TIME podcasts

7 Great Podcasts To Get Hooked On Now That Serial’s Over

Sarah Koenig
Sarah Koenig, host and executive producer of Serial Meredith Heuer

Serial is over (for now)—but there’s no reason to kick your addiction to downloadable stories.

Anyone who’s ever heard a public radio pledge drive knows that a “driveway moment” is when the show you’re listening to is so good, you’ll sit parked in your car until it’s over. Now, with great podcasts flooding the digital airwaves, downloadable stories have spread “driveway moments” all over the world — to gyms, subways, kitchens, and, well, more driveways.

Serial, the weekly podcast that explored the murder of a young Baltimore woman, was the most recent show to capture everyone’s ears. The last episode of Serial’s first season dropped Thursday, but there are a lot of other great podcasts worth a listen.

Here are seven podcasts to tide Serial fans over until the show returns for a second season:

Slate’s Serial Spoilers

Can’t get enough of Serial? Neither could the folks at Slate Magazine, who created a complimentary podcast to discuss and dissect the details of each week’s episode. Designed to be listened to following the corresponding episode of Serial, this show is also weekly, and features hosts David Haglund and Katy Waldman nit-picking over the case’s finer points, as well as how Serial’s producer Sarah Koenig has crafted the narrative. (Warning: Spoilers, obviously).

Welcome to Night Vale

Part Twilight Zone part A Prairie Home Companion, this fictional, bi-weekly podcast takes the form of radio broadcasts to the Southwestern desert town of Night Vale, where eerie (and often humorous) occurrences pop up all the time. Performed by a central narrator (or news reporter) named Cecil, the show has periodic guest voices, winding, recurring storylines, and — even better, for new listeners — almost 60 episodes under its belt (and counting) to binge on before you get throttled by its first and 15th of the month broadcast schedule.

Criminal

Digging deep into the areas where the law doesn’t dare tread, this podcast talks to everyone from cooks to coroners in its pursuit of the story. From tales of the mysterious — like the Venus flytrap kidnapping ring — to cold-blooded drive-by shootings, these episodes, which last around 20 minutes each, will keep you on the edge of your seat, while locking you in with masterful, expert-level audio production. It’s true crime at its finest.

Thrilling Adventure Hour

This highly entertaining, live recorded podcast evokes the golden age of radio through a variety of segments, including fictional ads, one-off sketches and periodic updates from recurring stories, like the tales of diva detective Desdemona Hughes, the campy adventures of Captain Laserbeam, and the story of a time-traveling Amelia Earhart who faked her death.

Packed with cameos by voices you’d no doubt recognize, like Joe Mantegna, Neil Patrick Harris, and Alison Brei, it’s a great way to see (well, listen to) your favorite actors in a whole new light. But get it while you can — sadly, after 10 years of monthly shows, the Thrilling Adventure Hour will be ending in April 2015.

Here Be Monsters

Unpredictable, dark, and absolutely enthralling, this podcast sets out to explore the unknown and does so with a great staff of radio producers from literally all over the world (one even lives in Antarctica). In its most popular episode, the show follows a woman who, in the wake of losing her daughter, seeks alternative treatment for her extreme grief by taking highly powerful hallucinogens that can only be found in the Amazon rainforest. Other episodes are also strange trips, from explorations of white supremacist churches to covering the ways that crows mourn their dead, they take listeners down unexpected avenues, to places where they’d never venture otherwise.

This American Life

Arguably the radio show that launched the entire genre of podcasts, this public radio show launched Serial as a spin-off, but had considerable success on its own for more than 15 years. In that time, it’s put out more than 500 episodes and given the world fantastic stories by Ira Glass (the show’s host), David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, Mike Birbiglia, Jon Ronsom, and others. Its top-notch audio production has been aped by many podcasts since, but none have ever matched its popularity. In fact, while weekly episodes of This American Life are available for download, past episodes can be accessed through the show’s official app, something few other podcasts can boast.

How Did This Get Made?

A bit off topic from the true crime and great story podcasts listed above, this weekly comedy download takes an up-close, highly-critical, and wickedly funny look at terrible flicks that Hollywood pumps out, and rips them to hilarious shreds. Hosted by Paul Scheer and packed full of guests like Adam Scott, Dan Harmon, and Amy Schumer, the host and guests dissect films like Pamela Anderson’s Barb Wire, Miley Cyrus’s LOL, and even Sylvester Stallone’s classic, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. And since there’s no stopping the movie industry from making bombs like these, you can’t expect this podcast, soon to be in its fifth year, to quit any time soon.

TIME Security

Everything We Know About Sony, The Interview and North Korea

What we know, what we don't know, and how a movie got pulled

Sony Pictures Entertainment said late Wednesday that it’s pulling The Interview, a comedy about two journalists tasked with killing North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un. Sony’s move came a day after a cryptic message appeared online threatening attacks against theaters that played the film, and several weeks after hackers first breached Sony’s system and posted troves of private emails and other data online.

Shortly after Sony decided to scrub The Interview, a U.S. official confirmed to TIME that American intelligence officials have determined North Korea was behind the Sony hack, though no evidence has been disclosed.

Here’s everything we know for sure about the Sony hack, up until now.

What happened?

On Nov. 24, Sony employees came to work in Culver City, Calif., to find images of grinning red skulls on computer screens. The hackers identified themselves as #GOP, or the Guardians of Peace. They made off with a vast amount of data (reports suggest up to 100 terabytes), wiped company hard drives and began dumping sensitive documents on the Internet.

Among the sensitive information the hackers divulged: salary and personnel records for tens of thousands of employees as well as Hollywood stars; embarrassing email traffic between executives and movie moguls; and several of the studio’s unreleased feature films. More is likely to come, as Sony Pictures Co-Chair Amy Pascal said the hackers got away with every employees’ emails “from the last 10 years.”

MORE: The 7 most outrageous things we learned from the Sony hack

And the attack has already affected other companies: Secret acquisitions by photo-sharing app Snapchat, for instance, have been made public thanks to leaked emails from Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, who sits on Snapchat’s board.

Who did it?

That’s the million-dollar question. For a few reasons, suspicion has zeroed in on the North Korean government or a band of allied hacktivists. The hermit kingdom is apoplectic over The Interview, in which Seth Rogen and James Franco play journalists who land a face-to-face with Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, only to be asked by the CIA to assassinate the reclusive leader. The comedy features graphic footage of the dictator’s death, which didn’t go over well in a country built on a hereditary personality cult.

From a forensic perspective, the hack had hallmarks of North Korean influence. The attackers breached Sony’s network with malware that had been compiled on a Korean-language computer. And the effort bore similarities to attacks by a hacking group with suspected ties to North Korea that has carried out attacks on South Korean targets, including a breach of South Korean banks in 2013. That group, which is alternately known in the cybersecurity community as DarkSeoul (after its frequent target) or Silent Chollima (after a mythical winged horse), often uses spear-phishing—a cyber-attack that targets a specific vulnerable user or department on a larger network.

MORE: U.S. sees North Korea as culprit in Sony attack

That does not necessarily mean the North Korean government, or even the same hacker collective, is responsible. In the world of cyberwarfare, hackers will often dissect and imitate successful techniques.

Even the clues that point toward Pyongyang could be diversions to deflect investigators. For example, the perpetrators could’ve manipulated the code or set the computer language to throw suspicion on a convenient culprit. Pyongyang has denied involvement.

Why did Sony scrub The Interview?

People who may or may not have been tied to the hackers posted a vague message Tuesday threatening 9/11-style attacks against theaters that chose to play the film. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said there wasn’t any evidence of a credible threat against American movie theaters, but several major chains, including AMC and Regal, decided to play it safe—all told, chains that control about half of the country’s movie screens decided against playing The Interview. Sony then followed suit, pulling the movie entirely.

Were theaters really in danger?

It’s tough to say for sure. North Korea has made lots of bloviating threats toward the U.S. before, so anything that comes out of Pyongyang should be taken with a grain of salt. But again, no concrete proof has been made public yet that these attacks or the threat came from North Korea—or even that they came from the same person or group.

Will we ever get to see The Interview?

Probably. The movie cost about $44 million to make, according to documents leaked by the hackers. The ad campaign so far has cost tens of millions on top of that, although Sony has pulled the plug on further TV spots. A total loss on that investment would be a tough pill for Sony to swallow.

MORE: You can’t see The Interview, but TIME’s movie critic did

What will most likely happen is some limited release in the future when everything calms down, perhaps bypassing theaters and going right to Blu-Ray/DVD and on-demand services. There’s also a chance Sony could release the film online. That would eliminate pretty much any safety risk to viewers, but could further enrage whoever hacked Sony—assuming they actually care about The Interview and it’s not just a red herring. It would also let Sony capitalize on all the sudden interest in the film generated by the hack and threats. Don’t expect to see it soon: Sony said late Wednesday it’s not planning any kind of release. But it could, of course, be leaked online.

In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, President Barack Obama called the hack against Sony “very serious,” but suggested authorities have yet to find any credibility in the threat of attacks against theaters.

“For now, my recommendation would be that people go to the movies,” Obama said.

How did the hackers do it?

We don’t know exactly. Cyber-security experts say the initial breach could have occurred through a simple phishing or spearfishing attempt, in which the hackers find a soft spot in the company’s network defenses. That can be a coding error or an employee who clicks on an infected link. These breaches occur all the time. FireEye, the parent company of the cybersecurity firm Sony hired to probe the hack, studied the network security of more than 1,200 banks, government agencies and manufacturers over a six-month period ending in 2014, and found that 97% had their last line of defense breached at some point by hackers.

“Breaches are inevitable,” says Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. “But that just means they’ve gotten in the door. It doesn’t mean they’ll be able to walk out with the crown jewels or set fire to the building.”

Once inside, hackers will try to gain elevated security privileges to spread across the network. What made the Sony hack different was the fact that it wasn’t detected until large quantities of data had been swiped. And what stood out, several analysts say, was not the sophistication of the breach but the havoc the culprits sought to wreak. “The attack was very targeted, very well thought out,” says Mike Fey of the network-security firm Blue Coat Systems, who believes the hackers “planned and orchestrated” the attack for months.

What are investigators doing to find out who’s responsible?

Sony has brought in experts at Mandiant, a top security firm, to lead the probe of the hack. Their investigation, outside security experts say, will be similar in some ways to the forensic analysis that follow a murder: studying data logs, reviewing network communications, poring over code, matching clues to potential motives. It may involve probing bulletin boards on the Dark Web, where hackers sometimes go to seek advice on technical troubles.

“There’s a lot of detective work you can do,” says former Department of Justice cybercrime prosecutor Mark Rasch. “Are they native English speakers? What programming language do they use? The code will have styles, signatures and tells.”

And investigators are tracking the IP addresses from which the attack was launched, which in the case of the Sony hack included infected computers in locations ranging from Thailand to Italy.

What happens if it was North Korea?

It’s tough to say. It’s unprecedented for a state actor to conduct a cyberattack of this scale against a U.S. corporation. If that turns out to be the case, however the U.S. decides to respond will set the tone for a whole new kind of cyberwar.

Could the Sony hack happen to other companies?

It’s increasingly likely. Sony is unusual in large part because the attackers appear to have been driven by a desire to cause destruction, rather than financial motives. And the strange geopolitical overtones of the hack add a dollop of intrigue. “It’s a milestone because it’s such a large-scale destructive attack that is rooted in this bizarre political messaging,” says security researcher Kurt Baumgartner of Kaspersky Lab.

But cyber-warfare is a growing threat for which most companies are ill-prepared. Joseph Demarest, assistant director in the FBI’s cyber division, testified to a Senate panel earlier this month that the malware used in the Sony hack “probably [would have] gotten past 90% of the net defenses that are out there today in private industry.” Banks and government agencies tend to have better security, but in recent months major retailers like Target and Home Depot have been hit. When targeted by competent and persistent hackers, corporate defenses will often be outmatched. “This is a great wakeup call,” says Kevin Haley, a director at Symantec Security Response. “We need to get better at securing our organizations.”

-Additional reporting by Sam Frizell

TIME intelligence

U.S. Sees North Korea as Culprit in Sony Hack

A poster for the movie "The Interview" is taken down by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta.
A poster for the movie The Interview is taken down by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater on Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta David Goldman—AP

Fallout prompted studio to pull The Interview

American officials have determined the government of North Korea is connected to the hack that left Sony Entertainment Pictures reeling and eventually prompted it to pull a movie critical of the country’s leader, a U.S. official confirmed Wednesday.

Much remains unclear about the nature of North Korea’s involvement. The country, while lauding the hack against Sony, has denied being behind it. There were conflicting reports Wednesday evening, and officials are expected to unveil their findings Thursday. But the U.S. official confirmed to TIME that intelligence officials have indeed determined North Korea was behind the hack, one of the worst cyberattacks ever against an American company.

The New York Times, citing senior Obama Administration officials, reported that intelligence officials have determined North Korea was “centrally involved.” NBC News, also citing unnamed U.S. officials, reported that the Americans believe the hacking came from outside North Korea itself, but that the hackers were acting on orders from Pyongyang.

MORE: The 7 most outrageous things we learned from the Sony hack

The hack exposed reams of company data, including employees’ emails and salaries. A group calling itself the Guardians of Peace claimed credit. And analysts have speculated North Korea was behind an attack that came before the scheduled release of The Interview, a Sony movie that depicts American journalists enlisted by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (North Korean officials have criticized the movie.) Threats of 9/11-style attacks against theaters that show the movie led many theaters to say this week that they wouldn’t screen it, which prompted Sony to cancel the scheduled Christmas Day release altogether.

“We are deeply saddened by this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees and the American public,” Sony said in a statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”

In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, President Barack Obama called the hack against Sony “very serious,” but suggested authorities have yet to find any credibility in the threat of attacks against theaters.

“For now, my recommendation would be that people go to the movies,” Obama said.

TIME Media

Sony Pulls The Interview After Threats

A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater on Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta.
A poster for the movie The Interview is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater on Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta David Goldman—AP

Movie won't be released after an unknown group threatened 9/11-style attacks over the film

Sony Pictures Entertainment canceled the planned Christmas Day release of The Interview on Wednesday after an unknown person or group threatened to attack theaters that played the film. Sony’s decision comes after several major theater chains backed out of showing the film in light of the threats.

“We are deeply saddened by this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees and the American public,” Sony said in a statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”

MORE: 3 Reasons People Think North Korea Hacked Sony

The threats, which warned of 9/11-style attacks against theaters showing The Interview, may have come from the same people responsible for hacking Sony Pictures late last month. Thousands of Sony employees’ emails and personal data have been posted online as a result of the hack, and Sony is still reeling from its effects.

It isn’t yet clear who hacked Sony or threatened the theaters, though some analysts have pointed fingers at North Korea. Pyongyang is furious over The Interview, a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco about TV journalists asked to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But no clear link to North Korea has been established, and the government has denied responsibility for the hack.

TIME Security

3 Reasons People Think North Korea Hacked Sony

And 4 reasons it might have been somebody else

It’s been more than three weeks since Sony Pictures employees arrived in their offices to find threatening messages accompanied by glowing skulls placed by hackers on their computer screens, but the embattled studio is still dealing with the fallout. Terabytes of Sony’s internal data has been leaked online. Sony’s been hit with multiple ex-employee lawsuits. Ominous warnings have been issued about attacks on movie theaters that play Sony’s upcoming The Interview.

But we still don’t know a basic question: Who hacked Sony?

The person or people claiming responsibility call themselves the “Guardians of Peace,” or GOP. Early reports suggested North Korea was behind the GOP, and there’s been some evidence of that. But North Korea has denied responsibility for the hack, and it’s equally possible the assailants planted clues leading to North Korea as a distraction.

Here’s why people think North Korea was involved:

The attack looks similar to hacks previously linked to North Korea, according to cybersecurity analysts. In a hack like the one against Sony, the attackers most likely found a way to infect Sony’s systems with malware, probably through an email. Once Sony’s system was infected, the hackers could use what’s called a command-and-control server to steal data. And, as it turns out, the malware being used against Sony communicates with at least one of the same command-and-control servers used in previous attacks attributed to North Korea.

It’s improbable that’s a coincidence, experts say. And the malware itself was developed and compiled on systems set to use the Korean language, another clue pointing to North Korea.

“It’s highly unlikely to see another piece of malware that carries strong similarity characteristics and uses the same command and control server,” Kaspersky Lab analyst Kurt Baumgartner says. “It’s a very unique indicator.”

North Korea has a motive. The leaders of the reclusive nation are furious about Sony’s upcoming release of Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy The Interview, which revolves around an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. North Korea has called the movie an “act of war.”

The hackers are doing whatever they can to stop people from seeing The Interview. On Tuesday, the hackers or somebody claiming to be associated with them threatened to attack movie theaters that screen The Interview. At least one theater chain has already decided not to show the movie.

But there are reasons to doubt North Korea’s involvement:

North Korea has denied the hacks. The government officially claimed it wasn’t responsible, but praised it as a “righteous deed.” American law enforcement is investigating any possible North Korea links, but so far hasn’t found evidence of one.

It’s easy enough to buy and sell malware. There’s a big black market for malware, and a lot of it is simply traded, repackaged and used again. So the similarities between the Sony attack and earlier hacks linked to North Korea may not be so telling.

The North Korea clues and theater threats could be a red herring. North Korea was making vague threats over The Interview long before Sony was hacked. If random hackers attacked Sony because they found an exploitable weak point, they might have left clues pointing to North Korea and made threats to keep attention squarely on Pyongyang.

It could just be random hackers. Sony has long been a favorite target of hackers around the world. Its PlayStation Network, for instance, has repeatedly been hit by disabling attacks. That’s at least in part because back in the mid-2000s, Sony put software on millions of music CDs that, when put in a computer, would automatically install software meant to make it harder to illegally copy those albums. Sony’s software, however, installed itself without users’ knowledge and exposed users’ machines to security vulnerabilities. Many in the hacker community have not forgiven Sony for the practice, which it ended in 2007.

Read next: These Are the Theaters That Have Pulled ‘The Interview’ After Threat

TIME Smartphones

BlackBerry Just Announced the Ultimate Dad Phone

BlackBerry Classic
BlackBerry Classic, BlackBerry Passport, BlackBerry Bold BlackBerry

The BlackBerry Classic is the anti-iPhone

BlackBerry’s new BlackBerry Classic, unveiled Wednesday, looks just like the BlackBerry your dad used to use — and that means your dad’s going to love it.

These days, most smartphone makers have ditched hardware keyboards in favor of bigger touchscreen real estate. But that doesn’t mean everybody wants touchscreen keyboards. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard business-types in particular lament over their long-lost BlackBerry and its keyboard, like the BlackBerry Bold above to the right.

That means the long-flagging BlackBerry has an opening, however small, to differentiate itself from Apple, Samsung and its other competitors by going long on the keyboard for customers who want one. That’s exactly what it’s doing with the Classic, seen above left, which it’s is pitching as a no-frills, all-business communications machine that’s comfortably similar to your old BlackBerry.

“BlackBerry Classic is the powerful communications tool that many BlackBerry Bold and Curve users have been waiting for,” said BlackBerry CEO John Chen in a statement that sounds like it’s meant for people who fondly reminisce over their BlackBerry days. “It’s the secure device that feels familiar in their hands, with the added performance and agility they need to be competitive in today’s busy world.”

The BlackBerry Classic boasts a 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor, 2 gigs of RAM, 16GB of storage that’s expandable to 128GB and two cameras, an 8MP in the back and a 2MP up front. Those aren’t the most impressive specs, but if you’re the kind of smartphone buyer who just needs an email and text machine, they’ll do just fine. And while the Classic may be a step backwards innovation-wise from the interesting (if a little weird) BlackBerry Passport seen above in the middle, that’s exactly the point. BlackBerry’s past may just be its future.

TIME Innovation

These Jeans Block Hackers From Stealing Your Stuff

BetaBrand RFID blocking pants
BetaBrand RFID blocking pants Jason Van Horn—Betabrand

Norton anti-virus technology is now available in stretch denim

A wearable tech firm has joined forces with Norton to develop a new pair of jeans that prevent “digital pickpockets” from scanning your credit cards and passports as you walk by.

The pockets in Betabrand’s “Ready Active Jeans” are lined with a specially designed fabric that blocks RFID (radio-frequency identification) signals, which are used in a growing number of credit cards and passports to enable secure wireless scanning. Betabrand, however, says identity thieves armed with handheld scanners have exploited the technology in upwards of 10 million heists a year.

“That’s why we partnered with with global information-protection authority Norton to create the world’s first RFID-blocking jeans,” Betabrand wrote in an announcement of the new jeans.

The jeans are currently selling for $151, and can be purchased with a matching, RFID-repellant blazer. Machine wash cold.

TIME Gadgets

Top 10 Tech Product Designs of 2014

2014 brought in a slew of sleek tech products, these were the ones that stood out

TIME Media

Netflix Just Announced a Huge New Partnership

Netflix Dish
The Netflix Inc. application is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone arranged for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

It's Netflix's first big partnership with a major TV provider in the U.S.

Netflix has found an unlikely partner to help it recruit more new subscribers—Dish Network.

The satellite operator announced Wednesday that it will be integrating Netflix directly into its Hopper set-top box. That means Dish subscribers will be able to seamlessly switch to Netflix content using the same device, remote control and video input that they use when they watch regular television.

The Dish deal, however, doesn’t mean Netflix will be free for Dish subscribers. It only makes it easier for people who use both Netflix and Dish to watch Netflix content.

“Pairing Netflix with Hopper represents the consolidation of two incredible video experiences,” Vivek Khemka, Dish senior vice president of product management, said in a press release. “It gives our customers easy access to their favorite shows and movies, on both Dish and Netflix, without ever having to leave their Hopper.”

Netflix has aggressively been pursuing partnerships with pay-TV providers in order to place its streaming service in front of more potential new customers. While the company has had some success cutting deals in Europe and with small cable operators in the U.S., the major American TV providers have been wary of giving Netflix easier access to its subscribers — until now.

It makes sense that Dish would be the first big pay-TV operator to hop in bed with Netflix. The satellite company has plans for an “over-the-top” TV service delivered via the Internet that will aim to attract exactly the kind of TV viewers who enjoy Netflix. In the future, Dish says, it may add tighter integration of Netflix content by making the streaming service’s shows and movies searchable via the Hopper interface.

TIME apps

5 Can’t-Miss iPhone Apps You Should Download This Week

Woman using iPhone
Image Source/Getty Images

Check out Workflow, an app that lets you make cool new shortcuts

It seems like hundreds of new iPhone apps pop up every week, but which ones should you bother trying? We explored the App Store and found five apps actually worth downloading.

Robinhood

When you’re new to trading stocks, among the most daunting thoughts is not that you might lose money, but that you might have to pay commission on a trade that ends with you losing a ton of money. Robinhood is your way around this anxiety. Not only does it offer commission-free trading, but it quickly displays historical share prices and allows users to create a stock hit-list by swiping left or right on a given stock. Though you might not earn millions, Robinhood might just help you line your pockets with a little extra cash, if you know what you’re doing.

Robinhood is available free in the App Store.

Workflow

When the Heartbleed fiasco earlier this year temporarily shut down productivity service IFTTT (which allowed users to make simple if-this-then-that macros on their mobile devices), it paved the way for different, though perhaps just as useful apps like Workflow. Workflow allows users to do simple things like creating an icon that makes calls to select people, to getting directions to the nearest coffee shop. The app essentially allows you to create your own apps based on dozens of interchangeable actions.

Workflow is available for $2.99 in the App Store.

Do

I like to think that the meetings of the five families in The Godfather would have been much smoother with an app like Do. It creates a meeting itinerary, with ideas to bring up, alerts, points of interest, and the ability to send automatic summaries to participants. Did Bruno Tattaglia bring up the division of labor union contracts? Do would have put that in the shared notes. Did you suddenly remember not to trust Don Barzini on the import-export deal? Put that in the private notes. It makes the business of meeting with colleagues (or enemy mob bosses looking to have you killed) seamless, easy, and ruthlessly efficient.

Do is available free in the App Store.

Gyf

The last thing anyone wants to do is open up a video in a text message. It might be a hilarious clip from one college friend of another falling down a small flight of stairs, but it’s a dangerous thing to open up a clip at the office and not know where it’s going. Gyf allows you to turn these treasured memories into easy-to-share GIF files. That video of your younger sibling accidentally blowing up a pressure cooker? Mom might not have time to watch a video, so send her the GIF version instead.

Gyf is available free in the App Store.

Zen Shopping

With the holidays right around the corner, the decision between saving a few bucks and doing what is easy might end up taking a turn for the more expensive. Zen Shopping is a brilliant little app that not only compares the best prices for the same item, but also finds coupons, as well as deals geared toward your interests. It also offers partial refunds for certain stores should an item drop below the price you paid, which can mean even greater, more unexpected savings. It really is a full service shopping app that ties everything up nicely with package tracking.

Zen Shopping is available free in the App Store.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser