Android software

Star Apps: Mobb Deep

Mobb Deep is one of the most successful rap acts, with millions of records sold, including tracks like "Survival of the Fittest,'" "Shook Ones Part II," and "Quiet Storm RMX." But the duo's unity has been tested numerous times, including a feud that spilled over onto Twitter and caused a brief split back in 2012. Prodigy and Havoc have patched things up and reunited for the 20th anniversary of breakout album "Juvenile Hell" (1993) and the upcoming release of their first studio album in eight years, "The Infamous Mobb Deep,&… Read more

3 Spritz-like speed-reading apps for Android

When the Samsung Galaxy S5 was announced, details emerged about Spritz -- a speed-reading feature that comes built-in to some apps on the phone. Spritz uses rapid serial visual presentation, or RSVP, to display words one after another using a single focal point. The company calls this point the optimal recognition point, or ORP.

The technology isn't exactly new -- it dates back to the 1970s -- and it was even used in software for last decade's phones. In 2005 CNET covered a demo version of BuddyBuzz, mobile software that could display one word at a time on … Read more

Retro-style games are modern classics

After reviewing Devious Dungeon, it occurred to me that the classic platformer game genre is far from dead. Even though the graphics for smartphone games have reached amazing heights with games like Real Racing 3, the Modern Combat franchise, and countless other top-tier titles, what's interesting to me is that games that look like they could be played on a '90s-era gaming console continue to be popular with today's gamers.

A steady stream of retro-looking platformer titles have had great success and continue to fly up the App Store's most-popular lists, relying more on tried-and-true gameplay than … Read more

Star Apps: David J

If you want to hear David J's new album, "An Eclipse of Ships," but can't make it to Austin for his three SXSW shows (March 12-16), you'll have to wait till spring. The acoustic album features musicians on violin, acoustic piano, Rhodes, stand-up bass, mandolin, oboe, percussion, and a bevy of acoustic guitars. It's a celebration of women -- some known to the artist and some conjured up in fantasies.

David J's time as founding member of death rock band Bauhaus ("Bela Lugosi's Dead," "Dark Entries," "Kick … Read more

Star Apps: Dirty Vegas

Leading up to Dirty Vegas's SXSW appearances, vocalist Steve Smith talks about new video "Let the Night," the story behind "Days Go By," favorite software for DJing and production, and his top five apps.

British EDM duo Dirty Vegas first found fame when its debut single "Days Go By" reached the top of the 2002 club charts, won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording, and appeared in a Mitsubishi Eclipse car commercial. Three top 20 albums and five top 40 club hits later, Dirty Vegas vocalist Steve Smith chatted with me about new … Read more

WhatsApp pooh-poohs report of security flaw

The people behind WhatsApp are rebutting a report contending that the app is vulnerable because your chats can be stored on an Android phone's SD card.

Earlier this week, DoubleThink chief technology officer Bas Bosschert posted a blog alleging that hackers could use a malicious app to tap into your WhatsApp conversations by uploading the database from the SD card to a Web site. To prove his point, Bosschert said he created an app that was able to snag and read the database files.

In response, a spokesperson for WhatsApp called the report "overstated" and issued the … Read more

Star Apps: Kraak & Smaak

Dutch DJ trio Kraak & Smaak are best known in the US for singles like 2008's "Squeeze Me" and 2010's "Dynamite." A soulful house track, "The Future Is Yours," leads off "Chrome Waves" (perhaps my favorite party album of 2013) and has already topped US college radio charts. Kraak & Smaak returned to SXSW this week for three shows.

Are you excited to return to SXSW? What will you be doing there? It's great to be back again. We missed the US a lot! We will do three showcases … Read more

Hit iOS game Threes! arrives for Android

There were some absolutely brilliant mobile games released last month, not least of which was Threes! by Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend. The premise of Threes is simple: pair matching numbers, beginning with threes. Your base units are twos and ones, which you push together to create a three; from there, you have to place matching numbers next to each other, then push them together to create a single, doubled number. The idea, of course, is to get the number higher and higher, until you hit the highest number achievable in the game -- 6144 -- on a four-by-four grid … Read more

Google Wallet app now tracks your online buys

Google introduced a new feature in its Google Wallet app on Wednesday, to help buyers keep a close eye on their online purchases.

The new tool for recent online orders pulls its information from receipts found in your Gmail accounts.

In addition to viewing receipts from orders placed through a variety of retailers, Google Wallet will soon also track shipments from "primary package carriers," presumably FedEx, UPS, and USPS. Google also goes the extra step to provide email and phone contacts for the merchants you deal with, if you need to follow up on a delivery.

Note that … Read more

File your return from anywhere with these top tax apps

Avoid the mad, end-of-tax-season scramble by getting some apps to help you calculate how much you owe Uncle Sam. Even if you've already filed, these apps can help you get organized and prepared for next year's return.

Organizing your tax records

Shoeboxed (iOS, Android)

Gone are the days of keeping all your receipts in a box above the fridge. Shoeboxed makes it easier to track your expenses -- just take a photo of your receipts, and Shoeboxed will safely store them. From there the app will archive based on dates and sort your spending into different categories (food, … Read more