DirecTV Now delivers an impressive mix of channels for the money, but people who prioritize a cloud DVR should look elsewhere.
Windows Phone 8.1 is the best update yet, thanks to its revamped design and modern features, but it lags behind iOS and Android.
Sony's PlayStation Vue lets you ditch cable TV and still enjoy tons of live channels and DVR features, and you don't even need a PlayStation.
Adobe After Effects CS4
Mozilla Thunderbird 2 is a fine, free, extensible e-mail client and a solid alternative to pricey Microsoft Outlook 2007 or the free Windows Live Mail.
Project Spartan is now available for testing on Windows 10.
Google Home is a breezy service that lets you create a custom sign-in page chock-full of news and widgets.
Fresh on the heels of its acquisition of DVR company Meedio, Yahoo's entry in the alternative Media Center front-end sweepstakes, Yahoo Go for TV, is currently available as a beta release from the company's Web site. The program offers easy media management in a free package, but hardware support is limited, and the emphasis on driving branded online content knocks local file browsing to second place.
This app is useful on its own now, but with a concept feature on display at IFA 2014, you might never again have to open your oven door to check on food while it's cooking.
Google Notebook lets you save the text, the images, and the URL of origin for Web sites that interest you, but its features are limited.
Lyve is a fast and hands-off way to organize your photos if you don't want to do it yourself.
Net Nanny's default setting filters fewer naughty sites than any major blocking package, but it's by far the easiest to customize and use. Unless you need CyberSitter's strict site filtering, go with Net Nanny.
LibreOffice is a great office suite, but it can't compete with modern apps that offer strong compatibility with Microsoft Office, and also work on mobile devices and the Web.
This is a great tool for experimentalists who want to tweak under the hood for more power and better performance.
System Mechanic 4.0 Professional offers a better selection of tools and technical support than Norton SystemWorks Professional does.
Home security giant ADT embraces the smart home with a new month-to-month professional monitoring service.
If your smart home detects a leak, HomeAdvisor will have a reputable plumber in your area call you.
Flash becomes friendlier and more fun to explore as CS4 introduces a faster approach to animation, making this a worthwhile upgrade for both beginners and seasoned programmers.