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About Lewis Wallace

Lewis Wallace Lewis Wallace is a San Francisco-based writer and editor specializing in technology and culture.

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Machine Crush Monday: 1976 Gibson Explorer

To me, the 1976 Gibson Explorer means lust at first sight, love at first feel and that rarest of man-machine crushes: an enduring passion that persists long after I plunked down my hard-earned cash.

Gibson’s luthiers prototyped the Explorer (alongside pointy siblings the Flying V and the apocryphal Moderne) in the ’50s. The space race was on, rock ‘n’ roll was coming into its own and cars boasted bold curves and sci-fi fins. The Explorer and Flying V were released in 1958, a year after the Soviets launched Sputnik 1. (The Moderne didn’t makes its official debut until 1982.)

Like the beautiful but doomed Power Mac G4 Cube, the radically shaped guitars were clearly ahead of their time: These pointy instruments, which years later would become staples of heavy metal and hard-rock style, flopped hard. Gibson discontinued both lines within a few years.

In 1976, spurred by the success of competitors’ Explorer clones, Gibson came to its senses and reissued the Explorer. The natural mahogany finish on the best of these, much like the lighter Korina of the original models, gave the strangely shaped guitars a retro-futuristic look. That marriage of old and new is coming back into fashion now as designers tumble to the innate beauty of natural materials.

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Machine Crush Monday: Power Mac G4 Cube

As the 20th century waned, Apple laid a beautiful square egg.

The Power Mac G4 Cube, introduced in July 2000, delivered a fair amount of Apple computing power in a unique see-through enclosure made of acrylic glass. Designed by Jony Ive, the futuristic-looking Cube offered a glimpse of the sleek industrial design that would come to epitomize Apple’s upscale take on consumer technology.

“I just remember it being this incredibly elegant, sexy machine that looked nothing like a computer,” said Randall Greenwell, director of photography at The Virginian-Pilot and a longtime Apple aficionado, in an email to Cult of Mac.

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Everything You Need To Know About Mac’s 30th Birthday

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The Mac turns 30 today. It’s a big day for Apple, and obviously it’s a big day for every member of the Cult of Mac (that means you!).

Here’s a roundup of all our stories about the Mac’s milestone:

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Siri’s Sweet Voice Threatens Rude Moviegoers With Humiliation

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Siri has a dark side. Try to send a text in a movie theater, and you might feel the life-destroying wrath of Apple’s perky AI helper.

That’s the message delivered in a new PSA-style video that’s the Alamo Drafthouse‘s latest salvo in the war on rude moviegoers. The creative clip, which will be shown ahead of screenings of Spike Jonze’s Her at the indie tastemaker’s theaters, uses the voice of Siri to send an anti-texting message.

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How Jobs Director Brought ‘Brutally Honest Character’ To Silver Screen

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Joshua Michael Stern, who directed Jobs, calls the late Apple leader a purist. Bingo!

It’s not easy making a posthumous movie about the world’s most well-known and beloved control freak. Just ask Joshua Michael Stern, director of new Steve Jobs biopic Jobs. The film delves into the early days of Apple Computer as Stern paints a picture of a man he calls a “brutally honest character.”

Don’t go into the PG-13 Jobs expecting any bombshells about Apple’s late, great maximum leader — you won’t find any. Instead, what you’ll get is a straightforward cinematic take on Jobs’ early partnership with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (played mostly for comic relief by Josh Gad), a healthy dose of Hollywood-style boardroom intrigue and a few glimpses into Jobs’ personal life. Many of the scenes, whether factually accurate or not, have been woven into the tapestry of tech history. And Jobs, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2011, obviously isn’t around to fact-check the past or exert his famous control over the final product.

“Part of the shackles for me as a director was, we really had to do everything that was sort of public domain, you know, we couldn’t stray too far off of what we basically knew about Steve,” Stern told Cult of Mac during a recent interview at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in San Francisco. “But the interesting thing about Steve, being such an enigma, there really isn’t that much more to know at all. I mean, everyone knows what they know.”

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SkySafari App Lets You Simulate Cassini’s Deep-Space Snapshot Of Earth [Daily Freebies]

Above: Cassini orbiting Saturn ten days before the imaging event, fully illuminated in sunlight. Simulated by SkySafari Pro on an iPhone 5.

A SkySafari Pro simulation shows Cassini orbiting Saturn, fully illuminated by the sun, before today’s imaging event.

Some space geeks are calling today “The Day the Earth Smiled,” because the Cassini probe is set to take a picture of our planet as seen from Saturn later this afternoon. To honor this momentous occasion, the maker of astronomy software SkySafari is giving away basic versions for iOS and OS X (and discounting the Android version) through Sunday.

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