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About John Brownlee

John Brownlee John Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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Classic RPG Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition has come to the Mac

Take a crawl through the dungeons of Icewind Dale. Photo: Beamdog Entertainment

Take a crawl through the dungeons of Icewind Dale. Photo: Beamdog Entertainment

Beamdog Entertainment is a team of ex-Bioware and Black Isle developers who specialize on taking classic Infinity Engine RPGs and updating them for modern devices, like the Mac or iPad. First, they did it for Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II. Now they’re doing it for Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, which has just been released on the PC and Mac.

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This Notification Center widget is like iStats Menu for your iPhone

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Photo: Omnistat

On my aging 2009 iMac, one of my favorite apps is iStats Menu, which lets me see at a glance which of the various programs I have running has slowed my desktop down to a crawl. And I have to admit, it’s gotten me a little performance obsessed: I spend a bunch of time every day checking out iStats Menu, just to see if there’s something I can close to maybe drop CPU usage another half-a-percent.

Because of this, I’ve always sort of wished that there was a similar program for iPhones and iPads. And now there is.

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This app uses iOS 8 HealthKit to tell you when you’re going to die

This app tells you when you're going to die. Photo: Cult of Mac

This app tells you when you’re going to die. Photo: Cult of Mac

HealthKit’s supposed to make it easier to stay healthy. This app doesn’t care about your health. It wants you to die, and it’s going to tell you exactly when that will happen.

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Apple loses title of best tablet maker to Amazon in latest J.D. Power rankings

Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

Back in May, Apple’s iPad regained its illustrious titles as the top tablet according to the J.D. Power’s U.S. Tablet Satisfaction survey.

Fast forward five months, and Apple’s lost the title… to Amazon, of all companies. Is this even real life?

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Homophobic politician wants to ban Tim Cook from Russia for life

Photo: Apple.

Photo: Apple.

It was only a matter of time. Just a few hours after Tim Cook bravely and historically made his sexuality open, the gay-bashing has already begun.

Where? In Russia, where Vitaly Milonov, the politican behind Russia’s anti-gay laws and the politican who threatened to arrest gay athletes at the Sochi olympics, argued that Tim Cook should be banned from Russia because he could be a carrier of AIDs or Ebola.

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Spider-Man Unlimited gets sexy new girl Spidey, villains, and more

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The best runner on iOS just got a little better: Photo: Gameloft

One of my favorite runners to be released in the last year is Gameloft’s Spider-Man Unlimited. Released last month, it would probably be the best runner I’ve ever played, if not for it’s onerous free-to-play mechanics which make leveling up or unlocking new Spider-Men a total grind if you don’t pay out money.

It’s a testament to how good the core gameplay is that even though the free-to-play mechanics are so bad, I keep coming back for more. And now I have even more reason to be addicted, because the first major update to Spider-Man Unlimited is here, bringing more Spider-Man, more villains, new environments, and a new gameplay ‘issue’ to the already content-packed runner.

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Apple replaces iPad destroyed by exploding NASA rocket

The iPad in question, moments before being blown by an exploding rocket into a swamp. Photo: iOSecure

The iPad in question, moments before being blown by an exploding rocket into a swamp. Photo: iOSecure

Yesterday evening, NASA’s unmanned Antares rocket exploded at launch above Wallops Island, Virginia, on route to dropping off supplies at the International Space Station.

A lesser casualty of that explosion? One rocket watcher’s iPad, which was blown to smithereens by the explosion.

But don’t worry. Cupertino did the right thing: they replaced it.

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Q3 earnings show that Apple is just clobbering Samsung

Photo: Martin Hajek

Photo: Martin Hajek

Samsung may ship more devices, but there’s no doubt that Apple is winning the war.

That’s the takeaway from Samsung’s latest earnings report, which stated that the Korean smartphone maker’s Q3 operating profits were just $3.8 billion, a 60 percent drop over last year.

And things are even worse in the mobile division, which dropped 73.9 percent year-over-year.

Now compare those numbers to Apple.

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Mine bitcoins on your iPhone in Bitcoin Billionaire

Has mining Bitcoins ever looked this fun? Photo: Noodlecake Games

Has mining Bitcoins ever looked this fun? Photo: Noodlecake Games

One of my favorite games for the iPhone is Game Dev Story, an adorable and addictive game by Kairosoft that puts the player in the role of managing a team of video game developers.

Something about Noodlecake Games’s upcoming title, Bitcoin Billionaire, reminds me a lot of Game Dev Story. But befitting a game by the creators of Super Stickman Golf, it looks a lot funnier.

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Next version of Office for Mac will be coming to the App Store in early 2015

Photo: Microsoft

Photo: Microsoft

Following our report yesterday revealing several leaked shots for the next version of Microsoft Office for Mac, we’re hearing confirmation that not only are the shots legitimate, but that Office for Mac could be here sooner than you think.

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