Desktop vs. Windows Store Apps: Which Should You Download?

When it comes to Windows 10, (or even Windows 8 or 8.1), there are two ways you can download applications. The first is to search for them online, download an EXE file, and install the Desktop app — and the other is to open up the Windows Store, find an app, and install the Store app.

For most of Windows' history, Desktop apps were the only option. That's what most people are familiar with. But as Google and Apple's closed app stores have become more popular, Microsoft has felt the pressure to do the same, giving us the Windows Store.

The confusing part is that some apps have both Desktop and Store versions — so let's take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of these two methods of getting apps.

Why Is There Now a Windows Store?

If you're a long-time Windows user, you might be wondering why you even need an app store. Windows was getting along just fine without it, wasn't it?

Well, kind of.

Windows is notorious for being plagued by viruses and malware, and a large part of that is due to this method of app (or program, as they used to be called) installation. Basically, the problem is security.

Microsoft Has No Control

Apps that are downloaded from random websites can't be vetted by Microsoft in any way. If you search online for a free word processor as an alternative to Microsoft Word, and you find something that looks suitable, how do you know it's not a virus? For larger companies with popular apps, this may not be as much of an issue (unless you get phished), but finding less popular apps could prove dangerous.


With the Windows Store, all apps go through a submission and review process, so Microsoft is able to weed out dangerous programs and ensure that only safe ones are making it onto your system. If you're an Android user, the Windows Store is like the Play Store, and installing EXE files is like sideloading APKs and allowing the installation of apps from unknown sources. If you're on an iPhone or iPad, then the Windows Store is like the App Store, but iOS doesn't allow for installing outside apps.

The most secure thing for everyone would be if Microsoft only allowed for the installation of Store apps, but the downside would be a significantly smaller app selection and a much more limited platform — so, thankfully, that won't be happening anytime soon.

Permissions and Sandboxing

Another downside to desktop apps is their ability to do anything. Desktop apps don't have any sort of permission system and aren't isolated from the system, aka sandboxed, in any way, so anything you install could potentially wreak havoc on your system, destroying personal files, transmitting data, or logging your keystrokes.

Granted, most programs don't do that, but they could.


Store apps, on the other hand, have a very limited list of permissions that you can see before downloading. This is much like the permission system on Android (and sort of like the permission system on iOS). This way, a simple calculator app can't go recording your video or audio because it wouldn't have the permission.

On top of that, Store apps are sandboxed, meaning that they're contained to a certain part of the operating system and can't reach beyond that. Sandboxed apps are limited in the amount of damage they can do because they simply don't have access to the vital parts of your system that non-sandboxed apps have.

Which Is Better: Desktop or Store?

Honestly, the answer to this question depends on your needs and preferences — and most people are going to use some of both.

Interface and Design

While Store apps used to be forced to run in full-screen, they now run in windows, just like Desktop apps. This means that the line between Desktop and Store apps is getting a little bit more blurred, but it's still easy to tell the difference in everyday usage.

For the most part, Desktop apps are going to be designed for a mouse-and-keyboard situation, while Store apps are designed for touch. That means that Desktop apps are going to have smaller, more cramped areas for buttons, and they won't use swiping gestures. The flip side to this is that they will probably be able to pack in more features.

windows store

Store apps are generally made for touch, so they'll scroll horizontally with the flick of your finger, they'll generally lack any right-click function, and their buttons will be large and spaced out.

These differences are highlighted even within Microsoft's own apps. Open up the Settings app on your Windows 10 computer, and you'll be able to change a lot of settings with a nice, clean, modern interface. But, for some more complex settings, it will throw you back into the Desktop Control Panel interface.

The only other small design difference you'll notice is if you happen to spend any time in the Start Menu. Store apps can have Live Tiles, or at least fully-colored tiles. Desktop apps are stuck with ugly small icons against a plain-colored square. It's a small difference, but it's one that seems intended to push you towards Store apps.

Availability of Apps

For some apps, you're not going to have a choice. Popular desktop applications like Adobe Photoshop, Calibre, and Steam don't even come in Store versions. In this case, for power users or gamers, Desktop apps will be the way to go.

On the other hand, if you're using a small, light touch-device like a Surface tablet or an HP Envy 8 Note, the designed-for-touch apps of the Windows Store are going to be your friend. No one wants to try tapping on tiny made-for-Desktop buttons on an 8-inch tablet.

What If an App Has Both Versions?

In some cases, you'll run into apps that have both a Desktop and a Store version, including VLC, Dropbox, or Plex. Which you prefer is honestly up to personal preferences, but you'll find that most of the points listed above remain true.

The Desktop version will likely have more features, but be more complicated to navigate, while the Store version will likely have a simpler interface but fewer features. Let's take a look at VLC as an example.


As you can see above, the Desktop version (left) has tiny buttons jammed into a thin bar along the bottom, while the Store version has large touch-friendly buttons across the interface. It should be noted also that Desktop VLC doesn't scale properly to high-resolution displays, so the buttons display extra small on my screen — but that won't be the case if you have a lower resolution display.

The Desktop version does have much more in-depth options for subtitles, audio, and all sorts of other tools that the Store version simply doesn't have. Honestly, for most users, the Store version will work just fine, but if you like getting into the nitty gritty of VLC or other applications, you'll need the Desktop version.

Plex, likewise, runs into a similar simplicity-versus-features scenario. Dropbox behaves entirely like a mobile app in the Store version and only allows for legitimate syncing of files (rather than just manually uploading/downloading) if you have the Desktop version.

What About Web Versions?

A more common occurrence will likely be running into apps that already have a solid web version that you could be using instead, like Facebook, Messenger, Netflix, or Pandora.

Again (shockingly), this will come down to personal preference. For instance, I like how the web version of Messenger collapses down the left column to just profile pictures, while the Store app insists on keeping a preview of each conversation in that column — so I stick with the web Messenger.


However, because I have a touchscreen laptop, the Store version of Netflix (above left) is a good deal easier to navigate. I can just pin it to my taskbar, fire it up, swipe to the show I want, and start watching. I don't have to bother opening Chrome, typing in Netflix, scrolling with the touchpad, and all that.

What Do You Prefer?

Basically, if you're torn between a particular Desktop or Store app, download both and give them a try. If you're curious to see if a Store app is stronger than its web-based counterpart, it doesn't hurt to download it. You never know which version you'll end up liking better. Most likely, you'll end up with a few of both.

Just make sure you don't accidentally download a dead or fake app from the Windows Store.

Now we're curious, which do you prefer? Do you download exclusively Desktop apps, or do you actually enjoy some Store apps? Let us know down in the comments!

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Download This: “Swiftly Switch” brings Edge Screen to all devices

The best thing about the Edge Screen found in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a feature called "Apps Edge." It allows you to slide your finger in from the Edge Screen and launch your favorite apps. What if every phone could do this? And what if it was a lot more powerful? That's exactly what an app called "Swiftly Switch" can do.

Swiftly Switch allows you to launch apps, contacts, and shortcuts from the side of the screen at any time. It works a lot smarter than Samsung's approach. Sliding your finger from the edge of the screen brings up your most recently used apps. Slide your finger to the app icon and lift it off to launch the app. It's much quicker than using the Recent apps button.

Launching recent apps is just the beginning. If you leave your finger on the app a little bit longer it will open a "Favorites" section. This is a grid of 30 spaces that can be used for apps, contacts, and shortcuts (like WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.). It's almost like a mini app drawer full of your favorite stuff, and it can be accessed anywhere.

Slide your finger past the recent apps and you'll see the Quick Actions. The Quick Actions can replicate the navigation buttons (Home, Back) and do things like pull down the status bar. All of this can be customized with your choices. You can even personalize the way Swiftly Switch looks, which side of the display it appears on, and add a second launcher to the other side. Some of these actions require the $1.99 Pro version.

swiftly thumb

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Swiftly Switch takes Samsung's Edge screen idea to the next level. Not only can you launch your favorite apps and contacts, but it can also be used for shortcuts and system buttons. Swiftly Switch is much faster at multitasking than the default Android Recents menu. The app has tons of features for free, but if you want more you can unlock extra features for $1.99.

DOWNLOAD: Swiftly switch – Google Play

  • Price: Free
  • In-app Purchases: Yes
  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Installs: 10,000 – 50,000


What if someone combined Snake and Pac-Man and slapped a zombie skin over the top? That is exactly what you get with Zombillie. You play as Zombillie, a caterpillar in a post-apocalyptic world.

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Our Download This series includes the best apps and games you should be downloading. We also have more lists for the best apps and games on Android. Check them out below!

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5 Ways to Kill Your Startup's 'Office Politics' Before They Start

Business and internal politics go together about as well as oil and water. Yet, grow your company to any size, and you'll inevitably be dealing with this unsavory mixture.

Related: 3 Strategies for Navigating Messy Office Politics

Just this year, former head of Viacom Sumner Redstone cut out company CEO Philippe Dauman and another board member from the trust that dictates how Redstone's shares are to be distributed after his passing. Now, Dauman is accusing Redstone's daughter, Shari, of attempting to manipulate her aging father to gain control of the company. Whatever the case may be, tensions are visibly at an all-time high, and Viacom's stock has plummeted as a result.

While startups rarely have their dirty laundry aired so publicly, they can still suffer from political infighting as much as the biggest corporations. And when founders disagree with their co-founders or investors, small problems are quickly magnified.

Luckily, the early stages of building a company are not only exciting, they're also a golden opportunity to establish values and practices to prevent discord down the road. No matter what stage your startup is in, these five strategies will ensure you have a solid foundation upon which to make decisions for years to come:

1. Be brutally honest.

Early conversations about the company's goals set the tone for everything else. The startup stage is the time to hash out exactly what the company's vision should be, especially as it relates to culture, values and management style.

For example, management style is typically an amalgamation of the founder's past experiences with managers, personalities, values, confidence and even upbringing. So, if as founder you've personally experienced success in a traditional environment, you probably prefer a hierarchical structure. But what if your co-founder is more attracted to free-flowing management?

Both styles have a litany of proven successes, so instead of squabbling about the details, have an honest discussion around what management style makes sense to the two of you based on your company's goals and values.

That way, when disagreements inevitably arise, you can point to pre-established ground rules for how to deal with the situation. Whatever you do, don't let fundamental disagreements fester. Employees do better when their leaders are transparent and in agreement.

2. Heighten your senses.

When deciding who should have which roles, be conscious of your own strengths and weaknesses. If you want to be CEO but tend to be introverted and hate sales, you might be better suited for something else. Reflect on your past experiences to determine how you can best help the company grow, and let your co-founder(s), investors and senior managers fill in the gaps.

Related: How Office Politics Can Tank Your Small Company

Just as you need to be self-aware, you need to be acutely in tune with outsiders. You'll likely establish early relationships with accountants, lawyers, marketers, developers, designers and other partners. If something seems off, or you feel that someone is trying to take advantage of you, trust your instincts, and see if the people you trust feel the same way.

3. Look for shared values.

All stakeholders must agree on some core principles early in the company's life to ensure that decisions made later are based on the values of the company, not just the wishes of individuals.

For example, Kickstarter could have maximized its publicity and revenue early and allowed investors to cash out, but all involved parties agreed that becoming a public-benefit corporation was more important. The goal ultimately was met because the company's leaders and investors held similar values about serving the public and agreed on how those values should shape the company.

On the other hand, the music download service SpiralFrog squandered $45 million in funding because its founders and investors could not agree on the company's direction.

The nature of the values involved is not as important as achieving widespread agreement on what people's roles should be; that's why it's important to find partners who share your style.

4. Align incentives properly.

Equity and compensation discussions are hard. No one wants to be the sucker who left millions on the table after the business took off. Leave the Hollywood drama out of the room, and just think about what sounds fair. Ideas aren't worth much on their own compared to the ability to execute them, as well as build existing networks and your ability to make early sales. So, focus on aligning incentives with people's key capabilities.

Remember, you can iterate upon your compensation model as the company matures.

5. Don't be afraid to leave if you have to.

Too many people ignore multiple warning signs before the first line of code is written, thinking they're too far in to quit. Leading a startup is a huge commitment. If something doesn't feel right and can't be rectified, there's no shame in leaving the company early if you can't agree on values or strategy with other decision-makers.

Related: Your Startup Is Not Exempt From Dirty Office Politics

No one likes to deal with politics, so set your company up from the beginning to defuse these sticky situations. Be honest and open, and communicate constantly with your fellow leaders to ensure your company continues to grow in the right direction for everyone.

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Apple offering free download of sketching app Procreate via Apple Store app


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Apple offering free download of sketching app Procreate via Apple Store app

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As it has done several times in the past, Apple is offering a free download of a popular iOS app via the Apple Store app. This time, the company is offering popular sketching app Procreate for iPhone for free.

Apple touts that Procreate is a "must-have" for artists and enthusiasts, allowing them to create works of art right from their iOS device.

Procreate lets you generate high-caliber artwork at a blistering pace using  robust layers system, stunning filters, and thousands of importable brushes. A must have for serious artists and enthusiasts alike.

Unfortunately, the more expensive iPad version of Procreate doesn't quality for this deal. You can redeem the offer on your iPad, but you'll be given the iPhone version.

This isn't the first time Apple has offered a free app inside the Apple Store app. Earlier this year, the company offered popular journaling app Day One 2 for free. Prior to that, Apple offered the puzzle-based game Rules! for free in the Apple Store app.

In order to take advantage of your free download of Procreate, first make sure you have the Apple Store app on your device. Then, navigate to the "Stores" tab in the bottom menu bar, scroll down until you see the "iPhone Upgrade Program," then swipe over until you see the Procreate banner. The deal expires on July 28th.

Be sure to checkout 9to5Toys every day for extensive coverage of deals on a variety of iOS apps and games.


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The Morning Download: Microsoft CEO Argues AI, People Can Collaborate

Sign up here for The Morning Download, and get the most important news in business technology emailed to you each weekday morning. Good morning. Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella steps back from the endless fray to look at the big picture, the really, really big picture. In a long essay published at Slate, he makes […]

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Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2230 with Roy Nelson, Kevin Lee and Richard Hunter

Stream or download Wednesday's edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Roy Nelson, Kevin Lee and Richard Hunter.

Nelson and Lee compete next week during International Fight Week. Nelson takes on Derrick Lewis at UFC Fight Night 90, while Lee battles Jake Matthews at the TUF 23 Finale. Hunter, host of the Phone Book Fighting podcast, was in-studio to co-host the entire episode.

You can listen below, or directly download (right click) the episode.

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2228 with Michael Chandler, 'Stitch' Duran and Terrion Ware

Stream or download Monday's edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Michael Chandler, Jacob "Stitch" Duran and Terrion Ware.

Chandler just captured the Bellator lightweight title this past Friday at Bellator 157, when he brutally knocked out Patricky Freire. Veteran cutman Duran worked the Bellator 157 card, which featured Chandler, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Matt Mitrione as main-card winners. Ware is featured in the co-main event at RFA 40 on July 15 vs. Marvin Blumer.

You can listen below, or directly download (right click) the episode.

Download ASUS ZenUI Launcher For Any Android Device

ASUS is one of the few tier-1 tech companies that did not start making smartphones until just a couple of years ago. By the time the company entered the market, companies like Samsung and Apple were already established at the top, but the revolution at the mid-range and entry-level segments of the market was yet to stretch beyond the confines of the Chinese borders. It was at this stage that the Taiwanese tech major known mostly for its high-quality PC components like motherboards and graphics cards, decided to jump onto the Android smartphone bandwagon with the announcement of its ZenFone range of devices at the CES 2014 trade show in Las Vegas.

Faced with stiff competition from established incumbents like Samsung at the premium end, and aggressive startups like Xiaomi at the mid and entry-level segments, not many gave the company a chance to gain a foothold in the market. However, two years on, the company has not only proven naysayers wrong, but has established itself as one of the fastest-growing smartphone brands worldwide with affordable devices that don't compromise on quality and deliver on the company's old tagline of 'Rock Solid. Heart Touching'. At the heart of its ZenFone and ZenPad devices is the ZenUI Launcher that is now available for "all Android mobile devices running version 4.3 (Jelly Bean) and above" according to the app's listing page in the Google Play Store.

Of course, ZenUI is not without its controversies. While a section of users simply love the launcher and the entire UI for being, in equal measures, intuitive and aesthetic, others have complained about too many tweaks that take away from the 'true' Android experience. Whichever camp you're in, the fact still remains that the ZenUI interface is fast, uncluttered and highly customizable without bringing in the overt complexities of apps like Nova Launcher, Apex Launcher, or other such pieces of software that target tech-friendly users for the most part. ASUS also offers a number of extremely interesting themes that can be downloaded via its 'Themes' app, and there are a million options to personalize icons, fonts and colors. While some may find it a bit of an acquired taste at first, the company advertises ZenUI as "Google Play's top-ranked Launcher", which probably isn't a stretch, seeing as it is currently rated at 4.7 stars on the Play Store with between 10 and 50 million downloads.

Google Play Button - AH - New

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Download This: “5217” reminds you to take breaks throughout the day

It may sound counterintuitive, but an important part of productivity is taking breaks. Frequent breaks can keep your mind fresh and reduce fatigue. The "Pomodoro Technique," which gives you a 5-minute break every 25 minutes. However, there is a competing technique that gives you a 17-minute break every 52 minutes. 5217 is a beautiful app for tracking this method.

5217 is a very simple app. It guides you through your work day, making sure you take a 17-minute break every 52 minutes. The app shows how much time is left in your work and break cycles. It may be a simple app, but the technique can have a profound impact on your workflow. 52 and 17 minutes may sound like completely random times, but there is research behind it.

A study found that the most productive people work on average for 52 minutes and break for 17. The key to a productive work day is not to work longer, but working smarter. It's like comparing the 100-yard sprint to a marathon. A sprint is full energy for a short burst, whereas a marathon is low energy for a long period. Breaking the day into short bursts will actually give you more energy for the day.

5217 takes all of this information and makes it easy for you to use. Simply start the app and you will be guided through the day. When it's time to take a break you will be notified. When it's time to get back to work you will be notified. 5217 also works with Android Wear devices, which is incredibly handy for something time-based. Read this for more information on the "Rule of 52 and 17."

5217 screens

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Productivity is something that almost everyone can improve. Sometimes, working harder or longer isn't the answer. 5217 can help improve your productivity and energy levels throughout the day. It's not only about getting more work done, but also about doing better work. For $1.14 you get a beautiful app that works great and looks great. Give it a try today.

DOWNLOAD: 5217 – Google Play

  • Price: $1.14
  • In-app Purchases: No
  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Installs: 1,000 – 5,000

PRISM thumb

PRISM (technically "_PRISM") is a beautiful and abstract game. Underneath all the glitter and glam is a relatively simple puzzle game. The idea is to match colored dots to colored circles.

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Music download and streaming directory

CNET's Music download and streaming directory has favorites like Amazon Prime, Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music, all with your favorite artists, songs, or genres for anytime-anywhere music streaming. This is all available on our music download and streaming directory below.

Check out our directory for the most popular and best music download and streaming services.

Amazon Prime Music -- Listen to over a million songs, thousands of playlists, and ad-free personalized stations with Prime Music. Add your own music to the library and play it from anywhere. Play music across your devices or download to play offline.

Apple Music -- Apple brings you more music than ever with access to over 30 million songs. To give you personal recommendations from people who know and love music. To deepen the connection between artists and fans. To reimagine radio with a 24-7, global station. This is Apple Music. And it's just the beginning.

Pandora -- With Pandora you can explore this vast trove of music to your heart's content. Just drop the name of one of your favorite songs, artists or genres into Pandora and let the Music Genome Project go. It will quickly scan its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings -- new and old, well-known and completely obscure -- to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice.

Spotify-- With Spotify, it's easy to find the right music for every moment -- on your phone, your computer, your tablet and more. There are millions of tracks on Spotify. So whether you're working out, partying or relaxing, the right music is always at your fingertips. Choose what you want to listen to, or let Spotify surprise you.

Anghami -- Anghami is an app that provides a seamless experience to listen to unlimited music on-the-go on your mobile. With millio ns of songs to search, stream, download and share, Anghami makes listening to music enjoyable again.

Google Play Music - Free, curated radio for what you're doing, how you feel, or what you want to hear.

iHeartRadio - iHeartRadio lets you access the world of music and radio in one simple app. Download today to listen to top radio stations, music, news, podcasts, sports, talk and comedy shows.

Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

YouTube Red - Get the most out of YouTube Music with a membership to YouTube Red. You'll be able to play songs while using other apps or with your screen off, get ad-free videos and listen to music offline or without video.

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Should Netflix, Inc. Let You Download "Orange Is the New Black"?

Image source: Netflix.

A year ago, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was firmly against allowing his customers to download shows for later viewing. Today, rumor has it that the company is planning to launch that exact feature very soon. According to a recent Light Reading article, the downloading option should launch by the end of 2016.

Should Hastings change his mind about downloading -- or is Netflix better off sticking to its pure streaming model instead?

Let's have a look at the pros and cons.

The big idea

The difference between downloading and streaming may seem subtle. Here's how it works.

Continue Reading Below

Downloading is the simpler solution. Your set-top box, mobile device, or computer sends out a request to the content provider, asking for the movie or episode you want to watch. The device then downloads the entire thing at once. With some clever engineering, you might be able to start watching before the download is complete. Either way, the file will then be stored locally and there's no need to go back to the network when you're skipping around between your favorite scenes.

When you're streaming a video, your favorite video-viewing device sets up a connection to Netflix's content libraries and sucks down data as needed. If you pause the show, the data flow stops until you start watching again. Fast-forward to the car chase, and your device will simply not access the video data in between. Rewinding the coronation scene with a glass of chardonnay and a box of tissues at hand? You'll be reading the same data from the network five times over -- maybe six, if there's enough wine.

Downloading doesn't require a constant network connection. Streaming services absolutely need an active network as long as you're watching.

Those are the basics. I'll cover a couple of finer wrinkles as we go.

Why download?

The downloading method has its perks.

For one, many mobile data plans come with monthly caps. Once you go through that allotment, you'll either start paying exorbitant fees for additional data or simply run out of mobile networking. Under these circumstances, it makes sense to download the entire video file while you're connected to a cap-free Wi-Fi network. Once that's done, you can enjoy 127 Hours while stuck under a rock in the canyons of Utah. No network connection required!

And that's another upside. If your data plan is notoriously unreliable, or you plan to boldly go where no radio signal has gone before, downloading content before going out there might be your only option. already offers a download option, albeit a limited one. Amazon Prime Video downloads only work with certain mobile devices, and even then the company must have reached an agreement with the relevant content producer. And you don't get to keep that downloaded file forever. Amazon's download licenses come with time limits (which vary from one video to the next), and you can only store a certain number of titles at any given time. Grabbing the next episode of Mozart in the Jungle for your Kindle Fire tablet may have to wait until the kids drop a couple of Wishenpoof shows from their iPads.

As curtailed as Amazon's video download system is, critics and vocal users often cite it when asking Netflix to launch a similar tool. If nothing else, the reasoning goes, downloads could make Netflix much more usable in markets where mobile networks just can't carry the load of a high-def video stream. That argument rings louder now that Netflix is available in pretty much every nation around the globe.

Finally, Hastings has in fact changed his anti-download attitude recently. Two months ago, in the first-quarter earnings call, the CEO opened the door to a download plan.

"We should keep an open mind on this," Hastings said. "We've been so focused on click and watch and the beauty and simplicity of streaming. But as we expand around the world where we see an uneven set of networks, it's something we should keep an open mind about."

Image source: Getty Images.

Why don't we have Netflix downloads already, then?

So downloads are technically simpler and come with a bunch of user-friendly benefits. How come the service hasn't been running that way from day one?

First, streaming done right offers a cleaner user experience. With downloads, you have to plan ahead and get your ducks in a row. Hard drives and other storage spaces will eventually fill up, leading to either automatic or manual cleanup actions. It's kind of messy. In a streaming service, you click to play and that's it. As long as you have a solid network connection, there's nothing else to worry about.

Streaming also gives Netflix more fine-grained control of the data stream, along with more detailed usage data. The company is always digging deeper into a treasure trove of streaming actions, and baking that information into everything else. Every click on pause, rewind, stop, or fast forward goes into this data bank. The results will change your personal "watch next" recommendations, steer Netflix toward the next big-ticket content contract, and shape the service in a myriad different ways. There's less information to glean from a simple download count.

And of course, content producers love the tighter copyright restrictions offered in a streaming model. Without Netflix's hand-built streaming tools, it's nearly impossible to decrypt and reassemble the streaming data snippets into a watchable video. For downloaded video files, even the strongest encryption package can be cracked. The increasingly strict geographic viewing restrictions that are imposed by Netflix's content providers don't seem to matter when you can just download a movie uniquely available in the U.S., only to drive across the border and watch in in Cancun. You may have noticed that Netflix has tiered its streaming plans, limiting customers to two concurrent streams on the most popular plan with options to pay extra for five concurrent views in higher quality or pay less for a single stream in standard definition. It's unclear how effective that strategy would be when downloads are thrown into the mix.

No, Netflix hasn't been dragging its feet on the download idea out of spite. Anything that makes the Netflix experience less intuitive and obvious is bad for the brand. Then you have the technical wrinkles detailed above. If Reed Hastings really is heading down this road, you can bet that the company is in furious negotiations with all of its content providers to hammer out the appropriate licenses -- which probably will add to the cost of each license, too.

I guess it's happening, or Hastings wouldn't have left the door open for further speculation. I'm not convinced that the download option will be used a whole lot by customers with reliable networks on the go, and the tool might eventually be removed from markets of that type -- including the U.S.. It's more likely to live on in network-challenged places like East Timor or darkest Peru. Netflix is sure to figure out very quickly which markets make sense for this tool, and cut licensing costs via equally swift withdrawals from the places where it doesn't help.

The article Should Netflix, Inc. Let You Download "Orange Is the New Black"? originally appeared on

Anders Bylund owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Chrome DRM bug makes it easy to download streaming video

Valentina Palladino

Security researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the Google Chrome browser that could allow users to bypass itscopy protection system and download content from streaming video services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. According to Wired, Google was alerted to the problem on May 24, but is yet to issue a patch.

The vulnerability centers around the Widevine digital rights management system—which Google owns and has implemented into Chrome—and specifically how it handles decryption of encrypted media streams. Widevine uses two pieces of tech to protect content: the encrypted media extensions (EME), which handle key exchanges and other high-level functions, and a content decryption module (CDM), which unscrambles encrypted video for playback in the browser.

Unfortunately for Google, the researchers discovered it's possible to hijack the decrypted movie stream right after the CDM decrypts the film, before it's displayed in the browser. With the right software—and let's face it, it doesn't take long for pirating software to appear following the discovery of a vulnerability—any user would be able to download streaming content for keeps.

However, the researchers have not disclosed exactly how the vulnerability is accessed, and will not do so until at least 90 days after its disclosure to Google. 90 days is the minimum that Google's own security researchers give vendors to fix vulnerabilities they uncover before they disclose the bugs publicly. For now, the researchers have released a video demonstrating the vulnerability in action.

A demo of the vulnerability.

Speaking to Wired, a Google spokesman noted that the company was examining the issue, but didn't go as far as to say it would issue a patch, saying the problem is not exclusive to Chrome and could apply to any browser created from the open source code Chromium code.

"Chrome has long been an open-source project and developers have been able to create their own versions of the browser that, for example, may use a different CDM or include modified CDM rendering paths," he said.

While Google could patch the issue in Chrome, it would be entirely possible for an enterprising developer to go back to the source code, remove the patch, and then release a version of the browser with the vulnerability intact. Other browsers, including Firefox and Opera, also make use of the Widevine system, although they have not currently been tested.

"The simplicity of stealing protected content with our approach poses a serious risk for Hollywood [studios] which rely on such technologies to protect their assets," the researchers said.

This post originated on Ars Technica UK

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Rihanna: 'Sledgehammer' Stream, Download, & Lyrics - LISTEN NOW!

Rihanna: 'Sledgehammer' Stream, Download, & Lyrics - LISTEN NOW!

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Download This: PRISM is a trippy and abstract puzzle game

Puzzle games are some of the most popular in the Play Store. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are simple as can be, while others make you tear your hair out. PRISM is a puzzle game that falls into the latter category, but not for the reasons you might think.

PRISM (technically "_PRISM") is a beautiful and abstract game. Underneath all the glitter and glam is a relatively simple puzzle game. The idea is to match colored dots to colored circles. The dots are connected to lines that can slide, rotate, and be moved. So not only are you matching dots, but it's also a like finding the perfect puzzle piece. It only works in one way.

What makes PRISM so frustrating is the lack of instruction. You're thrown into the game with no tutorial or tips. In most cases, you can figure out what to do, but I ran into a few areas where I was left clueless. Sometimes you just have to tap the dots until something happens. For a game that costs $2.99, it would be nice to know how to actually play the game.

Don't let that deter you from trying the game. Once you figure things out (watching the video above should help), PRISM is a very fun and challenging puzzle game. The developer says the game should take about an hour to finish, but in my testing, I think it could take longer than that. The visuals and music are stunning as well.

prism screenshot

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PRISM is a work of art. The visuals and music set the mood for a hypnotic experience. After you get past the initial confusion of "what the heck do I do?", the puzzles are challenging and fun. For $2.99 you're getting a game that feels like something you could play on a console. If you're fascinated by puzzles and trippy visuals, give PRISM a try today.

DOWNLOAD: _PRISM – Google Play

  • Price: $2.99
  • In-app Purchases: Yes
  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Installs: 1,000 – 5,000

Simply Facebook

Simply, as the name implies, is a dead simple "app" for Facebook. It's a Chrome custom tab for Facebook. That means it uses the power of Chrome, but it doesn't get lost in the mix of the Chrome browser. [READ MORE]

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Capathia Jenkins Set for Trent Armand Kendall's Broadway Download on 6/29Capathia Jenkins is a Brooklyn-born actress who most recently starred as 'Medda' in the hit Disney production of Newsies' on Broadway. She made her debut in The Civil War, where she created the role of Harriet Jackson. She starred in the Off-Broadway 2000 revival of Godspell, where she wowed audiences with her stirring rendition of 'Turn Back, O Man'. She returned to Broadway in The Look of Love and was critically acclaimed for her performances of the Bacharach/David hits. Ms. Jenkins then created the roles of 'The Washing Machine' in Caroline, Or Change and 'Frieda May' in Martin Short-Fame becomes me where she sang 'Stop the Show' and brought the house down every night.

In 2007 she went back to Off-Broadway and starred in (mis) Understanding Mammy-The Hattie McDaniel Story for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. She was also seen in Nora Ephron's Love, Loss, and What I Wore.

An active concert artist, Ms. Jenkins has appeared with orchestras around the world.
In 2011 Capathia had the great honor of performing in the 'Broadway Ambassadors to Cuba' concert as part of the Festival De Teatro De La Habana. Ms. Jenkins was a guest soloist with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops and with the Cincinnati Pops.

Her Television credits include 30 Rock, the Practice, Law & Order SVU, the Sopranos, Law & Order. She can be seen in the 2012 film 'Musical Chairs' directed by Susan Seidelman. She can be heard on the following film soundtracks: Nine, Chicago, Legally Blonde 2. She will share some of her solo recordings, tell us about life on the road and when she might be lured back to the bright lights of Broadway.

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Chrome Bug Makes It Easy to Download Movies From Netflix and Amazon Prime

Image: AP

For the past decade, Hollywood's battle against online pirates has been mainly been focused on leaked DVD screeners and illegal streaming sites. Now a pair of security researchers say they've discovered a vulnerability in the Google Chrome browser that allows people to save illegal copies of movies from streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The vulnerability, first reported by Wired, takes advantage of the Widevine EME/CDM technology that Chrome uses to stream encrypted video from content providers. Researchers David Livshits from the Cyber Security Research Center at Ben-Gurion University and Alexandra Mikityuk of Telekom Innovation Laboratories discovered a way to hijack streaming video from the decryption module in the Chrome browser after content has been sent from services like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

The researchers created a proof-of-concept (which is currently the only evidence of the exploit) to show how easily they could illegally download streaming video once CDM technology has decrypted it.