The Download Blog

Software week in review, July 25

Software week in review, July 25

This week we're hoping to recruit William Shatner, who decided to boldly go into software reviews, evaluating Facebook Pages on his new Tumblr. In other news, Apple's next OS is now in public beta, Microsoft wants one Windows to rule them all, and everyone's talking Tor. To get the latest reviews and features from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Security and privacy

Black Hat and Def Con are a little over a week away, so it's not surprising that Tor is on the minds of many. This week a Black Hat talkRead more

9 apps for the 4th of July

9 apps for the 4th of July

We celebrate the Fourth of July with backyard BBQ and "Independence Day" reruns. But the holiday's about honoring America's fiercely independent spirit and the patriots who fought for our enduring political freedoms. Nothing symbolizes the spirit of independence better than fireworks, which have been part of Fourth of July festivities since 1777. To find, photograph, or even play with fireworks, check out our picks for the best fireworks-themed apps.

Eventful

Not sure where to go for the best view of the fireworks? Eventful (iOS) is like Yelp for local activities. Get alerts and search for nearby … Read more

Google I/O recap: Major Android news; Chrome OS update

Google I/O recap: Major Android news; Chrome OS update

Today Google kicked off its annual I/O conference with announcements about Android, Chrome OS, its answer to Apple's HealthKit, and the next generation of developer tools.

Introducing Android L: Android OS's KitKat successor doesn't have a name yet, but it'll begin with L. The platform update will attempt to unite Web and app user experiences through the Material Design interface. Developers will be able to use Google's new Polymer toolkit to design Web apps that look like their Android counterparts, including 3D rendering. Android L also promises notifications on the lock screen (like iOS … Read more

8 Father's Day apps for Dad

8 Father's Day apps for Dad

Call us sentimental, but we think Father's Day gifts should be meaningful. So before you pick up that typical tie or boring bottle of cologne, check out these eight fun, free (or low-cost) apps to keep your pappy happy and create lasting memories. For some gadgets to go with those apps, check out CNET's Father's Day Tech Gift Guide.

Golfshot Clubs bring people together, and that includes those of the golf variety. Spend a day bonding with Dad on the golf course. Show up with Golfshot and you'll get GPS distances for hundreds of thousands of … Read more

Star Apps: Taylor Kitsch

Star Apps: Taylor Kitsch

For Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch, playing hockey offers a great escape, and so does playing a diverse range of characters. Kitsch is best known for his roles in "Friday Night Lights," "Savages," "John Carter," and "Battleship." In his new film, "The Grand Seduction," he plays urbane Dr. Paul Lewis, a reluctant suburbanite won over by the townsfolk of a small fishing village, who want to land a lucrative business contract.

The role of Dr. Paul Lewis, an eccentric doctor with a penchant for cricket, is not your typical action hero … Read more

Get Pixar's rendering software behind 'Toy Story' absolutely free

Get Pixar's rendering software behind 'Toy Story' absolutely free

Pixar's award-winning, in-house rendering software, RenderMan, will be free starting in August. All you have to do is sign up. The Emeryville studio has announced that it will offer the $500 rendering software for free, provided it is used for noncommercial purposes. The animation giant has also stated that the "free non-commercial RenderMan is exactly the same as the commercial version." This is pretty awesome news for aspiring digital artists.

The free version of RenderMan will be released with its commercial counterpart sometime in August. You can sign up here to get notified once it goes live. … Read more

Name your own price coding bundle at Udemy

Name your own price coding bundle at Udemy

We're doing something a little different this week. Instead of the usual software deal, we've partnered with StackSocial to bring you some of the best coding classes on popular online learning platform Udemy. The price? You decide. The best part is that 10 percent of your purchase will go to the charity of your choice. This deal is available through StackSocial.

Learn how to be a Web developer, design your own Web site, or just improve your coding skills with these lectures, videos, and tutorials. Beat the average price (currently $14.66), and you'll get all eight … Read more

The software week in review for May 23

The software week in review for May 23

This week Facebookers unearthed a Zuckasaurus, eBayers learned their info was exposed, Apple fans spread iOS 8 rumors, and a flock of new releases landed on the Internet. Read on for our recap, and to get the latest product reviews and updates from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Threatdown

On Thursday Facebook announced two new privacy features. First, the default setting for new users will be to share posts with friends only. Current users can, of course, make that same choice in the Settings menu. Second, in the next few weeks, Facebook will introduce a … Read more

Star Apps: Richard Edwards from Margot & the Nuclear So and So's

Star Apps: Richard Edwards from Margot & the Nuclear So and So's

Margot & the Nuclear So and So's frontman Richard Edwards speaks like he sings, calmly and deliberately. The band, from Chicago and Indianapolis and named after a Wes Anderson character, has released its sixth album, "Sling Shot to Heaven." The 13 tranquil tracks are highlighted by Edward's soothing finger-picking and hypnotic, Chris Martin-esque vocals. I chatted with Richard Edwards about the new album, the "Lazy" single, social media, and his favorite apps.

It's common knowledge that you named the band after the Gwyneth Paltrow character in "The Royal Tenenbaums." Are you … Read more

Star Apps: Lyndsey Scott

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