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About Alex Heath

Alex Heath Alex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like 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. All DMs excepted.

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All the new wallpapers and changes in OS X Yosemite Preview 6

Yosemite preview 6

The sixth developer preview of OS X Yosemite is upon us, and like always, Apple has made some noticeable and not-so-noticeable changes. This time around, there are some new wallpapers included alongside general design tweaks.

So in no particular order, here’s what’s new in OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 6:

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April Zero and the quest to become the world’s most transparent human

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

San Francisco designer Anand Sharma shares endless private details about his life on his April Zero website. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Anand Sharma has eaten 17 burritos in the last 141 days. An avid runner and rock climber, the San Francisco-based designer has visited parks seven times this month. He weighed 153.9 pounds and was at 18.4% bodyfat after his 5.5-mile run yesterday. He burned 688 calories during that run.

He gets around a lot, too: On July 15, he flew from Hong Kong to Changi, Singapore. Then he grabbed a bite at the Kampong Glam Cafe. He also spent 94 minutes in a car and 70 minutes on the Lomprayah high-speed ferry that day. During his long day of travel, his heart rate hit a high of 94 and a low of 66 (averaging a slightly higher than usual 79). He didn’t share any photos on Instagram, but he pushed 25 commits to code-sharing site Github.

Sharma, who was 24.382007813 years old as of this writing, is already the most transparent human being on Earth, and he’s just getting started. Fully embracing the data-hungry demands of the quantified-self movement as well as the constant spotlight of social media, he routinely shares every little detail about his life, from his travels and meals to his vital signs and work, on the slickly designed April Zero website he launched last month. Now he wants to invite you to his way of life. He’s working on a new app that will make it easy for anyone to have their own version of April Zero.

Cult of Mac talked with Sharma about April Zero, the benefits of living in public, and the possibilities of Apple’s long-rumored health-centric wearable.

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Sam Sung charity auction raises $2,653 for Children’s Wish Foundation

Photo: Sam Sung

Photo: Sam Sung

Sam Sung, the most ironically named Apple retail employee on Earth, is giving away his work shirt, badge and business card to raise money for charity. The eBay auction ended last night with a winning bid of $2,653.

“I had a great time working for Apple and would recommend it to anyone,” said Sung in the auction description. “I hope my old business card will go to another fellow Apple enthusiast with a sense of humour and the desire to help raise some money for a good cause.”

All proceeds from the auction will go to The Children’s Wish Foundation, a nonprofit group that “provides children living with life threatening illnesses the opportunity to realize their most heartfelt wish.”

Job listings show Apple means business about retail in Middle East

The futuristic skyline of Dubai.

The futuristic skyline of Dubai.

Apple doesn’t have an official retail presence in the Middle East… yet. Recent job listings spotted by ifoAppleStore indicate that the company is looking to open at least one store in the United Arab Emirates by next year.

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Apple moves the Chinese iCloud to state-controlled servers

Photo: Adam Dean/Bloomberg

Photo: Adam Dean/Bloomberg

Apple is now using China Telecom’s servers instead of its own to power iCloud for Chinese customers. The switch took place on August 8th, and now the carrier is Apple’s only cloud service provider in China.

The decision is likely a direct response to the Chinese state-controlled media recently lashing out at Apple over national security concerns.

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Suspected iPhone thief shares a selfie that could get him busted

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 10.38.03 PM

“Earlymorning selfy lol”

That caption along with the above photo could be what foils the robbery of an old iPhone. Why? Because the thief posted it to the victim’s Facebook account.

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iOS and Android completely dominate the global smartphone market

iPhone-5-Android-Market

In the smartphone race there are only two players: iOS and Android. That fact is clear in IDC’s new report for worldwide smartphone shipments for the second quarter.

Combined, iOS and Android account for a whopping 96.4% of global smartphone sales. IDC notes that there’s “little space for competitors,” which is a mild way of saying that every other platform has little to no hope.

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Mailbox gets a bunch of new features and support for 19 languages

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Mailbox, the beloved email app owned by Dropbox, received a pretty big update today in the App Store. As the Mac beta of Mailbox continues to roll out slowly, the app is maturing on iOS.

19 languages are now supported by Mailbox instead of just English, including Spanish, Chinese, Japanese French, German, Russian, and more. Printing, Passbook support, starring, trash emptying, and more have also been added.

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Apple’s ‘innate fear of BitTorrent’ is reason for no torrenting apps, says rejected dev

Photo by Alex Heath/ Cult of Mac

Photo: Alex Heath/Cult of Mac

Apple has a long history of keeping BitTorrent apps out of the App Store. If you search for “BitTorrent” in the App Store now, only two results show up. Neither of them allow you to actually download torrents.

That’s why it was surprising when an app called Blue Downloader showed up in the store a couple of days ago. Its secret sauce is that it allows users to find and download torrents through sources chosen by its developer, Tyler Harrison, making it hard to use for illegal downloads like grabbing Expendables 3 off The Pirate Bay.

Apple approved Blue Downloader, but after Harrison made a change that allowed searching Google for torrents, the app was suddenly pulled. In an interview with Cult of Mac, Harrison explains how Apple’s response reflects its “innate fear of BitTorent” and his plans to get his app back in the store.

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Lightning envy: Next-gen USB enters production with reversible design

A concept of what a Lightning-to-USB Type-C cable would look like.

A concept of what a Lightning-to-USB Type-C cable could look like.

We’ve known for awhile that the next version of USB will copy Apple’s Lightning connector with a reversible design. Now the next-gen connector is ready for production, which means you’ll start seeing it in new desktops, laptops, tablets, phones and accessories.

Today the USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced that work on the new design, called USB Type-C, is done and ready to be implemented.

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