Pirate trolling and WWDC scholarships: The Week in Downloads

Every week, we compile the best new reviews, products, and features from the Download.com software catalog and blog, package them up in a tidy little newsletter, and e-mail it out to all of our lovely subscribers.

If you are a registered CNET member, you can sign up for the newsletter yourself (it's listed as "CNET Download.com Software Dispatch" under "Software News and Reviews"), or check back every Tuesday to read our latest roundup.

Top Download News and Features

Microsoft launches a public beta for its new Facebook app for Windows Phone 8 Game … Read more

Quicksilver: One of the best Mac apps

I was working on my Mac recently when a co-worker came up and asked me a question regarding a feature I wrote a while back. I turned back to my Mac, hit a couple of hot keys, and quickly found the piece in question. My Windows-using co-worker immediately asked me what the little program was that I brought up with the hot keys, and after a couple of key strokes, I proudly brought it up again: Quicksilver.

Quicksilver is one of those programs that is so useful I never even think about it when I use it. To open files, … Read more

Killer Download: Better launchers for Mac and Windows

The Windows and Mac operating systems are both intended to be easy to navigate so you can get to your files quickly. Ideally, once our computers are fully booted up it should only take us a couple of steps before we can start working (or playing, as the case may be). While Windows Explorer and the Finder are adequate for navigating apps and files, it still takes a few unnecessary steps before you can get started.

While both operating systems offer a quicker option than digging through folders--Windows has the Quick launch bar and Mac offers the Dock--they tend to … Read more

New Mac owners: Start here!

So, you were one of the lucky people to receive a shiny new Mac for the holidays. We're all jealous! But if you're reading this, you've probably already spent some time getting set up and checking out all the cool features and programs that come with your Mac--and now you want more! Out of the box, your Mac is loaded with cool apps to get you started on stuff like uploading and organizing your digital images, creating a music library, making your own movies, and surfing the Web. (You're here, so it must have worked!)

While … Read more

Quicksilver goes open source for the Mac's Leopard release

How do you make a popular piece of desktop software even better? You open source it so that your users can become your co-developers.

In the case of the excellent Quicksilver - a Mac OS X application that lets you easily launch applications and more - you release the source code under an Apache license and invite the desktop world (i.e., everybody) to collaborate on shaping the product in the community's image.

While this sort of community development doesn't always materialize in many open-source projects, I'm convinced that Quicksilver will be different because it's an application that many developers already use and love and who therefore have an interest (and, presumably, an aptitude) in modifying.

Here's what users can expect from the open-source release in the short term:… Read more

One-hit wonders: Simple downloads we love

Sometimes less really is more, and software that does a single task well is better than a feature-rich app that bogs down performance, clogs system memory, or over-reaches its abilities. Here are seven programs that were built to do a specific job, and succeed. These downloads may not have all the fixin's, but they taste great all the same.

UPDATED: We asked for your favorite picks and you responded. Here are five fresh one-trick ponies of the software world that you just love to bits.

MediaCell Video Converter This multiformat video converter makes the list thanks to a three-part, one-pane interface from which you browse for the video file, select the mobile device you'll be watching it on, and click the large, bubbly "convert" button. No need to concern yourself with file formats, bit rates, and sound quality. While users certainly can tweak the volume and settings themselves in the app's "output" section, MediaCell Video Converter's preset optimizations per device make it unnecessary for most.… Read more

Google Desktop for Mac: Why now?

One of the key benefits of using Google Desktop rather than the search functionality that ships with Microsoft Windows XP is its speed and online functionality. Vista has improved the built-in search, but for XP users, Google Desktop is a powerful search tool that does a much better job at helping you find things, even if they're online. This morning, Google released a version of its Desktop search client for the Mac operating system. Sure enough, the release has a lot of people asking why? After all, Macs have been shipping with Spotlight, OS X's built-in system-wide search … Read more