The Filter returns with a wider net

We last took a look at the iTunes plug-in The Filter way back in 2006, so it's high time to see what this alternative to the Genius playlist is up to. Of course, when it first came out there was no Genius playlist, nor a Mac version--now that there's both, does it hold up?

Certainly the most obvious benefit is that although you do need to register to use the playlist, you don't need to hand over your... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Audiomp3

Tags: freeware , iTunes , Winamp

Quick Tip: Customize your Windows Vista cursor

If desktop eye candy never gets too sweet for your tastes, you may already know about CursorFX.

The free cursor-enhancing tool that used to be known as CursorXP keeps polishing its cursor choices and effects to bring interest to your screen. CNET Executive Editor Molly Wood talks you through CursorFX in this Quick Tip video.

P.S. It also glorifies plain pointers for Windows XP.

... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Desktop Enhancements

Tags: Vista , Quick Tip , XP

Explore the Web from China--without leaving home

It slows down your browsing. It makes some Web sites inaccessible for no discernible reason. It doesn't even offer you any xiao long bao or pu'er tea for your troubles. But if you want to know what life behind the Great Firewall of China is like, then the Firefox plug-in China Channel is the cheapest and fastest way to experience using the Internet in China without actually being there.

After installation, getting to experience Web surfing the way... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Browsers And Extensions , Mac Software

Tags: Firefox , add-on , extension , plug-in , firewall

Gmote for Android gets Mac and PC music going

If you want to hear songs on your Google Android phone, open up the default player or pull up TuneWiki. If you want to hear songs play on your computer without ever putting down the Google Android phone, get Gmote.

Gmote is a free application that turns your Google Android phone into a remote control to pick, play, and pause music and videos on your Mac or PC. Not to be confused with the Firefox extension gMote ("g" as in... Read More »

Topics: Mobile Software , Audiomp3

Tags: music , Android apps , Google Android , G1

Featured Freeware: WinSecret

UPDATED: There are 12 categories in WinSecret, not eight.

Novice users get a helping hand with this freeware tool for easily tweaking Windows. WinSecret's simple multimenu interface logically arranges the program's many tweaks into 12 categories. The Help file spends more time explaining installation than program operation, but the tweaks presented are organized better than in many similar applications.

Each of the categories includes tabs for general tweaks and extra tabs for tweaks that restrict functions and tools. Keeping the restrictions... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Featured Freeware , Utilities And Drivers , Desktop Enhancements

Tags: freeware

Mind maps: See a different way to think

When you're wedged next to someone at a conference, you can't help noticing their business from the corner of your eye. That's how I saw that my seat mate at last week's BlackBerry Developer Conference was using FreeMind (for Windows and Mac) to take notes on the talk.

I've looked at the freeware application FreeMind before, but had never seen it in the wild. I have to admit, compared with my two pages of linear notes organized primarily by... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Office Software

Tags: notes

This Buddi needs to be friendlier

Buddi is a finance managing program that's poised with potential. Open source and free, it offers an extensible experience for both Windows and Mac users that's wrapped up in a simple tabbed interface. As they say in the money biz, it looks great on paper.

The application can create new accounts from four credit types--cash, checking, investment, and savings--and five debit types--credit card, liability, line of credit, loan, and prepaid account. Users can create their own account types,... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Office Software , Mac Software

Tags: freeware , open-source

New AIM 6.8 for Windows gets a mobile slant

Updated at 11:30 am PT.

On Tuesday, AOL released AIM 6.8 for Windows. The version update of the chat client, which AOL is calling a "refresh," adds a mobile slant. One of the new features lets you share photos with buddies on the T-Mobile network (U.S. only) when you drag or import a photo into the instant messaging window. Friends can save the image or respond with a photo of their own, which will pop up in your IM window.

... Read More »

Topics: Chat And Email , Windows Software , Mobile Software

Tags: Chat , IM

Featured Freeware: gMote

gMote is one of the easiest to use mouse gesture tools around. gMote's dual-pane configuration interface makes it a snap to create and program mouse gestures, and takes extra steps to teach new users how it works via a prompt on first run to check out the built-in tutorial.

Press the create button, make your mouse gesture in the test window, and then use a pull-down to assign one of the 30-plus actions. The actions center on browser, media... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Featured Freeware , Desktop Enhancements

Tags: freeware

Halloween screensavers for a spooky PC

You don't have to be a werewolf or vampire to get excited about Halloween. What other holiday lets you dress up as a triceratops and snort at passersby or flashback to your grade-school years with a pretty pink ballerina tutu? Your Halloween festivities don't have to stop at the front door. Slap a virtual holiday jack-o-lantern or spooky scenes on your Windows desktop with this collection of Halloween screensavers.

Magical Halloween screensaver

If your idea of magic is a spell that... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Desktop Enhancements

Tags: Windows software