10 days of IMing with Trillian Astra beta

Article updated at 8:30 a.m. PT with a correction about Trillian Astra's highlighting capabilities and more opinions.

Leaning on the simple journalistic knowledge that one's impression of a product changes after a week of constant use, I attempted to empty my head of first-impression snap judgments and give Trillian's Astra (screenshots), now in (seemingly open) private beta a fair, unprejudiced shot as my primary chat application. Ten days later I like the free, multinetwork instant messenger better than I... Read More »

Topics: Chat And Email , Windows Software

Tags: Chat , IM , Trillian

Glide OS connects across devices, desktops

There are few, if any, horizontal platforms that offer users the capability to e-mail, create, and edit documents and pictures, and collaborate across all three major desktop computing platforms as well as almost every major smartphone platform. Glide 3.0 has just updated, introducing changes aimed at parental control and creating a child-friendly environment.

The new e-mail filter lets parents intercept all messages sent to a child's in-box. Parents can then approve or deny the e-mails so children can only... Read More »

Topics: Chat And Email , Windows Software , Security And Spyware , Office Software , Mac Software , Mobile Software

Tags: freeware

Norton Online Family to leave beta, remain free

Editors' note: In the original version of this blog, we used the beta name for this product. The official name is OnlineFamily.Norton.

Back in February, Symantec debuted a new security program that sought to help parents talk to their kids about how they use the Internet. OnlineFamily.Norton has been a free beta since then, but this Monday at midnight, the program will leave beta and remain free at least until the end of 2009. The program was originally called... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Security And Spyware , Mac Software

Tags: Symantec

Top text editors

Every computer user needs a basic text editor for Readme files and simple note taking capabilities--that's why Windows comes with Notepad. But if you want added features like a tabbed interface, search and replace functionality, or extras that help you with coding projects, you need to look for the more full-featured alternatives. The best editors come with numerous features and work great for editing code for Web sites, but also for simply writing quick notes, and pasting excerpts from the... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Utilities And Drivers , Office Software , Developer Software

Tags: notes , editor

23 downloads win CNET Editors' Choice

If you read CNET's hardware reviews, you've probably seen the CNET Editors' Choice award appear from time to time. The badge has always denoted our editors' favorite products--best-of-breed technology that stands apart from the competition.

Today, we're pleased to extend the CNET Editors' Choice badge to software listed on CNET Download.com.

We're introducing the award on 23 products, each a clear leader in its category. We determine award winners on a case-by-case basis, and we always mark the award with the... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Mobile Software , Download Site News

Postbox beta 11 boosts performance

If you've been playing around with the Postbox e-mail client for Windows and Mac, beta 11 has been unleashed upon the world.

Unlike March's beta 10, though, this update includes more performance issue fixes than anything else. Still, it's probably a good idea to upgrade.

Most notably, memory and CPU usage have decreased. Postbox claims that indexing is three times faster in this version, compared to beta 10, and that indexing uses about 75 percent to 80 percent... Read More »

Topics: Chat And Email , Windows Software , Mac Software

Tags: Thunderbird , social networking , calendar , Lightning , tabs

Brightkite app for Windows Mobile in the works

Three hundred eighty-five development hours, 3.5 median hours of sleep per night, 265 pounds of food, and roughly 4,000 cups of coffee. That's what it took for five teams to compete in last week's Microsoft's Mobile Incubation Week, an intense five-day hustle to create the best Windows Mobile application, from concept to finished product.

In the dark auditorium at Microsoft's modest Mountain View, Calif., offices last Friday, the breakneck development rate showed. Two bleary-eyed developers stepped onto a dark... Read More »

Topics: Mobile Software

LinkScanner stands alone once more

LinkScanner is once again available as an independent plug-in for Windows-based Firefox and Internet Explorer, following more than a year spent as a feature of AVG Technologies' AVG security suite. Still available as part of AVG, users can now once again download LinkScanner independently of AVG's antivirus software, and for free.

The new LinkScanner works much the same as the original one did. Once you've installed the EXE, AVG's "Search Shield" returns search results from both Google and... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Security And Spyware , Browsers And Extensions

Tags: freeware , AVG

The Top 5 worst downloads of Spring 2009

The end of the aughts is nigh, and the first few months of 2009 have brought us new corporate bailouts, new unemployment figures, and a new batch of download disasters. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to get to 2020. Until then, here are five of the worst downloads from the beginning of '09--maybe we can just laugh ourselves into the future.

Be sure to check out CNET TV Editor Tom Merritt's hilarious video (on the left) on... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Desktop Enhancements

Classic literature and difficult tower defense: iPhone apps of the week

I write this post every week and while I try to bring you folks all my favorite iPhone app finds, inevitably I end up missing a few along the way. With the current count of apps at the iTunes store now at almost 35,000, it would be impossible to cover everything, but hopefully I can at least bring you a worthy download every week. With that said, this week I'm going to talk about a new game and then grab... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Browsers And Extensions , Mac Software , Mobile Software

Tags: iPhone , Apple , iPod Touch , 3G , iphonappsweek , strategy , defense