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About Rob LeFebvre

Rob LeFebvreRob LeFebvre is an Anchorage, Alaska-based writer and editor who 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.

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ICYMI: New Apple gear, real and imagined


We’ve got a host of new stuff to show off this week, from Killian’s look at the new MacBook and iMac lines to Luke’s exploration of all things bacon (emoji). We’ve got Rob’s essential Apple Watch tips, a new credit-card sized cell phone, and Luke’s take on the new non-trivial QuizUp update.

All this, and a ton more, in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine.

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Meet the robot that will assemble your future iPhones – and everything else

Legos and pre-school toys today, your iPhone tomorrow.

Legos and pre-school toys today, your iPhone tomorrow.

UC Berkley researchers have hit a major milestone in the creation of usable AI. They’ve created a new set of algorithms that will allow robots to learn through trial and error — much like humans learn new tasks.

With this kind of educated automaton, there’s nothing they won’t be able to do. Think of mechanical beings assembling your next iPhone, building skyscrapers, or exploring Mars.

Is this where we see the first inklings of the robot apocalypse?

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Game devs keep it casual as they jump from console to mobile

Bad Dinos is the fourth mobile game from the veteran development company.

Bad Dinos is the fourth mobile game from veteran development company Insomniac Games.

Console game developers are trying to break into mobile, and they’re using casual genres to break into the scene.

For instance, when gamers hear about Insomniac Games, they might think of classic platform games like Ratchet and Clank, first-person shooters like Resistance: Fall of Man or next-gen console title Sunset Overdrive. What those hypothetical gamers might not think of is a match-three or endless runner iPhone game. But game makers can’t afford to ignore the mobile scene these days and Insomniac is no different, as evidenced by the company’s new tower-defense game, Bad Dinos.

“It’s obviously a huge market,” Brian Hastings, chief creative officer at Insomniac Games, told Cult of Mac, “and we’re seeing an entire generation of players who are getting into mobile first, before anything else.”

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How to take a screenshot on your Apple Watch

These are the buttons you're looking for.

These are the buttons you’re looking for.

So, you’ve got your Apple Watch and you want to show off that cool new watch face customization, or the screen of one of the games you’re playing.

Sure, you could take a picture of your Apple Watch on your wrist with your iPhone, but that’s sorta silly. Plus your arm might be super-hairy and someone will make fun of you.

Here’s how to just take an Apple Watch screenshot so you can show off and yet still remain tease-free.

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We’re all suckers for filtered photos

Get more interest in your photos with filters.

Get more interest in your photos with filters.

The researchers at Yahoo labs have just quantified the use of filters on digital photos. Say what you want about the death of the art of photography – filters will get your photos noticed.

“We find two groups of serious and casual photographers among filter users,” write the researchers at Yahoo Labs. “The serious see filters as correction tools and prefer milder effects. Casual photographers, by contrast, use filters to significantly transform their photos with bolder effects.”

The best filters for engagement, however, tended to be the ones that increase warmth, exposure, and contrast, rather than the cooler, more obscuring ones.

This is big news if you’re looking to get popular on sites like Flickr and Instagram.

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Apple Watch stuck on update? Here’s how to fix it

Fix things if your update gets stuck.

Here’s how to fix things if your Apple Watch update gets stuck.

If you’re trying to update your Apple Watch software to the latest version, you might get stuck. Some users are reporting that the update starts and then just seems to hang there, like a diver never quite ready to take the plunge.

If your update is hanging without any error message, the fix might be simpler than you thought.

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Holy crap! LG has made HDTV as thin as wallpaper

The future of television is crazy thin.

The future of television is crazy thin.

Short on room space? LG has just busted through the thinness limit on massive screened television sets and unveiled its proof of concept HDTV that’s as thin as paper.

Sure, it’s not in production yet, and will likely cost way too much for the average person to buy at first, but a press-on wallpaper television set is pretty high on our list of wants.

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Facebook Messenger is about to get its game on

Are you game?

Are you game?

Just when you thought you were safe from ceaseless notifications from Farmville players, Facebook has let it be known that it is planning to add gaming apps to its secondary Messenger app. You know, the one you had to install on your iPhone because they took messaging functions out of the main Facebook mobile app.

Facebook is actively talking with game developers about using the Messenger platform to deliver gaming experiences, which would then lead to more interactions with the Messenger app, and probably revenues, as most of Facebook’s non advertising revenue comes from third-party games.

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How to restart Apple Watch when things go wrong

You might need to force it to restart.

You might need to force it to restart.

The Apple Watch on your wrist is a miniature computer. As such, it might get wonky from time to time. It might freeze, apps might not load all the way or it might just get slow — especially if you haven’t downloaded today’s Apple Watch software upgrade, which brings various performance enhancements and bug fixes.

When your watch is getting wonky, it’s good to know how to force a restart, powering your Apple Watch down and back up again to reset its internal workings. Here’s how.

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You Must Build a Boat to survive this killer indie game

You've got to build this boat.

You’ve got to build this boat.

Luca Redwood, the main powerhouse indie developer behind EightyEight Games, has taken the last three years of his life to make a sequel to critical darling match-three game, 10000000.

Sadly, it’s not named 10000001, but rather You Must Build a Boat. In it, you actually do need to build a large, ark-like boat with all sorts of rooms and defenses and such, and you outfit your boat by running dungeons and matching items to kill baddies and get past obstacles in them.

Sound weird? It is, but it’s also going to be stupidly addictive. If it’s half as engaging as 10000000, you’ll be playing this on your Mac, iOS device, or Linux box long into the wee hours of the morning.

Check it out.

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