The Download Blog

Star Apps: Taylor Kitsch

Star Apps: Taylor Kitsch

For Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch, playing hockey offers a great escape, and so does playing a diverse range of characters. Kitsch is best known for his roles in "Friday Night Lights," "Savages," "John Carter," and "Battleship." In his new film, "The Grand Seduction," he plays urbane Dr. Paul Lewis, a reluctant suburbanite won over by the townsfolk of a small fishing village, who want to land a lucrative business contract.

The role of Dr. Paul Lewis, an eccentric doctor with a penchant for cricket, is not your typical action hero … Read more

Reset the Net for privacy

Reset the Net for privacy

On June 5, Internet freedom fighters want you to stand up for your privacy and pledge to Reset the Net.

The campaign opposes mass government surveillance like the NSA's. Reset the Net wants sites and mobile apps to commit to using SSL, and encourages individuals to sign the pledge and download a collection of privacy tools and tips. Groups ranging from the EFF to Reddit have pledged support.

Fight for the Future is behind the campaign, the same organization that kicked off protests against the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect-IP Act (PIPA) in 2012, bills that many … Read more

Star Apps: Needtobreathe

Star Apps: Needtobreathe

When Needtobreathe recorded its latest album, "Rivers in the Wasteland," the Southern rock band grappled with which direction to take after the departure of drummer Joe Stillwell. The band members, suffering inner tensions and the pressures of fame, felt the need to make bare-bones, from-the-heart songs to satisfy their collective soul and re-energize. The 10-time Dove-winning band chose wisely: The album landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Album and Rock Albums charts, and No. 3 on the Billboard 200. I chatted with Needtobreathe guitarist and backing vocalist Bo Rinheart about the new album and tour, getting … Read more

Star Apps: Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth

Star Apps: Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth

Smash Mouth, the alternative rock band best known for such hits as 1997's "Walkin' on the Sun" and 1999's "All Star," celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, Smash Mouth will release a greatest hits package and a live album, featuring tour performances from earlier this year. The band hits the road again in June for the Under the Sun Tour, a '90s flashback outing that also featuring Blues Traveler, Uncle Kracker, and Sugar Ray.

Any special surprises for fans on tour? We're going to do something special. Me and … Read more

Get Pixar's rendering software behind 'Toy Story' absolutely free

Get Pixar's rendering software behind 'Toy Story' absolutely free

Pixar's award-winning, in-house rendering software, RenderMan, will be free starting in August. All you have to do is sign up. The Emeryville studio has announced that it will offer the $500 rendering software for free, provided it is used for noncommercial purposes. The animation giant has also stated that the "free non-commercial RenderMan is exactly the same as the commercial version." This is pretty awesome news for aspiring digital artists.

The free version of RenderMan will be released with its commercial counterpart sometime in August. You can sign up here to get notified once it goes live. … Read more

Apple announces 4 updates for iOS 8

Apple announces 4 updates for iOS 8

Today Apple announced iOS 8, which will be available in the fall, and demonstrated its new features to developers at WWDC 2014. Like iOS 7, iOS 8 has a flattened and streamlined design, but its many updates point toward a more consistent experience across the mobile OS and OS X. Below are four of the most important features.

Notifications and widgets: Rumors about Apple bringing widgets to iOS have been confirmed...kind of. Rather than widgets appearing on the home screen, as in Android, widgets are contained in the notifications panel. iOS 8 will allow you not only to arrange … Read more

OS X Yosemite introduces 4 new features

OS X Yosemite introduces 4 new features

Apple kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a slew of announcements about OS X, iOS, and the latest developer tools.

OS X Yosemite

The latest update to OS X is packed with subtle UI changes and improved utilities, some of them building on functionality from existing apps. Here are four of the key updates:

Spotlight: Spotlight now plants itself front and center on the screen. Taking cues from apps like Alfred, Spotlight will now display local and Web results in a single interface, even before you finish typing your search term. Apple has also integrated Maps, iTunes, … Read more

The software week in review for May 30

The software week in review for May 30

Too much information? This week was about the fight for the right to be forgotten, security measures proving to be insecure, and Apple fans speculating about next Monday's WWDC announcements. Read on for our recap, and to get the latest reviews from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Privacy

The right to be forgotten: Following a European Union Court of Justice ruling, Google has posted an online form where you can ask to have personal info or links about you removed from search results. Removals, if approved, apply only to EU editions of Google: Results … Read more

Star Apps: Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri

Star Apps: Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri

Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri -- the first winner of Indian descent -- wasn't always celebrated by her peers. In middle school, the future pageant pioneer felt misunderstood by her classmates because of her heritage. That's why her candidate platform for Miss New York (and later Miss America) was "Diversity through cultural competency." On Wednesday, she spoke about the value of social diversity at Macy's in San Francisco. I spoke to Davuluri about the event, feeling misunderstood, her proudest moment in the Miss America competition, pageant queen misconceptions, and her favorite apps.

Why is this … Read more

Name your own price coding bundle at Udemy

Name your own price coding bundle at Udemy

We're doing something a little different this week. Instead of the usual software deal, we've partnered with StackSocial to bring you some of the best coding classes on popular online learning platform Udemy. The price? You decide. The best part is that 10 percent of your purchase will go to the charity of your choice. This deal is available through StackSocial.

Learn how to be a Web developer, design your own Web site, or just improve your coding skills with these lectures, videos, and tutorials. Beat the average price (currently $14.66), and you'll get all eight … Read more