Archive for April, 2009

Personas is live, and an uglier Firefox is easier than ever!

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad


Fans of other browsers have slammed Firefox’s rather plain appearance for ages. Now, at last, Mozilla fans have a weapon which they can proudly wield against their friends who run IE7 with bikini-clad Hotbar backgrounds!

Personas has gone live, complete with a gallery chock full of prefab styles that can be easily applied to your browser. As with any desktop theming, there are a few aesthetically pleasing creations but there are also a number of abhorrent designs.

Too many of them wind up making a cluttered, distracting mess of the menus. Strata, for example, puts an annoying orange line right through my bookmark buttons. With Cool Black, I can’t even read the labels. On the plus side, switching Personas doesn’t require restarting Firefox like traditional themes do.

Still, kudos to Mozilla for making themes easier for users to put together. Firefox’s easy and flexible personalization is one key advantage it has over competing browsers, so they may as well ride that horse ’till it drops.

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Yahoo! Sideline is a desktop client for Twitter searches

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Yahoo | Tags: , , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad


Yahoo! has launched a new application that lets you keep track of trends and search terms in Twitter from your desktop. While Yahoo! Sideline is based on Adobe AIR, it’s not a full fledged desktop client for Twitter like Twhirl or Tweetdeck.It doesn’t let you send messages or keep track of tweets from your friends. Instead, Sideline lets you enter search terms and see messages from all Twitter users using those terms.

You can also create Search Groups with multiple terms. For instance, say you wanted to track everything said about Download Squad. You could create a group called Download Squad and then enter “download squad,” “downloadsquad,” “bradlinder,” “leematthews,” “film_girl,” “grobertson,” “strutting” and other terms. Sideline displays messages matching all of those terms and refreshes the search at regular intervals.

There’s also a Trends area where you can see topics that are popular across the Twitter network at the moment.


Overall, Sideline is kind of cool, but it doesn’t feel like something that needs to be a desktop application. You can create the same searches using Twitter’s Advanced Search tool. I suppose if you really, really want real-time notifications alerting you whenever someone mentions your name, your web site’s name, or a dozen other search terms, Sideline can come in handy. But for the rest of us, a normal Twitter client that lets you send and receive messages seems more useful.

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ThinkFree UNI-Paper lets you embed office docs online

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Google, Tech News | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad


ThinkFree Office is a web-based office suite similar to Google Docs and Zoho Office. But the ThinkFree folks set themselves apart from the crowd last year when they released a desktop client that lets you edit documents on your computer and synchronize them with a web server.

Now ThinkFree is back with a Flash-based document viewer that you can embed on any web page. Just upload your Word, Excel, PDF, or PowerPoint file and ThinkFree will spit out some code you can use to share the document. Honestly, the new ThinkFree UNI-Paper service looks pretty much the same as the embedded document viewers from Issuu, docstoc, and Scribd. But the difference is that UNI-Paper is linked to a powerful web-based office suite, so you can edit your documents and then grab the embed code all from one place.

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Skype Call Recorder records Skype calls — for free

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Skype | Tags: , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad


Skype Call Recorder is a no-frills Windows utility for recording both ends of a Skype conversation. Because of the way Skype transmits your voice across the interwebs, you can’t just use most all-purpose audio recording apps like Audacity or the Windows Sound Recorder. Instead you need to use third party apps or Skype plugins that will record both your voice and the sounds of the person on the other end of the call.

There are a number of Skype recording applications available for Windows and Mac. Some record in WAV format while others store your recordings as MP3s. Most cost money if you want to record long conversations.

Skype Call Recorder is free for all calls, but it doesn’t offer a ton of features. You can crecord calls in Mono or Stereo, and while you can choose a few different bit rate settings to adjust the recording quality, all calls are stored as MP3s. But did I mention the utility is free?

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Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World | Tags: , , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad


Phony-o? It sounds like an April Fools’ Day joke, but it’s not. The team is actually releasing new services at an amazing rate, and the latest is a conference calling, voicemail recording, podcast ready app called It works like any other drop, in that you can set it up in a couple of clicks by just naming it and giving it a password.

Your drop has phone numbers you can use for voicemails or conference calls, and you can save the records as mp3s. Where really gets cool is in the number of ways you can share your stuff in very few steps. You can embed your audio in other sites, download it, or push it out to RSS or iTunes. If you’re into social networks, you can also share it via Facebook or Twitter, and of course, you can share the drop itself. scores points for both features and ease of use, and it’s definitely worth a look if you need to deal with over-the-phone audio.

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