Microsoft gives Windows 8.1 some Fresh Paint

Microsoft Paint lovers who scratched their heads at the lack of a native Windows 8 drawing app can rejoice: the new Fresh Paint will ship on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.

Fresh Paint is a free painting app for the "Metro" mode of Windows 8 (download) and Windows Phone 8 (download). When it announced the beta preview of the app, Microsoft said that it started out as a "research project" to make a realistic digital-painting app.

Fresh Paint, which had been downloaded more than 1 million times as of February, will be available October … Read more

Project Canvas for Mac Review

Those seeking alternatives to popular presentation programs like PowerPoint may have difficulty finding options. Project Canvas for Mac solves this problem, but its dated interface and lack of useful instructions make it hard to operate.

Project Canvas for Mac offers a free 15-day trial version, while unlocking the full program requires a $29.95 payment. The native installer set the program up quickly and required acceptance of a lengthy user agreement. Support for updates was available and several bugs had been fixed in the latest version. The program's interface was very basic and akin to simple drawing software from … Read more

Crave giveaway: Canvas-mounted Instagram pics from CanvasPop

Congrats to Melvin A. of Palm Coast, Fla., for winning a Tokyoflash Kisai Upload wristwatch in last week's giveaway. Into Instagram? Then you'll be into this week's prize. The winner gets two Instagram photos printed on canvas by CanvasPop.

CanvasPop's Instagram printing service creates gallery-quality photos you can hang on your wall. If you're anything like the Crave readers who submitted their amazing Instagram shots for our gallery series last year, you've done some Instagramming that deserves to be shown off. The winner of this week's giveaway gets two 20x20-inch prints of their … Read more

Faster graphics for older PCs in Chrome 18

Google Chrome 18 brings two methods of improved graphics support to both newer and older computers. Released today, Google Chrome 18 stable for Windows (download), Mac (download), Linux (download), and Chrome Frame improves both WebGL and Canvas2D.

To help along WebGL in Chrome on older Windows and Mac computers, it now gets a boost from a software rasterizer called SwiftShader, licensed from TransGaming. SwiftShader only works when Chrome's baked-in graphics processor acceleration doesn't run, and in the blog post announcing the update, Google said that it sought out this third-party solution so that "more users will have … Read more

Get a 16x20-inch photo canvas for $45

Couple quick housekeeping items. First, my sincere thanks for all the incredibly kind words of condolence yesterday. I'm deeply touched and endlessly appreciative, and my family feels the same way. Thank you.

Second, I know the Cheapskate newsletter has arrived unusually late the last few days, and many of you missed deal opportunities as a result. My apologies for that. I'm still working with the CNET crew to come up with a better, more timely system for newsletter delivery. Stay tuned!

Third, if you haven't yet checked out CNET's new Marketplace page, home to a steady … Read more

Adobe updates Edge tool for easier Web coding

Adobe Systems has released its first update to Edge, a tool designed to help the company capitalize on the growing array of Web standards useful for bringing publishing and applications to the Web.

Adobe released a preview version of Edge in July and promised frequent updates on the way to a full-fledged 2012 product release. "This update has been focused on fit and finish--bug fixes and many enhancements to existing features that we think will make the product feel much easier to use," Adobe said in a forum post.

The tool has the potential to bring some of … Read more

Mozilla eyes hassle-free PDFs on the Web

PDF files have long been an awkward fit with the Web, but a new project from the developers of Firefox shows how online PDFs are changing for the better.

For years, the only way to view them was with viewer software from Adobe Systems, which created the Portable Document Format in the 1990s. Clicking a link to a PDF often meant a wait as the software loaded, followed by an alien interface, framed within the browser window, that meant actions like searching and printing were different. It's faster today, but PDFs still don't feel like native Web documents. … Read more

Corel Painter 12 gets 'real'

Major updates to high-end illustration and design tools can be hit or miss, but Corel Painter 12 slams this one way out of the park. The 12th iteration of the program contains significant improvements across the board, from intangible but visible performance gains to enhancements to older tools to a set of new tools that should have any professional artist drooling with desire.

The most impressive new tools bring a hefty dose of "reality" to Painter. The new Real Watercolor and Real Wet Oil paints do an amazing job of mimicking their real-world counterparts. Viscosity, blending, and drying … Read more

Battle lines drawn for 3D on the Web

The Web is the next vanguard for 3D graphics, but programmers who want to embrace the new dimension next year will have to place a bet on one of two competing technologies: Flash or WebGL.

For years, Adobe Systems' Flash software has been the way to bring graphical games like Crush the Castle, Bloons, Desktop Tower Defense, or Stunt Bike Pro to the Web.

But at the same time, Web standards advocates have toiled to build such technology into the Web itself and not rely on the proprietary and sometimes insecure Flash Player plug-in. That work following in Adobe's … Read more

Life after Google: Brad Neuberg's HTML5 start-up

LONDON--For someone interested in capitalizing on the new era of advanced Web standards, you'd think Google would be a pretty good employer. After all, it's got an up-and coming browser, some of the world's most influential Web applications, and plenty of money to invest in both.

But in the culture of Silicon Valley, sometimes there's a time to strike off on one's own, and that's what Brad Neuberg, a very visible Web programmer at Google, decided to do. He announced his departure on the eve of a speech last week at the Future of Web Apps conference here.

In an interview with CNET afterward, Neuberg said he plans to launch a San Francisco start-up in November focusing on the same suite of Web technology he's been steeped in at Google. He's cagey on details, but he said he plans to focus on Web applications for consumers.

"I drank the HTML5 Kool-Aid," he said, saying it and other Web standards are fueling a new wave of entrepreneurial activity. " I really believe we're starting to see those start-ups. We'll see that accelerate in the next six months to a year and a half."

Plus, he didn't like spending three hours a day commuting from San Francisco to Google's Mountain View, Calif., offices and back for two years and nine months of his life.

"What am I sacrificing? It didn't all fit," he said. "I should be doing what I would do if I won the lottery," so now he's begun trying to gather a group of like-minded folk for the start-up. … Read more