The Download Blog

Star Apps: Chelsea Handler

Star Apps: Chelsea Handler

Comedian Chelsea Handler spent seven years questioning celebrities about their latest projects on "Chelsea Lately." Now the retired talk show host is partnering with Netflix to create comedy special "Uganda Be Kidding Me Live" and four mockumentaries in which she gets answers to some of life's mysteries, like where apps come from.

What makes Uganda an untapped resource for good comedy material? Well, I always figure anywhere I travel is an untapped resource for material. I always end up having a good time, and I like to give America the reputation that I've given … Read more

Star Apps: Michael Franti

Star Apps: Michael Franti

Singer and musician Michael Franti's activism is a mainstay. What's changed over his almost 30-year career is his perspective on how best to effect change. "As I've grown, I want to be part of the solution, and I want to be not just pointing the finger at things that are wrong but saying how we can be part of fixing it," he says. I chatted with Franti about his tour, how he creates change at home, how we can be part of the solution, and the app that's become a positive force in his … Read more

6 browsers to change the way you surf the Web

6 browsers to change the way you surf the Web

Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari are the most popular gateways to the Internet, but if you find these mainstream browsers lacking, we have six feature-rich alternatives worth checking out.

Chrome alternative

Opera (Windows, Mac)

Opera is best known for innovating browser features that become essential, such as tabs and Speed Dial (a visual grid displaying bookmarks and favorite sites). Since Opera adopted WebKit and began taking code from the Chromium Project, it has become a great Google Chrome alternative. Opera runs Chrome extensions alongside its own add-ons, but what stands out most is Opera's touch-friendly interface -- now … Read more

7 holiday crafting apps

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

Star Apps: SoMo

Star Apps: SoMo

SoMo, aka Joseph Somers-Morales, became a YouTube sensation covering Chris Brown and Drake. Then he became a chart sensation (No. 1 on iTunes, No. 6 on Billboard) with the release of his self-penned, self-titled debut album. Now he wants to write hits for others. I chatted with SoMo about the baby makers, his dirty thoughts in the studio, and the app that makes him feel close to his writing partners.

When did you discover that you could sing? I knew my whole life. My dad's a musician, so I grew up around it. It wasn't really ever did … Read more

Star Apps: James Iha

Star Apps: James Iha

Guitarist James Iha has rarely had a free moment since leaving The Smashing Pumpkins in 2000. He has guested on Fountains of Wayne albums, joined A Perfect Circle, released solo material, and produced myriad artists, including Michael Stipe, Cat Power, and St. Lucia. Recently he scored Hulu original series "Deadbeat." James Iha talks about why mobile television is the wave of the future, working with Billy Corgan versus Maynard James Keenan versus Taylor Hanson, and his favorite app for rare moments of boredom.

How would you compare solo work to playing in a band or scoring a TV … Read more

10 unbeatable Black Friday shopping apps

10 unbeatable Black Friday shopping apps

The mall is a combat zone on Black Friday, and you need a strategy for snatching the prime deals and getting out quickly. Put these 10 apps in your arsenal for a fighting chance at getting everything you need at the lowest possible prices. And for the top tech deals, check out CNET's Black Friday guide.

Giftster Wish List Registry ( iOS, Android)

Don't play the guessing game about what friends and family want, or risk your selections ending up in the regifting pile. Instead, share holiday wish lists with Giftster. You can easily mark an item as reserved … Read more

Star Apps: 'The Imitation Game'

Star Apps: 'The Imitation Game'

Generally, victors win the spoils of war, but all Alan Turing got was a spoiled legacy. Winston Churchill called him the greatest contributor to Allied victory, and today's programmers call him the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, but Turing lived his post-World War II years disgraced by a homosexuality conviction. "The Imitation Game," starring Benedict Cumberbatch, aims to correct this wrong. I spoke with screenwriter Graham Moore ("The Sherlockian," "The Devil in the White City") and actor Allen Leech ("Rome," "The Tudors," "Downton Abbey"), … Read more

Star Apps: Jena Malone

Star Apps: Jena Malone

Jena Malone ("Saved," "Pride & Prejudice," "Into the Wild," "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire") has been acting for almost 20 years and recording music for eight. She and Lem Jay Ignacio are The Shoe, which this year released its first full-length album, "I'm OK." You can see Jena Malone now in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1." We talked about The Shoe, shooting nude, and balancing her music and film careers.

The band is called The Shoe because? The Shoe is whatever instrument I want to … Read more

7 charitable apps for easy giving

7 charitable apps for easy giving

November is a time to give, whether you're growing a mustache to support men's health or donating food for Thanksgiving meals. With the seven apps we've found, you can be a do-gooder by simply doing what you usually do -- buying groceries, taking a walk, or playing a game.

Charity Miles

Don't wait for that 5K for charity: rack up dollars as you rack up miles on your regular walks, runs, or bike rides. Download Charity Miles (iOS, Android), choose from 28 established charities, and launch the app with each workout. Corporate sponsors will donate funds … Read more