The Download Blog

11 apps for surviving natural disasters

11 apps for surviving natural disasters

It's shark week on TV, but for many of us danger is closer to home. Summer is the season for tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires -- do you know what to do in case of emergency? Boost your chances of survival with our top 11 natural disaster apps. (And if you want to keep an eye on the sharks anyway, try Expedition White Shark for iOS or Global Shark Tracker for iOS and Android.)

Preparation

Earth Alerts ( Windows)

Don't get caught in a hurricane. Add your location in premier weather-watching app Earth Alerts, and you'll get up-to-the-minute reports … Read more

Star Apps: Semi Precious Weapons

Star Apps: Semi Precious Weapons

It's been four long years since Semi Precious Weapons released "You Love You" (2010), the follow-up to its debut, "We Love You" (2008). The LA-based quartet is best known for supporting artists such as Lady Gaga and Kesha, and now it's back with "Aviation," whose kick-off single, "Aviation High," is in heavy rotation on alternative rock radio. The 12-track disc, produced by Grammy-winning, multiplatinum producer Tricky Stewart (Beyoncé, Rihanna, Frank Ocean) finds the band flying from its rock roots into more R&B and pop territory. Semi Precious … Read more

Star Apps: Adult

Star Apps: Adult

Adult first exploded onto the electronic scene back in 2002 with the single "Contagious" from debut album "Resuscitation." Last year's "The Way Things Fall" demonstrates that the electro-punk duo has only improved with age. Adult will soon be mixing tracks from this latest LP into a career-spanning set at Moogfest 2014 (April 23-27).

What can you tell us about your upcoming Moogfest performance? We use the same principles for songwriting that we use for playing live. We try to write songs we would like to hear, and we try to put together a … Read more

Star Apps: Orgy

Star Apps: Orgy

Synth-rock band Orgy first gained fame with a cover of New Order's "Blue Monday." The single sold 1 million copies, catapulted the band to the top of the modern rock and dance charts, and introduced New Order to a new generation of fans. Orgy singer Jay Gordon hopes the group's new EDM-tinged rock single "Wide Awake and Dead" and forthcoming EP have similar success.

You reformed Orgy in 2012 and released "Grime of the Century." Why is now the right time to bring Orgy back? Well, why not? And I just didn'… Read more

Use Meet Me Halfway for Android to find a meetup spot

Use Meet Me Halfway for Android to find a meetup spot

When you're trying to meet up with a friend or family member, it's sometimes hard to decide on a halfway spot. You may prefer a restaurant that's near you, and the same may be true for the person you want to meet. Meet Me Halfway is an app to help find the places in the middle of two points, so travel is equal for both people.

Grab a copy of Meet Me Halfway for your Android device. The app is available for Android 2.2 and up.

Put in your address, or a point near, … Read more

Back up your Schemer data and use these alternatives

Back up your Schemer data and use these alternatives

Google will be shutting down Schemer on February 7, 2014. After this date, all accounts and their associated data will be deleted. That means it's time to back up your schemes before they're wiped from existence.

You may have received an e-mail with a link to export your data. If you didn't, you can do the export at this link. You'll be directed to log-in to the Schemer Web site and request a copy of your schemes, which will be delivered by e-mail. Google says that the backup copy may take 24 hours … Read more

Google Maps update brings new features and is now iPad-compatible

Google Maps update brings new features and is now iPad-compatible

Google Maps version 2.0 rolled out Wednesday morning, almost a week after the updated Android debut. The update finally brings G. Maps to the big(ger) screen, plus a plethora of welcome features. Here are some you should keep an eye out for.

1. Explore

It seems like the big G is butting heads with rivals, Yelp and Foursquare with its Explore function. Instead of inputting a destination, you can pull down the touch keyboard to see the Explore panel. Explore gives you five different options of Eat, Drink, Shop, Play, and Sleep. Each Explore option will pull up … Read more

Maps is navigating toward Google Now

Maps is navigating toward Google Now

On Tuesday night, Google released an update to Google Maps on Android, featuring a redesigned interface that more closely incorporates a cleaner, card-based look, and a reduction in onscreen menu items and buttons.

Both design changes for Android phones and tablets resemble each other for the most part. Navigation received a noticeable upgrade; so now, when you search for directions, Google Maps will suggest alternate routes during heavy traffic periods and potentially even during inconvenient delays in public transportation.

Whereas much of this is reminiscent of the iOS version a couple months back, Google Maps still retains its signature Android … Read more

Top apps to track severe weather

Top apps to track severe weather

Though the official 2013 hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, the news earlier this week out of Moore, Okla., is a sobering reminder that dangerous weather comes in many forms, and you often don't know where the next disaster may strike. Even now, many states are being pounded by heavy storms as the cleanup from the tornado in Moore is still under way.

Recently, I collected a few weather apps that are great for a quick glance at the weather, but those apps won't help you much in severe weather conditions. For more-serious weather activity, … Read more

Nokia brings LiveSight to Here Maps on Windows Phone 8

Nokia brings LiveSight to Here Maps on Windows Phone 8

LAS VEGAS -- You won't see a new phone from Nokia at CTIA, but the company did reveal it was expanding its already impressive Here Maps for Windows Phone 8 devices.

Available today is an update that will integrate the company's LiveSight augmented reality feature. Previously available only through the CityLens app, LiveSight pulls up nearby locations and displays relevant information like the type of business or attraction, the hours, the address and phone number, and customer ratings.

You access LiveSight mode through a dedicated control in the Here interface. Once activated, you'll see the points of … Read more