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Prey Turns Laptop and Phone Thieves Into the Hunted, For Free

It may not be top-secret or espionage-worthy, but the information we keep on laptops and smartphones is still something we all would like protected. Saved passwords, addresses, bank balances, friends' contact info -- all sorts of information could have potentially devastating effects in the hands of a crook. Large companies have long had the technology to remotely lock-down and wipe mobile devi...

Simplenote Finally Makes Digital Note-Taking Convenient

In our quest to digitize every last bit of our lives, one thing has escaped us: a streamlined system for taking and managing our notes. We've looked at Evernote, which is an impressive service with some top-notch software, but it had one major flaw in that we couldn't get it to stick; it just never worked for jotting down quick notes. Simplenote is the ideological opposite of Evernote. It lacks t...

Mint Keeps Your Personal Finances So Fresh and Clean

It used to be that tracking your money with a computer meant manually entering transactions and account balances, just as you would with the ledger at the back of your checkbook. Eventually, financial software matured enough to allow you to import your statements from some banks, as long as they were available to download in a specific format. Today, Mint automates the whole process for you, trac...

Granola Power App Helps You Save the Environment and Your Wallet

If you want to shave a few bucks off your electric bill and save a couple trees, the most common methods involve buying all new appliances and just turning everything off all the time. But you can actually trim your bills and reduce your carbon footprint with a simple piece of software called Granola. This little applet sits in the system tray of your Linux or Windows PC, monitors how much energy...

Calibre Is an All-Purpose, E-Book Swiss Army Knife

When it comes to managing your e-book collection, there aren't a whole lot of options out there. If you want to organize a large library of e-books, especially ones that you're not buying or downloading directly from your e-reader's manufacturer, then there's really only one viable choice: Calibre. Not only does it organize your collection and load it onto your e-reader, but it will do so regardl...

Best Screen Capture Apps for OS X, Windows and Linux

There are a number of tools that we simply can't live without. For instance, we'd be lost without the ability to quickly take, manipulate and share screenshots with each other. A good screen capture app is essential for adding images to blog posts, sharing ideas and mocking the occasional typo. But you don't need to be a blogger to make good use of such a tool; they're great for capturing images...

Rapportive Adds Social Contact Data to Gmail

What is it: Rapportive is a browser add-on for Chrome and Firefox that adds information from social networks and other sources to your contacts in Gmail. Once installed, it looks up information from around the Web about people who send you e-mails, and displays it in a sidebar. What we like: The right-hand sidebar in Gmail is largely a waste of space. It's primarily empty, occasionally populate...

HijackThis: The Ultimate Malware Removal Tool for Nerds

What it is: Share When we suggest that readers download software, we normally pick programs that are known for user friendliness. HijackThis is not user-friendly. In fact, it's downright dangerous in the wrong hands. Yet, its power for locating and removing malware is unrivaled, thanks to its catch-all approach that doesn't bother to determine what is good or bad, but merely tells you what is on...

Microsoft Security Essentials Offers Fast, Powerful and Free Malware Protection

What it is: Microsoft Security Essentials is a free anti-malware and anti-virus package, designed to compete with both commercial and free offerings like AVG and Norton. What we like: First, and most obviously, we like the price point; it's hard to argue with free. But no matter how free an app is, if it sucks, there's no reason to install it. Thankfully, there is plenty more to like about Sec...

DoubleTwist Syncs iTunes With Your Non-iPod Devices

What it is: DoubleTwist is a music manager and media syncing tool for those who don't want to join, or are looking to leave, the cult of Apple. It has gained particular notability ever since T-Mobile agreed to package the application with some of its Android-powered handsets. What we like: Aesthetically, we find DoubleTwist rather pleasing. While others have described it as "rough," we quite enj...

Get Your E-Spring Cleaning Done With OnyX and CCleaner

We've got a double dose of Switched Downloads for you. Normally we try to cover cross platform apps so everyone can get in on the fun, but with the category of app we're covering today, that just isn't an option. CCleaner and OnyX are system cleaning and optimization tools for Windows and Mac respectively. We searched for a comparable product for Linux, but the closest we could find is the unrelia...

KeePass Keeps Your Passwords Safe and Organized

What it is: Share KeePass, along with its innumerable (and unofficial) ports, is one of the best and most flexible password managers available. In order to keep your various accounts and log-in information safe, it's strongly encouraged that you not only choose difficult-to-guess passwords, but that you also use a different password for every account. The problem with that method, though, is th...

Canabalt's Run-Jump-Go Splat Format Massively Addicting

What it is: 'Canabalt' is a simple game, available both as a free Flash game and as a $2.99 download for the iPhone. The premise is basic; you play a tiny man, fleeing what appears to be an alien invasion, leaping from rooftop to rooftop, dodging obstacles, and smashing through windows. What we like: This game is as pared down as it gets. There is only one button: jump. There is no 3-D envir...

Access Files From Anywhere -- Even Your iPhone -- With Dropbox

What it is: Dropbox is an online storage service that holds your files (up to 2 gigabytes) for free, and automatically syncs them between several PCs. It also allows you to access your files from any Web-connected computer. Dropbox offers 2 free gigabytes of storage to all users, but you can upgrade that to 50GB for $9.99 a month, or 100GB for $19.99 a month. If you want a slight boost in storage...

Use 7-Zip to Manage Archive Files, and Create Your Own

What it is: 7-Zip is a free tool for PC users to handle virtually all of those pesky archive files -- the ones with endings like .zip and .rar -- as well as a host of other file types. Not only does it allow you to open and unpack archives, but it lets you create them, too. What we like: 7-Zip is one of those simple tools that quickly becomes indispensable once you've used it a few times. It's...