Dave's Download

February 2007

Jajah: Internet Phoning on the Cheap

You've heard that making phone calls over the Internet is cheap and easy. Now, for those of you who haven't tried it, no more excuses: Try Jajah. This is one of the smoothest, simplest, and cheapest ways to make Internet calls. Unlike Skype, it doesn't require downloaded software. And unlike Vonage

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Network Magic: Safe in Microsoft's Shadow

Writing a piece of software that makes Windows work better can be a dangerous career. Microsoft has been known in the past to "absorb" some of the better ideas out there, putting third-party developers out of business. The most notorious was linking the Web browser to Windows, which led to ...

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HD Disks Pack Low-Achieving Extras

Great pictures and sound apparently aren't enough to sell movies in this day of Internet hyper-interactivity: Folks hawking new high-definition disks are promising fancy features beyond the director interviews and film outtakes that come with standard DVDs.

Universal Studios is early with its ...

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Network Magic Is Just That for Home PCs

Many people don't even realize they have a home network, much less what they can do with it. But if your home has more than one computer using the same Internet connection, that means there's a router–which means you've got a network, and that means you can do a lot more than just share broadband.

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New HD DVD Player Looks Better

It seemed like a bit of a time warp the last time I tried a high-definition DVD player. That first-generation player was like something from the former Soviet Union–big, slow, and prone to unexplained stoppages. A second-gen player from Toshiba is a vast improvement.

The first round of HD DVD ...

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Use TinyURL to Create Tiny Web Addresses

We've all been frustrated by long Web addresses, like the one that will get you a recent column of mine: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/davesdownload/archive/070124/atomic

Yuk. That would rarely work in an E-mail, with line breaks messing it up, as we all know from ...

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Touch-screens Lack That Keyboard Touch

One of the "wow" factors of the iPhone was its touch-screen, which offers graphical buttons to replace almost all the hard buttons that typically sit atop a cellphone and inevitably confuse users. Touch-screen buttons can be bigger, better labeled, and generally easier to see and navigate. They ...

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Monster Cable's Outlets: Pricey but Useful

Argue if you want over the value of Monster Cable cables, the premium-price versions that are a runaway success at local retailers, judging by their prominent display. Maybe there is some reason to spend $300 on a cable to connect a TV to a DVD player, which is what one Monster HDMI connector costs ...

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Canceling AOL Is Still a Challenge

For the second time in recent years, I've canceled a paid account on AOL (formerly America Online)–and it was only a medium pain this time. AOL has been known for making it hard to stop its service, even rising to the level of harassment by customer service reps who field requests.

A few years ago,

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