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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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Love is all you (and penguins) need, says John Lewis Christmas ad

All you need is love. Photo: John Lewis

All you need is love. Photo: John Lewis

Sometimes all a penguin needs is love, says the new Christmas ad from British department store John Lewis.

There’s a young boy with a real penguin. The penguin, named Monty, loves playing with the boy: swimming, sledding, building with Legos. but there’s one thing the boy cannot provide for poor Monty, and that’s a life mate.

Watch the full ad below and be sure to stick around for a delightful Calvin & Hobbesian moment at the end.

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Controversial math apps won’t help kids cheat

My daughter wishes these apps worked better. Photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

My daughter wishes these math apps worked better. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

My math-averse daughter wanted to cheat on her algebra homework. So we downloaded PhotoMath, a free app that lets you take a picture of your mathematical and algebraic equations, solving them for you and showing the steps to the solution.

PhotoMath has been at the top of the App Store charts for a couple of weeks, hitting number one on the Education, Kids Games and Top Apps lists. Small wonder, as it seems like a great way to get out of doing homework.

However, despite the concerns of some parents and teachers, apps like PhotoMath just won’t help when it comes to cheating — they’re far too limited. Still, it’s a promising technology that, once it matures, might actually turn into the type of wonder tool for education we’ve long been promised, turning our iOS devices into useful educational tools that will help kids actually learn math, rather than simply giving them a shortcut to homework answers.

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Final Battle of the Five Armies trailer is anything but Hobbit-sized

No rest for the Hobbit and Dwarf. Photo: Warner Bros.

No rest for the Hobbit and Dwarf. Photo: Warner Bros.

In this new, three-minute-long trailer, Warner Bros. teases us with the epic conclusion to Peter Jackson’s Hobbit film trilogy.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will complete the story of Bilbo Baggins’ journey with Thorin Oakenshield and his company of dwarves as they reclaim the wealth of their homeland. But the heroes also must deal with Smaug (that pesky dragon they unleashed in the last movie) and take care of that badass orc that’s been following them from the get-go.

Check out the full trailer below.

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Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie features Sharlto Copley as a robot orphan

Expect more realism and grit from this robot flick. Photo: Sony Pictures

Expect more realism and grit from this robot flick. Photo: Sony Pictures

The thing about robots in science fiction, especially recently, is that they’re often portrayed as living in a clean, distant future.

The brilliance of Neill Blomkamp is his gritty, dirty, realistic portrayal of the future, and he’s bringing us a new robot to live there, named Chappie.

Chappie, motion captured by Blomkamp favorite Sharlto Copley, is a gifted young robot, an artistic and emotional prodigy. In the trailer below, you can see how much of the real world Blomkamp sets around Chappie: He-Man on the television, a wristwatch on the main propellerhead kid that befriends the robot, and a variety of militaristic types trying to blow up the special kid.

Check it out.

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NSFW: First porn shot with aerial drone

Porn typically leads the way in the tech world. Photo: Ghost+Cow films

Porn typically leads the way in the tech world. Photo: Ghost+Cow films

Shot on location in San Francisco, this film shows the more human side of drone technology: taking to the skies and filming beautiful people having sex.

Porn has always driven the adoption of new technologies, including VHS, Blue-Ray, and the internet itself. Online payment systems, streaming technologies, and even broadband technology has been driven by our endless need to see other people doing the nasty.

When there’s a new technology on offer, the adult entertainment business is the first to adopt and exploit it. Drones are no different: what better way to engage our inner voyeur than with footage of the sexual act.

The below video has an atmospheric soundtrack and — yes — people engaging in the oldest human activity on earth. While it’s tastefully done (there are no close ups of the action), the nakedness is clearly visible and is, as such, not safe for any environment like work or the subway. With that warning firmly in hand, head on through to see the video.

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Rockets, guns and Barbie: hottest toys of the 1950s

Massive Grand Theft Auto V soundtrack spins onto vinyl

Truly retro vinyl to show off your hip style. Photo: Rockstar Games

Truly retro vinyl to show off your hip style. Photo: Rockstar Games

As vinyl enjoys a resurgence in interest and availability, it’s no small wonder that the publisher of Grand Theft Auto V is creating a special boxed set of tunes on physical media.

The six-disc vinyl and three-disc CD box sets will include 59 tracks from the game, including the original score, songs from the in-game radio stations (including real recording artists like A$AP Rocky and Tyler), and even some new content from DJs in the game, including Big Boy, DJ Pooh, Nathan and Stephen from WAVVES, Kenny Loggins, Twin Shadow and Cara Delevingne. The soundtrack is already available digitally through iTunes, but the new collection will come out on CD and vinyl in a 5,000 copy collector’s edition run. You’ll be able to grab a copy starting Decemebr 9, though no price point has been revealed.

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This is why you should stop sharing nudes right now

Here's the best reason to stop sharing nudes you don't own. Photo: College Humor

Here’s the best reason to stop sharing nudes you don’t own. Photo: College Humor

Look, we all love sharing and getting nude photos of people we consensually want to see naked, right?

The problem, as this College Humor video notes, is that “some of you assholes keep sharing our nudes.”

While the big news is in the leaks of celebrity nude photos, even non-celebs want to be able to share sexy shots with their intimates. But if you keep sharing these ill-gotten gains, the amount of nudes out there? Is going to stop.

Check out the video below for more details.

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ICYMI: Tim Cook’s proudest moment

Tim Cook's historic letter, iPad reviews, and more! Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Tim Cook’s historic letter, iPad reviews, and more! Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

It’s been a full week here at Cult of Mac, so we’ve once again put together a special Newsstand issue — all of the 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 Tim Cook’s historic coming out letter, reviews of the iPad Air 2 (and our reasoning for skipping that iPad mini 3 review), some more great tips for your new install of OS X Yosemite, and some scary horror flicks that you’ll want to watch all weekend long. That and more, as always, in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine.

Dig into Cult of Mac Magazine October 31 Edition, Free on iTunes

Rooster Teeth crew faces alien zombies in boy genius’ next act

Zombie. Aliens. Zombiens. Duh. Photo: Team Chaos

Zombie. Aliens. Zombiens. Duh. Photo: Team Chaos

What were you doing when you were 17? Probably not publishing a book on how to program 3-D terrain in video games.

Game developer Trent Polack did just that. He’s been playing games since, well, forever.

“My mom says I’ve been playing games since I was 2,” he told Cult of Mac, “but I don’t think that’s possible.”

That lifetime of experience is paying off for Polack, creative director of Team Chaos, a small game studio based in Austin, Texas. His team’s latest project is a collaboration with Rooster Teeth, a video production house beloved by gamers for its hilarious machinima, or films created using video game engines (most notably Red vs. Blue, based on the best-selling Halo series).

In the Rooster Teeth vs. Zombiens, which should hit mobile devices in late November, the Rooster Teeth crew gets turned into cannon fodder as they face off against a swarm of zombie aliens. Cult of Mac talked with Polack about that noteworthy project, his gaming roots and his knack for crafting crazy publicity emails.

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