Although the look of Windows 7 may seem to be nothing more than some polish and elbow grease applied liberally to the Vista Aero theme, make no mistake: this is a full replacement operating system, and more than just "Vista done right." From driver support to multitouch groundwork for the future, from better battery management to the most user-friendly interface Microsoft has ever had, Windows 7 is hardly half-baked.
Windows 7 is still three months away, but Microsoft has already cranked up the marketing machine with the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. Before you take the little bit of time and trouble to download the 6.2MB file and let Microsoft scan your PC, be sure to visit the official Upgrade Advisor page.
There you will see Microsoft assert that if your system runs Vista, it will run Windows 7, "in general." Another blanket recommendation from the company is that if you're currently using Windows XP, you should buy a new PC with Windows 7 preinstalled. Microsoft even offers links to a shopping helper and lists of Windows 7-ready systems.
Well, so much for running the Upgrade Advisor. Out of curiosity, I ran the advisor on my 4-month-old 64-bit Vista Home Premium notebook. First, I made sure all the machine's peripherals were plugged in. After only a few minutes, I was informed that I could do an in-place upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium or Ultimate. (You'll find information about the various versions of Windows 7 on Microsoft's site.)… Read more
While the rest of you are off gallivanting about in the summer sun, I've been chained to my desk under the San Francisco fog to parse through the worst downloads of the summer. This time around, the range varies from programs that sound useful but aren't, to programs that sound horrible and are, and include one that just defies common decency--and not in a good way.
Be sure to check out CNET TV editor Tom Merritt's video on these five train wrecks and just what I get out of all this. Oh, and a quick disclaimer, just … Read more
Google Earth can now take you to the moon.
Timed with the 40th anniversary of the first moon walk, the Internet giant on Monday released an addition to its Google Earth mapping software to provide images of moon landscapes and traces of human exploration there.
Called the Moon in Google Earth and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, the software allows you to see topographical features on our closest celestial neighbor with the lunar equivalent of Google Street View. People can also see a gallery of the Apollo space missions and get information on every robotic spacecraft that has visited … Read more
As we wait for the Windows 7 code to get locked down, take a tour of what Microsoft's highly-anticipated operating system will offer for touch-screen users. Don't have one yet? Don't worry, they're coming--even to affordable Netbooks.
Yahoo widgets are designed to bridge the gap between the Web and your desktop. After you search through the company's listing of widgets and find what you like, you can download them onto your desktop.
But what if you're a social-networking fanatic? Certainly, being on the Web works fine for you, but Yahoo widgets might make it just a little easier to satisfy your desire to stay connected. Here are some Yahoo widgets that help you network with your friends right on your desktop.Yahoo widgets for social networkers
Facebook Notifier Facebook Notifier tells you what's going on with your friends so you don't have to keep checking the social network to find out.
After you install Facebook Notifier, you'll need to authenticate your profile. From there, you can see status updates from all your friends. You'll also get real-time updates when messages filter in, you're poked, or you have some wall posts to check out. Whenever you click on one of those options, you'll be brought to the appropriate Facebook page in your browser to perform the desired action. Facebook Notifier won't give you as much control as other services in this roundup, but if all you want to do is see what's up with your friends, it's a good place to start.
Facebook(er) Facebook(er) is a neat app. After you install it on your computer, the widget allows you to change your Facebook status, check your messages, update your friends with events, and more. You can also view pokes, requests, and group invites. It's like having Facebook on your desktop. Plus, thanks to a nice design, you should be relatively happy with how easy it is to perform those basic tasks.… Read more
Red, white, and blue flags flapping in the breeze, smoking grills, and blazing sunshine. There's no better time to celebrate America's 233rd birthday. And what better way to wish Uncle Sam (and ourselves) many happy returns than a schmaltzy screensaver for your desktop? Show off your patriotism and passion for dazzling explosives with this collection of Independence Day downloads.
Liberty Shines Screensaver See an entire Fourth of July day from the water, looking onto Manhattan's shoreline. Lady Liberty and New York are the daylight stars in this well-animated screensaver. As dusk falls, the buildings light up and … Read more
Whether you're looking for an easy solution to fix a relatives' computer half the world away, or you need to collaborate with a colleague for your latest project, there are several strong screen-sharing programs that can meet your needs.
First off is a familiar name: Skype. The latest beta of the world-famous VoIP app supports screen-sharing, and if you've ever been in a Internet cafe, you know that this could be a big deal. Skype is already heavily used in a multitude of countries to connect friends, family, and business partners via voice and text. Screen-sharing would simply … Read more
With more and more people watching movies on their wide-screen Macs and Apple TV, it's no secret the computer is starting to move in on traditional DVD, Blu-ray, and other video player territory. If you have a laptop and the right cords, you can even plug your computer into your big-screen TV and enjoy all the glory of the new standalone Hulu for Mac. But while your Mac is great for watching movies, your Mac's sleep feature to save energy has a nasty way of making your screen go dark right in the middle of the show. To … Read more
Blurring the line between computer and TV just a tad more, video-streaming site Hulu puts its content front and center with a new desktop app for Windows and Mac. Introduced via Hulu's new Labs testing bed, Hulu Desktop is one of four new apps in Labs. The other three include a Video Panel designer for customizing the look of Hulu embeds, a recommendations list, and original air date-based browsing--but Hulu Desktop is the only one available for download.
There are some stringent limitations to getting the desktop client to run properly, although if your system meets their standards, you'… Read more