Cult of Mac’s Facebook page has been taken over by hackers, and we’re having trouble getting it back.
Update:We’re back! We were finally able to get hold of someone at Facebook and get our Facebook page back. Many thanks to everyone who tried to help and offered support. We contacted someone at Facebook through a reader in Chicago, who happens to work for a big newspaper. He had a contact in Facebook’s media team and called her up. Within minutes I received an email asking for details, and two minutes after that it was fixed. In fact, it was shocking how quickly the situation was reversed, given that we’d been wrestling with it for almost 24 hours — many thanks to the Facebook insider who fixed the problem for us. However, my thesis still holds — Facebook is a locked vault. If you don’t know someone who knows someone who works there, you’re SOL. Oh, and no word on what happened. I asked them, but no reply as yet.
Much to our horror, Cult of Mac’s Facebook page got hacked Monday and turned into a spam site. The hackers have locked us out and we’re finding it impossible to regain control.
We’re trying desperately to contact Facebook, but the company offers no customer support whatsoever. There are no online submission forms, no support email addresses, and the phone automatically hangs up on you if you call. It’s impossible to raise a human being over there.
It would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. But during this ongoing nightmare, I’ve discovered something important about Facebook and the kind of tech companies it represents.
Each month, Lust List rounds up the products that made us break out the hats and hooters. This time we're throwing down the jam with perfect packs, an electric mountain bike, a super-sick selfie stick and other essentials.
Steelcase Gesture office chair
This chair saved my ass. After months of sitting on a cheapo spinner made of molded plywood from IKEA, I was getting a little sick of the numbness in my hams: Every time I got up after a long session of hacking away at the keyboard, my legs felt almost useless.
Plopping down on the Gesture chair by Steelcase (starts at $974, with options) changed all that. I feel much more comfortable after a long day of at the desk, but the Gesture goes beyond that: It's designed to accommodate a variety of sitting positions, from straight-up typing to kicked-back tapping on an iPad or smartphone. A four-position selector lets you dial in your level of lean; an easy-turn knob lets you adjust the seat depth while a simple lever allows height adjustments.
The truly novel part is the "limb interface" adjustments: The chair's grippy rubberized arms adjust effortlessly up, down, in and out so you can position them right where your arms want to be at any given moment. And unlike some overly complicated office chairs, tweaking this beast to your heart's (and your back's) content is very intuitive.
When it comes to looks, it's stylish enough for any modern office. The comfy gray fabric covering the seat and back reminds me of a subtle flannel suit, but Steelcase offers the Gesture in a wide variety of less-staid colors (and leather, too). — Lewis Wallace
I discovered Rite in the Rain notebooks like a lot of people: struggling to write in a downpour while standing next to someone effortlessly jotting notes as if there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
My days of covering football games in all sorts of weather are behind me, but these notebooks have stayed with me. The company has been around since 1915 and produces all sorts of products, from index cards and loose-leaf paper to notebooks of all sizes. The specially coated paper allows you to write through a wet surface using a pencil or ballpoint pen (though not gel or fountain pens). I prefer the 3-inch-by-5-inch spiral-top notebooks ($3.95) and the small Field Flex books ($4.95). Don't wait to get caught in bad weather to learn about these rugged notebooks. — David Pierini
The most important feature when looking for an infant carrier pack is the fit. Not just for you but also the baby. Osprey Packs' Poco Premium is the Cadillac of carrier packs, with enough adjustments to fit both newborns and young toddlers, while also fitting perfectly for both parents.
Our 2-year-old was more than happy to come along for hikes around the lake, and he was even comfortable enough to doze off during nap time. We've got baby No. 2 on the way, and once he is old enough for adventures, fitting the carrier for him will be a breeze. The saddle raises and lowers, the baby’s shoulder straps adjust, and the entire harness has straps on the sides for a secure fit.
The sun shade is perfect for hot summer hikes and sets up much more easily than expected, providing ample protection to prevent your kid from getting burned. It also comes with a ton of storage. There's a hydration sleeve that can fit a 3-liter bladder; large, zippered compartments that are easy to access on the go; and a removable pack for when you're tired of carrying Junior around.
Osprey even threw in a changing pad that's all too handy for swapping out diapers in the middle of the desert. Initially, I thought carrying around my son on my back would be a pain, but Osprey makes the experience ridiculously comfortable. My son is always asking to go hiking and now I am happy to oblige. — Blake Abel
iZip E3 Peak electric mountain bike by Currie Technologies
Mountain biking has never been my thing. I’m a hiker and I love to take my sweet precious time on trails instead of hurtling down them at breakneck speeds. But Currie Technologies' iZip E3 Peak electric mountain bike may have converted me into a cyclist.
Powered by a 350-watt center-drive motor, the E3 Peak ramps up the torque while still making it feel like you’re riding a regular bike. It can reach top speeds of 28 mph if you’re pedaling with all your might, or you can cruise around at 20 mph for a more leisurely pace.
Riding this thing is incredibly fun. I took the E3 Peak on a few spins through Papago Park and it felt like I was riding a rollercoaster through the desert. Just select between four levels of pedal assistance, rev the motor for a quick start, and you’ll be blowing past crews of cyclists as they struggle to climb a hill while you barely break a sweat. It feels like cheating, but who cares?
Not only is it wicked fast, but iZip made the E3 Peak super-easy to set up and maintain so you can spend less time fiddling with the mechanics and more time on the trail. Using the drive-assist control pad was more intuitive than I expected, and with a range of 25 to 35 miles, I get in more sights in one hour than I would in 10 hours of hiking. And my legs don’t even complain. — Buster Hein
Lepow's Poki external battery is thin, powerful, fast and fashionable. With a touch of pleasing aesthetics, thanks to pastel colors and a crafty carrying satchel, it stands out from the boring array of generic power bricks.
Just in time, too. Moments ago, we packed away our external battery cases and power bricks because the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus battery life is so amazing that the need for extra juice was basically eliminated. But along comes the Apple Watch, with battery life being short of a full digital day of activity, all of a sudden we want an extra charge cable and an external battery to toss in our backpacks alongside the watch's magnetic charger. — Jim Merithew
Carrying a selfie stick can be pretty embarrassing (they're banned from this year's WWDC), but these trendy devices can be truly useful. Getting a shot of yourself and all your pals at a sporting event, on top of a mountain or even just goofing around the backyard is much easier when you can extend your iPhone away from you a bit to get a wider shot.
The iKlip Grip is a great selfie stick, for sure, but it packs loads of extra functionality into a seriously useful package, letting it serve as a tripod and remote shutter button as well. The mount is based on IK Multimedia’s iPhone holder for musicians, the iKlip Xpand Mini, so the Grip is a solid, safe way to hold your iPhone when it's not in your hand.
In addition, the iKlip Grip features a three-legged tripod that folds up into the selfie stick's handle; it’s a brilliant bit of engineering, letting you use the Grip either in hand or on a flat surface. And if you need to get away from the tripod-mounted iPhone for a big group picture, the iKlip Grip comes with a remote key fob that will let you click the shutter from a distance.
At just $59.99, the iKlip Grip is a great deal for anyone who needs to capture selfies and group shots as part of their adventurous lifestyle. — Rob LeFebvre
I'm a wine drinker but when the price on the bottle reaches the $10 mark, I keep my wallet in my pocket. I'm the same way with camera and computer bags. I love them, even collect them so I can switch them out, but anything more than $100 seems outrageous to me.
But I discovered a vintage that is worth the extra money. The Buttpack by Able Archer costs $250, but its style and construction suggest you'll enjoy it forever.
Weatherproof, military-grade canvas (in leaf, sand, cement or ash colors), pockets of various sizes, and grids of webbing inside and out provide added protection for your gear and extra places to attach pouches. Get this bag in your hands, explore the main pouch and sling it on your shoulder. — David Pierini
This is perhaps the most innovatively designed Bluetooth speaker I’ve ever seen: It's like a travel alarm clock for your tunes. InnoDevice's INNOFlask Bluetooth speaker comes in attractive black, blue, orange and white colors, and closes into a clever holder — about the size of a glasses case — that also serves as a stand.
The $129.95 speaker, which resembles a flask for your favorite hard alcohol thanks to its rounded back and basic rectangular shape, is perfect for slipping in your back pocket as you head out the door. It’s an easy pairing situation, as well: Just hit the Bluetooth button, find the INNOFlask in your Bluetooth preferences on your iPhone, and you’re rocking the latest Mumford & Sons in style.
The sound quality is good, and only improved by the resonating chamber created by standing the speaker up within the case. This is a solid, useful little speaker that will definitely turn heads when you set it up on the picnic table to listen to your favorite podcasts while you write in your journal this summer. — Rob LeFebvre
In direct sunlight, the GoSun Sport solar grill ($249) can cook a hot dog in 10 minutes and a steak in about 40. That’s a pretty impressive use of the sun’s rays. Designed to be used as a smokeless food cooker and water sanitizer, the GoSun Sport heats your vittles in a vacuum tube that’s been placed in the center of two parabolic metal reflector “wings” that direct sunlight onto the tube.
Just slide a tray of cut-up food down the center of the vacuum tube to be cooked at temperatures up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. You can even boil and sanitize water with the GoBrew, an optional insert for heating liquids. A larger model, the GoSun Grill, is coming soon.
The company donates one out of every six stoves it makes to a family in need through an empowerment program, helping those in endangered by cooking with dirty fuel. For those of us in the first world, it’s a great way to get off the grid and cook foods without a lot of impact on the environment. — Rob LeFebvre
Sometimes you just need a little extra power to get you through a busy iPhone day. While the Boostcase's rechargeable 2,700-mAh battery only provides 60 percent of a full iPhone 6 Plus charge, the design of this thing lets it transcend that limitation.
With the Boostcase ($99.95), you slide your iPhone into a clear, thin plastic sleeve that will protect it from most drops and bumps. The power case attaches to the rear of this case and the Lightning port on your iPhone, bulking it up only when you need the battery. It’s like having two cases in one, really, with the clear plastic showing off both the beauty of your iPhone (when the battery isn’t attached) as well as the inner battery and circuitry of the Boostcase through the back and sides of the attached battery case.
I’m loving leaving the battery case to charge at home until I know I need some extra boost, then simply clipping it onto the back of my iPhone 6 Plus when I head out the door. You can even charge your iPhone and the case at the same time via the micro USB port on the bottom of the Boostcase. Five LED lights let you know how much boost you’ve got left, and an on/off switch lets you save your battery bump until you really need it. — Rob LeFebvre
This was greeted with speculation that Ive is actually stepping back. He’s taking it easy, many theorized, easing into semi-retirement. He’s already halfway out the door, and will soon move back to the United Kingdom, seems to be the consensus among pundits.
I think this is Kremlinology in the extreme. And a little perverse. Apple is often obtuse, and sometimes disingenuous or even dishonest, but I think this news should be taken at face value.
Apple has characterized the move as a promotion, and it is. Ive has been moved up into a rare position that gives him a ton of freedom. He now has the breathing room to be what he really wants to be: a pure designer.
In fact, the promotion allows him to take on an even stronger and more Steve Jobs-like role. We will see more design work from him, not less.
From smartphones to the Internet of Things, Google wants to be woven into the fabric of our lives.
The company detailed some of its latest hardware and software projects — some truly innovative, some strictly playing catch-up — during the annual Google I/O developer conference Thursday.
From the iterative improvements coming in Android M to the blue-sky thinking of Project Brillo, everything plays into Mountain View’s master plan, which Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president in charge of Android, Chrome and apps described as “putting technology and computer science to work on important problems that users face” — and doing it “at scale for everyone in the world.”
Google’s goals are similar to Apple’s: Both companies are trying to integrate their products (and possibly their worldviews) into every facet of our lives to make tech personal and useful. In many ways, Google’s approach is far more ambitious.
Here are the six things you need to know from the Google I/O 2015 keynote.
Apple’s Eddy Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine discuss the Beats acquisition shortly after the announcement last year.
The rumor mill continues to churn about what the hell Apple is going to do with Beats Music. It’s been a year since Apple paid $3 billion to acquire the upstart music service and headphone maker, but we are no closer to understanding why Cupertino laid out the cash.
When Apple purchased Beats Music and Beats Electronics, it did so with a splash it generally reserves for the unveiling of a game-changing product like the Apple Watch. Since then, it’s basically been crickets.
It is clear Apple has a way to go to compete in the streaming music game against Spotify, Pandora and the other services scrambling to get a piece of the music industry pie. But what form will Apple’s next music play take?
What would it take for Apple Watch to lap competing fitness trackers?
I’ve started cheating on my Apple Watch. It’s not that I don’t love it. It’s amazingly beautiful. It does stuff I didn’t even know I’d like. But when it comes to running wild in the outdoors, I’ve found a smartwatch that satisfies me more than Jony Ive’s wearable does.
For the past week I’ve been testing the Garmin Fenix 3, a top-of-the-line smartwatch from a company that’s made a name for itself by providing runners and outdoorsmen with some of the best wrist-worn fitness tech. I hate wearing the Fenix 3. While Apple Watch gently caresses my wrist, the Fenix 3 feels like I’ve strapped a tank to it. Yet it boasts features Apple Watch doesn’t have that I’m starting to think I can’t live without on runs and hikes.
I don’t plan to completely break up with the Apple Watch anytime soon, but I’m ditching it during my four-day trek through the Grand Canyon this weekend because there are still a couple things it needs to learn before it can truly be the best all-around fitness tracker.
Believe it or not, it’s been nearly a decade since The Cult of Mac got published. The book, by our fearless leader Leander Kahney, took readers on a deep dive into the world of Apple fanatics around the world. It introduced us to the creative and talented tribe of individuals devoted to Macs, iPods and all things dreamed up in Cupertino.
Now that seminal work about Apple devotees is ready for an update. As he gets ready to embark on a year of fresh reporting before writing the next chapter in Cult of Mac history, he’s revisiting the original text. And having a laugh, as you’ll see in this week’s edition of Kahney’s Corner.