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20+ essential programs for your new Windows computer

Our regular readers can probably rattle off a list of their 20 favorite apps without breaking a sweat -- as the comments on this post will no doubt prove. But for our less in-the-know friends, family, and co-workers, it can be challenging to figure out where to download high quality programs that actually do what they need them to do. We've put together an assortment that will help you hit the...

New version of Digg released; face-lifted, faster, but is it too little too late?

The new version of Digg, after a couple of months of beta testing, has today been released to the public. If you missed my preview of it back in July, here's the basic gist of new Digg: by virtue of a streamlined UI that requires less clicks, it's faster; you now 'follow' news sources (and friends), which generates a personalised 'My News' page; and... well, that's about it, really. The new...

Start! is a sexy, functional new tab page for Google Chrome

While the built-in default is functional, you might be looking for a way to add some sizzle to your Google Chrome new tab page. Look no further than Start!, a recent addition in the Chrome Extensions Gallery. Your frequently used bookmarks will appear on the right-hand side of the page, while the central portion is reserved for your recent additions and those in the "other" folder. Start!...

Screenshot tour: a first look at the new Digg V4 alpha -- smarter, faster, more personalized

I just woke up to find a shiny new Digg 'V4' alpha invite in my email inbox. Squealing with delight I hurried to the new website (you can register your interest there, if you haven't already) and begun the 'upgrade' process. First, it's just like frickin' Twitter. Seriously, the first step, after logging in, is choosing a bunch of Digg accounts to follow. The Wall Street Journal, The...

IE9 preview 3: better performance, HTML5 video and canvas, more awesome demos

Before you ask: no, the third developer preview of Internet Explorer 9 doesn't have any window chrome yet. It's still the same skeleton you've seen in the two previous releases. That said, it's clear that Microsoft is serious about delivering a competitive browser. IE9 preview 3 has turned in better SunSpider and Acid3 results, and its hardware acceleration features really shine. The new...

Don't like the new, gray Google Chrome theme? Switch it back to Classic Blue

Not everyone appreciates when a favorite application switches to a new default theme. Take Google Chrome, for example, which recently switched from blue to gray. The change is pretty subtle, but Chrome enthusiasts are the kinds of users who like their desktop to look just so -- and when they like something, they'd rather it not change. Do you want the original blue theme back? That's not a...

Play with the Google Chrome OS app launcher on latest Windows Chromium builds

Google's Chrome OS is due some time later this year, and the browser-based OS is going to be quite different from what you're used to. While it's essentially a heavily modified Linux base with Google Chrome on top, there are several features planned which we probably won't ever see on versions for other operating systems. Chrome's app launcher tab, however, you can play with. If you've tried...

Incredible Start Page extension jazzes up new tabs in Google Chrome

Google Chrome's default new tab page is already good -- and honestly, I seldom find myself clicking anywhere other than my bookmark toolbar when I add a tab. So while I might not need to change the new tab page, the Incredible Start Page extension certainly has me hooked regardless. Install it, and your new tab page displays a sleek, three-paneled view which includes recently closed tabs, your...

Google Apps Marketplace launches

The announcement for the new marketplace is actually going on right now. Head on over to the Google Code YouTube Channel to watch the live broadcast. Google Apps, if you're confused by the sheer number of 'apps'-related terms used in conversation nowadays, are Google's in-the-cloud business solutions. Today's launch does not represent the launch of apps that you and I will be able to use with...

Google improves Gmail's web search capabilities

You'd think Google would have had this search thing down by now, but the search functionality within Gmail lacked some much needed (and requested) features. A recent addition to Gmail Labs hopes to fix this and make searching within mail much, much better. In April, Google announced that you could search the web from Gmail without leaving the page. You could even add the search results you...

Speed Dial extension offers a better new tab page for Google Chrome

One common complaint I've heard from people about Google Chrome is the lack of more/better options for the new tab page. Now that the Extension Gallery is open, of course, there should be plenty of mods available to solve the problem. I've started using Speed Dial, which provides a more Opera-esque screen. You'll no longer be limited to two puny rows of four thumbnails -- Speed Dial supports...

Flipping the Linux switch: 5 tips every new Linux user should know

Linux is a powerful operating system, but chances are it's a very different operating system than any you've used before. The dizzying number of choices in distributions alone is enough to make your head spin, but it also means there's something out there that really suits your computing style. There are some things in Linux you just have to work out for yourself -- distributions, applications,...

Dealplumber: a community-driven bargain site

It seems like everything is going 'social' these days, and the tech bargain and coupon industry is the latest to join the list. Introducing: dealplumber, "a community-driven deals site that delivers the best deals and coupons from across the internet". Almost everything you might expect from a 'web 2.0-meets-discounts' site is here, including tags (complete with a cloud), comments, saving coupons,...

Yahoo! launches new home page

Back in February we reported on stirrings related to a brand new design for Yahoo!'s home page, and today Yahoo! is officially showing it off. For me the new design shows up when I go to yahoo.com, but if it doesn't show up for you, try going to yahoo.com/preview. Read/WriteWeb's Richard MacManus has a nice overview of all of the new Yahoo!'s biggest features, but here are the highlights: A...

Google testing new search results interface?

A few people are reporting that Google is testing out a new design for its search results page. The alleged new design has a sidebar on the left that shows the number of search results for Google's various services (Images, News, etc.) as small green bars, with links for Advanced Search, Preferences, and Search History below. The search results are displayed as usual in the rest of the page. At...