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About Rob LeFebvre

Rob LeFebvre Anchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Games and Tips 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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Get Those Stinking Badge Numbers Off Your iPhone’s Home Screen [iOS Tips]

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Sure, it’s nice to know you have a bunch of unread email messages. And it’s understandable that iOS apps notify you about every little activity. But after a while, all the little numbers in the red circles on my iPhone’s home screen start to feel like a chore.

I hate having to open up apps just to clear out the taunting little numbers. I could ignore them, but they’re designed to bother me (or, more politely, to get my attention). I mean, I have healthy emotional boundaries, but this is getting ridiculous.

So I turned them off — and you can, too.

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Monument Valley Is Our iOS Game Of The Week [Editor's Pick]

Relax into this stunningly beautiful game.

Relax into this stunningly beautiful game.

Princess Ida needs to find herself, and she’s doing so with a quest across an unpredictable and shifting landscape that takes inspiration from perspective-bending Escher art and hit indie game Fez.

You’ll need to tap on the screen to get Ida moving to her end goal, swiping and rotating dozens of different mechanical gadgets to make sure she can continue on her way. The puzzles aren’t super difficult, but they do require a bit of thought, and plenty of them are downright ingenious. You’ll feel pretty darn intelligent when you finally get that “aha!” moment.

Check out our play-through video below to get a sense of how lush and calming Monument Valley really is.

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Make Spotlight Sing: Use Dates To Search Your Files [OS X Tips]

spotlight

You know what I miss? Those pre-defined search items that used to hang out over in the Finder sidebar window. You know, the ones that said, “Files Created Today” or “Yesterday” or what have you. They were super handy.

Turns out, you can get the same sort of search power right in Spotlight. All you need to know is a little syntax, and you’ll be looking for stuff created or modified on specific dates or within certain date ranges. There’s even a way to request stuff done before or after dates. Yay!

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Skip The Apple Store And Get Deeper Discounts [Report]

Customers might avoid this delightful eye-candy to save a few bucks.

Customers might avoid this delightful eye-candy to save a few bucks.

When you walk into an Apple Store — the minimalist design, the Macbook screens tilted just so, the approachable, encyclopedic sales staff — you might be forgiven for being a little bit speechless.

It’s not unlike walking into a Porsche or Mercedes dealership — you don’t expect to find bargain bins full of junk. The presentation is, in fact, as important as the product, and once inside, you’re going to hand over your money to get both.

Even though Apple stores have become tourist attractions in their own right where folks come from countries like Sweden and Brazil to purchase these great products at prices lower than at home, savvy customers might someday shun those stunning glass facades and signature spiral staircases for cheaper prices found elsewhere.

A new report by DealNews shows that Apple products are getting deeper discounts sooner in a product lifecycle than ever before, begging the question: is the Apple Store the best place to buy your gear?

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Live Life, Find Love, Have A Child In Five Minutes: Hero Generations

hero generations

Sure, we all love a good game of Civilization V, but we also all know that the epic turn-based strategy can really suck up our time.

That’s one of the reasons we’re so excited about Hero Generations, a Rogue-like strategy game with a unique, personal question at its core: what will you do with the limited time you have left?

You’ll have plenty of choices, but your character will age one year for each turn in the game. If you want to truly influence the kingdom, you’ll need to find a mate, settle down, and have a child.

Your offspring, then, becomes the next controllable character in the game, with all the experience and items that you amassed before you died.

If that doesn’t intrigue you, I’m not sure what will.

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Map Street Addresses Right Inside Safari [OS X Tips]

Maps in Safari

When you want to look up a street address in Safari, you may still be using an old workflow: copy the address from the web page, paste it into the search bar, and then use Google Maps.

With OS X Mavericks, you might even have gone a step further and pasted the address into Apple’s Maps app, and then sending the directions to your iPhone.

There’s another way, though, which offers more immediate gratification: opening the address in Safari.

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Lessons From The Heavenly Rise Of Little Inferno

Burn, baby, burn.

Burn, baby, burn.

This story first appeared in Cult of Mac Magazine.

Your game may be great, but languish in a cobwebbed corner of the iTunes store. That was almost the fate of Little Inferno, an original downloadable game launched in 2012 by indie outfit Tomorrow Corporation. They made some mistakes — big and small — that all devs hope to avoid.

One of the many cool things at the Game Developers Conference each year is the post-mortem talk, a look at what a game did well, or not so well, by the developers who made the game. This year, we were lucky to hear a talk about Little Inferno and the mistakes the team made along the way.

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Updated IFTTT Still Reigns As The Best Swiss Army Knife Of Productivity Apps

New features make IFTTT even more indispensable.

New features make IFTTT even more indispensable.

If you haven’t been using If This, Then That (IFTTT) on your iPhone or iPad, you really ought to be.

It’s a really amazing way to connect up all the things you do on your devices, putting them together in new ways for new uses.

Want to send all your iOS photos to OneNote or Evernote? There’s a recipe for that. How about making your Phillips Hue lightbulbs flash a specific color when you pull up into your driveway? There’s an IFTTT recipe for that, too.

Chances are, if you can think of it, you can make it happen, connecting different services and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your iOS Photos app, location services, and the like in fantastically useful new ways.

There’s a new update for the iOS app, and it’s got some pretty spectacular new stuff to check out.

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Travel In Rugged Style With Journeyman Leather Messenger Bag [Review]

DSC05226

With a seriously rugged style, the Intrepid Journeyman messenger bag is nothing to be trifled with. The soft brown leather exterior enfolds the utterly solid yet flexible abilities of this cross-shoulder travel bag, which will become an asset in almost any travel situation.

Journeyman Messenger Bag by Intrepid Bag Co.
Category: Messenger Bags
Works With: Things you need to carry
Price: $369

Unless, of course, you need to carry a whole lot of things with you. In that case, the minimalist design of the Journeyman may not perfectly suit. What it contains, however, it contains well, and it meets an even more important criterion: how it carries.

A cross-shoulder messenger bag must be able to sit high up on your back without crushing your chest or killing your shoulders. You should be able to carry the thing all day long without starting to feel that mid-shoulder ache that a poorly fitting shoulder bag tends to invite.

The Journeyman was designed with this sort of wrapping fit in mind.

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Get Rid Of The Chrome Bell Notification Menu Bar Icon [OS X Tips]

chrome bell icon

Boy, you’d think this would be an easy one, right? Most third-party menu bar icons allow you to either drag and delete them from the menu bar itself, or at least provide a Quit or Disable function in their own drop-down menus, but not Chrome.

The little bell menu bar just sits there, mocking us, providing no easy way to delete it from the horde of other app icons competing for our admittedly limited attention.

Fear not, though, as there is a fairly easy–though rather unintuitive–way to delete this bell icon.

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