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

5 frightening indie games

5 frightening indie games

This has been a banner year for big-budget horror games: Guillermo del Toro and Hideo Kojima's widely acclaimed Silent Hills P.T. Demo, Resident Evil veteran Shinji Mikami's The Evil Within, Ridley Scott's Alien: Isolation. But indie shops are on the scream team, too -- check out our picks for the top 5 most terrifying of 2014.

Lurking ( WindowsMac)

In Lurking, you must escape an asylum and avoid capture by the twisted residents, using only your hearing and wits. You must rely on echolocation, each sound you make revealing more of the world you're … Read more

Star Apps: Paul Budnitz

Star Apps: Paul Budnitz

A year ago, Ello founder Paul Budnitz was frustrated with all the ad-driven, privacy-compromising social networks, so the established entrepreneur (Budnitz Bicycles, Kidrobot) decided to form his own. For a year, the site was limited to Budnitz and his 100 closest friends, but as demand to join increased, he opened it up to the public. Initially Ello saw a healthy 10 to 15 percent growth rate -- until a combination of dissatisfaction with Facebook's name policy, media attention, and word of mouth thrust Ello into the spotlight. I chatted with Paul Budnitz about Ello's explosive growth, what it … Read more

Friday Five

Friday Five

Thousands of apps and updates come out each week, but the five products that piqued our interest this week offer time-lapse videos, an iOS edition of a premium first-person shooter, 64-bit browsing, free photo editing, and 1TB of storage.

Instagram introduced another iOS app this week, Hyperlapse, a free and seriously easy way to shoot and share time-lapse videos. There's just one button, Record, and other than playback speed, there aren't lots of settings or filters to fuss with. Read our Hyperlapse review, and see CNET's simple how-to and some best practices for great videos.

If you'… Read 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

Star Apps: Body Count Featuring Ice-T

Star Apps: Body Count Featuring Ice-T

Rapper-actor Ice-T is a true original gangster. Best known to a younger generation as Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," Ice-T originally felt more at home on the other side of the law, committing crimes and later writing lyrics about them. His most controversial song, recorded with with his band Body Count, is "Cop Killer," a polarizing track released between the Rodney King beating and the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Body Count's latest album, "Manslaughter," came out earlier this month, and the band will promote it … 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

Star Apps: Frameline 38

Star Apps: Frameline 38

Gay adoption, helicopter moms, and a pioneering gay athlete are just three of the stories at this year's Frameline 38: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, taking place June 19-29. Actor Alec Mapa ("Switched at Birth," "Desperate Housewives," and "Ugly Betty") talked to me about what he wants gays and allies to take away from his new documentary, "Baby Daddy." I also spoke with songwriter-actress Lisa Loeb, singer of "Stay (I Missed You)," about co-starring in the hilarious coming-of-age comedy, "Helicopter Mom." And four-time Olympic medalist Greg LouganisRead more

4 veteran E3 games that made history

4 veteran E3 games that made history

E3 2014 featured lots of new games, as well as plenty of genre-defining legacy titles. Take a walk down video game memory lane with us to discover how four game franchises became industry leaders.

Call of Duty

The Call of Duty franchise has moved from the modern era into the near future with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. But when the narrative first-person shooter launched a decade ago, it wasn't known for advanced weapons and online team-based play.

The original Call of Duty, released in 2004 for the PC, was developed by Infinity Ward. The entire Infinity Ward team, … Read more

Software week in review for June 13

Software week in review for June 13

Last week was all about Apple's WWDC. This week saw some follow-up on iOS 8's features, but the big news was games: watching the World Cup and the video games announced at E3 for 2014 and 2015. Read on for our recap, and to get the latest reviews from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

World Cup

Olé, olé, olé! The World Cup kicked off Thursday. Find out how to stream the games, follow along on your phone, or play onscreen with our app picks.

If you download a World Cup … Read more