Consumer software and hardware posts on CNET

Consumer software and hardware

Star Apps: Lyndsey Scott

Model Lyndsey Scott is used to the limelight -- she was an in-demand high-fashion and lingerie model for Prada, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, and Victoria's Secret. In recent months, she has generated positive buzz in the tech world after developing three apps: Educate, a companion app for the Educate organization, which helps develop future leaders in Uganda; iPort, a stylish portfolio app for models, architects, and artists; and The Matchmaker, an innovative social-networking app. But there was a time, back in high school, when Scott wasn't so popular and faced bullying. Scott talked with me about that harassment, … Read more

Star Apps: The Glitch Mob

Electronic trio the Glitch Mob's sophomore album, "Love Death Immortality," lives up to its epic title. The 10-track recording's grand, encompassing sound was honed onstage at some of the biggest worldwide venues over the past couple years, and the themes explored -- captured in the title -- are universal. In contrast to the group's debut album, "Drink the Sea," "Love Death Immortality" is richer, with real instrumentation, and more robust, with strong female guest voices. The band's live show is equally massive, with spectacular interactive concert visuals that the musicians … Read more

Skype for Android promises 'aggressive battery savings'

Smartphone makers are chasing new features like bigger screens, fingerprint readers, and motion sensors, but a consistent item I hear on ordinary people's wishlists is longer battery life.

Apparently somebody at Skype is listening.

Microsoft on Tuesday released an update to its service for voice, video, and text chat that comes with "aggressive battery savings," according to the Google Play store.

That means people can "leave Skype running all day with no noticeable battery drain," the company said.

One way the savings was achieved, though, was turning off push notifications for group chat. That can … Read more

Star Apps: Jason Dohring

Having played a 400-year-old vampire, a serial killer, mass murderer Timothy McVeigh, and most recently a murder suspect, actor Jason Dohring is no stranger to playing bad boys. Reprising his role as Logan Echolls, Veronica Mars's emotionally volatile ex in the silver-screen adaptation of hit TV show "Veronica Mars," Dohring is confident that longtime fans and newbies alike will enjoy watching teenage detective Veronica Mars all grown up and cracking another gripping case. "Veronica Mars" is currently playing in theaters nationwide.

The "Veronica Mars" film has become one of the most successful KickstarterRead more

Microsoft OneNote arrives as Mac, Windows freebie

A week ago, word leaked that Microsoft was preparing to release free versions of OneNote for Mac and for the Windows desktop. On March 17, Microsoft delivered both versions of its electronic note-taking and organizational application.

Microsoft is broadening OneNote's platform support so as to better compete with rivals, especially Evernote, on the note-taking/organizational front.

OneNote for Mac is available for download from the Mac App Store as of today. It's the first time OneNote has been available for the Mac. Previously, OneNote was available for Windows, Windows 8, Windows Phone, iPad, iPhone, Android tablets, Android phones, … 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

Microsoft offers Windows Phone free to device makers -- report

Microsoft reportedly will dole out Windows Phone for free to a couple of Indian phone makers to spur adoption in the country.

The software giant has been chatting with Indian phone makers about developing more affordable Windows Phone devices, The Times of India said on Thursday, citing "multiple industry sources with knowledge of the negotiations." Two device makers purportedly agreed, but only after Microsoft promised to drop the normal license fee for its mobile OS, according to the sources.

"For our planned Windows Phone handsets, we are not paying Microsoft a licence fee," a source at … Read more

Star Apps: Les Claypool

Primus frontman Les Claypool and M.I.R.V. guitarist Bryan Kehoe were jamming around the campfire one night. Claypool was suddenly inspired by the country music forced on him as a child -- Johnny Horton, Jerry Reed, and Vernon Dalhart -- and started playing his bass in a "Luther Perkins dig digga dang, dig digga dang" while Kehoe accompanied on guitar. They tested various songs, from obvious choices like Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans" and Primus' own "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" to less likely candidates such as Alice in … Read more

Facebook Messenger lands on Windows Phone

Windows Phone users can now download Facebook Messenger.

Already available for iOS and Android devices, the social network's dedicated chat app is now nestled in the Windows Phone Store.

A spinoff of the full Facebook mobile app, Facebook Messenger lets you chat with one or more of your friends, share your location, and perk up your chats with pictures and stickers.

The launch doesn't come as a surprise. At last week's Mobile World Congress, Microsoft announced that Facebook Messenger would soon land on Windows Phone.

"Facebook Messenger is probably one of the most requested individual apps … Read more

Skype rolls out to Outlook.com users worldwide

Users of Outlook.com around the world can now tap into Skype without having to leave their inbox.

Skype integration with Outlook.com is now available worldwide, according to a blog posted Tuesday by Skype marketing executive Karen Tong. The expanded rollout follows a limited release for users in the US, UK, Germany, and other countries last year.

To enable Skype integration with your Outlook.com account, first download and install the necessary plugin. After the installation completes, you're prompted to open your Outlook.com account.

In Outlook.com, click the Messaging icon on the upper right corner. If … Read more