The Download Blog

7 holiday crafting apps

7 holiday crafting apps

Nothing's more thoughtful or personal than a handmade gift or message -- and often they're less expensive than store-bought goods, too. Create holiday cards, scrapbooks, and even stylish gift wrap with these seven creative crafting apps.

Craft & Home Projects Magazine ( iOS)

With vivid photos and beginner-friendly directions, the Craft & Home Projects Magazine app is a great resource for crafting year-round. For the holidays, it offers dozens of ideas for easy-to-make decorations: wreaths, stockings, centerpieces, sweaters, and more.

ScrapPad ( iOS)

Scrapbooks capture memories to last a lifetime, but making them shouldn't take as long. With ScrapPad, … Read more

Star Apps: SoMo

Star Apps: SoMo

SoMo, aka Joseph Somers-Morales, became a YouTube sensation covering Chris Brown and Drake. Then he became a chart sensation (No. 1 on iTunes, No. 6 on Billboard) with the release of his self-penned, self-titled debut album. Now he wants to write hits for others. I chatted with SoMo about the baby makers, his dirty thoughts in the studio, and the app that makes him feel close to his writing partners.

When did you discover that you could sing? I knew my whole life. My dad's a musician, so I grew up around it. It wasn't really ever did … Read more

Star Apps: James Iha

Star Apps: James Iha

Guitarist James Iha has rarely had a free moment since leaving The Smashing Pumpkins in 2000. He has guested on Fountains of Wayne albums, joined A Perfect Circle, released solo material, and produced myriad artists, including Michael Stipe, Cat Power, and St. Lucia. Recently he scored Hulu original series "Deadbeat." James Iha talks about why mobile television is the wave of the future, working with Billy Corgan versus Maynard James Keenan versus Taylor Hanson, and his favorite app for rare moments of boredom.

How would you compare solo work to playing in a band or scoring a TV … Read more

10 unbeatable Black Friday shopping apps

10 unbeatable Black Friday shopping apps

The mall is a combat zone on Black Friday, and you need a strategy for snatching the prime deals and getting out quickly. Put these 10 apps in your arsenal for a fighting chance at getting everything you need at the lowest possible prices. And for the top tech deals, check out CNET's Black Friday guide.

Giftster Wish List Registry ( iOS, Android)

Don't play the guessing game about what friends and family want, or risk your selections ending up in the regifting pile. Instead, share holiday wish lists with Giftster. You can easily mark an item as reserved … Read more

Star Apps: 'The Imitation Game'

Star Apps: 'The Imitation Game'

Generally, victors win the spoils of war, but all Alan Turing got was a spoiled legacy. Winston Churchill called him the greatest contributor to Allied victory, and today's programmers call him the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, but Turing lived his post-World War II years disgraced by a homosexuality conviction. "The Imitation Game," starring Benedict Cumberbatch, aims to correct this wrong. I spoke with screenwriter Graham Moore ("The Sherlockian," "The Devil in the White City") and actor Allen Leech ("Rome," "The Tudors," "Downton Abbey"), … Read more

Star Apps: Jena Malone

Star Apps: Jena Malone

Jena Malone ("Saved," "Pride & Prejudice," "Into the Wild," "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire") has been acting for almost 20 years and recording music for eight. She and Lem Jay Ignacio are The Shoe, which this year released its first full-length album, "I'm OK." You can see Jena Malone now in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1." We talked about The Shoe, shooting nude, and balancing her music and film careers.

The band is called The Shoe because? The Shoe is whatever instrument I want to … Read more

7 charitable apps for easy giving

7 charitable apps for easy giving

November is a time to give, whether you're growing a mustache to support men's health or donating food for Thanksgiving meals. With the seven apps we've found, you can be a do-gooder by simply doing what you usually do -- buying groceries, taking a walk, or playing a game.

Charity Miles

Don't wait for that 5K for charity: rack up dollars as you rack up miles on your regular walks, runs, or bike rides. Download Charity Miles (iOS, Android), choose from 28 established charities, and launch the app with each workout. Corporate sponsors will donate funds … Read more

Star Apps: 'Rosewater'

Star Apps: 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart bought the movie rights to imprisoned Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari's best-selling memoir, "Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival." "The Daily Show" host didn't initially intended to direct "Rosewater" himself, but his investment in Bahari's story became so great that he saw no other way. I chatted with Jon Stewart and Maziar Bahari about "Rosewater" and the power of social media for political change.

Jon, with this film being your directorial debut, where did you draw inspiration from? Jon Stewart: … Read more

Star Apps: Kenny Loggins

Star Apps: Kenny Loggins

In the late '70s, Kenny Loggins eagerly left popular duo Loggins and Messina for an even more successful solo career with hits like "This Is It," "I'm Alright," "Footloose," and "Danger Zone." He never predicted he'd someday be in another group -- this time a trio, Blue Sky Riders. I chatted with the onetime king of movie soundtracks about Blue Sky Riders, his thoughts on the "Footloose" and "Top Gun" remakes, and his favorite apps.

How would you describe a Blue Sky Riders show? BSR shows … Read more

Star Apps: 'Big Hero 6'

Star Apps: 'Big Hero 6'

Marvel comic turned 3D animation "Big Hero 6" began production in 2012, and since then its health-monitoring robot has come a little closer to reality thanks to wearables and health apps. But unlike an app, Baymax the robot cares, looking after prodigy Hiro's physical and emotional well-being after his brother Tadashi's tragic death. Directors Don Hall ("Winnie the Pooh") and Chris Williams ("Bolt") talk about compassionate health care, drawing, and their favorite apps.

The thing that struck me most about the film is how much Baymax replicates the experience of Apple HealthKit … Read more