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Facebook reinvents the chat room with Rooms for iOS

Create a Room for whatever you're into. Photo: Facebook

Create a Room for whatever you’re into. Photo: Facebook

It turns out that the rumored app that Facebook has been working on isn’t an anonymous chat app, but rather a platform that lets you create your own chat room right on your iPhone.

Basically, Rooms is an iPhone app — soon coming to Android — that lets you make tiny message boards to post photos, videos, and text to. You’ll create a different username and identity for each Room you create or visit, and you’ll let other people join via a QR code you can generate and share via the internet or in real life.

Head developer Josh Miller told The Verge, “We’re not trying to build the next Snapchat — we’re trying to build the next WordPress.”

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Adjust your iPhone’s brightness from the home button with this iOS 8.1 trick

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You can now adjust your iPhone’s brightness by tapping the home button three times. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

iOS 7 made it easier than ever for iPhone users to toggle the brightness on devices through Command Center, but if you’re too lazy to go through a few flicks and swipes to adjust your screen’s brightness, we’ve discovered a way to dim your display by simply pressing your home button three times.

To activate the setting you have to do some digging through the Accessibility settings in iOS 8.1, but once you’ve set it up you’ll never go back to Control Center to adjust your brightness.

Here’s how to do it:

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Museum pays record-breaking $905,000 for Apple-1

A working motherboard for the Apple I, circa

A working motherboard for the Apple I, one of the rarest personal computers ever made. Photo: Bonhams

An ultra-rare working 1976 Apple-1 computer — thought to be one of the first 50 ever produced — has sold at auction for an incredible $905,000, between twice and three times the expected asking price.

The computer was part of Bonhams History of Science auction in New York City. It sold to the Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, a museum dedicated to showcasing the ingenuity and innovation that helped shape America.

The machine had been expected to fetch “just” $300,000 to $500,000.

“It’s very rare to be able to collect the beginning of something, but the Apple-1 is exactly that,” Henry Ford curator Kristen Gallerneaux told Cult of Mac, speaking after being onsite at the auction earlier today.

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This magic math app is like having Stephen Hawking on your iPhone

Photo: PhotoMath

Photo: PhotoMath

Here’s a confession: I was terrible at math in school. From Algebra 1 on, I just couldn’t keep the various symbols, numbers, and denominators I was faced with straight, and so I flunked pretty much every test.

But I grew up in the 90’s. If I was in high school today, I’d never fail a math test again. I’d use the new iOS app PhotoMath instead, which literally solves math problems like magic.

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Timbuk2: 25 years of sewin’ bags in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — Twenty-five years ago, a bike messenger sat in his garage and used an old-school Singer sewing machine to stitch his mark on the world.

That bike messenger was Rob Honeycutt, and the bags he made in 1989 were called Scumbags. They were designed for use by the city’s notorious two-wheeled delivery riders, whose fashion sense tended toward crude cutoffs, T-shirts and hoodies.

A year later, Honeycutt changed his operation’s name to Timbuk2, and the company’s been crafting an increasingly ambitious line of bags ever since, expanding far beyond the world of tattooed dudes on fixies.

“Timbuk2 wasn’t going to the office 25 years ago,” CEO Patti Cazzato told Cult of Mac during a recent tour of the company’s Mission district factory, where all of Timbuk2’s custom bags are made.

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How to find stores near you that support Apple Pay

Apple Pay. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Pay. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Pay launched yesterday with dozens of official partners supporting Apple’s mobile payments solution out of the gate, but even though participating stores are listed on Apple’s website, there are tons of other contactless payment vendors in your city that can use Apply Pay, and you don’t even know it.

Many of the 200,000 contactless NFC payment terminals across the U.S. can accept Apple Pay, whether it’s a Coca-Cola vending machine, or your local car shop. Finding those business using contactless payments is the biggest challenge, but thanks to a couple of websites and apps, you can locate your next Apple Pay destination in seconds.

Here’s how to find Apple Pay merchants near you:

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10 key takeaways from Apple’s expectation-crushing earnings call

Photo: Apple

Record iPhone sales keep Apple’s money machine humming. Photo: Apple

Apple surpassed analysts’ expectations with $42.1 billion in revenue in the back-to-school season, buoyed by unprecedented iPhone sales and surprisingly strong demand for Macs.

While breaking down the Q4 2014 numbers during today’s earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri offered insights into the company’s Q4 performance in China, the struggling iPad and hints of new product categories coming down the pipeline.

Here are the biggest takeaways.

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Cult of Mac’s day with Apple Pay

applepay

Apple Pay is finally here and now that retailers are letting us use iPhones instead of credit cards, the Cult of Mac team is heading out into the real world to put Apple’s mobile payment solution to the test.

Leander will be shopping around San Francisco. Alex is testing Apple Pay in the backwoods of Kentucky. And I plan to sputter around Phoenix in search of a burrito shop with Apple Pay.

How easy will it be to use? Do retail staff even know what is? We expect there will be some bumps along the way on the first day, but we can’t wait to be able to burn our wallets. Keep an eye on this page throughout the day as we test whether the wallet-less future of buying stuff with your iPhone is truly here.

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New iOS 8.1 features you need to know

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iOS 8.1 is now available to the public. Along with bringing Apple Pay into the wild, this major update is packed with new features that bring harmony to your iPhone and Mac workflow. Instant Hotspot and SMS Relay connect your iPhone like never before, and there are a few other sweet new features you probably haven’t heard about yet.

Here are the biggest features in iOS 8.1 you need to know:

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Everything you can buy with Apple Pay right now

Apple Pay starts replacing your wallet on October 20th. Photo: Apple

Apple Pay starts replacing your wallet on October 20th. Photo: Apple

Apple Pay is finally here, and while Eddie Cue says in-app purchases will make up most of the purchases during launch, there are tons of things that you can buy in the real world right now.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners looking to toss their wallets in favor of Apple Pay can go into hundreds of stores today and purchase everything from clothes, toys, gas, or even furniture. Not all stores are supporting Apple’s mobile payments platform, so knowing which retailers accept Apple Pay will be half  the battle toward replacing your wallet. Luckily, we’ve compiled this list of everything you can buy today with Apple Pay.

Here’s what you can buy starting day:

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