The Download Blog

Star Apps: Christina Perri

Star Apps: Christina Perri

In 2011 Christina Perri found success with her debut, "Lovestrong," and became iTunes' Breakthrough Pop Artist of the year. So when the singer/songwriter began work on her sophomore album, "Head or Heart," she knew she had two choices: write for an audience or write for herself. She chose the latter, and her new album is even more beautiful than the first and features top 20 hit "Human." Her voice is angelic; and the subject matter, raw and relatable. I chatted with Perri days before her North American tour about the inspiration behind her … Read more

Star Apps: Orgy

Star Apps: Orgy

Synth-rock band Orgy first gained fame with a cover of New Order's "Blue Monday." The single sold 1 million copies, catapulted the band to the top of the modern rock and dance charts, and introduced New Order to a new generation of fans. Orgy singer Jay Gordon hopes the group's new EDM-tinged rock single "Wide Awake and Dead" and forthcoming EP have similar success.

You reformed Orgy in 2012 and released "Grime of the Century." Why is now the right time to bring Orgy back? Well, why not? And I just didn'… Read more

Star Apps: Josh McDermitt of 'The Walking Dead'

Star Apps: Josh McDermitt of 'The Walking Dead'

The record-breaking "Walking Dead" Season 4 finale did not disappoint -- unless you happened to be one of the hapless human survivors trapped in the train car of death. A few days later, I chatted with actor Josh McDermitt, who plays mulleted scientist Dr. Eugene Porter, about the hit AMC series, the finale, transitioning from sitcoms to "The Walking Dead," why zombies continue to dominate in pop culture, which app would help him survive a zombie apocalypse, and his favorite mobile software.

What are your thoughts on "The Walking Dead" season finale? I thought … Read more

Star Apps: 'NCIS: Los Angeles'

Star Apps: 'NCIS: Los Angeles'

On CBS's "NCIS: Los Angeles," the running and gunning are great, but now and then it's nice to get a little comic relief from the show's resident techies, Eric Beale and Nell Jones, played by Barrett Foa and Renée Felice Smith.

Barrett, you have a theatrical background, and Renee has a comedy background. How does that play into your roles on "NCIS: Los Angeles"? Barrett Foa: Good question. I think that we kind of bring a fun, goofy, comedic vibe to the proceedings, which is a great foil for all the … Read more

Star Apps: David X. Cohen

Star Apps: David X. Cohen

When David X. Cohen was in graduate school, he hit the proverbial fork in the road. The Harvard graduate had a degree in physics and was studying theoretical computer science at U.C. Berkeley. Would he opt for a career in mathematics and computer science or take a gamble and become a comedy writer? Fortunately for "The Simpsons" and "Futurama" fans, he took the comedy route. Now an expert in three disciplines, Cohen will chat about the intersection of math, technology, and comedy writing at Moogfest 2014 (April 23-27).

Talk to us about your appearance at … Read more

Unity CEO David Helgason foretells the future of gaming

Unity CEO David Helgason foretells the future of gaming

Unity builds technology to help developers build games. At GDC 2014, I chatted with the CEO of Unity, David Helgason. The gaming innovator previewed some of the latest Unity 5 features that developers will be able to use, including improvements in lighting effects and audio mixing.

Games that use Unity:

Dead Trigger (Android)

Device 6 (iOS)

Facebook acquires Oculus VR

Facebook acquires Oculus VR

On Tuesday Facebook announced that it has completed an agreement to acquire the immersive virtual-reality tech company Oculus VR for $2 billion. Oculus VR is known for the Oculus Rift, a high-definition headset with motion-tracking capabilities and 3D display, which has been reaching record popularity in the game-development scene. The company recently came to GDC 2014 to showcase the second iteration of its Oculus development kit.

"Mobile is the platform of today, and now we're also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow," said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "Oculus has the chance to create … Read more

Google speeds WebP image format, brings animation support to Chrome

Google speeds WebP image format, brings animation support to Chrome

Google has built a new version of its WebP software into Chrome to let browsers display its image format 25 percent faster, the company said Friday.

The better performance new libwebp 0.4.0 is part of Google's general effort to speed up the Web, and the new software also uses less memory and fixes an issue that had blocked Google from supporting animated WebP images. The updated WebP support is built into the version of Chrome that's currently in beta.

Animated GIF images, popular on sites such as Tumblr and Imgur, are the last remaining holdout for … Read more

Papers, Please dominates IGF Awards at GDC 2014

Papers, Please dominates IGF Awards at GDC 2014

Many great indie games and AAA titles featured at GDC 2014 were collaborative efforts from highly talented individuals. But Papers, Please proves that there is still room in the gamers' hearts for lone-wolf developers. With an usual narrative, Papers, Please captures the emotional toll of working as an immigration officer in a fictional dystopian country. Using detective skills and powers of observation, players can allow or deny refuge for immigrants trying to get into the nation of Arstotzka.

Lucas Pope drew from personal experience as an American living abroad and applied the skills he acquired at Naughty Dog working on … Read more

Khronos finishes WebCL 1.0 to let Web apps tap into GPU

Khronos finishes WebCL 1.0 to let Web apps tap into GPU

WebGL has been a strong success, bringing hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser. Now the standards group behind it hopes to let Web apps get even more use out of the graphics chip by releasing version 1.0 of an interface called WebCL.

At this week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the Khronos Group standards body announced the ratification and release of WebCL 1.0. WebCL lets programmers run general-purpose tasks on a device's graphics processing unit (GPU) or on a multicore central processing unit (CPU), the main brain in computers and mobile devices.

Just as WebGL … Read more