After sending some bitcoins, why do I have zero available to spend when I clearly didn’t send my entire balance?

With some of the clients I use regularly (Multibit, Bitcoin for Android), I’ve noticed that, after I send bitcoins to an address, I have 0 BTC available to spend despite having perhaps a several bitcoin balance.

Looking more closely at the transaction details on Blockchain.info or Blockexplorer.com, I observe that the client sent my entire balance back to myself in the same transaction.

For example, my balance in my wallet before the transaction is 1 BTC. I send 0.5 BTC to address C from my wallet, plus 0.0005 BTC for transaction fees. I should have 0.4995 available immediately to spend on another transaction. However, the clients show 0 BTC available, but a balance of 0.4995 BTC.

When I look at the transaction, I see two input addresses, addresses A and B. The outputs are 0.5 BTC to address C, the destination of my payment, and 0.4995 to address B.

Why then do I have 0 BTC available when I clearly should have 0.4995 BTC available?

Why is downloading blocks taking longer and longer?

First off, this really needs to get fixed. I’m downloading blocks for at least 8 hours now, and it’s still not done. I know the problem of having to download the entire block chain is being worked on, but I feel it’s already out of hand. Setting up an application should take something you would measure in minutes, not hours or days. (After spending the entire night, it’s now 4:15am, I would estimate the setup time to be two days.)

Also downloading can be much optimized as it is. It’s far from using my maximum download speed, and being connected to one peer is as fast as being connected to 8+ (yup, also tried port forwarding).

Now, ontopic.

Is it normal that downloading blocks goes slower, the further you progress? The first half (out of 194.000) went in the blink of an eye, after that it became less and less fast. Now at 20.000 blocks remaining, progress comes in bursts, but there can easily be 20 seconds of inactivity and when it bursts it’s like 10 blocks.

Is this normal behavior? And also, why doesn’t the number of connections make any difference for the speed at all? If it works like Bittorrent, which some describe it to work like, it should get faster with more people who can upload to you (more connections).

I’ve Googled, but all I’ve found is that it takes a few hours and that it may get stuck. It’s not stuck and taking as long as people describe it to be, but I just wonder if it’s normal that it’s going slower and slower, and why it doesn’t saturate my download capacity (like BitTorrent) no matter how many connections.

Thanks