Using these simple keyboard tricks will make your life so much better. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Mastering a few crucial Mac keyboard shortcuts will make using your Apple computer easier and much more efficient. Cutting your reliance on your mouse will help you work more quickly, and you’ll undoubtedly impress your family, friends and co-workers to no end. You might end up becoming the go-to Mac person in your office, and we all know how wonderful that will be.
Here are the top 10 Mac keyboard shortcut tricks you really need to memorize right now, whether you’re a Mac newbie or a veteran user who still uses the mouse for everything out of habit.
Sam Padilla and Violeta Tayeh strike a spirited pose inside a photo booth during an international convention of photo booth enthusiasts in Chicago. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
Anatol Josephwitz passed the time in a Siberian prison camp and ignored the bitter cold by imagining an automated photography machine he had not yet invented.
Nearly 95 years later, the photo booth is as tough a survivor as its inventor.
Photo booth adventurers across many generations have described a magic that takes place when the curtain is drawn and the camera is awakened by placing a few coins in a slot. Inhibitions fall and an authentic inner self emerges on a strip of four photos. Best friends smash their faces together, a girl on a boy’s lap gives him his first kiss, and a wide-eyed college kid proudly mugs for a shot that will get pasted into a first passport.
Many of the so-called dip-and-dunk chemical machines, the kind found in arcades, amusement parks and bus stations, are disappearing, but replacing them are booths with digital cameras and dye-sublimation printers.
Each and every month, Lust List rounds up the products that shook us all night long. This time we've got unique backpacks, iPhone-saving cases, cool music gear, hot chile booze and much more.
Timbuk2 Muttmover dog backpack
My mother's dog is a little fluffy menace. A Pomeranian, he looks like dog treats wouldn't melt in his mouth, but he's a terror. He goes completely bananas when other dogs are around, and gets bitey if you try to move him off the couch. Last time I tried to stop him from eating the cat's food, I had to go get a tetanus shot. The neighbors call him "Little Cujo."
The only time he's manageable is when he's in a bag. He loves a good bag, and it keeps him out of trouble. Everywhere he goes, Mother puts him in a duffel bag that's a bit too big and unwieldy. So I got her Timbuk2's Muttmover dog backpack, which both she and the little DFH (Dog From Hell) love.
It's a medium-size backpack, so it's easy for her to sling over her shoulder. It's more compact and manageable than the duffel, plus there's a carrying handle on top. The front panel zips open completely, making it easy for the devil dog to step inside. The liner is made of a slick tarpaulin material (with a nice paw-print design), which is easy to clean if he has a whoopsie. There's a ton of pockets for muzzles and Band-Aids, plus zippered portholes for him to stick his evil little face out. It includes a folding water dish. Timbuk2 told me the $118 Muttmover is so popular, it often sells out. — Leander Kahney
A trail-worthy pint glass that doesn't sweat, keeps my beer cold longer and adds no metallic taste. What's not to like? Unless, of course, your wife discovers it's also perfect for keeping her tea hot (the outside doesn't become hot to the touch, thanks to the 16-ounce Hydro Flask True Pint's double-walled vacuum insulation).
The only thing to do is decide which of the five color choices I like best and order more. Luckily, the $21.99 True Pint was designed to be stackable. — Jim Merithew
Portable flash drives aren't sexy, but when you're stuck with a 16GB iPhone, they can be a godsend. Leef's iBridge portable drives are designed to work with iPhones and iPads so you never run out of storage, no matter how many photos and videos you add to your device. Starting at $59.99 for a 16GB stick (with options up to 128 GB), iBridge helps you make the most of your iPhone's storage by providing a physical safe haven for all your favorite content.
The iBridge comes with a slick, minimalist app that helps transfer content from your Mac to your iPhone or vice versa. It's ridiculously easy to use and allows you to shoot photos or videos and save them directly on the drive. You'll have to shell out $199 for the 128GB option, but it's cheaper than splurging on a 128GB iPhone 6. — Buster Hein
Ever wish you had your own guitar tech so you could focus on playing your ax, not tuning it? How about a quick change from the standard tuning to something different, like an open-E tuning? The $99 Roadie Tuner lets you do just that with a sweet little robo-device that will listen to your guitar strings via a Bluetooth-connected iPhone app and then turn those shiny tuning pegs all on its own.
The accompanying free Roadie Tuner iOS app has all sorts of tuning profiles that will help you become the next Joni Mitchell. The system works with acoustic or electric guitars, so you'll always be in perfect tune. Of course, we can't say the same thing for your bass player. — Rob LeFebvre
I've been using a BaseLift on my 15-inch MacBook Pro for the past couple weeks, and I have yet to take it off (it sticks on with adhesive and installation is super-easy). That's saying something, because usually I abandon add-ons like these after testing.
Twelve South claims the elevated angle means you'll type more comfortably, but I'm not sure I buy that. How typing makes you feel depends entirely on how your wrists are positioned relative to your forearms. So if your wrists are bent up at a sharp angle, you're going to cramp. That said, I haven't had any cramping issues while using the BaseLift. And I actually like having my screen elevated just a little. It makes a big difference when you're staring at a screen all day.
The BaseLift is compatible with all MacBooks (11-inch Air to 15-inch Pro), and costs $39.99. — Alex Heath
Of all the bike racks I've had over the years, Yakima's FullTilt 5 is the best so far. I've always had trouble getting a bike rack big enough for the whole family but, like the name says, the Fulltilt 5 accommodates five bikes.
Everything is integrated and easy to use. Other bike racks frustrated me, with their fiddly straps or rubbery fittings that were always getting lost. The FullTilt's cradles are built-in, sliding up and down a rail for adjustment. Bikes are secured with big, chunky zip ties (which are fully removable, but still). It's the easiest attachment system I've encountered so far. Just put the bike on the rack and slide a couple of ties into the cradles on either side. The cradles include anti-sway arms to stop the bikes crashing into each other.
There's also a built-in security cable for locking the bikes to the rack. The cable is easily snipped by a professional bike thief, but it'll stop an opportunist from snagging a bike while you go to the bathroom or get lunch.
The FullTilt is hitch-mounted, with an adjustable AutoPin to accommodate 1.25-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers. There's a big red knob for locking the rack to the car. Conveniently, the same key works for both the hitch and cable locks. The rack folds all the way down for trunk access or folding flat for storage.
It's not the lightest (41 pounds) or the cheapest ($449) but overall, it's well-designed and well-made — a big, beefy rack for biking. — Leander Kahney
I keep dropping my iPhone 6 Plus and knocking it off tables. I'm not sure why — is it because it's so big that it's slightly unwieldy? Or because it's so damn indispensable that I carry it everywhere? No matter the reason for my inexcusable clumsiness, it's undeniably true that the bigger-than-big iPhone has taken more hits than any phone I've ever owned. Shockingly, it's still in perfect condition, and for that I thank my Tech21 Classic Shell case.
There's nothing particularly lust-worthy about the case. It's got a clear back, which has yellowed a bit with age, and a colored ring around the iPhone's edge (mine's a slightly obnoxious orange). But there's absolutely nothing appealing about a cracked phone, and that's where Tech21's "Impactology" tech comes into play. The Classic Shell, which retails for $39.99, is made of a patented, shock-absorbing material called D30 that's designed to dissipate the force of impacts.
The end result is a slim case that makes the iPhone 6 Plus easy to slide into and out of my pockets — and a joy to pick up, unbroken, off the hard concrete I've stupidly dropped it onto. — Lewis Wallace
With its natural wood finish base, classic lines and built-in speakers, the Max LP from ION Audio is a fantastic basic turntable that spins records at 33 1/3, 45 and even 78 RPM (for those rare classics you might have sitting in an attic somewhere). It's also set up to easily convert your vinyl into digital files for those albums from your youth that aren't available on iTunes or Spotify.
The speakers on the deck are serviceable, sounding a bit better than a smartphone and making things a little more portable, but you can always connect the Max LP, which retails for $99.99, to powered speakers or a component stereo system, using either a 1/8-inch audio jack or a red-and-white RCA cable. Stick a USB cable into the back of the Max LP and attach the other end to your Mac, and you can convert records super-easily with the included software. You can even digitize cassette tapes by connecting a separate tape player through the turntable. — Rob LeFebvre
If you're still using your TV or Mac speakers to watch TV, play games or listen to music, you owe it to yourself to try out Razer's affordable yet powerful Leviathan 5.1 Channel Surround Sound Bar. For $199, you get a solid speaker system that performs at a level challenging even more expensive multi-speaker hardware (it's certified Dolby Digital, Virtual Speaker and Pro Logic II).
This beast is a thin sound bar that looks like a minimalist boom box that you set in front of your TV or gaming monitor. You'll connect it via optical, audio cable or Bluetooth to your sound source. I've ended up making it my turntable and HDTV sound system, as the powerful bass response from the big trapezoidal subwoofer makes for a compelling home theater experience. It's perfect for that smaller living room, home office or dorm room where you want to push some serious air without spending a lot of scratch. — Rob LeFebvre
Next time you're rock climbing or engaging in some other crazy adventure with your iPhone, be sure to take along this sweet leash system from Kenu. The Highline Security Leash starts with a protective, texturized polycarbonate iPhone case that's thin enough to put in your pocket but tough enough to protect from random damage.
The killer feature here, though, is the bungee-cord leash, which solidly locks into your iPhone's Lightning port as well as a notch in the back of the case, making for a secure connection. There's a version for the iPhone 6 ($29.95) and a stronger one for iPhone 6 Plus ($34.95), so you know your lifeline device will always stick nearby, letting you feel secure as you whip it out while skiing down a crazy slope this winter. — Rob LeFebvre
Of all the cool things smarthome products can do, the very bottom of my list was mood lighting. I had absolutely zero interest in it — until I actually tried it. Elgato sent an Avea smart bulb to the office and it sat there for weeks, untested and unloved, until a bulb blew at home. Thinking I'd use it just temporarily, I was really surprised that I immediately fell head over heels for it.
What surprised me is how much better mood lighting makes me feel. Yeah, I know it's a cliché, but it really works. Problem was, all of our lights were high wattage. And because the kids turn on every light in the house and never turn them off, it was like living inside a photocopier. The Avea allows me to turn the lighting up or down, setting the light depending on what we are doing: a soft, gentle blue for watching TV, or full Gestapo for doing homework.
Unlike rival smart bulbs, which often require a special hub or gateway, the Avea connects directly to your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth. The well-designed Avea app has a bunch of moody presets, like "Cozy Flames," which bathes the room in a flickering yellow-orange glow, or "Magic Hour," a soft, pinkish-yellow that evokes a Caribbean sunset. (You can see the different presets in action on Elgato's website). After choosing a preset, the settings stick, even when the lights are turned on and off at the wall. The app also adjusts brightness, and you can set an alarm that will gradually brighten the room in the morning as though the sun's coming up.
It wasn't cheap — Avea bulbs cost $39 each — but I was so bowled over, I outfitted the entire house with smart LED bulbs. They last for years, I told myself, and if I get anxious about it, I'll just select the "Calm Provence" preset. Requires an iPhone 4S and up. — Leander Kahney
I've always thought OGIO backpacks look too nerdy for any sane person to wear. When it comes to making tech gear, OGIO has always put function ahead of fashion, but with the company's new Ascent packs, style is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Like most OGIO packs, the Ascent comes with more pockets than even most nerds could use. There's a special padded slot big enough for a 15-inch MacBook Pro, another for an iPad Air and a few pouches for knickknacks to go with the two main compartments. They've even thrown in a Tech Vault at the top to store your sunglasses, camera and other easy-to-beat-up stuff.
Basically, if you can't keep your gadgets organized with this pack, you never will. Its style isn't flashy, but it looks more like an active-lifestyle backpack than the company's other laptop bags. And with a $99.99 price tag, it'll get the job done for cheaper than some of the more stylish options out there. — Buster Hein
I've long had a soft spot for iPhone cases that also carry my cards and cash and allow me to leave my wallet at home. Unfortunately, most of them are big and bulky and unsuitable for already large handsets like the iPhone 6 Plus. But the CM4 Q Card Case is different.
Rather than employing a traditional wallet design with a cover that folds over the front of your iPhone and gets in your way, the Q Card Case is a more traditional soft-touch rubber case with a fabric pocket on its back. The Case holds up to three credit cards as well as some cash pretty comfortably, but it's a little tight when you first get it so you'll need to break it in. There is a small cut-out at the bottom of the credit card pouch that allows you to remove your cards easily. Even with three cards inside it, the Q Card Case isn't too bulky on a 6 Plus. It'll slip fairly easily into and out of your pocket, and it's significantly slimmer than a leather wallet case.
It also has a special feature up its sleeve (if you get the 6 Plus version) that I've found to be super-useful: A long, narrow notch runs alongside the back of the case; if you pull out a credit card and push it into that notch, it will act as a stand so you can prop up your phone for watching videos or typing with an external keyboard.
The Q Card Case offers great protection and it's super-functional. You can get it in five colors — black, gray, red, green and gold — for $39.99 from CM4's online store. It's also available for the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5s at the same price. — Killian Bell
Usually when your bartender talks up a hot new drink, he's not referring to actual heat. But that's what you get when you add a half-jigger of Ancho Reyes liqueur to a recipe: restrained heat, plus subtle sweetness and exotic spices that will add an unforgettable dimension to your cocktail.
I got my first taste of this outstanding liqueur made with ancho chiles (the dried version of poblano peppers) during this year's International CES, when my Cult of Mac colleague Jim and I stumbled (probably literally) into The Chandelier, an eye-catching multi-story lounge inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. We ordered a pair of American Gothic cocktails, a spicy concoction that expertly blends Woodford Reserve bourbon with Ancho Reyes, Amaro Meletti, chocolate mole bitters and house-made spiced chai-masala tea syrup. The drink was like a shining beacon of elegance and hope rising above CES's inevitable sea of free booze.
There's a lot going on in that American Gothic recipe, but it was clear Ancho Reyes played a key role. Once back in San Francisco, I had to track some down. It took a while, and cost a little north of $30, but I finally found some. A little goes a long way, but it's a genius way to heat up your next cocktail party. Plus: That old-school bottle looks sweet on your liquor shelf. — Lewis Wallace
A vintage promotional shot emphasizes the stylish open-plan living found in an Eichler home. Photo: Eichler
With an innovative architectural style that brought elegant living to the masses, real estate developer Joseph Eichler left an indelible mark on California in the 1960s.
His beautifully simple blueprints also had an undeniable impact on Apple’s co-founders — although Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs took very different lessons from his work. Remarkably, Eichler’s design philosophy continues to shape Apple’s products, inside and out, to this day.
“I was very lucky to grow up in an Eichler,” Wozniak told Cult of Mac, referring to his family’s four-bedroom home in Sunnyvale, California. “It greatly influenced my liking of simplicity and open style. I like it whenever I see those attributes in any architecture.”
Becoming Steve Jobs explores Steve Jobs’ exile from Apple. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
New biography Becoming Steve Jobs attempts to answer an important question: What happened to Steve Jobs during his wilderness years outside Apple that turned him from a gifted-but-impossible-to-work-with youngster into the seasoned digital emperor he would be following his return to the company he founded?
It’s a question that’s crucial to understanding Apple’s rise back to prominence from the late 1990s onward — but one that was ignored by previous Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson, whose 2011 book Steve Jobs sold a gajillion copies, but is now (perhaps unfairly) being recast as an unqualified failure.
In Isaacson’s book, these crucial years away from Apple take up just five chapters out of 42 — and that section also includes Jobs’ marriage to Laurene Powell and the birth of his children. In Becoming Steve Jobs, the lessons from that era permeate almost every page.
The new Logitech MX Master takes pains to be a great Mac mouse. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — To make its mouse of the future, Logitech looked to the past. The MX Master, a reboot of a classic Logitech mouse that brings back a long-lost feature while adding significant modern upgrades, is perfect for the port-deficient new MacBook.
The MX Master resurrects the nifty scroll wheel that was a killer feature of the MX Revolution, which Logitech released in 2006. The Revolution’s clever scroll wheel seemed to shift gears on the fly, going from slow to speedy and letting you zip through long webpages and documents. The feature helped turned the Revolution into a hit, but the scroll wheel went away in subsequent Logitech mice, causing fans to weep for their loss when their beloved mouse finally crapped out.
The MX Master brings back the innovative scroll wheel with a vengeance.
Remember the Titans stars Denzel Washington as a shouty coach who turns a disorganized football team into a disciplined outfit. Photo: Disney
A few days before he died, Steve Jobs asked Tim Cook over to his house to watch a movie together.
The movie he selected was Remember the Titans, a football drama starring Denzel Washington. It’s set in the South, and concerns the struggles of integrating a racially mixed team during the civil rights’ era. Cook was surprised by Jobs’ choice of movie — Jobs had little interest in sports — but he said they talked about it afterward.
Why would Jobs, who had recently stepped down as Apple CEO and appointed Cook in his place, want to watch this movie with his successor just a few days before he died? Was he trying to pass on some crucial knowledge?
I re-watched the movie last night and have a pretty good idea.