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About Rob LeFebvre

Rob LeFebvre Anchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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Back up your digital comics with a click, not DRM

comixology DRM-free

If you’ve been wary of joining the digital comics revolution because of digital rights management (DRM) concerns, Comixology, a comics portal and mobile app, is creating a solution.

Announced Thursday at the company’s San Diego Comic-Con panel, the new DRM-free backup service will let you keep a local copy of your purchased digital comics from the likes of Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenescope Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, and Top Shelf Productions. You’ll be able to save a local copy in PDF or CBZ (a comic-book archiving format) right on your iPad.

“For those out there who have not joined the comic reading community because of DRM – you have no excuse now,” said ComiXology’s John D. Roberts in a statement. “We’re excited about the launch of DRM-free backups today and look forward to announcing more innovative features as we move ahead with our mission of making everyone on the face of the planet a comic book fan!”

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Angry Birds become Transformers in new action-packed Comic-Con trailer

angrybirds

The Angry Birds are, ahem, transforming yet again in this new trailer from Rovio and Hasbro, released to coincide with San Diego Comic Con this week.

You’ve got the red bird cosplaying as a voice-less Optimus Prime, running his way through an island-style world, smashing through crates, and then finally facing a giant, laughing pig-bot Deceptihog. It doesn’t get much better than this. Check out the video below.

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Trust the magic pipeline and other key takeaways from Apple’s Q3 earnings call

Last quarter was bright but the future's even brighter, according to Apple.

Last quarter was bright but the future’s even brighter, according to Apple.

Even Apple execs sounded pleasantly surprised as they revealed last quarter’s mostly higher-than-expected numbers Tuesday. But in what’s become something of a refrain in Cupertino, they couldn’t stop themselves from vague and knowing references to the incredible products waiting in the magical Apple pipeline.

Trust us, they seemed to say: Last quarter’s net profit of $7.7 billion — fueled by robust sales of iPhones, MacBooks and a surprisingly strong showing in the iTunes Software and Services category — was totally great, but wait till you see what we’ve got up our sleeves.

“We’re expecting a very busy fall,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer. “We’re very excited about what’s in the pipeline.”

What else did Apple executives have to say during Tuesday’s Q3 earnings call? Here’s our take on everything you need to know from the latest numbers talk.

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Ay, caramba! Simpsons World will put every episode at your fingertips

Get thee to Simpsons World!

Get thee to Simpsons World!

Imagine a world in which you can watch, search, and share anything from every The Simpsons episode, ever. If you were Homer Simpson, the dim-witted but lovable (and alcoholic child-strangler) father on the 25-year-old animated sitcom created by Matt Groening, you might drool at the prospect.

For the rest of us, though, we might explode with glee with the upcoming Simpsons World, an app and service that will indeed contain every single episode of The Simpsons, ever, in a searchable and share-able format. Now you can finally use official clips to add meaning and cultural relevance to every one of your reddit comment threads with ease.

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The most breathtaking game of 2013 comes to life as a live show

Photo courtesy Naughty Dog

Photo courtesy Naughty Dog

“You have no idea what loss is,” says Joel, the protagonist in the best game of 2013, The Last Of Us.

On July 28, you’ll be able to watch a live stream of the principal actors read select lines from Naughty Dog’s cinematic hit. Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson, Merle Dandridge, Hanna Hayes, and Annie Wersching — the main characters in the game — will take direction from none other than Neil Druckmann himself, the writer and director of The Last of Us. Academy Award-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla will be on hand as well to play selections from his game score.

Check out the promo trailer below for more details.

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Grief offers no relief in True Blood’s ‘Lost Cause’

Bill promises his bride that he'll survive the war. Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO

Bill promises his bride that he’ll survive the war. Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO

This week, the residents of Bon Temps confront their grief head on. Sookie mourns Alcide, Lettie Mae mourns Tara, and Arlene mourns Terry. Andy makes the biggest decision of his life, while Eric and Pam continue their quest to find — and kill — Sarah Newland, the crazy Christian we all love to hate.

This fifth episode of the final season of HBO’s True Blood series focuses on love and loss, while we all start to come to terms with the death of some of our favorite characters as well as the end of the long-running television show. It’s a more restrained — and less hilarious — episode than last week, but we can only hope that we’re being set up for more over the top fun in the weeks ahead.

Spoilers ahead – you’ve been warned!

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Pear Sports’ new monitor is the workout coach you always wanted

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Pear Sports’ workout system pairs a heart rate monitor with comfortable earbuds and a mobile app. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I’ve been a runner for a long time. I trained for (and ran) the 1994 Los Angeles Marathon. I’ve run 5K races, half marathons and relays for full marathons up here in Alaska, too. I find that running gives me the best bang for my buck: All I need is a pair of running shoes, some appropriate clothing (it gets cold up here), and some music to keep me getting out there.

Recently, though, I’ve been playing with a new bit of gear: the Pear Sports heart rate monitor, paired with a set of earbuds engineered to stay in your ears while working out, plus a pretty fantastic mobile app to make sense of the heart rate data.

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Indulge your inner OCD with Brother’s tiny Wi-Fi label printer

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

The Brother P-Touch P750W label printer works like a charm. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

When I was a kid, we used to label everything: toys, boxes, file folders. My parents used one of those manual rotary label dispensers, the kind you had to squeeze hard enough to make each individual letter poke up through the hard plastic label tape. It was a good day when my brother and I got to use the label maker to title our shelves, toys and books (“Rob’s Stuff” was a common theme).

These days, printing labels is a lot easier thanks to computers and label printers like the ones from Dymo and Brother. Typically, you’ve got to connect these to a Mac or PC, and then use special software to send labels to the label printer.

The Brother P-Touch P750W (printer makers really need to work on their model names) is a label printer that can connect to your computer via USB, sure, but also connect either to your existing Wi-Fi network or create its own Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n network to print labels from any device, including iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Windows PCs and Macs.

Yeah, I’ve already labeled some shelves around the house. Old habits, it appears, die hard.

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How video upstarts can thrive in YouTube’s shadow

Talkin' 'bout m-m-my generation.

Talkin’ ’bout my g-g-generation. Photo: Jonas Bengtsson/Flickr CC

When I wanted to learn how to knit, I went to YouTube. Anytime I need to learn a guitar solo for a cover song my band is working on, I head to YouTube. I’m not alone in my use of the video portal, either. According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more U.S. adults in the 18-34 age range than any cable network.

These types of everyday queries have made YouTube the No. 2 search engine in the world, second only to Google (which just happens to be the video site’s parent company). More than 1 billion unique users head to YouTube every month, and more than 6 billion hours of video — almost an hour of video for each person on the planet — get watched in the same time period.

If you’re a new site, trying to capture enough mind share and traffic to create a successful user-created video content business, how could you ever compete with such a giant?

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True Blood finds its dark humor again in ‘Death Is Not the End’

A time for reconciliation. John P. Johnson/HBO

A time for reconciliation. John P. Johnson/HBO

The residents of Bon Temps are reeling from the latest deaths in the town, Sookie is mourning Alcide but keeping a stiff upper lip, and Arlene is finally chosen to be vampire food in “Death Is Not the End,” the fourth episode in this final season of HBO’s long-running vampire romance drama based on the Charlaine Harris novels. The episode is full of callbacks to the first season, as the last few shows have been. The True Blood team really wants to bring everything full circle, and this week they’ve succeeded more than expected.

While death may not be the end for vampires, it’s certainly the end for a host of folks in this forsaken little southern town. The shockers continue this week, not the least of which is Eric Northman with ’90s hair, some fantastic Pam lines, and a funny little scene as Sam and Jason go to inform Deputy Mayberry’s next of kin that he’s dead. “Kevin was a good man,” says Jason. Pause. “With a funny voice.”

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