Dear… is a timely reminder that we can do better [Apple TV+ review]

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Oprah Winfrey reads a letter from a fan in Apple TV+ show Dear...
One episode of Dear... focuses on Oprah Winfrey.
Photo: Apple TV+

So far, the Apple TV+ shows affiliated with Oprah Winfrey (or approved by her) represent some of the streaming service’s safest offerings. And her spirit, to say nothing of her face, is all over the inspiring series Dear…

Each episode focuses on a single celebrity and the moving fan letters they receive highlighting the star’s impact on regular people. A such, it takes the form of part-biography, part-tribute to its famous subjects.

Dear… certainly does not stand out as one of the most hard-hitting journalistic exercises you’ll see. But as puff pieces go, the episodes prove both persuasive and reasonably inspiring. The show plays like a MasterClass with lessons about community building and standing up for yourself.

This $27 tool helped me ID the Ethernet cables in my wall [Under Review]

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Elegiant Wire Tracker: This $27 tool will quickly identify Ethernet cables buried in your wall.
If you can't tell which Ethernet cable goes where, this inexpensive tool can help.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Under Review on The CultCast The Elegiant Wire Tracker looks unassuming, but it helped me solve a frustrating problem: identifying the Ethernet cables buried behind the walls of my house. The inexpensive kit consists of a little plastic probe about the size of a Polish sausage and an emitter about the size of an iPhone (only it’s an inch or so thick).

It’s made of blue plastic, so it doesn’t pack that heavyweight “pro” feel, but it seems fairly durable. And if you need to figure out which Ethernet cable goes where, it gets the job done.

Samsung credit-card size SSD holds up to 2TB [Review]

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Samsung T7 review
The Samsung T7 isn’t much bigger than an Apple Card but still holds 2 terabytes of data.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Samsung T7 holds an amazing amount of data considering its svelte design. This Solid State Drive isn’t much bigger than a business card but holds up to 2TB. And it can be passed around between multiple computers — it’s compatible with Mac and iPad Pro, as well a wide variety of other devices.

I loaded up this recently-released SSD with a variety of files and put it through some real-world testing. Here’s how it stood up.

Speidel’s black leather band is a tuxedo for your Apple Watch [Review]

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Speidel Royal English Leather Apple Watch Band review
The Speidel Royal English Leather Apple Watch Band is simply refined.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Simple. Elegant. These are the best words to describe the Speidel Royal English Leather Apple Watch Band. Supple black leather matches the style of Apple’s wearable, while adding a luxurious feel.

And it’s surprisingly affordable, given the quality of this band.

Easily add speedy Ethernet to your Mac with this inexpensive adapter [Review]

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Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter review
Enjoy the reliability of Ethernet with this simple USB-C adapter for your Mac or iPad Pro.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Adding Ethernet to your MacBook or iPad Pro is as simple as attaching the Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter. This cuts your dependence on WiFi, instead bringing the security, reliability and speed of a wired connection.

I tested this very affordable and portable accessory, and bring you the results in this hands-on review.

Apple gets it ‘write’ with Scribble on iPadOS

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Scribble is the most significant new feature in iPadOS 14
Apple’s Scribble handwriting-recognition system makes iPad styli more useful.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020 Apple finally brought handwriting recognition to iPad. With Scribble built in iPadOS 14, it’s possible to enter text simply by drawing on the screen.

My testing with the first version shows its an amazing feature. But one with room for improvement.

Aukey’s handsome 4-in-1 USB-C hub also does wireless charging [Review]

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Aukey CB-C70 review
The Aukey CB-C70 looks great, and it does multiple jobs — It’s both a wireless charger and a multiport USB-C adapter.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The trouble with wireless phone chargers is that they take up valuable room on your desk even when they’re not being used. But the Aukey CB-C70 is also a multiport USB-C hub, so it packs plenty of functionality into a small package.

I thoroughly tested this accessory in my home office. Here’s how it stood up to daily use.

Who on earth is Dads for? [Apple TV+ review]

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Dads review: Glen Henry and his daughter, one of many subjects in the enthusiastically weightless Apple TV+ documentary Dads.
Glen Henry and his daughter, one of many subjects in the enthusiastically weightless Dads.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ secured another handsomely produced, blandly pleasant, absolute mediocrity when it purchased Bryce Dallas Howard’s feature documentary debut, Dads. What’s Dads about, you ask? Why dads, of course. Next question.

Up until now, Apple TV+ hasn’t been the most cautious content provider. Apple execs lavished money on a lot of utter nonsense with enormous price tags because they seemed to aesthetically fit in with the rest of the company’s design scheme. HomeCentral Park, See — none of them are good television, but they’d look good testing TVs on a showroom floor, which seems to be the prevailing ethos for a lot of the Apple TV+ purchases.

Dads, released Friday just in time to remind you to forget Father’s Day, is much the same and quite a bit less.

These obscure ingredients make one hell of a cocktail [What We’re Into]

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You need Velvet Falernum and Scrappy's Firewater Tincture to make a Spicy Dead Lady cocktail.
Spice up your backyard bar with these quirky ingredients.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

What We're Into bug If you’re looking to shake up your cocktail game, try putting these two ingredients in the mix: John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum and Scrappy’s Firewater Tincture.

The first is a syrupy liqueur from Barbados that’s typically used in Tiki drinks. The second is a devilishly hot habanero tincture. They’re both key ingredients in a fantastic cocktail called the Spicy Dead Lady.

Leather cuff for Apple Watch is crazy-comfortable, super-stylish [Review]

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Monowear-leather-cuff
Another excellent photo from Killian Bell.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Monowear’s Contemporary Leather Cuff is so good, it might just be my favorite Apple Watch band to date.

Not only is it made from a soft, luxurious leather that makes it insanely comfortable, but it looks terrific. It’s compatible with all Watch models, and it’s nowhere near as expensive as it looks. Pick yours up today at 20% off the usual price.