R Michael Norman | MegaMike

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  • Star Apps: Nervo

    For Mim and Liv Nervo, being the top-ranking women DJs takes a "work hard, play hard" attitude. I chatted with the first sisters of dance music, who next appear at New York's Electric Zoo Festival, about the shows, sharing DJ gigs with Paris Hilton, triumphing in a male-dominated industry, how music has healed their hearts, and their favorite apps.

    Drink to the beat: Nervo lights up Electric Zoo on Saturday.

    (Credit: Chloe Paul Photography)

    What can you tell us about your Electric Zoo set? Mim: We've been playing lots of festivals this summer, so we're up to speed with our festival sets. They're short and high energy, and they include our new releases and old material, mixed up with some mashes we've made. It'll be a power hour.

    You and your twin are together 24/7. How do you handle so much togetherness? Mim: We're very lucky. We're very similar people, and we always have each other's backs. We have similar work ethics, and we don't really fight over all that much. If we do, then like most siblings, it's forgotten about quickly. You always have a friend on the road. We get to travel to so many incredible places around the world, so it's great to be able to do that with your sister and your best friend. With work pressures, it's also nice to be able to bounce off ideas with your sister, so... [Read more]






  • 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've ever wanted to weaponize yourself and everything around you, BioShock is your game. The first-person shooter has long been available on consoles but just landed on iOS. It's spendy at $14.99 (though did you know there's a soccer app called Barcelona vs Madrid that costs $299.99?). We'll have a review up soon to let you know if BioShock is worth the bucks.<... [Read more]






  • 5 labor-saving apps

    On Labor Day most Americans enjoy a much-deserved day off. This work-free tribute to America's workers comes just once a year, but you can keep its spirit alive year-round with our five labor-saving apps. When you wrap up tasks quickly, you can get back to what really matters: R&R.

    IFTTT (Android, iOS, Webware)

    IFTTT creates connections that save time.

    IFTTT stands for "if this, then that," and that's exactly what the app does: build connections between apps to trigger automatic actions and save you steps. Just create a trigger, such as "Every time my boss' name is mentioned online," and then create an action, such as "I send them an email alert." Add other necessary ingredients, such as your boss' email address for the notification. You then have an IFTTT Recipe, which you can use just once or indefinitely. For sample actions, check out Tech Republic's Recipes for work productivity and social media tasks, as well as CNET's IFTTT tips for ... [Read more]






  • Star Apps: Retro Futura Tour 2014

    In the early '80s -- when the US charts were still dominated by '70s rock like Steve Miller Band, Chicago, and Foreigner -- a fresh crop of artists rose up with a revolutionary, synth-based sound that borrowed from Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder and would influence future electronic music. This second British Invasion included Howard Jones, Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey, Ultravox's Midge Ure, Katrina and the Waves' Katrina, and China Crisis. If you missed them the first time around, catch them on this summer's Retro Futura Tour. I chatted with these artists about the tour, the stories behind their classic songs, the secrets that even hardcore fans don't know, and their favorite apps.

    (Credit: Retro Futura Tour 2014 storms America through September 10.)

    Howard Jones

    Howard Jones

    (Credit: Paradise Artists)

    Howard Jones' 1985 top 10 album, "Dream Into Action," featured smashes "Things Can Only Get Better," "Life in One Day," "No One Is to Blame," and "Like to Get to Know You Well." He continues to make music and tour the world.

    I read... [Read more]






  • Star Apps: Armin van Buuren

    Grammy-nominated Armin van Buuren is more than trance music's most respected DJ/producer. Through his radio show, A State of Trance, and his "A State of Trance Classics" album series, he keeps the genre alive by highlighting what's fresh and preserving its illustrious past. US fans can taste his trance at New York's Electric Zoo Festival on August 30 or at Las Vegas' Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub on August 31.

    Trance pioneer Armin van Buuren.

    (Credit: Carli Hermes)

    Tell us about your Electric Zoo Festival set. It depends on the current releases, and it'll be a mix of what the people expect me to play and some new stuff. I have a couple of new tracks that I'm road testing and a new compilation coming out, for which I did a few new remixes and edits, so I'll bring those to New York with me. But it all depends on the crowd. Some DJs have premixed sets, but I actually mix on the fly, and I like it like that.

    You're so associated with trance music. Any thoughts on the current state of trance? I think it's very positive, especially if you look at the new talent in the scene. There's a lot of really young, exciting new guys bringing the fresh sounds to trance. It's still very uplifting, very energetic, and very well produced. If you look at my radio show right now, it wasn't meant to be around that ... [Read more]






  • Star Apps: 'The One I Love'

    Whereas most moviemakers are happy to dissect every aspect of an new release, actor Mark Duplass and director Charlie McDowell are taking a more hush-hush approach about "The One I Love." "It's a romantic comedy with Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss," says the director. "They go for a couple's retreat through their therapist to see if they can save their relationship." You can't blame this discretion, considering that "The One I Love" has more twists and turns than your average film, not to mention a major surprise ending. But actor and director did open up about the movie's backstory, how Duplass relates to his Ethan character, what the movie says about modern relationships, and their favorite apps.

    Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss play Ethan and Sophie, who are not each other's favorites in The One I Love, which opens nationwide on August 22.

    (Credit: Radius-TWC)

    How do you talk about a movie with so many spoilers? Charlie McDowell: It's certainly tricky. It would be so much more fun if we could just blast out and explore, because it's such a good conversation piece. But at the end of the day, we just discovered that you do better as a viewer when you don't know what's in there.

    How did this project get started? Mark Duplass: Charlie and I met and became good friends and talked about... [Read more]






  • Star Apps: 3 Doors Down

    In 3 Doors Down's 2002 mega-hit "Here Without You" -- the band's most listened-to single of all time on Spotify -- singer Brad Arnold laments the separation from his significant other. Currently on the four-month acoustic Songs From the Basement tour, Arnold is certainly missing his wife. I chatted with Arnold about the current tour, the new album, band member departures, how he handles extended separations from his wife, and his favorite apps.

    3 Doors Down goes acoustic on its current summer tour.

    (Credit: SKH Music)

    What can you tell us about your acoustic show? I think the acoustic show is a great experience. We really don't approach the show like it's a rock show, because we really want the fans to feel like they're in the basement with us or at band practice. We don't get up there and try to be rock stars. We just have fun. It's a lot more intimate. We set it up like it's a basement, and we have couches, and there are people up there sitting. We joke around, tell stories, and have a lot of fun.

    Aside from the obvious, how does unplugging your songs change things? It's almost like getting to go back and play them like a lot of them were written. A lot of the songs we play on this tour are not songs we'd typicall... [Read more]






  • Star Apps: James C. Burns

    In his new film "Coldwater," James C. Burns plays abusive Colonel Frank Reichert, who unabashedly orders troubled teenagers around in a sadistic juvenile correctional facility. Best known as the voice of stern Army officer Sergeant Frank Woods in the Call of Duty video games, the actor and former pro athlete is surprisingly funny and personable. I chatted with Burns about "Coldwater" (which opens August 15), how his dislike for children pushed him into acting, being typecast, managing his two Twitter accounts, and his favorite apps.

    In Coldwater , Colonel Frank Reichert (James C. Burns) runs his correctional facility with an iron fist.

    (Credit: BG Films)

    How did you enter acting? There was a Wheaties commercial shooting near where I was working, and I went by. I was good at BS-ing. I was a good-looking kid with a crazy mullet that had a lot of attitude. They asked me to audition, and they said, "Oh, you're a hockey player?" I got the Wheaties commercial. I retired at 26, ran a hockey rink, and became a coach, and whenever they'd call me to do a commercial, I'd do it. But I never thought about being an actor. I was more focused on the other stuff.

    What changed for you? Around 2001 I decided that I really didn't like kids anymore. You cannot make a living as a ... [Read more]






  • Star Apps: Jade Starling

    If you were old enough to fall in love in 1987, then you remember Pretty Poison's No. 1 dance hit, "Catch Me (I'm Falling)." Now a new generation of club kids can fall in love with singer Jade Starling, who has just released her solo debut, "Captive." The EDM-inspired album reflects not only her dance-pop obsession, but also her interest in the struggles we all face. "There has to be love and heartbreak, because you can't have one without the other," she says. I chatted with Starling about her comeback record, the highs and lows of Pretty Poison, being propositioned by Jon Cryer, and her favorite apps.

    Jade Starling will hold you Captive.

    (Credit: Gretchen Johnson Photography)

    I read that many of the collaborations on your new album took place over Skype. That was very interesting. The whole writing and producing process of this album started with producer Lee Dagger reaching out, because he was a huge fan of our music. He asked if he could send my writing partner Whey Cooler and I some tracks and ended up sending a dozen tracks that we collaborated on. With him in England and us in the US, it was a lot of back and forth. We decided it would cut the time in half if we just did it by Skype. I would be singing a top note, and we'd be working on it, or he would play s... [Read more]






  • 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 and images for hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, landslides, and wildfires. That way you can get out of harm's way in time.

    Weather Underground (Android, iOS)

    Weather Underground is a crowdsourced information app that brings hyperlocal weather forecasts to your smartphone. You'll als... [Read more]







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