Killer Download: Get your photos on the Web for free

Digital cameras keep getting better, and as a result, just about anyone can get an extremely high-quality camera without breaking the bank. These days, you can get 7.1 megapixel cameras for less than $200. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago when a 2-megapixel camera went for twice that much, but one of the great things about technology is it always gets better--and cheaper!

If you're a serious photographer you probably like to use a full-strength image editor for color correction, filters, and other advanced features. But if you just use your camera for holidays and family events, how do you manage and display your pictures? There are a number of online sites like CNET Webshots, Flickr, and Shutterfly, which do a nice job of presenting your pictures, but if you want to keep your work local before pushing it out to the Web, want to post pics to your personal site, or want a few more customization options, a downloadable program might be your best bet.… Read more

Killer Download: Top antivirus programs for Windows

A few years ago, it seemed like we would hear about a new virus threatening to hijack computers around the globe every week. Though it may feel like we're out of the woods these days, it is probably only because many users and companies are now much more aware of potential threats than they used to be. Even computer manufacturers have gotten the message and take more precautions by including some form of pre-installed protection. But when the limitations on these demos run out, it has been my experience that many people just hope for the best because of how little we hear about new threats. Of course, these are the same people who later call me up asking why their computers no longer work.

Even though we don't hear about as many threats in the news, there are just as many viruses out in the wild and some viruses have become even more destructive. At work, your company probably has an antivirus system that protects you from most new strains and an IT department that keeps it updated. At home you are the IT department, and if you want to keep your files safe, you have to remain vigilant.… Read more

Killer Download: The quick way to free up hard drive space

Recently a friend of mine asked me about good programs to find duplicate files. She had important files on two different drives and knew she had a significant amount of duplication, but didn't want to lose newer files in either location. Moreover, she wanted to transfer all of her files to a new computer she had just bought.

I knew of one program that worked for me in the past, but did a little research to find several programs that quickly scan drives and let you compare files to know which ones you can delete. Not only do these applications offer a solution to my friend's problem above, you can also free up a significant amount of hard drive space by getting rid of duplicates.… Read more

Killer Download: Top multiple-service chat clients

Chat clients are great for interoffice communication and sending quick messages to co-workers and friends. The only problem is once you've chosen a particular chat client--usually decided by what your friend uses--you can only communicate from within that particular client's network. In other words, Yahoo chat users can only talk to other Yahoo chat users. If you've spent any time using chat clients, you know that people use several different apps, making it difficult to talk to everyone without downloading each one.

Fortunately, clever software developers came up with chat programs that would play nice with all the major clients, so you only needed one program to talk to everyone. There are a lot of these programs available for download and most are free. But in addition to the ability to chat with people on several networks, these clients also offer features and options that make them great apps in their own right.… Read more

Killer Download: The best free FTP clients

If you maintain a Web site or blog, you need a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client. Mainly used for uploading and downloading files to and from a Web server, FTP clients can also download obscure files and documents from any number of servers around the world. The good ones make the process of uploading and downloading fast and painless with features that eliminate unnecessary steps and offer common security protocols.

I've tried a number of different clients and found many that work quite nicely. But the things I look for in an FTP client, like drag-and-drop support and user friendly bookmark management might not be as high on your priority list. What's most important is finding one that offers the best features for your specific needs.… Read more

Killer Download: Conveniently control your music on Mac and PC

I've often said no matter how good a piece of software is, there's someone out there who can make it better. Sometimes a third-party add-on can be so simple that I can't figure out why the developer didn't think of it in the original program. Then, of course, I wonder why I didn't think of it myself. As the great inventor Thomas Edison once said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Well, here's to an idea for which I should have donned the proverbial overalls.… Read more

Killer Download: Get the most out of XP

Though we have several machines here at 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

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

Killer Download: RSS Bandit

Killer Download is a new feature on in which we'll present a new program each week. Most will be free, but some might be good enough that paying a low registration fee is well worth the cost. If you find you have a better option than the software featured, let us know in the comments!

What method do you use to get the news? For a long time, I used my Web browser and grabbed bookmarks when I found good news sites. But before long those bookmarks multiplied, making it difficult to find particular sites; I realized I had to find a way to organize them all. The most obvious method was to continue with a regular Internet browser and put similar sites into folders, calling them "News" and "Blogs" and "Software," or whatever category fit the bill. This method worked fairly well, but I never knew when any of the sites updated without actually going to the site and checking. Naturally, all sites don't update according to a schedule, so I quickly figured out that I needed to try something else.… Read more