The Download Blog

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

Software week in review for June 20

Software week in review for June 20

Yo, have you poked your friends with two letters today? This week saw new releases from Facebook and Intel, health and fitness apps heating up, iOS 8 feature leaks, and more. Read on for our recap, and to get the latest reviews from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Getting the message

This is the state of apps: $1 million in funding for an app that sends one word to your contacts. After an April Fools' Day launch, the minimal Yo app burned up the Internet this week, earning both appreciation and derision. It finished the … Read more

Mix it up with DJ Music Mixer for 60 percent off

Mix it up with DJ Music Mixer for 60 percent off

A full-featured DJ and beatmatching system, DJ Music Mixer is a regular favorite with our users for having a beginner-friendly interface combined with a feature-rich toolset. It's a great entry-level software for learning and DJing small get-togethers. DJ Music Mixer helps you quickly grasp the basics without paying a premium price. For one week only, you can get it for only $11.98 -- 60 percent off the regular $29.95 price. Check out the trial before you buy.

Key Features

Mixes music and songs professionally with crossfade. Powerful equalizers with predefined settings. Complete mixing control with cue and … 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

Top 4 VoIP apps for Android

Top 4 VoIP apps for Android

Today we lament the shutdown of Google Voice support for third-party apps. For businesses and products that rely heavily on the XMPP protocol, that cutoff has practically spelled doom.

However, this move by Google doesn't necessarily mean the end of Google Voice (which may soon get integrated into Hangouts) and certainly not the end of VoIP calling. Here are some of our favorite VoIP apps for Android.

Bolt

Bolt is relatively new, has a modern design, and combines all your messaging and calling utilities into a single app. Bolt automatically switches your phone to VoIP mode when dialing other … Read more

Facebook acquires Oculus VR

Facebook acquires Oculus VR

On Tuesday Facebook announced that it has completed an agreement to acquire the immersive virtual-reality tech company Oculus VR for $2 billion. Oculus VR is known for the Oculus Rift, a high-definition headset with motion-tracking capabilities and 3D display, which has been reaching record popularity in the game-development scene. The company recently came to GDC 2014 to showcase the second iteration of its Oculus development kit.

"Mobile is the platform of today, and now we're also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow," said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "Oculus has the chance to create … Read more

File your return from anywhere with these top tax apps

File your return from anywhere with these top tax apps

Avoid the mad, end-of-tax-season scramble by getting some apps to help you calculate how much you owe Uncle Sam. Even if you've already filed, these apps can help you get organized and prepared for next year's return.

Organizing your tax records

Shoeboxed (iOS, Android)

Gone are the days of keeping all your receipts in a box above the fridge. Shoeboxed makes it easier to track your expenses -- just take a photo of your receipts, and Shoeboxed will safely store them. From there the app will archive based on dates and sort your spending into different categories (food, … Read more

How to delete your Facebook search history

How to delete your Facebook search history

Each time you look for a friend, business, or personality on Facebook, it gets saved to your search history. Supposedly, this makes it easier for you to find what you were looking for later without much work. Unfortunately, the search history might be cluttered with queries that don't require quick access -- like someone you've already become friends with, a brand you're already following.

If you want to limit some of the information Facebook is keeping about you, or just tidy up the list, it's just a few clicks away. Here's how to get started:… Read more

Apple issues Mail update for OS X Mavericks

Apple has issued an update for its Mail e-mail client program in OS X Mavericks. The update addresses a number of outstanding bugs that have been affecting users who have installed the new OS, specifically involving managing messages in Gmail accounts. In addition, the update fixes problems with inaccurate unread message counts.

This update is likely a welcome one for those experiencing these problems, but Apple does issue a few words of caution for those who are eager to install the update.

First, as with any software update, Apple recommends you make a full backup of your system, preferably using … Read more

GPGTools offers quick encryption options for OS X Mail

GPGTools offers quick encryption options for OS X Mail

If you regularly send confidential information via e-mail and wish to make it as secure as possible, one option for OS X users is GPGTools, which provides encryption and decryption services for any of your e-mail accounts.

GPGTools is a free and open-source encryption project for OS X, based on OpenPGP, which gives OS X users quick access to options for signing and encrypting e-mail messages, as well as offering file-level services for encrypting documents and folders. The project has been around since 2011, but was recently updated to version 2, and supports a number of new features. The suite … Read more