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

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Lust List: Hot gear for the dead of winter

Relive the hideous ‘golden age’ of Internet discovery

Relive the hideous ‘golden age’ of Internet discovery

Watching almost anybody explain technology can be torturous. But watching talking heads and fresh-faced kids from the ’90s rave about the wonders of the Internet — the miraculous “information superhighway” that was about to change life on Earth — is made even more heinous when their saccharine explanations get remixed and run through AutoTune.

Still, the hideously catchy new song and video “Just Surf the Net” will transport you back to a time when everybody wasn’t online all the time. And fashion was worse than you remember.

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Microsoft has seen the future, and the future is holograms

With HoloLens, Microsoft enters the age of holographic computing. Photo: Microsoft

With HoloLens, Microsoft enters the age of holographic computing. Photo: Microsoft

Forget about spreadsheets and Word docs — Microsoft thinks the world is ready for holograms.

“We’re dreaming about holograms,” said Microsoft’s Alex Kipman as he introduced Windows Holographic and HoloLens, the company’s new wearable holographic computer. He showed off the device, which is strapped to the head and includes see-through lenses and an array of built-in sensors designed to bring high-def holograms into the real world.

It looks like much more than a dream.

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Best of CES 2015: Get a glimpse of the fantastic future

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Anything goes at International CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics show. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — Walk the halls of the massive International CES trade show and you’ll be bombarded by an outrageous number of pitches for products with radical new features.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 You can glimpse the shiny happy future of consumer electronics at the show, although some of the innovations on display are clearly destined for the dustbin of gadget history.

At the biggest booths, reps for big companies like Sony and Samsung — but, sadly, not Apple — talk up the latest additions to their product lines. At smaller booths, inventors show off prototypes for products that may not ever roll off an assembly line. There’s a nonstop blitz of “world’s first” products.

It’s impossible to see everything, but it’s a blast trying. Here are Cult of Mac’s picks for the best of CES 2015, from Lightning-enabled headphones and massive TVs to drones and self-adjusting belts.

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Apple joins ‘Je Suis Charlie’ solidarity movement after Paris terror attack

Apple's French website has been updated with the "Je Suis Charlie" message. Screenshot: apple.com/fr/

Apple’s French website has been updated with the “Je Suis Charlie” message. Screenshot: Apple

Apple’s French website has been updated with a stark black line and the simple message “Je Suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) in solidarity with victims of Wednesday’s terror attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine.

The murderous rampage, allegedly conducted by French brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, left 12 dead, including four of the satirical magazine’s editorial cartoonists and two policemen. While French authorities search for the brothers, a third suspect, Hamyd Mourad, is reportedly cooperating after surrendering.

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iDevices’ HomeKit-compatible Switch lets Siri light up your house

iDevices' HomeKit-compatible Switch lets you control anything you plug into it using an iOS app. Photo: iDevices

iDevices’ HomeKit-compatible Switch lets you control anything you plug into it using an iOS app. Photo: iDevices

LAS VEGAS — iDevices’ first HomeKit-compatible product will be a simple on-off switch that turns your iPhone into a remote control for lamps and appliances.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 It’s name is simple too: Switch.

The $49.99 rectangular device plugs into an outlet. You plug a standard electrical device like a lamp or stereo into its convenient side outlet, and then you can turn that device on and off remotely. Switch comes in plain white, although a colored band of lights can be programmed to glow in custom colors to brighten up a dark hallway.

“You can change it to any color you like,” said Dan Cepa, iDevices’ senior director of sales, during CES International.

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Give your iPhone superpowers with this ingenious optical attachment

The Carson Universal connect smartphones to almost any optical device. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Carson Universal connects smartphones to almost any optical device. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — Your iPhone captures great imagery, but sometimes the built-in zoom just isn’t enough. An ingenious gadget that quickly connects smartphones to almost any optical device gives your everyday camera superpowers.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 The Carson Universal is an incredibly simple idea, but it delivers some pretty astonishing results. You can use it to connect your smartphone to telescopes, binoculars, microscopes, spotting scopes or almost any other optical device with a rounded eyepiece. Instead of buying a specialized, device-specific adapter, it’s a one-size-fits-all optical attachment.

“It kind of opens up the possibilities,” said Michelle Hyers, the engineer who designed the Carson Universal.

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Bluetooth toothbrushes take the boredom out of brushing

Toothbrush technology has come to your mobile. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Oral-B’s app takes some of the guesswork, and the tedium, out of brushing your teeth. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — Want to avoid gingivitis and tooth decay? There’s an app for that. More than one, actually, and they work with Bluetooth-equipped toothbrushes to help ensure you’re properly cleaning your choppers.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 The app for Oral-B’s electric Bluetooth toothbrushes is designed to develop good brushing habits and keep your teeth healthy.

“We have a product that will work — if you use it,” Oral-B rep Kris Parlett told Cult of Mac during International CES.

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Sexy sci-fi car gets 84 mpg, costs less than a Mac Pro

Elio Motors' three-wheeled, fuel-efficient vehicle is a real eye-grabber. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Elio Motors’ three-wheeler is easy on the eyes — and the wallet. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — It’s hard to say what’s most amazing about Elio Motors’ three-wheeled car: its sexy frame, its extreme fuel efficiency or its jaw-dropping $6,800 price tag.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 That princely sum — a little less than a 12-core Mac Pro costs — gets you a sleek two-seater that looks like something you’d see in a sci-fi flick. It’s got two wheels up front, one in back and a built-in holder for your iPad.

And on the International CES show floor here, Elio’s got a team of breezy boosters who tout its many forward-looking features with the quick-witted humor of the best car salesmen.

“For $6,800, we ought to charge you for the air in the tires,” Elio Motors rep Don Harris told Cult of Mac when we asked if the iPad was included in the purchase price.

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Drop an audio bomb on your party with this room-filling music machine

The Archt one wireless speaker uses patented technology to fill a room with sound. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Archt one wireless speaker uses patented technology to fill a room with sound. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — With its wide base and gently sloping sides, the Archt one speaker looks a little like an egg pod from Alien or the business end of a bomb.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 Its outer shell is sleek black plastic, with a flat ring around the top that gives it a space-age feel. If the killer looks aren’t enough to grab your attention, the speaker’s ground-thumping bass will.

“It gets really loud,” Archt CEO Evan Foo told Cult of Mac.

While the all-in-one wireless speaker is certainly loud — it was ballsy enough to cut through the background noise here at the International CES trade show — the goal is to deliver CD-quality sound, no matter the source of the audio.

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