(You're reading all posts by 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
About Rob LeFebvre
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.”
Flipping the Buffy paradigm
Sure, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a movie that became a TV show that ended up as a comic book, but it’s a fine example of the cross-media value of certain nerdy properties. Comic book movies and television shows are all the rage right now, with Marvel and DC superheroes packing the theaters and shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Arrow filling the little screen.
But there are plenty of comic books that don’t feature superheroes, and we think they’d be a great match for the home television market, as they have less reliance on big-budget special effects and can sustain longer story arcs than a movie can. With that, then, here are our picks for the best non-superhero comics we’d really like to see come to a television screen near you. Or us.
Forget the insipid Once Upon A Time: We’d love to see Bill Willingham’s opus Fables fill the “fairy tales come to the real world” niche. It’s a highly charged story based on characters from fairy tales come to the real world of New York, hidden in plain sight thanks to some magical glamour.
There are smaller stories to be told about Snow White, Bigby Wolf, Prince Charming and Pinocchio, as well as a larger story arc about the adversary, a great threat from back in the land of fairy tales that's out to conquer our own mundane reality. It’s ripe for a cable outfit that could handle both the larger-than-life characters and sets that such an undertaking would require as well as the smaller, character-driven focus that makes the book such a hit.
A Powers pilot got shot in 2011 and is currently in development as a streaming show for PlayStation 4, but the potential of this crime drama about a police unit that deals with superhero crime is huge.
There is some superhero meta-fiction at play here, but we're hoping for a truly mainstream Powers television show on the strength of its non-metahuman storylines, with the aging detective and his young, newly assigned partner as the focus of the show. It could be a nice alternative to shows like Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D., which are getting along just fine, thank you, with very little big-budget superhero effects.
Saga is one of our favorite current comics, and hoping for a television show is pretty far-fetched, especially given the little screen time true sci-fi shows are getting outside of Syfy channel these days.
That said, this is a delightfully funny and poignant story that uses the trappings of sci-fi to tell a truly human tale of love across racial lines, like Romeo and Juliet in space (if Juliet was a badass soldier with angel wings and Romeo sported a set of ram’s horns on his philosophical head). It’s a fun romp with some serious themes, and if it were to show up on television, maybe even as a TV miniseries, we’d be all over it.
We’re certain TV execs are all looking for the next Game of Thrones, and Neil Gaiman’s seminal series The Sandman is the iconic comic book title they should turn to. It’s got a fully realized supernatural world based on all sorts of myths, fairy tales and horror stories from the world’s cultures, all blended together and powered by a masterpiece of a storytelling engine.
The TV show could focus on Morpheus, the emo god of dreams, and spend time fleshing out the memorable stories and characters that made this Vertigo-published book a huge hit in the late '80s and '90s.
Transmetropolitan is a sure bet for any comics nerd’s heart, with its irreverent take on politics and journalism, set in a near-future tech dystopia where privacy is a thing of the past and body modification is rampant.
This one has it all — sex, drugs, violence and a whip-smart take on our own cultural mistakes — making it perfect for one of the cable outfits like HBO or AMC. Spider Jerusalem is one of the most enduring characters in modern comics, like a post-cyberpunk Hunter S. Thompson come to monologue on the evils of society while he gets it on with your hot wife. This is one comic book property that could really take the sci-fi craze to its highest satirical potential.