It's time to replace that bloated, sluggish PDF reader everybody on the planet has been using with something leaner, faster, and--no, really--easier to use. Join Seth Rosenblatt as he takes a First Look at the freeware Foxit PDF Reader.
Newsgator's FeedDemon, the formerly pay-for-play, now freeware, RSS feed catcher upgrades to Version 2.7 with one useful new tool and a flowering bunch of bug-fixes. The Mac version, NetNewsWire, has also been updated.
FeedDemon now lets users subscribe to multiple feeds at the same time, under the tool name Find Feeds. For longtime FeedDemon users, there are a stack of improvements that should be instantly noticeable to users who've raged against the occasional "flagged" feed drop and other problems synchronizing multiple configurations across several PCs and operating systems.
FeedDemon's biggest claim to fame in … Read more
It's easy for Windows users to forget that WinZip isn't the only file-compression utility in the world, nor is WinRAR its only replacement. Like its better-known competitors, the free 7-Zip unpacks a host of archive formats, including ZIP, TAR, GZ, and its own 7Z format. Unlike the competition, though, it can create TAR and GZ archives, which are commonly used on Unix and Linux systems. Even though it's small, there's an even smaller portable version, too.
The program's ability to shrink files was stunning. 7Z archives tested up to 40 percent smaller then their ZIP … Read more
Power Downloader and I have talked about how useful RocketDock can be, and it is still is. But another excellent program dock to check out is ObjectDock, from Stardock. Besides providing a skinable and extensively customizable Mac-style dock, the free ObjectDock lets users replace the Windows taskbar completely.
Colorful and animated, ObjectDock is so customizable it's impressive. Not only can you choose your own icons to represent programs and documents, set the dock size and location, and configure icon behavior, but you can also set the dock to run faster and take up more RAM, or sacrifice the gloss … Read more
Just a simple hotkey combo away, Launchy is a handy tool that lets you open nearly any program, file, folder, or Web site on your system with just a few keystrokes.
Enter the first few letters of a file or program, and Launchy's small, skinnable interface automatically displays the rest of the name. You simply press Enter to open or launch it. If the displayed name isn't the item you want, a few seconds later the tool displays a drop-down list with other likely candidates from which you can choose. Configuring Launchy is as easy as using the … Read more
Adobe on Thursday is expected to launch a beta test program for the latest version of its Flash Player software.
Flash Player 10, developed under the code name Astro, includes better support for 3D animation and video hardware acceleration, among other improvements.
Adobe said that Flash Player 10 will now support custom visual effects, created with Adobe's free Pixel Bender tools. Developers can write code to create effects that can be rendered by Flash Player at runtime.
Developers can also now target code to render through graphics processors, speeding up performance and freeing CPU bandwidth, Adobe says.
The beta … Read more
As the self-imposed deadline of June approaches, Simplify Media remains in beta for Windows, Mac, and mobile users. The iTunes and Winamp plug-in that lets you share your music with friends has, however, added three new features: chat, a "now playing" message that displays what your friends are listening to from your collection, and a built-in password reset for the forgetful among us.
The chat feature is the strongest, allowing you to directly communicate with friends, family, and even enemies with whom you've shared your music. It's a great way to give and get some direct … Read more
Mac users may have it easy with iTunes, but Windows fans should look elsewhere for solid features, a customizable interface, and device syncing support that doesn't devour resources. That's why there's MediaMonkey, which juggles excellent library-management tools with skins, plug-ins, autotagging, links to the Amazon.com MP3 store, track encoding, podcast catching, and more.
Upon first launch, the program scans your drive for supported digital media files to add to the library. Files are sorted based on their ID3 tags, and the helpful Auto-Rename and Auto-Tag From Filename features keep untagged tracks from falling through the cracks. … Read more
Taking a slightly different approach to solving the multimedia lover's dilemma of how best to download torrents is BitComet, which goes to great lengths to integrate familiar features like bookmarking with torrent management and discovery.
Although the program has moved on from the scandals of its past, it's still heavily reliant on advertising. Join me in this First Look at BitComet to help you decide if it's worth the download.
Last night, Microsoft Research released WorldWide Telescope--new, free software that enables users to explore the universe with impressive content from the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center, and other famed ground- and space-based telescopes. Colorful nebulae, distant galaxies, black holes, and radiation clouds are all accessible from your desktop with a few clicks. The software has been released for free in honor of Jim Gray, a Microsoft researcher who was lost at sea last year.