How to work when it’s really, really noisy

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Construction noise can drive you crazy.
Construction noise can drive you crazy.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

As I write this, there’s a truck outside my window using its crane to shovel molten blacktop onto the street. Its diesel engine is revving hard, and has been for the last half hour. For the past two years, there’s been an apartment building under construction across the street from my office. Starting at (and often before) 7 a.m., six days a week, I’ve enjoyed a symphony of pumped cement, circular saws screeching through thin metal sheets, over-revved forklifts, and drilling into reinforced concrete.

I mention this to tell you that I know a thing or two about writing in a noisy spot. I also know how to stop it driving you nuts.

How to clean your gross, waxy AirPods

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Cleaning your AirPods is easy, and you probably have the tools to do it already.
Cleaning your AirPods is easy, and you probably have the tools to do it already.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The other day on the metro, I pulled out my AirPods and dropped one on the floor. It bounced over dried and dirty beer stains, and who knows what other filth and bacteria traipsed in on a million passengers’ shoes (and the odd hippie’s bare feet). I gave up on listening to anything on the trip home, and slipped the rescued AirPod back into its case.

Today we’re going to see how to clean AirPods (or any other earbuds). It’s not only hippie toe jam that we have to worry about, either. Because we’re always pushing these things deep into moist holes in our heads, they crust up with earwax and whatever bacteria we have living in our earholes. Happily, cleaning and disinfecting AirPods is not only easy. It’s just about as satisfying as digging a deep-seated booger out of your nose, or picking an almost-healed scab.

Get cutting-edge gear at great prices [Deals]

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We've rounded up next generation personal audio, touch-free smart controllers, and more ultra-modern gear.
We've rounded up next generation personal audio, touch-free smart controllers, and more ultra-modern gear.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

With all the technological wonders we take for granted today, it’s easy to lose track of the cutting edge in consumer tech. So to keep that sense of wonder alive, we’ve rounded up some of the most innovative new personal gear and gadgets you can find.

Below you’ll find a solar-powered, antitheft backpack, a Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a wireless charger, a touch-free controller for IoT devices, and more. Even better, each item is massively discounted, some by more than half. Read on for more details.

Libratone’s hot new earbuds pack noise cancellation

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libratone
The TRACK+ earbuds pack premium audio.
Photo: Libratone

CES 2018 bug The company behind some of the best AirPlay speakers on the market is ready to give Apple’s AirPods a new challenger.

Libratone revealed its new set of wireless earbuds at CES 2018. And while the Track+ earbuds pack as much good design as the AirPods, they come with a feature Apple’s own wireless headphones can’t match: noise cancellation.

The Fall Tech Bundle Giveaway [Deals]

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This giveaway bundle includes smartwatches, backup batteries, ultra tough iPhone cases, and lots more.
This giveaway bundle includes smartwatches, backup batteries, ultra-tough iPhone cases and lots more.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

‘Tis the season to take advantage of free gear and gadgets. By entering this giveaway, you’re eligible for the awesome haul of seven best-selling goodies listed below. So you can get a top-shelf, drop-proof iPhone case; a lens kit for your iPhone; an Alexa-integrated smartwatch; waterproof and wireless headphones, and lots more.

This grab bag is worth more than 600 bucks, but entering to win is free.

Bose takes on AirPods and Beats by baking in Google

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Bose
Bose's Quietcomfort 35 II wireless headphones are the start of a partnership with Google.
Photo: Bose

Apple’s AirPods and Beats headphones are getting some fresh competition from one of the biggest audio companies in the game. And they’re getting a little help from Apple’s rival, Google.

Bose unveiled two new products today. One is its first ever foray into the world of truly wireless earbuds. The other is a pair of brand new noise-canceling headphones that are also designed to work with Google Assistant.

Grab these top iPhone accessories for less than $20 [Deals]

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From rugged mobile mounts to keychain Lightning chargers, these are some of the top iPhone accessories for under $20.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

iPhones are great, but to get the most out of them you’ve got to have the right accessories. But when you’ve already dropped coin for a new phone, it’s hard to think about shelling out even more cash. So we’ve rounded up some of the best iPhone peripherals you can get for under 20 bucks. That includes a tough but flexible mini tripod, and a set of keychain-sized Lightning cables. Plus, we have a set of premium Bluetooth earbuds, and a device to turn any iPhone into a universal remote. Read on for more details:

Jony Ive talks earbuds inspired by stormtroopers, Apple Park

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AirPods EarPods
Ive had the dark side in mind while designing Apple earbuds.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Jony Ive has revealed that the company’s iconic white earbuds were inspired by Star Wars stormtroopers.

In a new interview, in which he also talks at length about Apple Park, the Apple design chief describes how he had the dark side in mind while creating them for the iPod.

Gadgets to make traveling easy [Tech Travel Tips]

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roost stand
Travel is a time to leave things behind, but some gadgets will make your trips a lot easier.
Photo: Roost

tech travel tips Welcome to Tech Travel Tips, a week of travel tips for vacationers. This week we’ll show you how to keep your devices safe while traveling, what apps to download before you go, what settings you should change before leaving the house and — kicking off the week — the best travel gadgets to take with you. Let’s get started!