7 holiday crafting apps

Nothing's more thoughtful or personal than a handmade gift or message -- and often they're less expensive than store-bought goods, too. Create holiday cards, scrapbooks, and even stylish gift wrap with these seven creative crafting apps.

Craft & Home Projects Magazine ( iOS)

With vivid photos and beginner-friendly directions, the Craft & Home Projects Magazine app is a great resource for crafting year-round. For the holidays, it offers dozens of ideas for easy-to-make decorations: wreaths, stockings, centerpieces, sweaters, and more.

ScrapPad ( iOS)

Scrapbooks capture memories to last a lifetime, but making them shouldn't take as long. With ScrapPad, … Read more

Review: Desktop Christmas Snow produces gently falling snow in the background

Desktop Christmas Snow adds an enchanting element to your computer by producing images of tiny snowflakes falling in the background. The flakes are hardly more than tiny dots on the screen, but they fall in a pattern just like that of gently falling snow, and the app perfectly creates the feeling of the holidays or winter time without being a distraction to you as you work.

This application is as straightforward to install as it is to run. All you have to do is open the downloaded file and the snow magically begins to fall. There is nothing fancy about … Read more

Teen, upset at not getting iPhone for Xmas, allegedly pulls knife on dad

Christmas is a time when happy families get together to express just how happy they are.

Parents spend their last dime to buy their way into kids' graces, while the kids are only happy if they can show off the fruits of their loving labors to their friends.

Things don't always work out harmoniously, however.

In the Brockton, Mass., home of the Torres family, there was allegedly some familial strife.

As The Enterprise reports, police say that 18-year-old Alexander Torres didn't feel like Alexander the Great. The reason? He didn't get an iPhone for Christmas.

In previous … Read more

Online holiday spending up, but not as much as expected

Shoppers who made purchases via their desktop computers spent 10 percent more this holiday season than last, according to ComScore, but that was less than the 14 percent increase the market research firm had expected.

ComScore had predicted that US shoppers using desktop computers to make purchases would spend $48.1 billion in e-commerce between November 1 and December 22. Instead, the actual tally for the season came in at $42.8 million.

"Our expectations for the online holiday shopping season anticipated that consumers would spend heavily later into the season out of necessity to make up for the … Read more

At Christmas, a gadget is all some people have

We eat. We drink. We are merry.

We are enveloped in those we love, even if they don't always love us.

We pull out our phones to record the events. This is a special time. We are all together.

But at Christmas, not everyone experiences togetherness. Not everyone can turn to someone next to them and tell them a story, a feeling or a memory. Not everyone can wave their iPhone around the room, in an attempt to preserve the moment.

There are people who will spend Christmas alone.

While we, especially in these pages, debate the merits of … Read more

Internet cat Lil BUB about to make your holiday purrfect

Sure Grumpy Cat gets to hang out with other cat celebrities like Colonel Meow, Oskar the Blind Cat, Nala Cat, and Hamilton the Hipster Cat to make a cool Christmas music video, but wouldn't you rather spend the holidays with a cat who enjoys the simpler things, like a soft carpet and a cozy fireplace to sleep in front of?

Lil BUB, the cute cat with the tongue sticking out, has her own festive video of her relaxing in front of a roaring fireplace. The soothing sounds of Lil BUB purring and the crackling of the burning wood are the perfect backdrop for any Christmas activities. … Read more

Cheap last-minute gifts for your favorite tech nerd

Well, here we are, folks -- the home stretch. You've got less than 48 hours to solve your procrastination woes, to find the ultimate tech gift for that special someone. Have no fear; the Cheapskate is here.

1. A gift subscription to Next Issue

Tablets are great for reading -- not just books, but also magazines. Next Issue is an all-you-can-read digital magazine service that affords unlimited access to around 125 titles -- good, mainstream mags that people actually want to read.

Thus, for as little as $14.99, you can gift a subscription that includes Better Homes and … Read more

Target hack hits 40M accounts

CNET Update follows the bouncing ball:

In this episode of CNET Update:

- Watch your credit and bank statements if you shopped at a Target store recently. Hackers stole detailed credit card info for 40 million customers.

- Don't worry too much about the annoyance of in-flight phone chatter. Some airlines are dismissing the idea.

- Windows Phone users can stream between devices with new Xbox video and music apps.

- Google's Search app helps you go caroling. If you're not the sing-along type, there's plenty of free holiday music to stream.

CNET Update delivers the … Read more

Control an office Christmas tree with your browser

Incredible Machines, a design agency known for playing with art and technology, has a different kind of holiday card this year. It has invited the Web browser-wielding public to hack the office Christmas tree.

The tree is stocked with a Visualight Wi-Fi-enabled lighting platform of the agency's own creation. The site runs a live video feed of the tree. Beneath it are controls that let you choose the LED color and command the tree to blink on one of three speeds: slow, medium, and insane-speed. I made that last one up -- it's actually called "fast."… Read more

Google Search on Android, iOS helps you go caroling

This is a cool trick courtesy of Google: using the Google Search app on iOS or Android along with a special command leads to an unexpected response.

After launching Google Now on your Android device or Google's Search app on your iOS device, you simply launch a voice search (or you can type in the phrase) by saying, "OK, Google Now, let's go caroling."

In response, Google will provide you with a list of Christmas carols to choose from. Once you select one, you'll have the option to play the song, complete with lyrics and … Read more