Outdoor Retailer’s version of the Kodak Photo Spot is a eye-popping orange sleeping bag thingy for two. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
SALT LAKE CITY — Mother Nature’s got a million ways to make your life miserable. Luckily, the outdoor industry is filled with innovators, entrepreneurs and inspired inventors working incessantly to make your adventures more epic and less stressful.
The sheer number of companies hawking advanced snowshoes, crampons and things made of Merino wool proved a little mind-numbing last week at Outdoor Retailer 2015, the industry’s largest convention.
Everything from stitch-free puffy jackets to shoes made with Michelin tire technology were on display in the giant convention center, but we waded past the immense numbers of mannequins and bowls filled with enticing fresh fruit (rather than convention-standard Red Vines) to bring you a few of the more interesting gadgets, clothing items and even a new camera strap for your micro 4:3 camera.
If you actually have one of these unproduced Steve Jobs figurines, maybe don’t sell it. Photo: in icons
Scott Dadich, editor-in-chief of Wired, recently dispatched a chilling memo to his worker bees about keeping their San Francisco hive clean. Among other things, Dadich bemoaned the “dorm room” look of the office.
“It’s an embarrassment,” he opined in his overwrought missive, which was leaked to The Awl. “Coffee stains on walls (and countertops and desks), overflowing compost bins, abandoned drafts of stories and layouts (full of highly confidential content), day-old, half-eaten food, and, yes, I’m going to say it, action figures. Please. WIRED is no longer a pirate ship [emphasis added].”
Whether you work at Wired or not, you have no shortage of options if you’re suddenly in a panic to sell your old nerdy crap (or buy all-new nerdy crap — take that, Mr. Boss Man). While you might be tempted to go straight to Craigslist or eBay, those sites can be unpredictable or leave you vulnerable to murder. Here are three alternatives if you want to ditch your excess junk and prefer to keep your guts where they are.
You’ll want to take a break from work with these amazing iOS games. Photo: Stephen Smith
There are tons of new games out every week, and it’s hard to decide which ones to purchase, let alone which free games to download. We’re here to take some of the guesswork out of your decision, though, as we’ve scoured the best games that have come out so far this year.
From time wasters to deep strategic gems, this list will have you gaming in no time. Grab your copy of these five great –and brand-spankin’ new — gaming experiences today and you can thank us later.
Anything goes at International CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics show. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — Walk the halls of the massive International CES trade show and you’ll be bombarded by an outrageous number of pitches for products with radical new features.
You can glimpse the shiny happy future of consumer electronics at the show, although some of the innovations on display are clearly destined for the dustbin of gadget history.
At the biggest booths, reps for big companies like Sony and Samsung — but, sadly, not Apple — talk up the latest additions to their product lines. At smaller booths, inventors show off prototypes for products that may not ever roll off an assembly line. There’s a nonstop blitz of “world’s first” products.
It’s impossible to see everything, but it’s a blast trying. Here are Cult of Mac’s picks for the best of CES 2015, from Lightning-enabled headphones and massive TVs to drones and self-adjusting belts.
The Activité Pop is a smartwatch for people who don’t like smartwatches. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — The problem with the state of smartwatches, beyond the sucky software, is that they’re all ugly. The Apple Watch might very well be the first wearable that not only works, but looks good too, although we won’t know for sure until the finished product is on our wrists this spring.
There were dozens and dozens of smartwatches displayed on the sprawling show floor at International CES last week, but the only one that looked good enough to adorn my wrist was the new Withings Activité Pop.
It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of fancier watches like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, but it’s not your average dumb watch either. And for now, just a smidgen smarter is smart enough.
UE Megaboom bluetooth speaker. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — It’s easy to see how the UE Megaboom could become your favorite way to listen to music. The new Bluetooth speaker packs great features into a rugged cylindrical package that won’t go tits up if you drop it or leave it out in the rain.
The UE Megaboom is bigger and louder than its predecessor, the similarly shaped UE Boom. It delivers glittering, precise highs and satisfying bass. It’s lightweight and boasts a 20-hour rechargeable battery. All in all, it’s a perfect device for the way we listen to music in the streaming era.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (read our review) isn’t the only adorable game we’ve had our eye on this month. An assortment of recently released and equally endearing titles are available on every platform you might own. And the best news is that they’re so good you don’t have to worry about anyone catching you playing them.
Here are three fun ways to get your cute on without anyone laughing at you.
Treasure Tracker takes place across a series of block-shaped worlds. Photo: Nintendo
If you played last year’s Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U, you probably remember the “Adventures of Captain Toad” minigame in which an adorable little mushroom guy combed a series of square worlds in search of fortune and glory.
And if you couldn’t get enough of that mode, Nintendo has you covered with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, a standalone Wii U title composed entirely of that gameplay.
Admittedly, building a $39.99 game around optional side content created as a diversion from a completely separate title sounds like a risky sell, but Treasure Tracker manages to provide a fun, challenging and surprisingly complete experience that lasts exactly as long as it needs to.
The Walnut Monitor Stand is the perfect way to prevent neck strain while sitting at your iMac. Photo: Grovemade
Most of my work day is spent at a 27-inch iMac, circa 2009. It’s admittedly getting a bit long in the tooth, but buffed up with as much RAM as it can take and a homemade Fusion Drive, it still gets the job done.
One complaint I have about the iMac, though, is that the screen is actually a little too low by default. Resting on my desk, the center of the iMac’s screen doesn’t exactly line up with my line of sight. Over an entire day, that can result in neck pain and bad posture.
And so, over the past few years, I’ve experimented with a lot of stands to lift the iMac up a couple inches to more naturally line up with my line-of-sight. Of all the ones I have ever tried, though, the Walnut Monitor Stand by Portland’s Grovemade is my favorite. After using it for the last few months, I can comfortably say it’s a perfect fusion of design and functionality.