The makers of Monument Valley want to redesign your car dashboard

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Monument Valley
Who wouldn't want the team behind Monument Valley rethinking the way we drive. Photo: Ustwo

What do you do as a second act after creating one of the most beautiful iOS games in history? If you’re Ustwo, the devs behind the Cult of Mac favorite Monument Valley, the answer is simple: you redesign the car dashboard.

Yes, you read that correctly.

It might be a long way from the M.C. Escher-inspired iPad puzzle game, but Ustwo has teamed up with the company Car Design Research to create a prototype for a simplified in-car display that shows only the information you need at the time you need it. And, unsurprisingly, it looks spectacular.

Driverless Apple cars, macho men and Apple Watch apps on The CultCast

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He's a tower of power, too sweet to be sour.  Photo: Matt Ufford, WarmingGlow.com
He's a tower of power, too sweet to be sour. Photo: Matt Ufford, WarmingGlow.com

This week: A curiously equipped mystery van has us wondering if Apple’s working on self-driving autos. Plus, we review everything that Apple Watch apps can’t do, Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs biopic gets a cast and not everyone is thrilled, Apple’s plans for a global “data command center,” and Macho Man Randy Savage helps us answer listener questions in an all-new Get to Know Your Cultist.

Our thanks to lynda.com for sponsoring this episode. Learn virtually any application at your own pace from expert-taught video tutorials at lynda.com.

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Full show notes ahead!

3-D printed Shelby Cobra ready to lay down the rubber

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A blast from the past got a blast from a 3-D printer. This replica Shelby Cobra is on display this week at the Detroit Auto Show. Photo: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
A blast from the past got a blast from a 3-D printer. This replica Shelby Cobra is on display this week at the Detroit Auto Show. Photo: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The curvy roadster with the V-8 engine is the stuff of legend and the muse of copy cats.

The Shelby Cobra turned racing on its head in the 1960s and though so few were ever produced, it became one of the most copied cars in history. Replicas continue to flood the market and a simple search on Ebay will turn up a variety of pricey replica kits.

But there’s one that might have earned a nod of approval from Carroll Shelby had he lived to see it.

For the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Shelby Cobra, a working 3-D printed replica is currently on display at the Detroit Auto Show.

How my iPhone and Twitter bought me a car

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It's a pretty sweet ride. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
The Internet helped me land this Ford Escape. It's pretty sweet ride. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

When my 2001 Subaru Forester died on the side of the highway a week or so back, I was not excited about trying to find a replacement.

Buying a car is right up there with heading to the DMV, going to IKEA and attending your ex’s next wedding. It’s depressing. And inevitable. The load of anxiety-ridden, “hurry up and wait” BS that has marred my every interaction with car dealerships both new and used is overwhelming.

So it was with glee that I bypassed all that crap and used my iPhone, email and Twitter to buy myself a new car. Let me explain.

Gadget watch: Camping, cycling, cars and cameras

FULLSCREEN

May 30 2014

Shoulderpod

Take a smartphone stand that clamps onto your iPhone like a pair of jaws. Now add a tripod hole and a wrist strap. Now you've got the Shoulderpod, a device that has nothing to do with your shoulders. It can be used as a stand or as a grip, giving one-handed access to any app by placing your thumb over the on-screen shutter. It also works with a range of optional accessories. $35

BlastMatch Firestarter

This is a firestarter, a camping firestarter. It’s the self-igniting, cooking instigator. A tungsten-carbide striker, a campfire detonator. Rotating wear-avoiding, one-handed operating, works when saturated, makes matches antiquated. $19

Duo valve speaker

Using a valve amp and high-end speaker to amplify your iPhone’s Bluetooth stream might be a little like shaving canned mushrooms onto your homemade “truffle” ravioli, but who cares when “just” $640 can bring you a beautiful wooden box with two glowing valves at its core? The Class A amp can also be hooked up with cables, connected to an external subwoofer and even has an on-board 24-bit DAC. $649

Just Mobile AluCable Flat

The name really says it all. This ribbonlike Lightning cable rolls up into a tidy reel and lays flat when charging. It also has tough, color-coded plugs, and costs the same as Apple’s own white plastic cable. Available in gray, gold or … blue? $20

Kenu Airframe

The new white Airframe from Kenu turns the slats of your car’s ventilation system into a smartphone holder. The expanding jaws clamp your iPhone (or Android phone) in place, and the little prongs on the other side jam between the louvres of any car vent and hold fast. It’s the perfect way to add yet another dangerous distraction to your dashboard. $25

Lezyne iPhone wallet

This neat package gathers your in-ride essentials together into one jersey-pocket-friendly place, and as it comes from Lezyne you know it can be relied on. The seam-welded zip-up wallet has a plastic window so you can use your iPhone while it’s inside, and slots for cash and cards (although no change pocket). Available in gray or black. Weighs 120 grams (4.2 ounces). $20

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Lomo Instant Camera

At last, a Lomo that’s as convenient as digital – the Lomo Instant has a built-in printer so it can pop out photos on the spot. The plastic-bodied camera can make multiple exposures on one frame, has a bulb setting for long exposures, a flash and interchangeable lenses. I can’t tell you how much I want one of these. From $79

Meriwether tent

I love my two-man Hubba Hubba tent from MSR, but if I was in the market for a huge tent that could fit a) me and a bunch of other campers or b) me, in a real bed, as if I were camped in 1920 Egypt to investigate an Agatha Christie-style crime, I’d take the teepee-shaped Meriwether. At 16 feet wide and 9.5 feet high, who cares if it weighs in at 65 pounds (almost 30kg)? That's what servants are for.$1,250

Olloclip for iPad

It’s here! The iPad-friendly Olloclip adds four great lenses to your iPad Air or Mini retina (they’re both equally thin, you know). The new Olloclip slips onto the corner of your iPad to cover the lens with any of four accessory lenses, all on the same mount. You get a fisheye and a wide-angle lens, and if you unscrew them you have 10x and 15x macros. The epoch of looking dorky while you take iPad photos is finally over. $70

Film or digital? Campfire or BBQ? Car or bike? Cable or wireless?

No matter which way you swing, this week’s gadgets have you covered. iPhoneographers can enjoy the Shoulderpod hand grip or slip the new iPad Olloclip onto their Mini or Air, and film nuts can get instant satisfaction with the new Lomo Instant Camera.

Camping? Take it easy in the giant Meriwether tent or go survivalist with the Blastmatch fire-starter. You can even choose how to arrive at the site, with accessories for your car or your bike. Happy traveling!