(You're reading all posts by Rob LeFebvre)

About Rob LeFebvre

Rob LeFebvreRob LeFebvre is an Anchorage, Alaska-based writer and editor who has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)

Angry Birds lose a few feathers in first revenue drop

It's hard out there on a pig. Photo: Rovio Entertainment

It’s hard out there on a pig. Photo: Rovio Entertainment

It’s tough at the top.

Mobile video game publisher Rovio Entertainment detailed Thursday its first revenue drop since the Finnish company hit it big with the Angry Birds franchise in 2009.

Perhaps the saturation of the market with no less than 11 Angry Birds-themed games since then (and three spin-offs) and way too many toys and animation projects has something to do with the loss of revenue, down 9 percent to $170.6 million in 2014.

Of course, as Rovio’s mobile gaming business did rise a bit (16 percent), making the overall drop in revenue that more incredible, the company seems to be focused on doubling-down on its mobile game offerings.

“2014 results show that steps in the game portfolio, free to play competency building and advertising are going in the right direction. I am confident that with new simplified organisation and clearer vision, we will be back to the path of growth in 2015,” said CEO Pekka Rantala in a statement.

Read the rest of this post »

Cue the dragons: New Game of Thrones clips hint at war to come

"Who said anything about him?" --Varrys Photo: HBO

“Who said anything about him?” Photo: HBO

“I believe men of talent have a part to play in the war to come,” says spymaster Varys to Tyrion, the Lannister least likely to beat anyone in a duel.

That’s the takeaway line from one of a pair of new clips out today from HBO’s hotly anticipated Game of Thrones Season 5 premiere, which is slated to air April 12.

Isn’t that (and the newly announced cable-free HBO Now) why you all got a new Apple TV? I know I did.

Read the rest of this post »

Pixels gives Pac-Man creator his moment of fame

Pac-Man is NOT a bad guy, says the Professor. Photo: Columbia Pictures

Pac-Man is NOT a bad guy, says the Professor. Photo: Columbia Pictures

Sure, it’s an Adam Sandler/Kevin James summer blockbuster with a ridiculous premise: the Earth is besieged by huge video game characters bent on destroying everything by turning stuff into pixels.

While Peter Dinklage and Jane Krakowski might elevate this potentially awful movie, Pixels, to something more cult status than forgettable popcorn fodder, it’s the nostalgic use of Pac-Man himself that made us watch the trailer in the first place.

First up, we’ve got the Mini Coopers all painted up to look like the iconic Pac-Man ghosts, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde, which is all kinds of awesome. However, it’s the lovely tribute to Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani, portrayed by Denis Akiyama (Johnny Mnemonic, Dead Ringers) at about 1:52 in.

Read the rest of this post »

Relive all 13 minutes of Apple’s iconic silhouette ads in one video

Dance like everyone is watching. Photo: Apple

Dance like everyone is watching. Photo: Apple

Do you remember the first time you saw one of these cool iPod & iTunes commercials? Surely you were impressed with the motion, the cool white earbuds and silhouetted dancers, and the hip soundtrack pulsing out from your TV. It was like nothing we’d ever seen before.

Ciat/Day’s iconic silhouette ads captured the cool of the iPod brand without trying to make us identify with any specific actor or band (at least at first). The iPod came out in 2001, but it wasn’t until 2004 that it had any kind of mass-market success, due to both the fact that iTunes went PC, and these ads.

You can now watch all 22 of these iconic ads in one long, 13 minute stretch, thanks to the Steve Jobs Documentary YouTube Channel.

Read the rest of this post »

Serious or funny — what kind of film will Citizen George become?

Without fame and fortune, how might the prequels have turned out? Photo: JR Ralls

Without fame and fortune, how might the prequels have turned out? Photo: JR Ralls

Citizen George is slated to be a full-length independent film about a director who creates a hugely popular space opera film trilogy (read, George Lucas and Star Wars), only to end up releasing disappointing film prequels 20 years later.

So far, so basic, right? The catch here is that you have to choose the type of movie this fan film will end up being. Want a dramatic story about a serious film auteur and the perils of fame and fortune, like Citizen Kane? Drop some cash into the Drama tip jar. Want a wacky, time-travel comedy like Austin Powers? Slide your money into the Comedy tip jar.

Read the rest of this post »

Turn your iPhone into a microscope for $10

Surely it can't be too hard to make this. Photo: Kenji Yoshino/MAKE

Surely it can’t be too hard to make this. Photo: Kenji Yoshino/Make

Taking macros of your monitor or American Apparel hoodie with your iPhone is so last year.

A Make Magazine tutorial shows you how to make a powerful microscope with up to 375x magnification using just your iPhone, a clear plastic panel, a piece of plywood and some inexpensive hardware.

If you’re a DIY-er that knows how to drill holes and take apart a laser pointer on a keychain, you could be taking super up-close pictures of cricket legs and your cat’s tongue before you know it.

Read the rest of this post »

Use these wallpapers to spend less time on your iPhone

Playful design with a serious message. Photo: Molly McLeod

Playful design with a serious message. Photo: Molly McLeod

Designer, artist and feminist Molly McLeod has an iPhone problem. It’s one we probably all share: We spend too much time staring at it. Imagine how much worse it’s going to get when we replace our neurotic iPhone obsession with an Apple Watch.

McLeod created four delightfully playful designs that we could use to remind us (with a healthy dose of irony) to stop staring at our tiny screens for a moment.

“I find myself habitually looking at my phone when I’m commuting or idly waiting for something,” she writes on her website, “so I thought I would make my phone give me this gentle reminder. There are always other interesting things to look at if you look up!”

Read the rest of this post »

Hide iOS QuickType bar and free up screen space

QuickType just might be cramping your style. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

QuickType just might be cramping your style. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Got an iPhone 6 or smaller? You might be feeling a little cramped for space on your screen due to iOS 8’s new word-prediction system.

That little gray bar that sits just above your iOS keyboard is called the QuickType bar, and it’s where all the auto-correct and typing suggestions appear when you’re sending an email, typing a note or iMessaging with someone. The suggestions are based on your past conversations, which lets QuickType take your writing style into account. It even keeps track of who you’re writing to, since your word choice is typically tied to your conversation partner.

If you want to hide it because you need more space on your screen, you can do so in any of three ways. You can also bring it back if you’ve inadvertently hidden it and don’t know where it went.

Read the rest of this post »

ICYMI: Winding up on the Apple Watch

It's been an Apple Watch kind of week, right? Cover Design: Stephen Smith

It’s been an Apple Watch kind of week, right? Cover Design: Stephen Smith

It’s been a crazy, Apple Watch-filled week, with Apple’s Spring Forward event on Monday fueling quite a bit of energy both here at Cult of Mac an on the internet itself.

We’ve got our very own head man in charge, Leander Kahney, writing up four insightful op-eds on Cupertino’s latest foray into the luxury watch market with that stunningly high-priced Apple Watch Edition. Enjoy four long-form essays worth reading. In addition, we’ll check out what your favorite apps will look like, how the new ResearchKit may change medical research forever, what your Apple Watch purchase might get in the analog watch world, and the seven biggest shockers at the Spring Forward event itself.

All this, plus much more, in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine, available for your free download and no-cost subscription right now.

Read the rest of this post »

Black Eyed Peas rapper apl.de.ap on Apple and the blessing of challenges

The Black Eyed Peas co-founder apl.de.ap relies heavily on Apple gear. Photo: Sebastien Camelot/Flickr CC

The Black Eyed Peas co-founder apl.de.ap relies heavily on Apple gear. Photo: Sebastien Camelot/Flickr CC

The Black Eyed Peas’ co-founder apl.de.ap is at the top of his game in the music industry and a total Apple fan. He’s also just beginning to speak out about his journey from a young boy with a visual impairment to his current status as a star vocal coach on The Voice of The Philippines.

“I was born with my eye condition,” apl.de.ap, aka Allan Pineda, told Cult of Mac. “Today, I feel much less handicapped by my legal blindness as technology has helped me a lot…. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t extremely tough at times, and occasionally I still feel challenged by it.”

He lives and breathes by his MacBook Pro, thinks Siri is amazing and messes about with music apps on his phone. He shared with Cult of Mac the story of his early life, the visual problem known as nystagmus, and his reliance on and use of technology and Apple products, which he says have helped him get through “a lot of things that would otherwise leave me helpless.”

Read the rest of this post »