(You're reading all posts by Killian Bell)Killian Bell is a freelance writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.
About Killian Bell
The minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China got a sneak peek at the Apple Watch during a recent visit to Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. Photos published by a state-owned website show Apple CEO Tim Cook demonstrating the device to Lu Wei, who also stopped by Facebook’s campus to meet Mark Zuckerberg.
I recently decided it was time to get a proper desktop computer. I needed it predominantly for work, but I wanted it to be powerful enough to play the latest games in 1080p without worrying about stuttering or terrible frame rates.
The new Mac lineup didn’t offer a perfect fit — the Retina 5K iMac was too expensive, and the new Mac mini simply wasn’t powerful enough — so I set myself a goal: To build a gaming machine with a dedicated video card, capable of running OS X, for around the price of a Mac mini.
I set a budget of $650 for my build. That’s $150 more than the base model Mac mini, but $50 less than the midrange model. In this piece, I’ll take you through the components I purchased and why I chose them, and how I put them all together. Next week, I’ll show you how I installed OS X to turn my DIY gaming rig into a Hackintosh.
The Today view inside Notification Center was seen by many as a pretty pointless addition to iOS 7; it offered an incredibly brief overview of the day ahead and was somewhat customizable, but it did so little that most iPhone and iPad users forgot it was even there after a little while. That all changed with iOS 8 and support for third-party widgets.Now the Today screen can be filled with useful information and handy little tools, such as calculators, currency convertors, weather widgets, and more. With the right apps, you can turn yours into a one-stop shop for all the data you care about.To help you get started, here's a gallery of the best iOS 8 widgets you can get right now.
WeatherPro is one of the best weather apps you can buy on iOS; it's feature-packed and incredibly accurate. And its widget makes it even more useful by providing you with the current forecast and temperature, in addition to things like wind speed and precipitation -- all inside Notification Center.The WeatherPro app itself boasts 3-hourly forecasts for the week ahead, worldwide alerts and warnings for extreme weather, global satellites and animated radars, and the ability to add an unlimited number of favorite locations.You can download WeatherPro from the App Store now for $1.99.
Wdgts is actually a whole bunch of useful widgets inside one app. It includes useful tools as standard, like a calculator, currency converter, calendar, and time zones -- in addition to a premium pack that offers a network monitor, battery stats, and memory and disk usage data. Wdgts also offers a photo frame, so you can feed it a few of your favorite pics and enjoy them inside Notification Center while you're checking on your calendar.Wdgst is a free download while the premium pack add-on can be had for just $0.99.
Much like Wdgts, Vidgets contains a number of handy widgets that help you seek out useful information in a pinch. It has over 30 widgets in total, including a world clock, timer, barometer, speedometer, weather forecast, and compass. It'll also show your how much storage and memory you're using.The best thing about Vidgets is that it's totally free -- all 30 widgets are included as standard and there are no ads or in-app purchases.
The ScoreCenter widget is a must-have for sports fans. Simply log into the app using your SportsCenter account (it's free if you don't already have one) and select your favorite sports teams. SportsCenter will then keep you up to date on the latest scores inside Notification Center, so you'll never have to open an app again just to keep up with your teams. Whether you're into the NFL, NBA, NHL, or the English Premier League, SportsCenter has you covered.You can download SportsCenter for free right now.
Google News & Weather
If you simply don't have time to keep up with the day's news, get the Google News widget and have breaking news headlines delivered right to your Today screen.Inside the free Google News & Weather app, you can customize choose which sections and sources you see stories from, and then read top stories from each one. Google ensures you never miss big news even if you only have a few minutes to spare between meetings.
If you use the calendar on your iOS device, you really should have Fantastical 2 -- it's just terrific. It delivers all of the features you'd expect from a calendar app -- detailed events, reminders, and syncing with services like iCloud, Exchange, and Google Calendar -- plus some really nifty things like TextExpander. It also supports the feature that made Fantastical for Mac famous -- the ability to add events to your calendar using natural language. So, instead of filling out a bunch of boxes, you can type things like, "dinner with Tom at The Ivy at 1," and Fantastical will do the rest for you.The Fantastical widget lets you quickly see whether you have appointments in your calendar for the day ahead, and helps you quickly find days on which your schedule isn't so packed.Fantastical for iPhone is $1.99, and Fantastical for iPad is $4.99.
The Evernote widget simply makes the Evernote experience on iOS much greater. It provides five shortcuts that let you quickly add notes, photos, reminders, and lists to your notebooks. So if you're always opening up the Evernote app to add new things you don't want to forget, enable this widget inside Notification Center and make the process much simpler.If you don't already have Evernote installed, it's a free download from the App Store.
The Deliveries app is a great way to track your packages from your iPhone or iPad. It will detect tracking numbers copied to your clipboard, and in most cases, automatically identify the courier. You can add as many parcels as you wish, then them to your door with the Deliveries app, or from inside Notification Center -- without having to type numerous tracking numbers into different websites.Deliveries is a universal app compatible with iPhone and iPad, and you can get it now for $4.99.
Clear from Realmac Software has become one of the most adored to-do apps for iOS, but it's no longer just a list-maker. Thanks to support for reminders and its excellent widget, you can finally add important tasks and get alerts when they are due, ensuring you never forget that bottle of milk on the way home, or that important report that's due tomorrow morning.Get CLear for iOS now for $4.99.
I’m really picky when it comes to buying new wallets. I don’t carry many cards and, much like the Queen of England, I rarely carry cash, so I hate anything that unnecessarily puts a big bulge in my back pocket.
With the Slim Wallet from Danny P, I’ve found a beautiful leather billfold that carries up to eight cards and a fistful of notes without ever getting too bulky.
A really old Apple computer can fetch a fortune at an auction these days, but more recent models that you can easily pick up on eBay aren't going to make you a great deal of money -- especially if they no longer work. But instead of sticking them in your garage and leaving them to collect dust, why not turn them into something useful?In this gallery, we'll show you 11 old Macs that have been given a new lease of life, like the Mac Pro that's now an aquarium, a group of Macintoshes turned into planters, and an old iMac G4 that's been transformed into a desk lamp.Photo: theappleguru, eBay
This old Mac Pro G5 case has been transformed into a gorgeous aquarium that would look right at home in any Apple fan's living room. It's fully functional, and complete with lights and an air pump."In keeping to my fascination with reusing and recycling things to fulfill a new design and function, this fish tank built from a Apple G5 desktop seemed like an ideal way to give a new life to a dead machine," says creator Michael Garito.Garito used acrylic to make the tank that lives inside the case, and its miniature air pump is concealed beneath it where the Mac Pro's power supply would have lived.Garito is currently selling this particular tank, and you can contact him via his website below if you're interested.Photo: Michael Garito, mgarito.com.
Another Michael Garito creation, this aquarium was made out of two old Apple monitors sandwiched together. Due to its strange shape, Garito had to build a custom filtration system for this tank."I built a filtration system that is submerged in the tank, hidden behind the central 'hide'," he explains. "I did not want the aesthetic of the tank diminished by air tubes running over the side so they, along with the filter's power cord, and the tank's drainage tube are all discreetly ran out of the bottom and through the monitor stand."This tank seems a little trickier to build than the Mac Pro tank, but it looks pretty spectacular. Garito donated this one to an elementary school.Photo: Michael Garito, mgarito.com
Perhaps the greatest way to breath new life into an old Mac is to turn it into a "Hackintosh." That's doing away with its old components, using its case to house a brand new PC, and then installing OS X on it.Of course, Mac Pro cases won't just take any motherboard and components, so you'll have to make a few adjustments to make them fit. This particular Hack Pro was put together by "Commander Zero" over on the InsanelyMac forums who details each modification that was made in the thread below.Photo: CommanderZero, InsanelyMac
If you're not up to building a Hackintosh, how about gutting that old Mac Pro case and using it as a cable tidy instead. No one likes the sight of messy cables, but this "Power Tower" from Kiwidee looks great when it's all closed up.Tucked away inside it there's an integrated power surge, three AC circuits, and up to 30 plug sockets. There's even a handy socket on the front of the case.Photo: Kiwidee
These Macintosh planters are the ideal garden accessory for any tech freak who likes getting their fingers green - and they couldn't be simpler to make. Simply gut your Macintosh, cut a hole in its top, and fill it with soil.Photo: Superchou, Flickr
Another simple hack, this one turns an old Mac Pro G4 case into a mailbox. All you need to do is gut your machine, cut a hole out of its front for your mail and install a door, then add some numbers.Don't forget to make the case waterproof, though, because you could come home to soaking wet post after a rainy day.Photo: Digitaldust, Flickr
If you've got more than one Mac Pro case collecting dust, sticking a block of wood between them creates a beautiful bench like this one from Klaus Geiger.Photo: Klaus Geiger
Another Klaus Geiger hack turns a couple of old Mac Pro cases into a set of drawers that even Jony Ive would be proud of. This one's a little harder to put together than the bench, but it's well worth the effort.Photo: Klaus Geiger
This old Power Mac G4 Cube case makes for the fanciest tissue box you'll ever see. Creating this hack is as easy as swapping out the computer's old logic board, hard drives, and other components for a box of tissues. You can find step-by-step instructions via the link below.Photo: Macgeek, Instructables
Thinking of buying Apple’s new Mac mini? Make sure you get plenty of RAM when you place your order. Unlike its predecessors, the new machine’s RAM is soldered to the logic board, so you’re unable to add your own later on.
Apple’s new iPads are now available to pre-order through the Apple Online Store. Prices start at $399 for the iPad mini 3 and $499 for the iPad Air 2, and both will be delivered to your door next week.
Right on cue, the Apple Online Store has gone down hours ahead of today’s special event. When it returns later today, we expect to see new iPads, new Macs, and maybe even a new Apple TV.
Apple is bringing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to 36 new countries by the end of this month. The Cupertino company today confirmed that the devices will be available in Monaco on October 17 — the same day they go on sale in China and India — and then in Israel on October 23.
With Apple’s last keynote live stream being an utter disaster, we weren’t holding out much hope for another one in the foreseeable future. But the company has today posted a note on its website that confirms you will be able to tune into next Thursday’s iPad event via the Apple website.