Make the most of iOS 8 with these tips and tricks. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
You don’t need a new iPhone to enjoy the awesome power of iOS 8. Loaded with new features and built-in apps, Apple’s latest mobile OS is its most powerful yet.
As intuitive as it is, there are plenty of tips and tricks that will help you truly get the most out of iOS 8 — even starting before you pull the trigger on the free upgrade. Just in case you don’t feel like reading all 182 pages of Apple’s official iOS 8 user guide, here’s a roundup of Cult of Mac’s most helpful iOS 8 tips and tricks. (We will update this post as we dive deeper into iOS 8 in coming weeks.)
This week: now with over 300,000 followers, we welcome back professional Instagram’er Cory @WithHearts Staudacher to share his iPhone photo editing tips and reveal which camera apps he relies on daily. Also on the docket: why our cities deserve municipal internet; unlocking your iPhone gets legal (again); great changes on the horizon for Apple’s Podcasts app; and our musings on the freshly-updated 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pros.
Kick back and relax whilst we amuse you with each week’s best Apple stories! Stream or download new and past episodes of The CultCast now on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing on iTunes, or hit play below and let the chuckles begin.
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Zombies sit at the bar of Johnny Rockets after the Atlanta Horror Fest presented it's fourth annual Zombie Walk which started off at Lenny's Bar, headed through historic Oakland Cemetery, crossed over into downtown Atlanta and ended at the Underground Atlanta mall.
One of the mermaid actresses sits near the exit to greet the audience after performing Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Little Mermaid' in the underwater theatre in Weeki Wachee State Park in Spring Hill, Florida.
Kendrick Brinson stands in front of the 'Walk Through Time in Georgia' exhibit at Fernbank Natural History Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.
Guests at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas ride on a waterslide through the middle of a shark-filled aquarium on the resort's property. Themed for it's namesake, Atlantis offers a complex with a water-park, aquarium, casino, spa, six hotels, a fitness center, golf, shopping, a speedway, a night club, and a plethora of dining options, all linked with an array of fake lagoons, Atlantis encourages guests to stay on property. In fact, they make it kind of difficult to leave. At Atlantis, you are literally offered complete immersion into this surreal play-land for your entire vacation.
Costumed employees take a turn in the photo booth during a 30th birthday celebration at a roller rink in Atlanta, Georgia.
One of the mermaid actresses holds a finger to her mouth to hush the crowd while performing Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Little Mermaid' in the underwater theatre in Weeki Wachee State Park in Spring Hill, Florida.
A lion handler sits with his pride inside the lion enclosure at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A couple takes in a miniature model of the city of Jerusalem in Biblical times at the Christian theme park, Holy Land Experience, in Orlando, Florida. The religious tourist attraction serves as a mix between a place for worship, historic study, and a large scale three-dimensional stage for the daily live performances.
An actor playing Jesus stands with his arms outstretched greeting visitors at the Christian theme park, Holy Land Experience, in Orlando, Florida. The religious tourist attraction serves as a mix between a place for worship, historic study, and a large scale three-dimensional stage for the daily live performances.
A faux Airstream trailer houses a miniature bowling alley inside the Silverton Casino Lodge in Las Vegas, Nevada. Themed with the outdoors in mind, the casino caters to the bass-fishing types and even houses a grand scale Bass Pro Shops prominently next to the front entrance.
Tourists explore The National Wax Museum in Dublin, Ireland where visitors are invited on a tour through Irish History followed by an odd mix of popular culture ranging from fairy tales and music to horror films, all depicted by magnificently crafted wax sculptures.
Tourists pose with a fake Greek statue outside Ceasar's Palace Casino on the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. The stretch of road offers one casino after another, each with themes of their own, ranging from New York City to ancient Greece. With a nickname of 'Sin City', and a common belief that, 'what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,' the city has become an adult sexual fantasy land as well as playing host to countless fake realities.
An employee at the World of Coca-Cola hugs a life-size version of one of the company's marketing campaign icons at the company's permanent historical exhibition in downtown Atlanta, GA.
Venezuelans celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Caracas and in the Petare barrio in Caracas, Venezuela. Semana Santa is the last week of Lent, and the week before Easter. It includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Petare, which is considered the largest barrio in Latin America, hosts an elaborate staging of the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross), which draws a massive crowd as local actors depict Jesus carrying his cross to his own crucifixion and his final hours, or 'Passion', before his death and subsequent resurrection.
The huge white pillars of the Southern-style plantation home welcome you as you approach the very birthplace and origin of all things Cabbage Patch at Babyland General Hospital. A nurse with baby in arms greets visitors with a smile and a bit of a wild eye as you sign in and head towards the nursery. At the end of the hallway of pastel pink and blue nursery rooms filled with infant dolls, double doors open into the main event. Some might call it a glorified gift shop, but the live birth demonstrations around the enchanted tree make it something much more. Colored glowing lights change hues casting strange ambiance onto fairies flying around the tree, and the small faces reaching out of the cabbages which lay at its base. While the place serves as an elaborate ploy to sell merchandise, it still takes the time to sell an entire lore surrounding the creation of the small Cabbage Patch Kids to the large imaginations of the tiny visitors soaking it all in.
Real life gets old real quick. Work, chores, traffic jams, monotony — all the details of the daily grind infect the human body and build into a fever that only breaks when bags get packed.
The search for diversion leads to amusement parks and roadside wonders, roller coasters and stage extravaganzas. Kids can be kids, adults can be kids again, and sometimes, David Walter Banks is on hand to capture fantasy becoming reality with behind-the-scenes images that cast new light on tourist attractions.
Such moments of cognitive dissonance comprise The Fourth Wall. The entertainment industry takes in billions annually but even the most luxurious resorts and casinos provide an imperfect illusion. Visitors fill the gaps between animatronics and costumes with their own imagination, and the disconnect beats at the heart of Banks’ photo project.
“I love the idea of these places,” he says. “As adults, so many of us have lost our wonder and given up our urge to chase dreams. In a way, these places invite the adult population to chase an outlandish dream once more, even if only for a fleeting moment. Even if it’s plastic and cracked and they know it is all fake. They are still getting up, putting on their tennis shoes, and going out in search of magic.”
“I could probably track my interest in toys via Star Wars,” Larner says. “When I was a kid in the early ’80s, I was completely swept up by the original Kenner 3.75-inch range. Then, in the ’90s, the remastered movies came out along with whispers of the prequels so the Star Wars toy range was reintroduced, so that caught my interest again. However, it was when Lego had the bright idea of making Star Wars Lego sets in 1999 that I really got sucked in and I haven’t looked back since!”
Merek Davis is not a coder. The developer never even made an app before 2013. Yet on his first iOS at-bat, he hit an App Store grand slam with Mextures, his photo-editing app that quickly became one of the top photo apps of the year.
Mextures is like Photoshop for your iPhone, only easier to use. The app’s editing tools and formulas let you tweak and re-tweak pics, adding light leaks, textures and color gradients that can turn even your crappiest pics into something majestic.
It’s a bona fide hit, with some of the most-followed names on Instagram using Davis’ creation. But it almost never happened.
This week's Gadget Watch has a special summer something for everyone. Fixing up the house? Laying around the house? Getting drunk and stumbling about the house? Then these toolboxes, breathalyzers and hands-free, in-bed iPad stands will serve you well.
The Flare pan looks like an oversized aluminum cupcake cup. It has heat-catching fins on the outside, like the opposite of a heat sink, and a regular-shaped inside. The idea is that the heat (not the flame – keep that turned down like you would for a regular pan) from your gas hob will stream up the sides and pump its energy into the pan through the increased surface area of those fins. The best part of all? It was designed by a real rocket scientist. $150
This magical adapter performs the seemingly impossible. Not only does it put Nikon (or Canon) lenses on your Micro Four Thirds camera body, but it also boosts the speed of the lens by one stop. That’s right – it doubles the maximum amount of light your lens can gather. It also reduces the crop factor of your lens by 0.72x. That won’t keep your wide-angle lenses wide, but it will stop them from turning telephoto. I’m in. $160
When I saw the Tablift, my first thought was “LOL.” And that was my second thought, too, if I’m honest. But as a person who uses his iPad in bed far more than is healthy, I began to see how the stable stand could help me. What’s better than hands-free viewing in the sack? Angle-adjustable hands-free viewing in the sack, that’s what. Yup, you can even tilt it down to watch while lying in bed. You might scare yourself when you wake up, but you’ll never fall asleep and drop your iPad onto your nose ever again. $60
I’m writing about this gadget mostly because of its name – Forked Lightning. It lets you charge two devices off a single USB port, which is certainly handy for those travel situations where you only have access to one power outlet (I’m looking at you, cheapskate hotels). You probably don’t want to plug two iPads 4 into one iPhone charger, but other combinations should fare better. $50
I don’t even care that RØDE makes great microphones, I just want the new Lightning-compatible iXY to play with. Look at those stereo mics: Don’t you just want to twiddle them? Or try to jam your finger between the barrels? No? Perhaps you’d rather record sound through the two half-inch condenser capsules and onboard analog-to-digital converter. You can totally do that. $200
These Japanese toolboxes, painted in bright blue enamel, are tough enough to use every day, but pretty enough to live in the house without anybody complaining. They go from a stackable small trunk-style box up to the big cantilever model with a double-hinged top level and movable dividers. From $20
Do you know how many drinks you should have if you’re driving? None. That’s how many. What if you had a couple and then you need to drive, for an emergency or whatever? Nope. Get a cab, or you’ll be killing a cyclist or a pedestrian to do whatever thing is so important that you’re happy to risk another person’s life doing it.
If you insist on drinking and driving, breathe into the BACtrack Vio Smartphone Breathalyzer first – if you’re not too far gone to use the keychain device. The Vio will measure your blood-alcohol content, send the result to your iPhone via Bluetooth, and even estimate how long it’ll take you to return to zero. $70
Let’s face it – the people you go to the beach with are boring. They either spend the whole time with their nose in a paperback, or they insist on annoying the rest of the folks on the beach by kicking a volleyball around the place, or whatever it is you do with a volleyball. So, you should either pack some weed and just get stoned, or bring along a Solio Sun-Powered Charger to keep your iPhone going in the bright sunlight, so you never have to interact with your “friends.” $70
Find out how a light stencil can put Bambi — or anything else you can dream up — in your pictures. Photo: Janelle Pietrzak
Photography is all about light, and photographers are all about light painting. There are many tricks to try, from isolating objects with incandescence outside the frame to shining light directly at the camera as in Janelle Pietrzak’s Bambi series, created using light stencils.
Creating this interesting analog photo effect doesn’t require any special equipment, just a detachable flash, some craft materials and a lot of imagination.
Bambi and the first hints of spring! Finally warm enough to take him outside.
Splicing a cute little animal into a photograph doesn’t take more than a few seconds for anybody with a copy of Photoshop.
But Colorado artist Janelle Pietrzak spends hours cutting light stencils with a razor blade, then uses a shoebox and long-exposure photography to bring Bambi and other cuddly creatures to life inside her home.
“If you look at my photographs there is fantasy world full of mythical creatures, floating orbs, ghosts and goddesses, all created by manipulating light,” Pietrzak tells Cult of Mac. “The catch is that I hardly use any Adobe Photoshop. What you see in the images is basically what I saw on the back of my camera.”
"I’m always with a camera, and usually with more than one camera, ready to shoot at all the Portland events I attend," says Olsen.
Grab a camera when the zombies come. They won’t eat your brains — they’ll strike a pose.
It’s a trick photographer Luke Olsen learned when he was surrounded on the streets of his hometown. His shots from the Portland Zombie Walk showcase the lean and mean side of his stylish but macabre portraiture.
The organized chaos of events like the zombie walk offers comic relief from formal photography sessions filled with intricate lighting, staging and models. Any opportunity to capture inspired lunacy is technically practice, but Olsen gravitates toward flash mobs to cut loose with his camera-wielding compatriots. He’s thrown himself into the thick of SantaCon, the infamous alcohol-fueled rampage that grew from absurdist San Francisco street theater into a national headache. The moribund Portland Urban Iditarod, where teams of costumed runners dragged tricked-out shopping carts from bar to bar, has also been shutter fodder.
“It’s a great deal of fun to wander into a large event with a group of friends, shoot the event and reconvene later to see what everyone got,” says Olsen. “It’s like The Bang Bang Club, just 100 percent less deadly.”
Ben Heine’s amazing Pencil vs Camera series artfully blends photographs and drawings.
Ben Heine is a magician.
Like David Blaine and Criss Angel before him, he has a special talent for blurring the line between reality and fiction. But instead of utilizing sleight of hand or his indomitable will to delight his audience, Heine keeps it simple by using just a pencil and camera to create his illusions.
Heine’s incredible art series Pencil vs Camera combines gorgeous landscapes and city scenes with hand-sketched drawings. The otherworldly images that result are both whimsical and intriguing, with a bit of mind-bending magic thrown in for perspective.
“I always try to express what I’m feeling,” Heine told Cult of Mac, noting that most of his inspiration for drawings come “mainly from people around me — friends, family, even strangers — and from every experience I live.”