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About Alex Heath

Alex Heath Alex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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YubiKey wants to be like Touch ID for your Internet life

YubiKey opens the way to online security. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

YubiKey can make online security easy — if it gains widespread adoption. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — Nobody wants to get hacked like Jennifer Lawrence’s iCloud account. Everyone, including Apple, is pushing two-factor authentication in the wake of the high-profile hack that exposed dozens of celebrities nude selfies, but verifying an account login with a code sent to your phone is a total pain.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 In the not-so-distant future, we might all be storing two-factor authentication on our keychains.

Yubico is already providing eight out of 10 Silicon Valley companies with a tiny USB dongle called YubiKey that securely verifies an employee’s online identity. You just plug it into a computer and tap it when it’s time to log in. Now that Gmail has started supporting YubiKey on the front end, anyone can use it as the second verification step for getting into their inbox.

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Leef’s iBridge expands your iPhone’s storage by 256GB, for a price

The Leef iBridge is a Lightning-equipped storage wonder. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Leef iBridge is a Lightning-equipped storage wonder. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — On the surface, there’s nothing very exciting about a portable flash drive. It doesn’t excite me at all. But make that drive a sleek, Lightning-equipped, 256GB beast of a thing, and now we’re talking.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 The Leef iBridge, on display here at International CES, packs the most storage of any iOS-compatible hard drive on the market. But all that space comes at a steep price.

$399.99, to be exact. Certainly jaw-dropping, but something in me, and obviously in the Leef team, believes there’s at least a few people out there who will buy it. If not, the cheaper 128GB ($200), 64GB ($120), 32GB ($80) and 16GB ($60) models should appeal to the layman.

There’s a nice companion iOS app that reads what you’ve stored and even lets you shoot photos/video directly to the drive. Not a bad thing to have for a photo adventure in the wilderness. Or if you still don’t have enough storage available to install iOS 8.

iPhone 6 battery cases are finally a thing

Otterbox finally has your iPhone 6 and 6 plus covered. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Otterbox finally has your iPhone 6 covered — and charged. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — An iPhone battery case is kinda like insurance: You don’t really want it, but you know you need it. It’s been months since Apple started selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but we have yet to see any battery cases from established brands … until now.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 Otterbox unveiled its Resurgence power case for the iPhone 6 at International CES this week. The case packs a 2,600-mAh battery that will charge your iPhone’s battery twice over. And, like everything Otterbox makes, it’s designed with military-grade drop protection.

The case charges itself via a micro-USB connector, and it has a button on the back that needs to be pressed when your iPhone requires more life. Otterbox is offering four colors, and the case should be available in a couple weeks for $100.

Sengled lights are smarter than your average bulb

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Candyland-themed stands not included. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — It seems like everyone is selling some kind of smart light bulb these days, but Sengled is setting itself apart by incorporating wild add-ons like Bluetooth speakers and Wi-Fi repeaters.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015That’s right, a light bulb with a speaker.

At a demo during CES Unveiled here, the company showed me its lineup of four smart bulbs, all of which have their own gimmick beyond the to-be-expected remote control functionality through an app.

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Narrative Clip is like a Russian dash cam for your body

Embrace the lifelogging lifestyle. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Embrace the lifelogging lifestyle. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — What if your entire life was like a Russian dash cam? Our phones already know where we are and what we’re doing every moment of the day, but the Narrative Clip takes things to the next level.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015

This tiny little square clips onto your person and takes a 5 megapixel photo every 30 seconds. Apparently wearing such a thing makes you a “lifelogger,” which sounds like a great term to drop on a first date. Then again, once you admit that you’re wearing an always-on camera during a date, it won’t really matter if you call it lifelogging or not. You’re not getting a second shot.

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Smart home war heats up as Nest adds new partners

One of the fathers of the iPod, Tony Fadell, made smart homes a reality with the turn of this beautiful clickwheel thermostat. Nest is so easy and responsive that one weekend with using it while dogsitting at a friend’s place made me never want to leave. It’s one thing to feel comfortable in a home, but another to feel like the home is making itself comfortable for you. Google broke out the piggy bank to buy it for $3.2 billion early this year, making Apple’s quest to rule the Internet of Things that much more challenging.

The Nest thermostat just got a lot smarter. Photo: Nest

LAS VEGAS — When it comes to the smart home, there are two key players right now: Apple and Nest, the latter of which is owned by Google. While plenty of smart lock and thermostat makers are starting to support Apple’s HomeKit, the “Works with Nest” family is also growing.

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Rewind: Best viral videos of 2014

Animated gif: Buster Hein

A shot from the video that started #bendgate. GIF: Buster Hein

There were more viral videos in 2014 than you can shake a stick at, and you could spend weeks watching them all. From John Oliver to the Ice Bucket Challenge, we were absolutely inundated with stuff to watch throughout the year, and that’s a great thing.

Wishing you could relive some of the best viral video moments of 2014? We’ve collected some of the best for your enjoyment:

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The 12 biggest moments for Apple in 2014

iPhone 6 Plus. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Looking back on the hits from Apple’s blockbuster year. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

2014 was an absolutely monumental year for Apple. Haters will hate, but one thing can’t be denied: This is a company that refuses to rest on its laurels.

Under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple debuted a new product category with the Apple Watch, sold a record number of new iPhones, made the biggest acquisition in its history, and successfully sent its suffering stock price back into the stratosphere.

The company wasn’t without its missteps, but all in all, it’s hard to call 2014 anything short of a blow-away year for Apple.

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The Interview isn’t on iTunes, but it’s still easy to watch on Apple TV

Photo: Sony Pictures

Photo: Sony Pictures

The Interview has been made available for streaming and purchase online ahead of its theatrical release Christmas Day. YouTube Movies, Google Play, Xbox Videos, and a dedicated website are all offering the controversial comedy for $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to own in HD.

Notably absent from the list of streaming providers is Apple, which refused the chance to make the movie available through iTunes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stream “James Flacco” and Seth Rogen’s North Korean escapades on your Apple TV or iOS device.

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Duet Display, Djay Pro and other awesome apps of the week