The Download Dispatch

Adobe releases Flash 11, AIR 3.0

When Apple introduced the iPhone and iOS, it pushed for the adoption of HTML5 as an alternative to and replacement for Adobe Flash, stating that the plug-in is clunky, lacking in features, and not advancing. Since then, Adobe has buckled down and implemented a number of enhancements in Flash and its latest releases have brought massive speed and feature improvements. Today, Adobe has furthered this effort with the release of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3.0. You can also grab the updates manually from CNET Download.com: Flash Player 11 for Windows | Mac; and AIR 3 for Windows | Mac.

With these latest releases Adobe is bringing highly accelerated graphics support to the platform. According to Adobe, the new Stage3D technology in the new Flash Player brings combined 2D and 3D acceleration that is up to 1,000 times faster than the previous Flash and AIR iterations. While currently Stage3D is supported only for personal computers, it should make its way to mobile devices in future Flash releases.

The advancements offered by Stage3D should bring far more complex graphics development for the player, and allow some developers to use it as a viable alternative for their projects, especially for cross-platform efforts.… Read more

New Norton 2012 and a colorful hard-drive cleaner

Last week, Symantec launched its updates for Norton 2012, which included some interesting ancillary features and a hint of a much stronger connection between the company's desktop and mobile offerings. At the same time, the robust Norton Internet Security 2012 (download) and the slimmer Norton AntiVirus 2012 (download) show off a reasonable but not amazing performance bump. Get the full rundown here.

Also, be sure to check out WinDirStat (download), a tool that employs colorful graphics to help you pinpoint what's taking up all the space on your crowded hard drive. This useful piece of freeware even lets … Read more

AVG boosts performance and Google does some housekeeping

Last week, we saw a big release on the security front, as AVG let loose its shiny new 2012 suite. While the company did make some important security improvements in this latest version, including adding important protection against fake antivirus software and ransomware, it focused a bit more of its attention on performance. Specifically, the company says that it has reduced the size of its virus signature database by 40 percent and the number of running processes in the suite from 16 to 11. The company also stated that AVG 2012 uses 20 percent less memory overall than previous versions, … Read more

Ad-Aware 9.5 drops, and Mozilla defends itself

This week, we got a first look at the newest version of popular antispyware and antivirus program Ad-Aware. According to the program's developer, Lavasoft, both Ad-Aware 9.5 Free Internet Security and Ad-Aware 9.5 Pro Internet Security ought to be four to eight times faster than they were in the last release. But, while the program did feel notably smoother in our tests, we're not so sure it lived up to all of the developer's claims. You can read our take here.

In other news, Mozilla, maker of the popular Firefox browser, found itself in the … Read more

Big news for Windows 8 and a brand-new Firefox

Confirming months of rumors, an app store, much like Apple's App Store for OS X, has officially been listed among the features Microsoft is working to include in Windows 8. The revelation came last week from Microsoft President Steven Sinofsky in a Building Windows 8 blog titled, "Introducing the team." Among a list of teams associated with building the forthcoming operating system was, you guessed it, "App Store." Read up on all the details here.

In other news, Mozilla pushed Firefox 6 out the door last week, updating the vast majority of its users to … Read more

Kaspersky 2012 is easier to use than ever

The latest updates to Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 (download) and Kaspersky AntiVirus 2012 (download) debuted this past week, and CNET's Seth Rosenblatt gave us a rundown. In short, the improved suite features a new method of protecting computers using a combination of cloud and local detections, expanded and smoother-running Safe Run, and a major interface overhaul. While the program is said to be easier to use than ever before, it still takes a noticeable toll on your system performance. Check out our First Look video here.

Meanwhile, it was an interesting week in browsers, as all three heavy hitters, … Read more

Security briefings and hacking galore

This past week was mostly about security, as CNET covered both the Black Hat Security Conference and DefCon 19 Hacking Conference. At Black Hat, we learned a bit about some of Chrome OS' vulnerabilities, and got an inside scoop on Windows Vista's security level. Meanwhile, at DefCon 19 we got a rare look at an archaic piece of technology housing the original PC virus, and a mobile game vulnerability discovered by a 10-year old hacker who calls herself CyFi.

In other news, Mozilla Thunderbird 5 hit shelves. Check out our First Look video here. Also, if you're an … Read more

Mozilla picks a fight with Google

Last week, Mozilla, maker of the popular browser Firefox, revealed preliminary plans to develop an open-source OS to eventually work on phones and tablets. To many, this seemed like an outright challenge to Google's open-source Android OS. Called Boot to Gecko, the source code will be released to the public in real time, which is a notably more open release schedule than Google's. How do you think Mozilla's offering will fare? Check out the heated debate here.

Some big security news hit last week as AVG and Bitdefender updated their respective suites. AVG introduced its Premium Security … Read more

RealDownloader and our favorite Android apps

While the world of Apple was rocked this past week with plenty of hardware and software releases, Windows Download news was comparatively light.

Makers of the Chinese search engine Baidu released a beta version of its first-ever browser this week, and at first glance, it looks quite similar to Google's Chrome. For those interested, the browser is available now as a free download to XP, Vista, and Windows 7. Meanwhile, stateside, Windows users were treated to a brand new product offering by our friends at RealNetworks. RealDownloader is perhaps the quickest and simplest online video downloader for Windows that … Read more

Spotify hits U.S. shores, plus browser and uTorrent news

Big news hit U.S. shores this past week in the form of Spotify, the European on-demand music-streaming service. CNET Senior Editor Donal Bell calls it "the best free music option since stealing," but unfortunately, you may not get to try it for quite some time since as of now, Spotify is invite only.

In the world of browsers, Firefox has been sticking to its rapid release development cycle, and it's set to unleash some under-the-hood improvements that should make its fans happy. It's slated for 64-bit support, a reduction in memory usage, and an important … Read more