(You're reading all posts by Rob LeFebvre)

About Rob LeFebvre

Rob LeFebvre Anchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)

SimCity: Complete Edition is a glorious, city-building time suck

Lose yourself in a city of your own making. Photo: Electronic Arts

Lose yourself in a city of your own making. Photo: Electronic Arts

I launched SimCity: Complete Edition last night at around 8 p.m. I played around with my new city, getting a feel for the controls, zoning for residences, commercial ventures and industrial centers.

I zoomed in and out to get up-close and bird’s-eye views of my own private Idaho (well, Squifton, if we’re being literal). I checked out the various data views, gave my city police buildings and power, water and fire departments. I added parks, more residential areas, roads and even created a neighboring city — a sleepy little hamlet that purchases power and water from the main city. Just a quick little foray into a game that I’ve been itching to play.

When I glanced up at the clock, it was three hours later.

Read the rest of this post »

5 super-quick iPhoto tips to make your photos even better

Don't overlook this great bit of free software for your photos. Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Don’t overlook this great bit of free software for your photos. Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhoto is a free download for everyone these days, making it a basic bit of kit for anyone dealing with the deluge of photographic data we seem to collect. Still, it’s often overlooked by the best of us because of its limitations.

That’s unfortunate, because the simple program offers some pretty useful features that can quickly let you get on with enjoying your photos rather than tweaking them.

Here are five simple tips for using Apple’s built-in photo “shoebox,” letting you make your photos better and more organized even more quickly.

Read the rest of this post »

ICYMI: With HomeKit on horizon, home automation is about to get real

The home of the future, today. Cover design: Stephen Smith

The home of the future, today. Cover design: Stephen Smith

Fresh off his deep dive into CES, Alex takes on home automation and how HomeKit may just change everything, making the dream of an easy, ubiquitous home future a reality. Rob takes a look at a new game that turns your Apple TV into a motion-controlled gaming console, Buster shows us how the Apple Watch has already won the war for your wrist, Luke builds his own fun with a shoebox full of maker-kit for kid-friendly iPad gadgets, and Lewis spends a little time in Microsoft’s holographic future.

We’ve got all this and more in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine, so make sure to subscribe and download your copy today.

Read the rest of this post »

The states with the most iPhone users will surprise you

How many iPhone users are in your state? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

How many iPhone users are in your state? Photo: Jim Merithew

Do you think your state has a lot of iPhone users? You might be surprised to learn that you’re right – if you live in Alaska, Montana, or Vermont.

This surprising result comes from a survey conducted by mobile advertising firm Chitika, who wanted to quantify the level of iPhone usage on a state-by-state basis.

While the data doesn’t show much correlation with geographic or raw population figures, the survey did figure out that the three states had the highest percentage of iPhone users, with 65, 60 and 59 percent respectively.

Read the rest of this post »

Elder Scrolls Online is coming to consoles, Mac without a subscription

Now you can join in the fun on console or Mac/PC without a monthly fee. Photo: Bethesda Softworks

Now you can join in the fun on console or Mac/PC without a monthly fee. Photo: Bethesda Softworks

The Elder Scrolls Online is a massive online role-playing game that lets you join up with your friends to explore the vast realm of Tamriel, the world featured in various high-fantasy games like Oblivion and Skyrim.

Bethesda Softworks has just dropped the subscription model from its award-winning massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, and is bringing the massive virtual world to current-generation consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as updating the PC and Mac versions of the game to The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited.

Read the rest of this post »

10 nerdy shows to binge on before they disappear from Netflix

Malkovich, Paxton get Call to destroy zombies

Hollywood types are lending more than just voices to the latest crop of video games. Photo: Activision

Hollywood types are lending more than just voices to the latest crop of video games. Photo: Activision

It’s true — Hollywood has fully exported its heroes to the newest media kid on the block, video games. It wasn’t enough for Martin Sheen to play the chain smoking Illusive Man in 2008’s Mass Effect 2 , or Kevin Spacey to turn in a star performance in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Now John Malkovich, Bill Paxton, Rose McGowan and Jon Bernthal lend their voices and likenesses to the sci-fi-tinged military shooter for the new Exo Zombie mode that comes with the new downloadable content pack “Havok,” available January 27.

Here, they’ve even made a video to show you.

Read the rest of this post »

Watch this badass power skier swoop through an actual mountain

That "Woah!" face. Photo: Candide Thovex

That “Woah!” face. Photo: Candide Thovex

Candide Thovex is having another one of those days in an aptly named new YouTube video, “One of those days 2.”

The professional skier from France has released yet another amazing point of view of his extreme skiing, and in this one, he skis through the actual mountain.

Read the rest of this post »

ICYMI: How sloppy security exposed Apple’s super-secret product plans

You are the weakest link...goodbye. Cover Design: Stephen Smith

You are the weakest link … goodbye. Cover design: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

This week, Leander breaks a story about how Apple’s secret product plans could be found using a little-known Web portal for retailers, Buster calls out a respected Apple analyst for a sketchy prediction, Stephen gets the skinny on removing adware from your Mac, and Rob gives you seven things you never thought you could do with an extremely old iPhone.

All that, plus all the news you’ll want to hear about, in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine, ready for you now on Newsstand in the iTunes App Store.

Keep reading for our top stories this week.

Read the rest of this post »

Get Wii-style bowling with an iPhone and Apple TV

Now all you need is a wrist strap. Photo: Anuj Tandon

Now all you need is a wrist strap for your iPhone. Photo: Anuj Tandon/Rolocule Games

To get the fun of virtual bowling without a Wii, look no further than Bowling Central, a magical iOS app that lets you swing your iPhone around to send a virtual bowling ball slamming into all the pins at the end of the lane.

The game is powered by Rolocule Games’ motion-tracking technology, called “rolomotion,” which lets you swing your iPhone like a Wii remote. The gaming company’s two founders wanted to create a Wii Bowl-style experience, only with an Apple TV and an iPhone, and they won a 2014 Edison Award for their solution.

“We worked really hard to get the motion gaming controls right,” Rolocule’s Anuj Tandon told Cult of Mac in an email, “and getting the perfect controls took time. Not only … can you give accurate direction to the ball, but by twisting the wrist, the ball can be given a spin, just like real bowling.”

Read the rest of this post »