There were a lot of high-profile updates in 2008, and the line between traditional software downloads and Web applications blurred significantly. The browser especially has become, for some people, the only program they need.
There were several stand out new applications, though, and here are six of what I think are the best ones. They range from traditional Web browsers and browser hybrids to communication tools and utilities that should help you work faster and help maintain your system.
After looking at countless laptops during 2008, a small handful have jumped out as personal favorites. I'm not saying these are the very best laptops of the year, nor the highest-rated--they're just the ones that struck me as particularly interesting, useful, or well-designed.
Chances are high that you'll disagree with some or all of this list--which is what makes the comment section below so handy. Share your personal favorites, and see how they stack up against mine.
Gateway P-7811FX For a brief time in 2008, PC gamers had a single bright spot in their otherwise drab world (… Read more
There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes here at CNET Download.com, and that includes the videos we editors create for the products we find most worthy--or the ones you keep coming back to time and again.
In that vein, we've stuffed this glorious playlist with the the top 10 software videos you watched on our site in 2008. Take a look--you may wind up with a new app you never knew you needed!
(Hint: Click the word "Playlist" to view the whole list or skip ahead.)
Here are the winners:
I'm not a music critic, so I don't get to listen to hundreds of new CDs for free. That means I've missed plenty of the music on these critics' list, though I know I hate No Age and am indifferent to Girl Talk.
Even so, without checking the data, this year seemed pretty good: TV on the Radio, Beach House, and Portishead all made strong impressions, and … Read more
This year was certainly a great year to be a gamer. As usual, the first three-quarters of the year had an occasion hit or two, but come October it felt like we were bombarded with an infinite amount of must-play titles.
Filtering through the hundreds of releases in 2008, we've narrowed a list down an elite crop of games that stand out among the rest. We've played everything out there and made sure at least one exclusive representative from each platform made the list. So in no particular order may we present to you the top 10 video games of 2008. … Read more
If you've followed Crave in the last several weeks, you've probably come across CNET editor Dong Ngo's stories from Vietnam. Dong returned to his homeland for a visit, and he wrote a number of pieces chronicling his impressions of how technology has permeated the culture there.
Dong landed back in San Francisco Wednesday night and he checked in with his CNET colleagues at the office Thursday morning. Watch the video (right) to see a very jet-lagged Dong tell CNET News' Charles Cooper what he observed during his trip.
Editor's note: CNET editor and Crave contributor Dong Ngo is spending part of December in his homeland of Vietnam. This is the last in his series of dispatches chronicling his impressions of how technology has permeated the culture there. Click here for more of Dong's stories from abroad.
HANOI, Vietnam--Prior to my trip to Vietnam, I bought a Dell Inspiron 530s desktop computer as a special American gift for my 11-year-old niece in Hanoi.
Despite the relatively light weight and small form factor of the PC, at San Francisco International Airport, I ended up having to pay a $60 overweight fee. This was mostly because the airline significantly lowered the allowed weight for checked-in luggage, and I wasn't aware of that.
Upon arriving in Hanoi, I personally delivered the gift and set it up for the little girl. Everybody gathered around with excitement as they waited for the moment of truth. As I plugged the power cord into the wall socket, we heard a "pop" sound and smoke came out of the tower. I was dumbfounded. "So much for American-standard quality!" I thought to myself.
But it was not America's fault, it was me. As it turned out, Vietnam uses a 220-voltage power standard, while America uses a 110-voltage one. Out of excitement and ignorance, I plugged the computer in without switching the power supply unit (PSU) of the computer to support 220 volts and, of course, it burned! It was pure physics.
What was hard to quantify was my niece's level of frustration and my own disappointment. I personally picked the specs and rebuilt the machine to run Windows XP (from its manufacturer-installed Windows Vista). Just one moment of negligence, and everything seemed ruined.… Read more
Editor's note: CNET editor and Crave contributor Dong Ngo is spending part of December in his homeland of Vietnam and is filing occasional dispatches chronicling his impressions of how technology has permeated the culture there. Click here for more of Dong's stories from abroad.
HANOI, Vietnam--You say you can't afford the $699 price tag on Adobe Photoshop CS4? How about a $698 discount?
That's the kind of deal you'll get here in Hanoi, where pirated software--and virtually any other kind of digital content--is sold indiscriminately at many local shops for about $15,000 dong (90 cents) per DVD, or half of that for a CD.
These shops are open, just like any legitimate business. I checked one out and was impressed by the number of software titles it carried. While there, I also learned a thing or two about the piracy industry here in Vietnam.
The store I visited is a small shop facing a busy street, with walls covered in CD and DVD sleeves--all black and white copies of those found in the original software package.
Virtually any PC software application I've ever heard of can be found here: Windows operating systems, popular Office suites, and high-end professional software such as Photoshop, AudoCad, and Corel Draw, are available in any versions. I even found different builds of Windows 7, which is currently still in pre-beta and is supposedly available to only a limited few.
These software applications, of course, come with "crack"--a hacking application that allows for bypassing the vendors' antipiracy mechanism. All are guaranteed to work; if not, you'll get another copy that does or get your money back.
Out of curiosity, I asked one of the shop's two operators, Nam--a friendly 24-year-old man--where this copious amount of software comes from. He said there's somebody who gets his shop the "master" copy of any titles he wants, and the master copy costs just about $5.
I made up a fancy name of a nonexistent software title and asked for it. After searching his large database to no avail, Nam indeed picked up the phone and made a quick call. After that he told me to come back the next day. "They don't have it now, but they probably will soon, don't worry!" he said, sounding very sure.… Read more