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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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7 new TV shows to watch on iTunes over the long weekend

New Mac Pro sits pretty in this custom desk

The new Mac Pro, with its sleek cylinder design, has gotten a bad rap. While it’s light-years from the bulky, ugly first-generation Mac Pro and “built for creativity on an epic scale,” this ingenious machine, which Apple sells for between $2,999 and $3,999, looks like a common waste receptacle.

The much-trashed design recently got some love from architect Takara Maru, who carved out a spot on this sleek walnut desk for it. Some might joke that it’s to shield users from the Mac Pro’s looks, but really the aim is to reduce clutter on the desk surface so Maru can focus on home design.

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Parking app under fire pleads its case to San Francisco officials

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Sweetch’s developers say it’s nothing like MonkeyParking, a pay-to-park app that drew the ire of San Francisco city officials. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — When they learned they were next in line for a cease-and-desist letter from the City Attorney, three young entrepreneurs made haste to City Hall to salvage their dream of making circling the block for parking a thing of the past.

Parking app Sweetch lets you alert prospective parkers that you’ll be moving your car. The person leaving the spot gets $4 in credit and the person arriving pays $5. Positioning itself as a community app, Sweetch lets drivers donate the money to local charities. (If you use the Web app version, like we did when we took it for a test drive, the money is only symbolically exchanged. Your credit card details and hard cash are only required for the iOS app.)

“It was really cool that they were open to talking to us — we clarified that we’re not auctioning parking spots or holding them, we’re not anything like MonkeyParking, and they understood that,” Sweetch co-founder Hamza Ouazzani Chahdi told Cult of Mac by phone, adding that they spoke with two deputies at the San Francisco City Attorney’s office for about an hour. City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey confirmed that officials met with Sweetch but didn’t have specifics on whether the cease-and-desist order had been halted as a result of the meeting.

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These geeky T-shirts put nerd pride on your chest

Glenn Jones didn’t set out to build a one-man T-shirt empire. The Aukland, New Zealand-based designer and illustrator started emblazoning tees with his visual witticisms on Threadless in 2004 and then hit the virtual shelves with his own store featuring just six designs in 2008.

He now sells more than 100 designs at Glennz Tees — you may remember his Melting Rubik’s Cube worn by Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory — all of which look as home at South by Southwest as they do at your favorite watering hole.

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Road testing San Francisco’s ‘predatory’ parking apps

MonkeyParking is under fire by the city of San Francisco. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

San Francisco is going after apps like MonkeyParking that let drivers cash in when they move their cars. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — In a city obsessed with parking, app developers who came up with disruptive ideas to turn vacant spots into cash found their apps targeted by local officials. But the crackdown might be unnecessary: So far, the sharing economy seems to stall when it comes to auctioning off parking spots.

Cult of Mac offices are in the Mission District, epicenter of the parking crunch, so we took MonkeyParking and Sweetch — two of the “predatory” apps named in a cease-and-desist letter from San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera — for a spin.

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Road warriors share their iPhone toolkits

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CC-licensed, thanks to Moyan_Brenn.

In the interest of saving you time (and money) when you travel on apps that won’t help you get from point A to point B, we’ve sounded out dozens of road warriors — including flight attendants, serial conference goers, travel writers, CEOs, expats and even a comedian — to find out what they really need when stuck in an airport or mired in the daily commute.

Here are their picks – which just may get you some extra airline points or mellow out on the way to work.

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This week in Cult of Mac Magazine

Cult of Mac Magazine, Issue 43

All Cult of Mac’s top news stories and features to peruse on your iPad or iPhone. This week we’ve got the 411 on the forthcoming iWatch, plus views on the fruit loop Apple campus, more on the hidden features in iOS 8 and the new iMac.

Cult of Mac Magazine June 23 Edition, Free on iTunes

Smart scale slims down even the devs who program it

The folks at The Orange Chef prepare lunch in their San Francisco offices. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Orange Chef’s Claire McClendon, left, and Amy Wu lead lunch prep at the company’s San Francisco offices. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — James Armstrong might be one of the few iOS engineers who loses weight while on a coding bender.

Armstrong is lead developer at The Orange Chef Co., the company behind a smart kitchen scale called Prep Pad. It weighs your food and, based on the nutritional profile you set, gives you a more accurate idea of how much you should eat. While working on a companion iPad app called Countertop, Armstrong beta tested his meals and realized how super-sized they were. So he cut the portions and shed 30 pounds.

“I had to buy new clothes twice,” he says.”I bought a bunch of clothes, then I had to buy ‘em again — it’s made that much difference.”

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Pump-Hub, an ingenious system that keeps bike tires inflated, is ready to roll again

Kevin Manning of Pump-Hub.

Kevin Manning’s ingenious Pump-Hub system inflates bike tires as you ride. Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — Sometimes even a great idea falls flat at first. Take Pump-Hub, a self-inflating bike tire gizmo. It was rolling along at trade shows and getting lots of good press before the financial crisis of 2008 sidelined the project.

Now its creator, engineer Kevin Manning, is getting back on track with a new team behind him and plans to expand his original idea — an automatic, adjustable, tire-inflation system housed in the hub of a bike wheel.

For cyclists, the Pump-Hub means no remembering to check the tire pressure or pack a pump, no fiddling around with the valve and then racing to put the cap back on before the air wheezes out and your aching arms have to start all over again. It inflates the tires to the proper pressure while you ride, making a gentle clickety-clack sound reminiscent of spoke cards from childhood days. When the tire hits the designated pressure, the fluttering sounds stop. If you get a flat, just upend your bike and spin the wheel until pressure is restored.

“It’s like how using a Macintosh is easier than using a command-line interface,” Manning says, turning his Gunnar bike upside down on the Embarcadero to show me how the Pump-Hub works. If you really boil down all the technology behind his invention, he adds, the main advantage basically ends up being “it’s easier.”

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How Google’s latest acquisition could kill the Apple rumor mill

CC-licensed via Wikipedia. Thanks Nadkachna.

CC-licensed via Wikipedia. Thanks Nadkachna.

Sooner rather than later, Google will be tracking your every move.

The Mountain View search colossus already knows whether you have the flu or are interested in dropping a few pounds, thanks to its mining of your search data and Gmail missives.

Thanks to Google’s recent bargain buy of tiny satellite company Skybox Imaging — a purchase that cost Google just $500 million, or 1/38 what Facebook shelled out for WhatsApp — by 2016, Google may be able to predict market-moving factors like consumer spending and oil prices.

That means Google might be able to foretell when you’ll be waiting in line for the latest iPhone.

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