App and Software News

New Skype for Mac

New Skype for Mac

One of the best choices for online telephony for Mac just got better. The latest Skype update pushes the program to version 2.6, adding a call transfer feature and some new chat options so you can stay in touch with friends and family around the world. Skype has always been one of my favorite apps for its familiar chat-like interface and the ability to talk to users around the world for free (provided they're also using Skype). For a little... Read More »

Topics: Mac Software

Tags: Apple , Chat

Nothing faked in iClone's animation

Do you want to be the next John Lasseter? Is Hayao Miyazaki your hero? iClone Studio Edition 2.0 updates the feature-heavy, template-based 3D animation studio aimed at the amateur animator. It's a must-see app if you're trying to break into the camera side of movies and animation, or if you just want to play around with 3D animation without having to draw everything from scratch.

The installation is a bit of a drag, with a mandatory registration that also scans your... Read More »

Tags: Windows software , movies , design

Google's malware witch hunt

Ten percent of the 4.5 million URLs Google researchers analyzed for a malware expos? harbored malicious code. The code executes through widgets, ads, compromised downloads, server vulnerabilities, browser holes, phishing lures, and links, making infection possible for even ordinarily safe users.'s Robert Vamosi has the full story, and CNET has programs to add muscle to your antivirus armor. Netcraft Toolbar (for Internet Explorer and Firefox), is an antiphishing browser extension that sniffs out suspicious hosting locations common in spoofed... Read More »

Tags: Google , malware , spyware , Windows software , McAfee

Scratch: Programming from the playpen, almost

When we want children to grasp structures and shapes, we let them play with Legos. When we want them to understand programming, we'll let them play with Scratch, the latest child-oriented program to poke its beak from MIT's prolific Media Lab.

Scratch is a free animation-development program for kids that converts the main elements of programming--like objects, actions, rules, and conditions--into simple blocks you can drag from the menu list and drop into the scripting area. Snap a few of... Read More »

Topics: Mac Software

Tags: Windows software , developer

Which digital music software sounds the best?

Last week, I had an opportunity to sit down with the developers of MXPlay, beta jukebox software that lets you mash up your music with streaming movies, letting you create your own virtual music videos.

More interesting than the mashup features, however, is MXPlay's unique playback interface. A graphical interface lets you control the location of the listening audience and the position and direction of your speakers. Letting you tweak your own "room" does create better-sounding tunes. The MXPlay folks were... Read More »

Tags: music , iTunes , Windows software , Winamp

Dark Room isolates you and your text

Dark Room isolates you and your text

You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.

There is a small mailbox here.

OK, not really, but the freeware Windows app Dark Room (based off the Mac OS X 10.4 software WriteRoom) looks a heck of a lot like the classic text-adventure game Zork.

The idea behind Dark Room and WriteRoom is simple: offer a distraction-free application for writing text. Both apps throw out the bells and whistles and provide... Read More »

Topics: Mac Software

Tags: freeware , Windows software

Kleptomania, a bumbling text 'thief'

At first glance, the recently updated and curiously named Kleptomania is the textual answer to SnagIt and other screen capture programs. Yet the more text I attempt to translate with this interpreter, the more it seems that Kleptomania has more of a compulsion to overstate its own abilities than "steal" text embedded in the screen.

Not that the attempt isn't worthy. I, too, have wished that a screen capture could isolate the text from the JPEG or BMP image as... Read More »

Tags: Windows software , screen capture

'Momware' is here

Mother's Day alert! While not categorically perceived as die-hard techies, moms can be quick to pick up new tech tricks when it suits their interests. Check out this collection of mom-friendly downloads sure to make your mom forgive all of those forgotten Mother's Days of the past.

For cross-stitch crazy matriarchs, check out this handy stitch-pattern designer and creator. If your mom is of the green-thumbed variety, she'll love this garden planner. And for the budget-conscious, save money by giving... Read More »

Tags: Windows software

Power Downloader hides his traces

In his years battling spammers, hackers, and other ne'er-do-wells, Power Downloader has always been quick to capture important information on his digital camera. His pal Francois Foto has been invaluable in analyzing details from Power's snapshots to break big leads and gain an edge on criminals. Power and Francois usually exchange images and other files over a secure FTP connection, and pass notes via encrypted e-mail.

However, sometimes Power has to alter digital images in order to protect individuals or conceal... Read More »

Tags: editing

Yahoo 360's gone phishin'

A new phishing scam is circulating through Yahoo IM lists, sending emoticon-laden links to contacts on an infected account. Indeed, CNET's own Yahoo Messenger users have not been immune.

The link reads as a URL, but spoofs a Web page advertising Yahoo 360, a social-networking service.

Phishing schemes simulate legitimate Web sites to trap users into giving up their account information. With that information harvested, security fraudsters can sell your passcodes or exploit them directly by breaking into your bank or... Read More »

Tags: IM , Yahoo , instant messenger