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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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Turn your game audio up to 11 with these Bluetooth cans

These Astro 38s are easy to pair, last for hours, sound amazing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

These Astro 38s are easy to pair, last for hours, sound amazing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I typically try out a new product for review without reading any of the documentation or media relations stuff that the folks who send us such things want us to look at. I want to have as pristine an experience as possible. Sometimes that leads to little surprises.

I put these new Astro Gaming A38 Bluetooth headphones on my head last week, and paired them with my iPhone to play a little music. After a few songs of various genres, I stopped the tunes and took these off my noggin. I suddenly realized that my girlfriend had been blending up a protein shake in the nearby kitchen. It was surprising because I honestly could not hear it with the headphones on my head and playing music at a relatively low volume – and our blender is really loud.

While they’re great for music, these are also fantastic sounding headphones that help you immerse yourself into any game on your iPad or iPhone, cutting down on the auditory distractions from the outside world when they’re powered up.

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BBC’s fact-tastic data-dicing tool puts your tiny life in perspective

So many changes. Screengrab: BBC

So many changes. Screengrab: BBC

Wondering how many solar eclipses there have been since the day you were born? How about when your next birthday on Mercury is? Perhaps you want to know how much Earth’s population has changed since your very special day.

You can answer these questions and more at BBC Earth with this interactive tool — you just plug in your birthdate, height, and gender, and you’ll get all sorts of interesting facts about our planet, as it relates to your lifespan.

“Find out how,” says the BBC site, “since the date of your birth, your life has progressed; including how many times your heart has beaten, and how far you have travelled through space.”

Heady stuff, indeed.

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Camp Pokemon puts monsters in your pocket

Gotta catch 'em all. Photo: The Pokémon Company International

Gotta catch ‘em all. Photo: The Pokémon Company International

The Pokémon Company International just took another step towards iOS domination with its free-to-play game, Camp Pokémon, now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. This new game will let children of all ages explore Camp Pokémon, learning to become a Pokémon trainer.

This is a big step in the right direction for Pokémon video game players, since Nintendo has as yet refused to put it’s incredibly lucrative Pokémon RPG games on any platform besides its own. However, The Pokemon Company owns the rights to the card game; they can put it on any platform they choose.

“Kids will have a blast exploring Camp Pokémon as they immerse themselves in the Pokémon universe in a fun, interactive setting,” said The Pokémon Company’s J.C. Smith. “Parents will love watching their little campers participate in fun activities and create memories at the virtual Pokémon island.”

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Keep OS X Yosemite from sending Spotlight data to Apple

Spotlight is sending your searches back to Apple Photo: Apple

Spotlight is sending your search information back to Apple. Photo: Apple

OS X Yosemite has changed the way your Mac deals with your privacy. On the one hand, Apple has decided to enable hard drive encryption by default, despite the FBI requests not to.

On the other hand, every time you type in Spotlight, your location and local search terms are sent to Apple, and, according to developer Landon Fuller, other third parties like Microsoft.

Fuller’s created a website, Fix Mac OS X Yosemite, where he’s posted up a way to stop Yosemite from sending such private data out. He’s also been contributing to a developer project on GitHub to find out and fix other ways that OS X phones home.

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Sublime night-skiing video shows off brilliant LED technology

Custom LED suits and a small fortune in equipment to make a 12 minute movie: so worth it. Photo: Philips Ambilight TV

Custom LED suits and a small fortune in equipment to make a 12 minute movie: so worth it. Photo: Philips Ambilight TV

Filmed on location at the Alyeska resort in Alaska, the Alaskan wilderness, and the Golden Alpine lodges in Canada, this incredible film of extreme skiing will light up your screens on October 19.

The 12-minute video was created to show off the color and light technology of Phillips Ambilight TV. To do so, the filmmakers created LED ski suits and let loose their pro skiers in the Alaskan and Canadian mountains.

Check out the gorgeous preview in the short teaser below.

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Apple’s biggest security threat is you

iCloud faces some tough security issues. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

iCloud faces some tough security issues. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

iCloud passwords and security passwords can be guessed using social networking and various phishing techniques, and complex passwords and two-step verification are not as intuitive as they should be.

In a delightfully complete article over at TidBITS, author Rich Mogul lays out the facts behind the current spate of Apple security problems – most of which boil down to this: People are the weakest link in the chain.

As anyone who’s worked with technology in the past decade can tell you, the thorniest technical challenges aren’t typically those that deal directly with hardware and software. No, in most cases, the toughest things to troubleshoot and fix lie along the human spectrum. System administrators have long known this, coming up with acronyms like PEBCAK and ID-10T errors.

The same goes for security, which in Apple’s case affects an ever-increasing number of people who not be savvy to the ways of information security.

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ICYMI: It’s been way too long – new iPads, Macs, and more

Cover: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Cover: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Another week, another issue — all of Cult of Mac’s best news stories and features, compiled in one place to read through easily on your iPad or iPhone. This week we’ve got some fantastic coverage of Apple’s iPad event, which revealed iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iMac with 5K Retinal Display, and a boosted Mac mini. Plus, read about how one cop saved a life using Find My iPhone, and the new official Reddit app. That and more in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine.

Dig into Cult of Mac Magazine October 17 Edition, Free on iTunes

The 12 biggest takeaways from Apple’s iPad event

Tim Cook gets ready to show off some new Apple products at the iPad Air 2 event. Photo: Apple

Tim Cook gets ready to show off some new Apple products at the iPad Air 2 event. Photo: Apple

It’s been way too long, joked Apple, since any groundbreaking announcements like the Apple Watch and iPhone 6 Plus. While the product refreshes announced at today’s iPad-centric event aren’t as high on “wow” as the revelations during last month’s big show, these are solid updates to product lines that continue to make Apple great.

Here are the top 12 things you need to know from today’s Apple event.

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Drone geeks get a blast of Star Wars speed in this new sport

That blur there is a quad-copter, racing through a sweet forest obstacle course. Screengrab: New Scientist

That blur there is a quad-copter, racing through a sweet forest obstacle course. Screengrab: New Scientist

It may be hard to tell from the image above, but that’s a hot-rodding quadcopter speeding through the forest at about 100 miles an hour. The drone is taking part in the first large-scale first-person video drone race ever in the United States, held last week in Los Angeles.

For the operators, staring at video screens or wearing virtual reality goggles while their drones record the high-speed chase via tiny mounted cameras, the experience is not unlike the best part of the prequel Star Wars movies — the podracing scene.

Check out the video below for a better sense of what these guys are doing.

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Hemingwrite keyboard would be perfect for typing your novel in the woods

Gosh that's pretty. Photo: Heirloom Electronics

Gosh that’s pretty. Photo: Heirloom Electronics

Back when I was in college, I didn’t have a computer and I didn’t have a typewriter. I did, however, need a way to write papers for my classes. While this may date me, my solution was to purchase an electric typewriter that had word-processing capabilities (I think it was a Brother). I could see one line at a time on it, and the only way to see a whole page was to print it out using the typewriter itself.

These days, of course, we all use full-on super computers to write our blog posts, school papers, and reports for work. You can’t get away from them. If you just want to write, you have to discipline yourself to turn off the Wi-Fi and ignore the constant stream of beeps and notifications that make up a typical work or school day.

The Hemingwrite wants to be the answer to the always-on computer writing conundrum. Instead of eschewing all network connectivity, however, the Hemingwrite tries something different.

“It combines the simplicity of a ’90s era word processor with the modern tech we all require,” writes the team on their web page, “like cloud backups and integration into our favorite document editors like Google docs and Evernote.”

Now that’s something I can get behind.

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