Views of Earth from space are as close as the nearest weather site, but in the great scheme of things, we've only had the privilege a short while. We were reminded of just how awesome the view of everyone's home from space can be when we tried Desktop Earth, a free screensaver that rotates high-resolution satellite images of Earth on Windows desktops. But Desktop Earth does more than most other screensavers do. For instance, it changes with the time of day, displaying daylight and night images centered on your location. You can set it to center on any … Read more
Paintbrush is a Cocoa-based painting and illustrating program for the Mac, very similar to the Paint application on Windows. Paintbrush is easy to install and can support BMP, PNG, JPEG, and GIF files.
The Paintbrush interface is very simple, with a floating menu with basic tools selectable for drawing on the left, and a menu bar at the top. If you've worked with Paint, Paintbrush looks and behaves the same. It takes only a few seconds to select a tool and draw with it. Paintbrush is all freehand art, although there are the traditional handles for things like circles … Read more
Pandora Recovery Wizard is a free tool that helps you locate and recover lost or deleted files from your system. You can browse for files in the main window's tree view, but the easiest way to recover files is with Pandora's wizard, which holds users' hands at every step of the critical process. It can recover deleted files, provided they haven't been severely damaged or securely overwritten.
Pandora Recovery Wizard opened with both its main interface and the program's recovery wizard, which we could set to open each time by clicking a check box. The wizard … Read more
If you expect wise questions and wise answers, then Stupidness 2 isn't the game for you; instead, the app will shock and entertain by asking simple questions and, by playing on the ambiguous nature of the language, will trick you. In the end, the answers are obvious, but you need to think outside the box to figure them out.
With Stupidness 2 you shouldn't expect sharp visuals or awesome audio effects; this is an app that is focused on brainteasers, all of which are designed to use your mind and creativity with a single aim: to make you … Read more
Twitter for Mac brings the iOS experience closer on the computer by eliminating the traditional title bar and relying only on sleek, side-tab navigation. The app feels native on the system, and its intuitive, simple user interface provides a great user experience, although it lacks some of the features power users will find on other Twitter feed reader apps such as Tweetdeck.
The Twitter app makes it super-easy to handle multiple accounts. As soon as users add an account, its avatar will appear on the app's sidebar. We liked the simple and effective visual notifications Twitter for Mac uses … Read more
The sequel to Red Crucible, Red Crucible 2, is a free first-person shooter that is available in the Mac App Store. Bringing the battlefield experience to its users in a multiplayer action, Red Crucible is fun, but the limited number of free guns available and the poor graphics affect the overall gaming experience.
Gamers who are already familiar with first-person-shooter games will likely intuitively know which buttons they need to use to start the game. However, the lack of a Help file is a problem for people who are new to first-person shooters. There is no storyline behind the game, … Read more
You have more choices than ever in media center software. Moovida Media Center is a free media player that collects your movies, music, TV shows, and pictures in one easy-to-use interface. With built-in codecs, a media library, and automatic album art retrieval, Moovida's emphasis is on ease of use instead of being customizable and comprehensive. As such, it seeks to be a viable standalone alternative not only to Windows Media Center or Media Player but also VLC and the other popular free players.
Moovida's interface is based around gray tones, but its bright pastel highlights are a matter … Read more
AppRemover will find and uninstall any security applications on your system, such as virus protection programs and spybot removers. Sometimes antivirus programs do not uninstall completely, so if you're replacing one security application with another, AppRemover can help you remove the old program so you can start fresh with the new one.
AppRemover sports a clean, well-designed interface. When the program starts, it asks if you want to look for security applications on your computer or clean up a failed software uninstall. We selected the first option, and AppRemover found all of the virus and spyware protection programs on … Read more
Supporting eight chat protocols and some neat extras, Palringo Lite can handle Apple iChat, AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, Gadu Gadu, ICQ, Jabber, and Windows Live Messenger. It's a good all-in-one chat app if you're determined to keep it free, but for the real theatrics, you'll need to go pro.
You'll need a Palringo account to get started, but that's easy to create from the application. Like most other chat apps, Palringo Lite organizes by contacts, messages, and groups, with other settings to help fine-tune. Push notification can also alert you to missed IMs, though … Read more
GenSmarts allows users to import family trees from popular ancestry research programs and then analyzes the data to give users further research ideas. Although many of the suggestions may be things that users have already tried, the program has the potential to provide clues in their research that they hadn't already considered.
The program's interface is not entirely intuitive, but it opens with a welcome wizard and has a comprehensive built-in Help file, as well as links to online tutorials demonstrating the program's features. We decided to try the program with a family tree that we had … Read more