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cnet's Download.com
  • Star Apps: Berlin's Terri Nunn

    Seminal new-wave band Berlin has returned to a more electronic sound on its latest release, "Animal," which the band is currently supporting on tour. Part '80s synthpop, part contemporary EDM, the record should appeal to nostalgia seekers and current club kids alike. The racy title track is as sultry as band classics "Sex (I'm a...)" and "Pleasure Victim." Vocalist Terri Nunn talks about the move back to electronica; the successes and failures of her platinum-selling, Oscar-winning band (for "Take My Breath Away" from "Top Gun"); her sex symbol status and posing for "Penthouse" at 16; why she won't work with women; and her favorite apps.

    Berlin is touring Animal nationwide this spring.

    (Credit: Mad Ink PR)

    After releasing several rock records, you've returned to an electronic sound on "Animal." Why? In January 2012, I started an electronically oriented radio show on KCSN, and that really opened my eyes and my ears to everything going on electronically. I knew a little bit about what was going on, but that forced me to listen to everything to program my show.

    So many artists inspired me to no end, from Skrillex to Metric to Armin van Buuren. There was so much amazi... [Read more]






  • 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 Weapons talks about coming into its own, developing a new sound for "Aviation," the "lost" album, living and recording together, befriending Lady Gaga, and its favorite apps.

    Semi Precious Weapons members Dan Crean, Justin Tranter, Cole Whittle, and Stevy Pyne.

    (Credit: Rony Alwin)

    Your first two albums were called "We Love You" and "You Love You," so I was surprised to learn that your third would be called "Aviation" instead of "I Love You" or "They Love You." Justin Tranter: We do get that a lot. I just think there was so much time between our new one and our last that it was time for something new.

    Can you explain the title? Justin: So much of the lyrics are about looking forward and looking up, and the sky and the stars and being high and all of those things. Also, I think aviation is so gla... [Read more]






  • Star Apps: Linkin Park

    Linkin Park is always looking for innovative ways to deliver visuals to fans, whether through apps, online gaming, or Facebook Kinect video. The musicians -- who are also avid gamers -- met software developers Team Dakota at E3 and learned about Project Spark, a game-maker video game (for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Windows 8). Linkin Park saw the potential for a unique collaboration, and the result is the first fully interactive, remixable music video within a video game for the band's latest single, "Guilty All the Same."

    Now the band is inviting fans to put their own spin on the track and video using Project Spark software. Winning entries will be showcased at E3 2014, just before the band's new album, "The Hunting Party," drops on June 17. On August 8, Linkin Park hits the road for the Carnivores tour with Thirty Seconds to Mars and AFI.

    Linkin Park is asking fans to remix its new track, Guilty All the Same.

    (Credit: Brandon Cox)

    What inspired this Team Dakota collaboration, otherwise known as #LinkinSpark? Joe Hahn: We were at E3 last year and went to check out ... [Read more]






  • 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).

    Adult appears at Moogfest 2014.

    (Credit: Courtesy: Ghostly International)

    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 live show we would like to see performed. We've worked to create a performance that is varied in mood and energy, and while we are always focused on performing our newer material, we do have a cross-section of our career over the last 17 years in the set. Most important for the show: lots of fog.

    Why do you put a period at the end of "Adult"? When we started Adult 17 years ago, we just thought of it as another endeavor in our multidisciplinary art practices and thought the name sounded more like an art project and less like a band name. We also think it to be visually pleasing when in all capitals. It ... [Read more]






  • 6 security tips for using public Wi-Fi

    Don't expose yourself in public. We all do it: switch on a phone, laptop, or tablet and hop on to a Wi-Fi hotspot in airports, coffee shops, trains, hotels, and other public places. The problem is, those networks are open -- even if they require a login and password, you may be sharing your files or leaving doors open to data thieves. You can't secure the network, but you can raise siege walls between your private information and the barbarians. Follow these six tips to network more safely.

    1. Lock down your security settings.

    Go to the security and/or network settings in Windows or Mac OS X. Switch on the firewall, and switch off sharing for your files, printer, music library, and anything else you don't feel like giving your neighbors. Here are instructions for how to disable public sharing in OS X. And if you're not using the Internet, turn off Wi-Fi on your device.

    2. Get a second firewall.

    Though your OS probably has a built-in firewall, it doesn't hurt to get a second line of defense. Here are a few firewall options for Windows and Android, or you can get a security suite that also offers antivirus and malware protection.

    Comodo Firewall for Windows ... [Read more]






  • Star Apps: Joe Satriani

    Joe Satriani first gained attention as a six-string teacher in the late '70s, but that was only a stepping stone to platinum records and 15 Grammy nominations. "When I moved from New York to Berkeley, I was spending way too much time in this guitar store playing everything," Satriani says. "The owner said, 'You're not just going to sit here and play these guitars all day long. How about you give lessons?' I said, 'Oh, I don't want to do that again,' but he talked me into it. It was during that time when Kirk Hammett, Larry LaLonde, David Bryson, and Charlie Hunter were walking through the door. So I was the accidental but extremely lucky guitar teacher. During that period I also created my solo career."

    Satriani returns to master classes with the G4 Experience (August 11-15, 2014), along with Mr. Big's Paul Gilbert, Danger Danger's Andy Timmons, and former Frank Zappa guitarist Mike Keneally. Fans can also dig into "Strange Beautiful Music: A Musical Memoir" (out May 6), which traces Satriani's career from teacher to legendary artist, and "Joe Satriani: The Complete Studio Recordings" (out April 22), a 15-CD box set that will also be issued as a limited-edition USB drive exclusively on satriani.com.

    [Read more]






  • 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, learning to program, finding success in two fields, increasing the number of women and people of color in tech, and her favorite apps.

    Model Lyndsey Scott: self-portrait.

    (Credit: Lyndsey Scott)

    Now that you've been outed in the media as an app developer, what kind of response have you gotten from your modeling fans? For the past month, there have been a few articles addressing the same thing, talking about how I do the modeling and the programming, and obviously it hasn't changed my personal life. I've been... [Read more]






  • Heartbleed: Two steps to protect your information

    Heartbleed is a security flaw that's plaguing as much as two-thirds of the Internet, including many popular sites like Yahoo and GitHub. On sites affected by Heartbleed, user accounts are vulnerable -- your username, password, credit card number, and other private information may be exposed. Companies are scrambling to patch their sites.

    But don't sit around waiting for a fix. Take these two defensive steps (and one more if you have an Android device):

    1. Check whether your most-visited sites are vulnerable

    CNET has already checked the top 100 sites to see if they have Heartbleed patches, so visit that page first. For sites not on the list, use the following tools:

    Filippo Valsorda's Heartbleed test

    LastPass Heartbleed checker

    2. Change your passwords when the sites are safe

    If you've confirmed that a site has been hit by Heartbleed, don't rush to update your password. Wait for an announcement that the site has been patched. Then we recommend changing your password.

    As always, it's a good idea to have a different password for every account. To keep track of all those logins, try a password manager. LastPass's mobile apps include Heartbleed scans, but you must have a paid Premium account to use them.

    [Read more]






  • Star Apps: Christina Perri

    In 2011 Christina Perri found success with her debut, "Lovestrong," and became iTunes' Breakthrough Pop Artist of the year. So when the singer/songwriter began work on her sophomore album, "Head or Heart," she knew she had two choices: write for an audience or write for herself. She chose the latter, and her new album is even more beautiful than the first and features top 20 hit "Human." Her voice is angelic; and the subject matter, raw and relatable. I chatted with Perri days before her North American tour about the inspiration behind her emo material, going from married to single, hanging backstage with rock stars at 17, and her favorite apps.

    Singer/songwriter Christina Perri wears her heart on her sleeves.

    You're such a raw, emotional songwriter. Where does the material come from? I don't know. The first time I ever wrote a song was after I had fallen in love for the first time, at 15. I was so emo and couldn't handle it and have really not done anything differently since then. I've been writing nonstop ever since, and I just don't know how not to write about stuff that I haven't gone through. So my experience lends itself to the inspiration for each song.

    So the experiences you describe are personal? It's 100 pe... [Read more]






  • 5 tips for running Windows XP relatively safely

    Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP, an OS still used by approximately 20-25% of Windows customers. That means one in four PC users must upgrade to a more secure, supported version of Windows or risk their un-updated, un-patched version of Windows XP catching a virus or other Internet bug. As a rule of thumb, we always recommend upgrading your OS and then updating it as often as possible to protect your system. If you're switching to a new OS, read how to migrate easily from Windows XP. However, if you're a die-hard who wants to keep a Windows XP machine, here are five tips for keeping it running as safely and smoothly as possible until you upgrade.

    1. Use updated browsers -- no more Internet Explorer

    The latest version of Internet Explorer for Windows XP is IE 8, an incredibly outdated browser. For security, it's better to use third-party browsers like Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. All have promised to continue Windows XP support for at least another year.

    While you're installing a better browser, turn up your browser security. Add-ons and extensions that disable JavaScript can prevent websites from running malicious scripts. ... [Read more]







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