Spybot Search & Destroy has for years been a household standard in free antispyware protection. Originally winning respect for offering comprehensive malware-slashing features that competing software lacked, Spybot Search & Destroy has lost this advantage, as most reputable antivirus programs have added similar features. This First Look video takes you on a features tour, and hits upon the pros and cons that may have you standing by the sought-after program or searching for a spyware-busting alternative.
"Google Maps is changing the way we see the world," journalist Evan Ratliff declares in a June article for Wired magazine. I couldn't agree more. Google's universal mapping project isn't just changing the portals for viewing the world online, it's also changing offline understandings of how the world is best viewed--from Google's services, of course. Google has gained influence fast, by ambitiously developing innovative, interactive mapping software; integrating multiple online services into the majority of desktop and online apps; and familiarizing users with a particular Google-branded aesthetic.
In creating a suite of map apps to encourage users to contribute to Google's greater project and personalize locally-stored versions of a map, Google is not just bringing cartography to the masses, Ratliff points out, but is getting users to help build out its universe. This, of course, makes complete sense. With Google Earth, Google SketchUp, and MyMaps (watch the CNET News.com "how-to" video,) Google's mapping software has surpassed competitors like NASA in digitizing the world. In so doing, Google has captivated the imagination of loyal users who will return to the company's Earth and maps programs to find business listings, explore culturally significant architecture, and plant personal photos and videos.… Read more
The math is incontrovertible: at $2,500, Adobe's Creative Suite 3 Master Collection non-upgrade is extremely expensive. However, once you start looking at the cost of the individual pieces of the suite, getting more than two of the major components--say, Photoshop and Illustrator--on their own isn't cost effective, either.
Just those two applications together cost $1,600 for their non-upgrade editions, and that same chunk of change will get you the CS3 Web Premium, which contains Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Acrobat Pro and all the little ancillary apps that Adobe has been giving away.
But let's say you're only interested in editing photos, or you think your copy of Illustrator CS2 will work just fine with Flash CS3, but you need that Flash upgrade? Is there more going on than a new palette layout? Let's break down Adobe's powerhouse gestalt and take a look at the more popular parts that make up the whole: Photoshop for image manipulating and printing, Illustrator for drawing, Flash for animating, and Dreamweaver for designing Web pages.
Adobe released the public beta of its Adobe AIR runtime environment (previously codenamed Apollo) about a month ago. The software is designed to allow the development of rich Internet applications that work on any operating system. I'm sure that there are technical differences, but it seems a lot like an amped-up widget engine to me.
Needless to say, AIR apps aren't nearly as ubiquitous as Adobe Flash apps (yet), but there have been a few interesting recent developments. The most-polished AIR application so far is Adobe Digital Editions, software for reading, downloading, and managing e-books. To learn more about it, check Seth Rosenblatt's First Look video for Adobe Digital Editions.
While Adobe Digital Editions might be the most powerful AIR app so far, the one with the most buzz is definitely the Pownce desktop client, a tool for sending content to your Pownce buddies and the Pownce Web site. (Pownce is currently in private alpha; jump down to the bottom of this post for info about how to request an invitation.)… Read more
I've been a big fan of the free screen-sharing software CrossLoop ever since I originally tried it back in November 2006. Basically, CrossLoop lets any two users share a desktop. One PC "hosts" the CrossLoop session and the other "joins." The computer joined to the host can see and control everything on the host PC's desktop. CrossLoop is still in beta release, but I think it's an excellent no-hassle solution for low-budget tech support.
I recently gained access to a new private beta of CrossLoop 1.1, the first major update to the software since its initial release. The past year has seen CrossLoop mostly expanding its localized language support, so it's refreshing to see some improvements to the program's feature set. There are only a few new features, but they are rather essential additions.… Read more
There are essentially two ways to look at Windows Desktop Search. On the optimistic side, it's Microsoft's attempt to port some of Vista's search functionality to older Windows XP and 2000 systems. If you're more of a glass-half-empty type, though, it's more like Microsoft's half-hearted attempt to compete with other indexing desktop-search programs.
When RealPlayer launched back in 1995, it was mostly used to provide consumers with streaming audio and video content without giving them a local copy. Its feature set has grown considerably in recent years, but it's still surprising to see a new RealPlayer 11 beta version that lets users record YouTube videos and Internet radio directly to their hard drives.
Recording streaming media is nothing new, of course. Open-source app Streamripper32 has been letting users record Shoutcast radio for many years, and my favorite audio player, Quintessential Player, can automatically record nearly any audio stream.
From XML torrent options to IP filters, firewall tests to UPnP plug-ins, Azureus leads the way in making the torrent experience as customizable as possible. It's got enough flexibility to appeal to advanced users, but does it make it too hard for beginners to get in on the torrent action?
Watch this First Look at Azureus video to find out, and let us know your favorite torrent client in the comments below.
Each time I go shutter-happy, I'm reminded of digital photography's beautiful myth. Yes, impressive megapixel loads deliver in-your-face resolution that elevates photos from the usual point-and-shoot quality. However, there's that time-sucking task of cropping, editing, captioning, and distributing the sprawling photo collection, and those are things even the fanciest camera on the market won't do.
The time and effort it takes to process a large batch of photos can be off-putting, but here are a few media-organization tools from the CNET Download.com library to move along the sometimes-arduous process of getting photos from the desktop to your friends.… Read more