(You're reading all posts by 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.
About Rob LeFebvre
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Binge-watching nerdy shows is perhaps one of the finer pleasures of the modern world. No commercials, on-demand scheduling, and an endless supply of content to burn your retinas with make services like Netflix worth the trivial monthly fee.
Unfortunately, the licensing agreements Netflix makes with content owners make it so that every month, some of the shows and movies drop off the Instant Watch queue. We're here to make sure you don't miss some of the stuff that's falling away this coming February. Scroll through the entire gallery of worthwhile geeky shows with a quick click above.
Photo: Shardayyy/Flickr CC
The second film in Tim Burton’s Batman series brings us Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, Danny DeVito’s Penguin and Christopher Walken as Max Shrek, a business tycoon who teams up with Penguin to take over Gotham City. Burton was asked to leave the director’s chair after the studio was disappointed in the box office take, which also led to Michael Keaton to leave the lead role, as well, beginning the end of this original dark take on the playboy detective with parent issues.
Photo: Warner Bros.
Val Kilmer took on the cape and cowl for this Joel Schumacher joint, after Burton and Keaton left the franchise. We’ve got Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, Jim Carrey hamming it up as the Riddler, and Chris O’Donnell gets his first shot at Dick Grayson, aka Robin. Nicole Kidman plays Dr. Chase Meridian, the psychiatrist that Bruce Wayne falls for. This is where the franchise became more family-friendly than the psychotic-tinged earlier Burton films, making more money in the process than the previous two films.
Photo: Warner Bros.
Batman & Robin
Even ignoring the ridiculous bat-nipples on George Clooney’s take on the caped crusader, you’ve got a seriously campy film here with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, and Alicia Silverstone rocking the brightly colored sets and costumes. Schwarzenegger plays Mr Freeze with all the subtlety he’s known for, and Thurman (Poison Ivy) and Silverstone (Batgirl) turn in fairly wooden performances. The film itself is on several lists of the worst movies of all time, which makes it even more compelling to watch now as a “so bad it’s actually good” kind of flick.
Photo: Warner Bros.
Cocoon: The Return
The Antareans are back to rescue all the cocoons they had left behind five years ago. The entire cast from the critical and box-office hit Cocoon return in this sequel, even though Brian Dennehy only gets one scene near the end. The film didn’t do too well; though the performances are great and the characters are fun, there’s not much new it brings to the table. These days, though, it’s just fun to watch another bunch of scenese of these talented folks saying goodbye.
Photo: 20th Century Fox.
Here’s the original 1979 gore-classic starring an incredibly young Mel Gibson as the title character in a film directed by a medical doctor from Sydney and an amateur filmmaker producer. It’s a biker flick set in a dystopian future, with plenty of violence and crazy Australian New Wave attitude. The energy crisis of 1973 contributes heavily to the theme of the movie, as the whole world saw just how desperate we’d get in the face of oil shortages.
Photo: Warner Bros.
What started out as the Odd Couple in space became a cult-hit spread across nine seasons of pure British scatalogical sci-fi-infused humor. There’s Dave Lister, the last surviving human, Arnold Rimmer, the hologram of Lister’s dead bunkmate, Cat, a feline lifeform descended from Lister’s pregnant pet cat, Holly, the computer, Kryten, a service android, and (in season seven), Kristine Kochanski, an alternate reality version of Lister’s love interest. The series is definitely an acquired taste, but once you’ve gotten the Red Dwarf bug, you’ll be unable to stop watching it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Cowabunga, dude! The first film to adapt the story of the four pizza-loving ninja-trained mutant turtles was released in 1990 tells the story of the titular heroes, their trainer, the mutant rat Splinter, gal-pal and reporter April O’Neil, and their arch enemy The Shredder. It’s a silly romp through the sewers and streets of New York with plenty of one-liners that capitalize on the innocence of an earlier age. It’s since become the second-highest-grossing indie film of all time, too, so get on this and check it out.
Photo: New Line Cinema
While the original film based on this gritty independent dystopian comic starred a badass Sylvester Stallone, the recent reboot has a badass star as well in the form of Karl Urban. Judge Dredd is a law enforcer who can judge, jury, and execute your ass in the dirty Mega-City One. In the 2012 film, Dredd and his female partner Judge Anderson must bring order to a 200-story high-rise while dealing with Lena Headey’s scene-chewing villainous drug-lord, Ma Ma.Aside from practical sets, the film was shot on location in Cape Town and Johannesburg, two places that are pretty dystopian right now.
The three seasons of this computer-animated take on Hasbro’s wildly successful Transformers franchise aired on Hub from 2010 to 2013 and headed to Netflix in 2012. It’s won several Daytime Emmy Awards as it follows the exploits of the autobots in the timeframe after the novels and video games. “Darkness Rising,” the five-part mini-series that began the first season, shows the enormous robots and three young humans have to fight the Decepticons yet again, as the evil ‘bots have returned from space to turn dead Transformers into mindless yet powerful zombies. It’s as crazy as it sounds, and any fan of the franchise will love this bit of continuity-laced entertainment.
Photo: Hasbro Studios
Transformers: Rescue Bots
On the other end of the gritty realism spectrum is this cute kids’ show based on the Transformers that takes a design cue from Marvel’s Super Hero Squad, with squatty, big-footed characters interacting with each other in seriously family-friendly ways. Rescue Bots follows the adventures of the Autobots as they help their young friends learn about hazards and safety. Seasons one and two are both available on Netflix until February, while a third season has been announced. If you’ve got little ones, this is a great addition to their screen time.
Photo: Hasbro Studios
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.
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.
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.
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.”