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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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Here’s how Apple could make the iPhone 6 unhackable (and unlovable)

Photo: Screen grab from Funny or Die

Photo: Screen grab from Funny or Die

We’re sorry, internet, but this new Funny or Die video has figured out the way to absolutely make the new iPhone 6 completely hack-proof.

No more iCloud, no more internet. The un-hackable iPhone 6, says this short film, is just a phone. And it only calls your parents.

Watch below as the three “interviewees,” playing Apple software designers, get angrier and angrier in their explanation, which comes down to “this is why we can’t have nice things.” Warning – there are a few colorful descriptions of things members of 4chan (the group behind most of the iCloud hacking) might want on their phone, as well. If you’re easily offended, skip the video.

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Pare down your travel kit with this shoulder-saving MacBook Pro sleeve

Holds just enough to stay productive. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Waterfield’s MacBook Outback Solo holds just enough to keep you productive. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I’ll admit it — I’ve got a thing for these waxed canvas and leather bags from Waterfield. I’ve ended up using the impeccably designed Staad backpack and the classy Nintendo 3DS case long after my reviews of them were published. These bags and cases from the San Francisco design collective are warm, inviting and just get better with age and use.

Let’s face it, though: Sometimes you only want to carry your laptop and a couple of accessories, and that’s it. Waterfield’s latest design, the MacBook Outback Solo, is a minimalist sleeve made of the same strong canvas material and rich, thick, buttery-smooth leather as the other bags in the line. It can be paired with a carrying strap that turns the sleeve into a messenger bag. While our very own Charlie Sorrel called the iPad version of this bag a man-purse, I’m thinking of this more as a shoulder-saving device — the fewer things I end up having to carry, the better.

This little sleeve is perfect for exactly that.

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Moon Hunters asks, What kind of hero are you?

It's a mythical, magical ancient world. Photo: Hunter LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

It’s a mythical, magical ancient world. Photo: Hunter LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

SEATTLE — Tanya Short, fresh off the successful release of sci-fi-themed indie game Shattered Planet, thinks her new game has widespread appeal. For a game set in ancient Mesopotamia, that’s saying a lot.

KitFox Games’ Moon Hunters, due out next summer for Mac, PC, and PlayStation, is a one to four player action role playing game that lets you create the kind of hero you want to be remembered as. The moon isn’t rising, and you and your group of friends set out to find out why.

“Essentially,” she told us at the Penny Arcade Expo this past weekend, “you’re in mythical ancient Mesopotamia in the Bronze Age. In pantheon of the gods, the central figure is the Moon. The moon not rising is a big deal.”

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Radiohead’s trippy app delivers unexpected new tunes

Screen grab from iPhone: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Screen grab from iPhone: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

UK-based rock band Radiohead just updated their Polyfauna app, originally released at the end of this past January, with all new audio and visual content.

The What’s New section of the iTunes description says, simply, “Entirely new.”

If you’re a fan of the ambient tech-inspired music of Radiohead’s seminal Kid A album, you’re going to love these new tracks. Here’s a video (below) to whet your appetite.

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PAX cosplayers impress with passion, energy and lots of effort

SEATTLE — It’s like Halloween two months early at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), with gamers and geeky fans of every stripe dressing up in costumes of varying quality and seriousness.

More than 70,000 gamers converge each year in Seattle for PAX, a fan-centric celebration of all things gaming that was created by web cartoonists Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik as a way to honor their passion for video, board and card games.

We saw hundreds of people wearing elaborate costumes from their favorite games, television shows and movies. Some do it for the attention, others really enjoy making the outfits, and all the folks we encountered in the expo halls were excited to show off their final products.

Take a look in the gallery above at the best of the many fantastic cosplay outfits we ran into this year.

All Photos: Hunter LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

You don’t have to be a geek to play Golem Arcana, but it helps

This colossus figure towers over all comers. Photo: Hunter LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

This colossus figure towers over all comers. Photo: Hunter LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

SEATTLE, Washington — Table top miniatures are some of the geekiest board games, coming as they do with thick rulebooks and complicated sets of play mechanics. Developer Harebrained Schemes, the folks behind video games Shadowrun Returns and the more recent Shadowrun: Dragonfall, has decided to bring this arcane, geeky gaming genre to players who might want to try it out without having to fight their way through an extreme learning curve.

With the time we spent with the game at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle this weekend, we’ve got to say, we’re pretty impressed. While there’s still quite a bit of learning that has to occur in order to fully and deeply play this fantasy-themed miniatures game, even players as young as four can grasp the basic concepts of move, battle, and conquer that the game’s iPad app and bluetooth-connected stylus allow.

“There are a lot of rules to these kinds of games,” said Harebrained Schemes’ Ray Winninger. “Sometimes there are these giant, thick rule books and that sort of thing. It’s especially hard to bring someone in who’s never played before and to just kind of plop them in the middle of it. So, we’re trying to manage all of that for you.”

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Dark Horse Comics does video game titles like no other

Dave Marshall, Editor Dark Horse Comics. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Dave Marshall, Editor Dark Horse Comics, holding a coffee table book of video game art. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

SEATTLE, Washington – Walk into a comic shop, and you’ll probably see titles from publisher Dark Horse Comics. Known for its creator-owned series like Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and Sergio Aragonés’ Groo the Wanderer as well as television and movie adaptations like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or 300, the comic book publisher has a booth at the Penny Arcade Expo this weekend in Seattle to show off a different genre of comic.

The booth at the Washington State Convention Center in is full of video game-themed books of all stripe, from Mass Effect and Tomb Raider single-issue comics to larger, coffee table volumes like Hyrule Historia, which is chock full of the lore of The Legend of Zelda, and The Art of Naughty Dog, an art book that focuses on the popular game developer’s artistic output.

Dave Marshall says that video game books are the third pillar in the Dark Horse publishing strategy, and have become just as valuable a content stream as the creator-owned or media-based titles.

“We get the original writers and artists from the video games themselves to actually write or consult on these books,” he told us at the Dark Horse booth Saturday morning, “so we can come to the fans at a deeper level than just a crummy tie-in or cash grab.”

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You can’t play this game alone – find a friend and conquer Together: Amna & Saif

Picture courtesy Mount Olympus Games

Picture courtesy Mount Olympus Games

SEATTLE, Washington – Together: Amna & Saif puts you and another player on the same screen, controlling a mother and son duo of characters to solve various environmental puzzles. It’s a “couch co-op adventure puzzle game” that requires you to talk, interact, and think with another human being.

Lead designer Lyle Cox told us that he’s always wanted to make a game that benefits society in some way. “My hope is that people who play the game,” he said, “get some benefit to their relationship for having done so.”

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These road-trippers logged more than 10,000 miles and captured it all on Super 8

Screengrab courtesy Element.ly

Screenshot courtesy Element.ly

Instead of just another HD video project clogging up his Mac, filmmaker Mike Ruocco set out to capture his cross-country road trip with something just a bit more retro: a 45-year-old Canon Auto Zoom 814 with a broken light meter and two cans of Super 8 film.

Ruocco, his wife, her sister and their dog Riley traveled across 20 states, spent time at nine national parks and then spent a week in the Adirondack Mountains, filming it all along the way.

What results is a video so warm and nostalgic that we just had to share. Check out this amazing blast of Americana below.

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Now you can record game clips within Xbox One SmartGlass app

Picture courtesy iTunes App Store

Picture courtesy Microsoft/iTunes App Store

The hot new thing is to record your epic gaming feats on your current-generation consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, sharing your amazing skills with the world via Google’s YouTube or Amazon’s Twitch TV.

Microsoft just made it even easier to do so with an update to Xbox One SmartGlass, an iOS, Windows Phone, and Android mobile app that connects directly to your Xbox One console.

The companion app already lets you navigate your console using your iPhone or other smart device’s keyboard and touchscreen as well as control your media via a SmartGlass remote control function. You can brows the web on your TV using your mobile device, and track achievements, get game help, message friends and watch game clips all on your iPad or other tablet.

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