Adobe Photoshop is a fantastic software product. I use it at CNET every single day. However, I don't own a personal version at home, and I find that I don't miss it much for my own limited image editing and graphic design needs. For cropping snapshots, removing red-eye, resizing, or creating LOLcat images, I turn to the free image editors available at CNET Download.com.
The grandaddy of free design software is the GIMP (short for GNU Image Manipulation Program), which provides much of the functionality of Photoshop, with a very large and dedicated community that produces tons of valuable tutorials. However, the GIMP isn't the most user-friendly application. Newbies would be advised to try GIMPshop, which puts a Photoshop-like interface on top of the GIMP's core functionality.… Read more
The folks in Mountain View, Calif., have recently updated their Google Pack, and while combining some of the best programs with an automatic updater and installer, some of the program choices have left me disappointed. The recent addition of StarOffice confirms that while this collection is good, it could be a lot better.
Last week I shouted out seven CNET Download.com staff favorites for small, straightforward software for Windows, Mac, and mobile that perform a single task simply and well. Here are five more fresh picks, suggested by you.… Read more
This list of 40 great freeware applications is a bit skewed to the geeks (Web development tools, etc.), but it also includes some gems in the end-user application category. The list isn't restricted to open-source applications, and it misses some exceptional projects like Handbrake, but it's a respectable list.
It's actually pretty amazing all of the great software you can get for free.
If it takes you longer to locate a particular browser bookmark than it does to search for that same Web page, it may be time to rev up AM-DeadLink. This nifty freeware utility for managing browser bookmarks becomes increasingly useful as your favorites list grows more congested.
With one button, AM-DeadLink produces a list of bookmarks on the browser you select, pointing out broken or unlisted links. Another button bumps problem bookmarks to the top of the list, saving you from hunting and pecking among the thickets of text. A button identified by an image of cloned human figures reveals any duplicate bookmarks that may have been tucked away in multiple subfolders. Unwanted links are easily disposed of with a click on the recycle bin. For a quick reminder of what leads to what, users can preview bookmark destinations within the app. Backing up the bookmark list serves as a more long-term reminder.… Read more
We all goof, but we don't all do it as visibly as CNET TV star and executive editor Molly Wood, nor do we often relish fessing up. Molly does both with wit, charm, and FotoTagger, a handy digital-photography freeware tool for annotating digital photos via movable captions.
Read Molly's hilarious confession, Anatomy of a Buzz Report screwup, to see why FotoTagger has become her "new favorite thing." While you're at it, try it out.
Democracy Player, set to be renamed Miro with its next release, is an open-source video player that not only works for almost every type of video file out there, it also arranges vidcasts into "channels" to help keep them all organized. The channel guide creates automatic downloads of your favorite Web shows, from Ask a Ninja to National Geographic Wild.
Take a quick tour of Democracy Player with this First Look video.
Those schools that are using Dance Dance Revolution to get their kids into shape aren't the only ones who've found a great use for the game, but it's doubtful Dance Dance Immolation will ever make it to a gymnasium near you.
Created by Interpretive Arson, a fire-art group from Oakland, Calif., Dance Dance Immolation uses a freeware version of DDR melded to pilot lights, gallons of propane, and heat-resistant proximity suits. Instead of losing points, though, a single misstep gets you shot in the face with fire.
Originally developed by three friends--Jonathan Shekter, Ian Baker, and Matt Blackwell--Crispix is the name for their hacked version of open-source StepMania (download for Windows or Mac), a freeware adaptation of Dance Dance Revolution that forms the brain of Dance Dance Immolation. StepMania is not only open source, it's also multiplatform. So why was it built on a Windows XP machine?
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
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 a lightweight text editor without buttons, menus, or anything else that might disturb your concentration.… Read more