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download

It wasn’t so long ago that the majority of internet users would connect via dial-up modem. Back in those days, download managers were a necessity since there was nothing worse than spending days downloading a file, only for it to be interrupted because someone picked up the phone in another room. Nowadays, with widespread access to high-speed internet and the fact that browsers have become a lot smarter over the years in resuming unfinished downloads, download managers have all but faded into obscurity.

But the light hasn’t gone out completely for download managers and one such app, Folx, does more than simply download files. After spending a few days with it, I’ve found myself remembering why download managers were just so useful.

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In today’s WWDC keynote, Apple shared the usual set of Mac statistics that we now almost take for granted. Notebook and desktop sales are up, the platform continues to outgrow the PC industry as a whole, and everything is going swimmingly. There’s still a major bias toward portable computers – 73% of Macs sold are notebooks.

One of the headline stories centred around what to expect in their next operating system — OS X Lion — due for release in July 2011. Not only did Apple announce that this will be a download-only release through the Mac App Store, but it’s also their lowest priced operating system to date, costing $29.99.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from the big cat!

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I often find that there is audio or video content online that I would like to download to my computer or iPod, but there appears no easy way to do so.  Media across the internet comes out in all kinds of formats and most don’t lend themselves too well to downloading, like Flash for instance.

Grappler is the latest wonderful application from The Little App Factory which says “If it plays, it probably saves,” and this seems to stand up pretty well.  This review will delve into how Grappler makes it surprisingly simple to get media content from just about anywhere.

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When I wrote about Leech a few weeks ago, I made a few comparisons with YazSoft’s Speed Download.

Some of the comments on that review asked why anyone would use a download manager when most modern browsers have excellent download management built in. I thought the answers given were quite convincing, and it seemed that quite a few people do already use such apps, or might be in the market for one.

The short version of my own feelings about Speed Download is that I’ve never gotten on with it, though I own a licence and have used it on and off for the past year or so. But since there is a demand for download managers, and since Speed Download is well-known and widely used, I thought it would be worthwhile giving it another look and seeing whether or not my assessment was fair.

Join us after the jump for a walkthrough of its capabilities, and my personal judgement of whether looking at it again has changed my view of Speed Download.

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There was a time when having a download manager made a real difference to one’s experience of using the internet. There are places where this is still true. A few years ago, I spent a month in a remote part of India, where I struggled to top 2k download speeds with my laptop’s modem connecting via a fixed line. I literally waited an hour some days just to download a morning’s email.

A download manager wouldn’t have helped all that much with those messages, but it would have made a huge difference if I had wanted to download any software, music or video files.

That’s the most common use of a download manager: pausing and restarting downloads, scheduling them for later in the day, perhaps after you’ve gone to bed, so that massive download can be ready and waiting in the morning. There are now a number of download managers that can do a whole lot more than this. Speed Download has been the big-hitter for a long time, but (though I bought a licence for the app) I’ve never got along with it.

Recently, I’ve switched over to using Leech, which makes no claim to being as powerful, but turns out to be an excellent, lightweight option that might just do everything you need.

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Quick Look posts are paid submissions offering only a brief overview of an app. Vote in the polls below if you think this app is worth an in-depth AppStorm review!

In this Quick Look, we’re highlighting Folx. The developer describes Folx as an internet download manager and a torrent client for Mac OS X with a friendly and stylish interface. Because it splits downloads into several threads and offers broken download resumption, downloading files or torrents with Folx is faster and easier than with a web browser.

Read on for more information and screenshots!

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