This is how my non-gamer girlfriend shows me which games are worth playing: She stays up until 3 a.m., wearing down the iPad mini battery to 22 percent while she tries to solve the next level.
This time, she bathed our dark bedroom in colorful reflected light while she moved Niko, Groggnar, Eek and Claude around on the screen in Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake. If it’s so important to solve environmental puzzles on the bright screen in the middle of the night, I know the game’s addictive.
This morning, still playing on the couch after charging up the iPad while she (finally) got some sleep, she told me like it is.
“It took me 15 minutes, but I finally got that level,” she bragged. “With three stars, bitch.”
The wrist strap is the best part of the Snappgrip. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
The Snappgrip is a fantastic idea, with not-too-bad hardware to back it up. It’s an accessory grip for your iPhone that adds a Bluetooth shutter release, zoom buttons and control dial to the phone’s camera, as well as a wrist strap and a handy handgrip.
But in practice, you’ll be better off with the iPhone’s own volume switches if you want a hardware shutter release. Which is a shame, as I was super-excited to try the Snappgrip out.
Designed more than 80 years ago, the moka pot still beats most modern methods. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Before the AeroPress, there was the moka pot, or cafetera as it’s called in Spain. There is at least one cafetera in every Spanish kitchen, and if you want a quick fix of something strong and good, it’s your go-to coffee gadget. Not bad for something invented way back in 1933.
I’ve had a moka since I first saw one in action a couple decades ago. Up until I bought an AeroPress, I used a moka every day, never tiring of its old-school charm and serious wake-me-up taste. But what is a moka exactly, and why is it so good?
In the interest of saving you time (and money) when you travel on apps that won’t help you get from point A to point B, we’ve sounded out dozens of road warriors — including flight attendants, serial conference goers, travel writers, CEOs, expats and even a comedian — to find out what they really need when stuck in an airport or mired in the daily commute.
Here are their picks – which just may get you some extra airline points or mellow out on the way to work.
Old versus new: Logitech takes several steps backward with its next-gen Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Logitech’s updated Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air replaced its predecessor mere months after the original’s launch. The most obvious difference between the two is the flip-out hinge that joins the keyboard to the iPad like a cover to a book, but in reality the two devices are completely different.
Is the new one better? In one way yes. In others? Nope.
Castello Davarg’s leather York case offers sharp looks. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
I’ve tried a lot of cases for my Mac notebooks over the years, from a dorky aluminum briefcase for my white “icebook” iBook through cheap, zip-up neoprene sleeves and on to bulky, custom-fitted, shock-absorbing monsters. But the elegant, simple and beautiful Castello Davarg York, cut from a single piece of leather, is the only one that makes any sense for my MacBook Air.
Like the MacBook Air inside, you can’t help but finger and fiddle with the York case. It’s cut from 5-ounce, full-grain leather that’s folded and then hand-stitched along two sides before finishing the edges and … well, that’s almost it. The case has no fastening or closure, and lacks a lining or padded interior, but it is shaped perfectly to fit the MacBook Air. (I tested the 13-inch size, but it also comes for the 11-incher.) It even has a little cutout on the top edge that mimics the one found on the lid of the MacBook itself.
Lacie Rugged Drive. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
I’ve been using a USB 3 external hard drive to backup my Macbook Pro for a while now, and have been pleased with its reliability and fast data transfer speed. I also love that it powers itself via the USB port, letting me live a little more power cord free.
When I received the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt SSD drive for review, I thought, “well, it’s pretty, but how much better can it be?” It’s just as small, powers itself via Thunderbolt (or USB) and has plenty of space on it, just like my current drive.
Then I ran a few tests and pulled up a drive speed test app on my Mac. I was blown away by the speed difference. This is one blazing fast hard drive. And, yeah, it still looks great.
The Wikipad GameVice straps to the sides of your iPad mini, adding buttons to your large screen. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
As a gamer, I want a controller with buttons. I lust after this new product category like I do any new gadget that I think will improve my gaming experience. I think that if you play games with any frequency, you’ll want them too.
Unfortunately, I also think the majority of mobile gamers are making do just fine with touch interfaces, thank you very much, and that these lust-worthy devices will soon find their way to the dustbin for most who buy them. Not because the controllers, including one that straps to the sides of your iPad mini like the loving embrace of an alien face-hugger, aren’t any good. On the contrary, these are solid, high-quality gaming peripherals that will make certain types of console-like games (platformers, open-world sandbox games, first-person shooters) much easier to play.
Your smartphone is an increasingly important battlefield in the ongoing war of the gaming consoles. Companion iOS apps for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One aim to enhance the way you interact with your gaming system. These apps let you access your gaming achievements on the go, communicate with friends and even use your iOS device as a remote for your console.
In today’s video, we’ll give you a look at how the PlayStation and Xbox One SmartGlass apps compare.
Scanning apps will let you turn a pile of photos into a useful digital archive. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
The 1940s hockey photos we found among my aunt’s possessions are a mystery she took to her grave. But with a little internet research and some sharing through social media, I figured I could put names to the players’ faces and stories that would bring the photos to life.
I needed a photo scanner. My smartphone and the right app puts one in my pocket.
For the hockey project, I tested three photo-scanning apps, each of which allowed me to digitize and share old photos without the need for computer equipment, Photoshop or the expense of a scanning service.