The Download Blog

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

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: Kenny Loggins

Star Apps: Kenny Loggins

In the late '70s, Kenny Loggins eagerly left popular duo Loggins and Messina for an even more successful solo career with hits like "This Is It," "I'm Alright," "Footloose," and "Danger Zone." He never predicted he'd someday be in another group -- this time a trio, Blue Sky Riders. I chatted with the onetime king of movie soundtracks about Blue Sky Riders, his thoughts on the "Footloose" and "Top Gun" remakes, and his favorite apps.

How would you describe a Blue Sky Riders show? BSR shows … Read more

Star Apps: 'Big Hero 6'

Star Apps: 'Big Hero 6'

Marvel comic turned 3D animation "Big Hero 6" began production in 2012, and since then its health-monitoring robot has come a little closer to reality thanks to wearables and health apps. But unlike an app, Baymax the robot cares, looking after prodigy Hiro's physical and emotional well-being after his brother Tadashi's tragic death. Directors Don Hall ("Winnie the Pooh") and Chris Williams ("Bolt") talk about compassionate health care, drawing, and their favorite apps.

The thing that struck me most about the film is how much Baymax replicates the experience of Apple HealthKit … Read more

9 apps that enhance iOS 8's camera

9 apps that enhance iOS 8's camera

iOS 8 gave the iPhone's camera app a major upgrade: automatic straightening and cropping, one-touch light and color adjustments, built-in filters and editing tools, time-lapse videos, and the iCloud Photo Library, among other improvements. But for iPhotographers who want more manual control over their photos, sharing options, and storage, here are our nine picks for photo apps that play well with iOS 8.

More features for control freaks

VSCO Cam

When you're out and about, you don't want miss an important shot because you're searching through a cluttered app. VSCO Cam has a streamlined, minimal interface … Read more

7 must-have apps for iPad

7 must-have apps for iPad

Just one month after announcing new iPhones and watches, Apple will unveil another set of new products on Thursday. While nothing is official yet, we're anticipating next-generation iPads and Macs, the final release of Yosemite OS, and perhaps an Apple TV update. For the iPad, there are rumors of fingerprint sensors and a new color. Whether or not you're ready for a tablet upgrade, our seven app picks will enhance your iPad experience.

Snapseed

This award-winning iPad app is both feature-packed and free. Great for amateur photographers on the go, Snapseed lets you autocorrect photos in a snap. … Read more

Star Apps: Phantogram

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: Sharon Needles

Star Apps: Sharon Needles

Scare queen Sharon Needles has long regarded Facebook as a necessary evil. On the one hand, it's "nothing but a bunch of teenage f--- brats, seeing who they can piss off the most." But on the other hand, the popular social media site is a way for the "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 4 winner to connect with fans and share album releases and tour dates. Now that Facebook is forcing users to use their legal names or risk losing their accounts, the performance artist has downgraded her opinion to just plain evil. I chatted … Read more

Star Apps: Chris Jericho

Star Apps: Chris Jericho

"Do You Wanna Start a War," the title track on Fozzy's sixth studio album, is a self-empowerment song about defeating the opposition. Lead singer Chris Jericho knows a thing or two about this very thing, as he's twice proved detractors wrong: first as a wrestler and later as a rock singer. He's a six-time WWE champion with a top 20 rock album, shows with Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold under his belt, and a current tour. I chatted with Chris Jericho about overcoming the haters, the lessons he's learned, his recent death hoax, and his … Read more

Star Apps: Amy Acker

Star Apps: Amy Acker

On CBS series "Person of Interest," Amy Acker plays Root, a hacker and assassin. In real life, the actress -- who has also played Fred/Illyria on "Angel" and Kelly Peyton on "Alias" -- jokes that her grade-school-age son is more tech savvy than she is. I chatted with Amy Acker about Season 4 of "Person of Interest," her most memorable fan encounters, and her favorite mobile apps.

What's Root's defining characteristic? Probably loyalty. She looks out for all the team and does anything the machine asks and never questions … Read more