(You're reading all posts by Jim Merithew)

About Jim Merithew

Jim MerithewJim Merithew is director of content at Cult of Mac and Cult of Android. He is the former photo director of Wired and editor at large of Raw File, Wired's photography blog. In more than 25 years as a journalist, including eight years at the San Francisco Chronicle, Jim has led award-winning teams and relentlessly spread the gospel of the bicycle. He also plays guitar in Pickle Horse. Follow him on Instagram (@tinyblackbox) and Twitter (@tinyblackbox).

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ILE Equipment bags are made in America but big in Japan


“Inspiration comes in weird places,” says Eric Fischer, owner of ILE Equipment. Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

BERKELEY, Calif. — ILE is big in Japan. The California bag company has found a market with the Japanese bike website Blue Lug, and the collaboration keeps pushing ILE into new bags, materials, hardware and color choices.

Eric Fischer, 26, launched ILE (short for “Inside Line Equipment”) out of his apartment four short years ago. He was racing bikes, buying fabric and making bags one at a time for himself, his friends and friends of friends.

“I always liked making things, but building buildings didn’t seem scalable,” Fischer told Cult of Mac. “Making bags seemed more like a painting rather than building a house.”

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Ms. Pac-Man, Frogger and beer, all on tap at Ground Kontrol


A pair of gamers take their chances in Time Crisis II, while another patron gets his ass handed to him playing NBA Jam. Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

PORTLAND, Oregon — The glowing light from the beer signs in the window reflects off Bear’s face. He is standing guard tonight at one of Portland’s favorite hot spots, and the line stretches down the street.

A motley-looking cast of characters wait patiently for their chance to get past security. But they are not here to see a punk or metal show, or even for a hot DJ. They are in line to rid their pockets of quarters playing Ms. Pac-Man and other vintage video games at Portland’s Ground Kontrol.

With 60-plus video games and almost 30 pinball machines in operation — all at the price they were circa 1985 — it’s no wonder the arcade is packed with gaming nerds.

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New outdoor gear preps you for nature’s nastiness


Outdoor Retailer’s version of the Kodak Photo Spot is a eye-popping orange sleeping bag thingy for two. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SALT LAKE CITY — Mother Nature’s got a million ways to make your life miserable. Luckily, the outdoor industry is filled with innovators, entrepreneurs and inspired inventors working incessantly to make your adventures more epic and less stressful.

The sheer number of companies hawking advanced snowshoes, crampons and things made of Merino wool proved a little mind-numbing last week at Outdoor Retailer 2015, the industry’s largest convention.

Everything from stitch-free puffy jackets to shoes made with Michelin tire technology were on display in the giant convention center, but we waded past the immense numbers of mannequins and bowls filled with enticing fresh fruit (rather than convention-standard Red Vines) to bring you a few of the more interesting gadgets, clothing items and even a new camera strap for your micro 4:3 camera.

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Siri: Your personal resolution wrangler

Let Siri help you keep your New Year Resolutions. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Let Siri help you keep your New Year’s resolutions. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

I asked Siri to set a 6:30 a.m. alarm so I could get this article written before my morning spin class. And that got me wondering what other things the young woman on my iPhone 6 Plus could do to help me meet or exceed my plans to dominate in 2015.

After my wake-up alarm, I told Siri to “call me ‘Champ.'” What better way to get our relationship started than to establish a motivational nickname? I was going to go with “Tiger” or “Hero” or “Shnoogems,” but decided “Champ” was the least embarrassing if Siri shouted it out in public.

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Road-ready gifts for bicyclists

If any of these 7500 riders at Levi's Gran Fondo are on your Holiday shopping guide, we have some suggestions for you below. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

If any of the 7,500 riders at Levi’s Gran Fondo are on your gift list, we have some suggestions for you. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

We here at Cult of Mac love bicycles almost as much as we love our iPhone 6 Pluses and iMac Retina 5Ks.

Maybe it’s the feeling of almost flying. Or the passionate design coming out of the bicycle industry. Or maybe it is just the idea of being a part of something else that drives intense passions in people. Whatever it is, we love it.

So we scoured high and low to bring you a list of crazy gift ideas for yourself or for your two-wheeled companions.
Take a look, but remember to take a deep breath before firing up your Apple Pay.

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Powder-ready gifts for ski lovers

Colorado is getting the early season powder but the cloud full. Photo: Jakob Schiller/Cult of Mac

These gifts will get any skier ready for the powder. Photo: Jakob Schiller/Cult of Mac

Here in Northern California we’re still awaiting our first real snow dump of the year.

And while we have our fingers crossed and have been diligently doing our plyometric exercises, we’re still left with plenty of time to build up a big old lust for some new 2014 ski schwag.

Cult of Mac has put together a gift guide for that special fresh-powder chaser on your list. Or, you know, for yourself.

Here’s to a knee-deep powder year for all of us.

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Release your inner iPhone 6 artist with Paper Camera app

Paper Camera is just plain fun. Plenty of photo apps let you apply filters after the fact, but this one performs its manipulative magic inside your camera, transforming your images in real-time before your dazzled eyes.

The filters are robust, offering a nice variety of cartoon- and painting-style choices to help make even the most uninteresting photographic situations colorful, graphic or both. And Paper Camera supports the same wacky filter set for videos you shoot.

We love the fact that the app saves both the original file and the filtered version to our library so we can do what we want with the original.

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Dirty emoji make sexting simple (NSFW)

Sexting made visual with the help of Flirtmoji. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Sexting gets visual with Flirtmoji. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

With packages of dirty emoji filed under group headings like Teen Dream and Fetish 101, the artistically perverted designers at Flirtmoji are ready to help the masses up their sexting game.

Anatomically correct emoji, plus classic icons of the sexual revolution such as the rainbow flag and a banana wearing a condom, will make it easy for you to make yourself perfectly clear.

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Look high, look low: Teleport your head with this weird device

Tired of looking at the world from the same old perspective? Need a fresh take on things? A new point of view?

Well, you have less than two weeks to get your hands on an EYEteleporter, an outlandish, periscope-style device that will give you a unique perspective on the world.

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This bizarre drone decomposes upon impact

Photo: CNASA/Ames

This drone will decompose in T-minus 10, 9, 8 … Photo: NASA Ames Research Center

While we wait for Amazon to figure out how to drone-deliver our next order of energy drinks or iPhone cases, NASA has been busy coming up with a way to make sure when a quadcopter crash-lands somewhere there will no need to panic about the environmental impact.

That’s because they have made a drone from fungus.

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