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About Nicole Martinelli

Nicole Martinelli Nicole Martinelli heads up Cult of Mac Magazine, our weekly publication available on iTunes. You can find her on Twitter and Google+. If you're doing something new, cool and Apple-related, email her.

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Poll: Why is Apple building a huge stage for the September event?

Our first question when we saw the pics of the huge stage Apple is hammering into place at the already cavernous Flint Center is: what are they going to show off there? Has Craig Federighi’s hair become too inflated for a proper roof?

Could be a concert (to show off some yet undreamt feature of the long-awaited iPhone 6?) or a fitness demo to get all of us off the couch with the power of the iWatch?

What do you think? Let us know in the comments what else Apple might cook up on that huge stage.

‘Fat-shaming’ apps slammed for harming kids

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apps like Fatify are drawing fire for making light of the obesity epidemic. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

While overweight kids have long been prime targets for bullies, activists are calling out smartphone apps that make anyone look fat.

“Applications such as “Fatify,” “Fatbooth,” “Fat You” and others greatly perpetuate fat-shaming and weight bias in today’s society,” said Joe Nadglowski, president and CEO of the Obesity Action Coalition, in a press release about his organizations campaign against these apps. “Children are the primary users of these types of apps, and the apps are teaching children that the disease of obesity is a funny cosmetic issue, which we know is not true.”

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Why the kill switch law can make iPhone theft obsolete

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SACRAMENTO — California just flipped the kill switch for smartphones, in a move to make iCrime a thing of the past.

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law State Sen. Mark Leno’s Smartphone Theft Prevention Act (Senate Bill 962). The law will affect any smartphone manufactured on or after July 1, 2015.

There’s some reason to hope that the kill switch will do for smartphones what sophisticated alarm systems did for cars: make stealing them less appealing than a pair of leg warmers. Car thefts plummeted 96 percent  in New York City when engine immobilizer systems came into play.

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Tim Cook’s 3-year report card at Apple: B

Tim Cook onstage at the 2014 WWDC. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

Tim Cook onstage at the 2014 WWDC. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

Tim Cook stepped up as the CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011. The soft-spoken Southerner, who has worked at the Cupertino company since 1998,  had previously acted as interim CEO when Steve Jobs stepped down to battle cancer.

Cook’s ascent to the permanent CEO position marked a sea change for Apple. Once called the stage manager to Jobs’ star, he’s now running the show. After endless speculation about whether Cook’s rule marked the end of Apple or signaled a bright new era, going by the numbers, it looks like he’s earned a solid B.

Here’s a look at his first three years as the head of Apple, a job he got paid $4.25 million to perform in 2013.

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How selfie apps help protesters fight the power

Photo: Edwin Ruis, via Hipstamatic’s Oggl.

Photo: Edwin Ruis, via Hipstamatic’s Oggl.

While you’re snapping a pic of your lunch to share over Instagram, protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, are using the same app to upload videos of journalists getting arrested.

Social media has been credited with lighting a fire under the story of the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in this St. Louis suburb. The news of roiling protests reached the Gaza strip, where people there hit Twitter sharing tips on what to do when you’ve been tear gassed.

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iPod engravings are nearly as obsolete as the device

Lady Liberty sparks ‘statue selfie’ trend

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Scenes from a pivot: Making lemonade when your first app turns sour

Sweetch's home/office.Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Inside the Sweetch home office, where five French entrepreneurs did an about-face after their parking app drew the ire of San Francisco officials. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s every entrepreneur’s worst nightmare: The app you’ve spent hours developing gets shut down before it even really launches.

It’s been a rocky road for four young French entrepreneurs who hoped to make their mark with a parking app called Sweetch. Their idea was to alert prospective parkers that spots on the street were freeing up, exchanging a nominal fee between drivers that could be donated to local charities. But instead of paving the road to fame by clearing the city’s congested streets, they ended up pulling their app from the Apple store under threat of litigation from San Francisco’s City Attorney.

“We helped five or 10 people a day, we brought value to them, but the city didn’t even try to understand that,” co-founder Hamza Ouazzani Chahdi says, speaking to Cult of Mac in the sunny, immaculate and modern apartment the guys call both home and office in the city’s Mission District. “We were lumped in with the other apps that definitely had a predatory model and it was toxic for us.”

He says that despite a meeting with San Francisco officials, the entrepreneurs weren’t really give a chance: “It was just, ‘Here’s your deadline.’”

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Activist vows to keep broken iPhone until Apple cleans up its act

Cracked iPhone 5C, via GewTV on Flickr.

Cracked iPhone 5C, via GewTV on Flickr.

Although the environmental group she heads up is “pleased” about the improvements Apple announced to protect workers from toxic chemicals, activist Elizabeth O’Connell still won’t buy the Cupertino company’s products.

Even if it means making those phone calls to rally support against Apple on an iPhone with a cracked screen.

“I am very happy that Apple has taken these steps and that the company is listening to its customers,” the campaign director for Green America told Cult of Mac via email. “That said, I’m going to hold on to my cracked 5c for now. I’d like for Apple to deepen its commitment to worker health and safety throughout its supply chain before I consider purchasing any new Apple products.”

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Teen’s iPhone photos put vibrant face on homeless population

Nic Tullis has a summer project that doesn’t involve surfing or working at a frozen-yogurt shop.

The 18-year-old is at the tail end of a Kickstarter campaign to to raise $2,500 that will keep him out photographing with his iPhone 4s. His “Homeless But Not Hopeless” project aims to bring awareness about the homeless population of St. Louis, Missouri, which spiked 12 percent after the economic tsunami hit.

Tullis takes photos of homeless people that show how they live along with normal shots that show off St. Louis. The funding for the project would rent a gallery space to auction off prints as a fundraiser; proceeds would go to two local organizations that help people get back on their feet.

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