Windows software

Star Apps: Callan McAuliffe

"Kite" is an anime turned live-action movie about Sawa (India Eisley), a young prostitute who becomes an assassin to avenge her parents' murders. You might think it's another formulaic vigilante movie. However, bolstered by an engrossing revenge story, an expert performance by lead actor Callan McAuliffe ("The Great Gatsby," "I Am Number Four") as Sawa's sidekick, Oburi, and thrilling action sequences, "Kite" soars.

Have you seen the original Japanese film? Yes, I saw it shortly after being cast in the film. It's supremely violent and very, very sexual, and … Read more

Star Apps: Michael Cuesta

When Michael Cuesta ("L.I.E.," "12 and Holding," "Homeland") signed on as director of "Kill the Messenger," starring Jeremy Renner as Pulitzer Prize-winning San Jose Mercury News journalist Gary Webb, he was already familiar with Webb's controversial story. What he didn't yet know was how much he had in common with the late investigative reporter, who exposed the CIA for engaging in cocaine smuggling to fund Nicaraguan Contra militias. "Gary Webb wasn't what people imagine journalists to be, like snobby intellectuals," he said. "He loved … Read more

Star Apps: Paul Budnitz

A year ago, Ello founder Paul Budnitz was frustrated with all the ad-driven, privacy-compromising social networks, so the established entrepreneur (Budnitz Bicycles, Kidrobot) decided to form his own. For a year, the site was limited to Budnitz and his 100 closest friends, but as demand to join increased, he opened it up to the public. Initially Ello saw a healthy 10 to 15 percent growth rate -- until a combination of dissatisfaction with Facebook's name policy, media attention, and word of mouth thrust Ello into the spotlight. I chatted with Paul Budnitz about Ello's explosive growth, what it … Read more

8 keyboard apps for iOS 8

Before iOS 8, those who didn't like iPhone's bare-bones keyboard had no alternative. Apple has expanded iPhone's default keyboard to include hundreds of emoji, but now it also supports keyboard apps from other companies, meaning more ways to make your thumbs happy. Whether you hate your default keyboard or just want to try something new, tap into our picks for iOS keyboard apps. Then read CNET's step-by-step guide to installing custom keyboards in iOS 8.

Swiping, not typing

SwiftKey

If you find typing tedious, SwiftKey's predictive texting saves you time by incorporating your common words … Read more

Star Apps: Suzi Quatro

When rock icon Suzi Quatro picked up her first guitar in the '50s, she had no women role models, so she turned to Elvis. "I had an epiphany that I knew that I wanted to be just like him -- at that age," she said. "It's crazy that it happened that young. But I have always been aware of my path." Over the course of a 50-year career, Quatro has won legions of fans for singles such as "Can the Can," "If You Can't Give Me Love," "Stumblin' In&… Read more

Star Apps: Colbie Caillat

When Colbie Caillat began work on her fourth album, the uptempo "Gypsy Heart," the Grammy-winning, multiplatinum singer was at a career crossroads. The record label wanted her to capitalize on the recent success of Miley Cyrus' "Bangerz" with a sexier release, but Caillat was unsure. A fortunate intervention from producer Babyface kept the singer true to herself and resulted in anthemic single "Try," which admonishes women to embrace their truest beauty. The accompanying video has garnered 25 million views on YouTube and Vevo. Colbie Caillat opened up to me about rediscovering her authentic self, … Read more

6 apps with Windows 10 features

Microsoft has just announced Windows 10 for 2015, which will work across PCs, tablets, and phones. If you're in the Windows Insider program, you can try a preview build now, but you'll be installing software that's still being tested. Instead, here's how to get Windows 10 functionality right on your Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 PC.

Curb Start button withdrawal with Start8 or Start Menu 8

Killing the Start button was a bad call. Microsoft tried to appease users with the largely unhelpful Windows 8.1 pseudo-Start. Windows 10 will resurrect the button with some … Read more

Get IObit Malware Fighter for 55 percent off

If you're looking for a supplemental anti-malware program that is both light on system resources and your wallet, IObit is offering its popular Malware Fighter for 55 percent off for the next 2 weeks.

What you'll get with Malware Fighter:

"Smart One-Stop Solution" to remove all security threats in one click. Ad blocking while surfing. Security Reinforce to enhance system protection -- especially for Windows XP. Real-time protection technology to protect your PC in an unobtrusive and intelligent way. Fast scans without slowing your PC down.

Whether security is your main concern or you're just … Read more

Star Apps: Phantogram

Electronic rock duo Phantogram is named after an optical illusion that makes 2D images appear 3D, but the talents of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter are plain to see and hear. I chatted with Carter about the twosome's most recent album, "Voices," the meanings behind some of their most heartfelt lyrics, keeping their almost 20-year friendship alive, and his favorite apps.

On both of your albums, the name Lucy keeps coming up. Who's Lucy? Lucy is an imaginary character that we made up. When I was writing "When I'm Small," there was a … Read more

Star Apps: Richard Reed Parry

When Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry produced his solo album of classical compositions, "Music for Heart and Breath," he made it as much for himself as he did for fans. "For me it has a centering quality and brings me in touch with some quality of quiet inner voice and inner rhythm that perhaps gets lost in one's daily life," he says. Parry is currently touring the album. I chatted with Richard Reed Parry about making the album, the challenges of working solo, his stage show, and his favorite apps.

What are the unique … Read more