety of security holes, including browser history and navigation stealing, holes related to multiple file inputs, and URL token stealing.

Bulk up your context menu with FileMenu Tools

When I'm doing file-management chores, I'm usually in too much of a hurry to navigate the various options on the File, Edit, and other standard toolbar menus. It's faster to simply right-click the file and choose an option from the context menu that pops up. Unfortunately, the option I need is usually not on the right-click menu. There's a great free utility that not only adds a bunch of useful file-management tasks to your context menus, but also makes it easy customize the menus by adding entries of your own devising, and removing the ones you … Read more

Take note of these Notepad replacements

Loved for its simplicity, Notepad has long been a staple for serious coders. Fast to load and possessing a tiny footprint, it's a great way to handle chunks of text large or small. Beyond word wrapping, though, it's bereft of many basic and useful features. There are easily a dozen decent freeware applications vying to replace it. Here are three of them: NoteTab Light, Notepad ++, AkelPad.

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