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About Alex Heath

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a journalist 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." He lives in Lexington, Kentucky. If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Follow him on Twitter.

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Amazon now delivers a plumber to your door

Would you like free two-day shipping with that?

Would you like free two-day shipping with that?

Amazon already delivers your toilet paper. Now it wants to deliver your plumber.

The online retail giant debuted a new service today called Home Services. It’s designed to take the simplistic Amazon ordering approach and apply it to real-world service needs, like fixing your home computer, cleaning the gutter or teaching aerial yoga lessons.

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Facebook Messenger’s app store is here, and it sucks

Facebook Messenger apps

Facebook Messenger’s app platform is off to a pretty ‘meh’ start. Photo: Alex Heath/Cult of Mac

Facebook is building its own kind of app store around Messenger, or so was the pitch at the social network’s F8 conference last week.

But now that the new platform, which manifests itself as a list of approved iOS apps that integrate with Messenger, is out in the wild, it’s not that impressive.

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The most awesome new apps you might have missed this week

Comcast denies talking with Apple about TV service

Apple isn't talking with NBC's parent company about a TV service. Photo: NBCUniversal

Apple hasn’t approached NBC’s parent company about a TV service. Photo: NBCUniversal

It turns out Apple isn’t talking with NBCUniversal about partnering for its forthcoming TV service. At least not yet.

How do we know? Because Comcast, NBCUniversal’s parent company, hasn’t been approached by Apple at all. But that doesn’t mean NBCUniversal’s content won’t be on Apple’s service when it launches.

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Tim Cook slams Indiana’s new ‘religious freedom’ law

Tim Cook is all about privacy. Photo: Apple

“Apple is open for everyone,” Cook tweeted today. Photo: Apple

Apple’s Tim Cook has been very public about his stance on gay rights.

Now he’s calling out the state of Indiana’s highly controversial “religious freedom” bill, which Governor Mike Pence signed into law yesterday.

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Dashcams reveal horrors of teens texting and driving

Don't text and drive. Photo: AAA

Don’t text and drive. Photo: AAA

We all know that teens are crazy drivers. But when you put phones in their hands, things get really bad.

AAA conducted video analysis of teenagers on the road and discovered that “distraction was a factor in nearly six out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes.”

The video footage speaks for itself, so just watch:

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CNN lands on Apple TV, but you still need cable

Photo: Alex Heath/ Cult of Mac

Photo: Alex Heath/ Cult of Mac

CNN came to the Apple TV today in the form of “CNNgo,” an app that lets you view live broadcasts, shows, and popular news clips.

Unfortunately, the bulk of CNNgo is still shackled to cable, meaning you won’t be able to view anything except some short video highlights without first entering TV subscription information.

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Instagram’s new Layout app has an unsettling secret

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Layout from Instagram? That name sounds oddly familiar. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

What happens when a multi-billion-dollar social network steals your app’s name?

Independent developer Mike Swanson asked that question Monday when he learned that Instagram had released Layout, the Facebook-owned company’s new iPhone app for creating photo collages.

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Fantastical 2 gets fresh design, new features for OS X Yosemite

Week View

The best calendar app just got way better on the Mac.

Fantastical has been my go-to calendar app for years. It’s interface and ease of use is second to none, especially Apple’s terrible Calendar app.

But Fantastical hasn’t received much love on the Mac in awhile. While the iOS version has continued to steadily iterate, the app’s design and basic feature set on the desktop has basically stayed the same.

Today Fantastical 2 for Mac arrives, bringing a complete design revamp for OS X Yosemite and several major new features.

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Apple buys boring database company you’ve never heard of

Wikimedia_Foundation_Servers-8055_24

Not every Apple acquisition is exciting.

Apple has bought a boring database company you’ve never heard of called FoundationDB. While not as sexy as buying Beats, the acquisition is good news for Apple’s increasingly important cloud services.

The Virginia-based startup, which has raised a little over $20 million in funding, specializes in handling large chunks of data very quickly. TechCrunch first reported news of the acquisition.

Apple could definitely use help on the server side, especially after its cloud services just recently suffered the worst outage in their history. With the iTunes Store, App Store, iCloud, iMessage, Siri, and a forthcoming TV service, Apple needs all the data power it can get. Hopefully FoundationDB will help.