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.
The brainy Google Desktop 2 does a mixed job anticipating the content you want. Still, it provides a handy link to files, apps, and Web sites that you access the most, and its search is powerful, too.
Google's the way to go for straight Web searching, local results, maps, or image queries, but we found better engines for multimedia searches.
Windows Live OneCare doesn't provide as many unique features and often repackages tools already available for free within the Windows operating system. For $30 more, it's well worth investing in the solutions from McAfee or Symantec, and we give the final nod to Norton 360 which ensures the best protection and performance tools for your money.
AOL Video aims to be a one-stop shop for video, but it needs more compelling content and reliable playback.
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.
The online Google Spreadsheets is free, easy to use, and handy for collaboration, but stick with Excel for complex spreadsheets.
We love the idea of Starz Vongo and think $10 per month is a fair price for all-you-can-watch movies, but the service needs a better selection of movies and improved compatibility with portable devices.
We like the cohesive look and feel as well as useful functionality offered by the free Windows Live apps.
For social-media butterflies who are into geotagging posts, Banjo's streamlined interface and useful location-aware tools make it worth a download.
If you're thinking about ditching your landline, SunRocket is a potential contender. A low price and lots of features are attractive, but the voice quality of your calls may vary.
EarthLink DSL service is perfect for the home user who wants broadband speed without paying cable prices.
Brinkster offers a reasonable amount of bandwidth and storage for a low price, but its above-average technical support makes it stand out.
Provided you take the time to find your way around, iOS 7's new design makes it a compelling upgrade that completely transforms Apple's mobile OS.
While it falls short of TV-quality video, Verizon's 3G V Cast service offers plenty of eye candy and speedy Web browsing for a reasonable price.
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.
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.
Home media buffs will find what they need in this versatile and stable suite for authoring and editing DVDs and CDs, but pros may want more.