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Pear Sports’ new monitor is the workout coach you always wanted

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Pear Sports’ workout system pairs a heart rate monitor with comfortable earbuds and a mobile app. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I’ve been a runner for a long time. I trained for (and ran) the 1994 Los Angeles Marathon. I’ve run 5K races, half marathons and relays for full marathons up here in Alaska, too. I find that running gives me the best bang for my buck: All I need is a pair of running shoes, some appropriate clothing (it gets cold up here), and some music to keep me getting out there.

Recently, though, I’ve been playing with a new bit of gear: the Pear Sports heart rate monitor, paired with a set of earbuds engineered to stay in your ears while working out, plus a pretty fantastic mobile app to make sense of the heart rate data.

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Android Wear smartwatches get the jump on Apple’s iWatch

With Google showing off Android-powered wearables from Samsung, LG and Motorola at its Google I/O developers conference this week, the smartwatch competition has officially heated up.

The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live will ship in early July, so Android Wear smartwatches will definitely beat Apple’s rumored iWatch to the market. In today’s video, Cult of Mac shows how these handy, Android-powered devices — which let users access smartphone features from the convenience of their wrists — set the bar high for the iWatch.

Subscribe to Cult of Mac TV on YouTube to catch all our latest videos.

Kickstart HYPER’s new iStick – a USB stick with a Lightning connector

HYPER by Sanho – the company behind the Hyperjuice batteries for Macbooks and iPads have just launched their latest creation to the world through Kickstarter.

Kickstart HYPER’s new iStick – a USB stick with a Lightning connector

The iStick is essentially a USB stick with the dual use of connecting it to your iPhone 5, 5s, iPod Touch and iPads with it’s Apple certified lightning connector, which is great if you have a internet connection that is too slow in the office for cloud based storage, or if you’re on the road and want to watch a couple of movies without eating into your data plan.

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Hot-rod Hackintoshes perform like the latest Mac Pro

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

This P280 Hackintosh screams like a Mac Pro. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Although it looks like a vanilla PC in a boxy case, the machine pictured above is a high-performance, custom-built Hackintosh.

This thing is hot! Known as the P280, after its Antec case, this Hackintosh is equivalent in performance to Apple’s latest Mac Pro workstation, but costs significantly less.

Roughly comparable to a Mac Pro costing $3,500, the P280 was assembled from off-the-shelf PC parts costing just over $2,000, including a water-cooling system to chill its chips. The Hackintosh runs Apple’s OS X Mavericks and, according to its builder, bests a similarly configured Pro on many benchmarks.

It has none of Jony Ive’s industrial design magic, of course, but that’s not the point. This is a DIY rig that’s as badass as it gets.

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An Apple Geek’s International Travel Gear Guide

Russia trip gear

I’m traveling to Russia to cover the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. It’s going to be a thrilling, crazy experience. You’ll see some of my work here at Cult of Mac, among other places.

Here’s the gear I’ll be taking with me overseas:

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Why Apple’s iBeacon Is Under-Hyped

ibeaconprivacy

Apple products are usually over-hyped. But there’s one that’s radically under-hyped: Apple’s iBeacon positioning system.

So I’m here to turn up the noise on this quiet revolution. You really need to know more about this, because it’s going to change everything.

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Why Apple Hardware Is Redonkulously Over-Powered

macpro

Apple is increasingly shipping hardware products with specific features that are crazy overkill — far more power than is necessary or even usable.

Here’s why I think that when it comes to some technology features, too much is just right.

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Should Kids Get iPhones for Christmas?

iphone5c

Don’t look now, but kids want iPhones for Christmas. Well, a third of them do, anyway.

A survey of 12- to 17-year-olds conducted by Ebates found that an iPhone tops the wishlist. One third — specifically 32% — of those surveyed want an iPhone. (Some 12% want a Samsung Galaxy phone.)

Ho, ho, hold on a second. Is this a good idea? Should children “own” wireless gadgets?

If not, why not? And if so, which one?

Well, I’m going to tell you.

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UE Boom Mini – Tiny Speakers, Huge Sound, Colorful Look [Review]

Mini Boom

Ultimate Ears, owned by Logitech, makes my favorite portable speaker ever: the UE Boom. The cylindrical powerhouse of a speaker is rugged, stylish, and easy to use.

Mini Boom by Ultimate Ears
Category: Portable Bluetooth Speakers
Works With: iOS, Mac, Any sound source
Price: $99.99 per speaker

Imagine my utter joy when I received Ultimate Ears’ latest entry into the portable speaker market, the UE MiniBoom, and found them to be even tinier and equally rugged and easy to use. Oh, and they sound fantastic, too.

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Use The Essential iKlip 2 Any Time You’re On Stage With An iPad [Review]

Stand 6

Time to come clean: I play guitar and sing in a disco band. I know, I know, the backlash against that kind of music has been going on since 1977. Trust me, I know.

But the way people respond to this still-valid, we-use-real-instruments form of music is so much better than the way they used to when I played guitar in modern or classic rock bands. In those days, the most reaction I’d see in an audience was a foot tap, or maybe–if I was lucky–a head bob or two. Happy, gorgeous people dancing their butts off? So much more fun.

iKlip 2 by IK Multimedia
Category: iPad Cases & Accessories
Works With: iPad 2, 3, 4
Price: $39.99

Now, playing in a cover band requires knowing a lot of music, like the chords for the 50 plus songs that we play. As I also take on half the lead singing duties, so I’m required to know the lyrics as well. I don’t do this for a living; I do it for fun and some beer and gear money. I don’t have tons of time to memorize all those songs, let alone the new ones we learn every few months. So I use lyric sheets. I used to use them on paper, but boy is that annoyingly old school and easily lost.

Now I use my iPad (and an amazing app called GigBook) to organize and keep track of my lyric sheets. And I also use the incomparable iKlip 2 iPad holder to attach that iPad to the microphone stand right in front of me.

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