Website lets you be a bigger blowhard than Donald Trump

The headlines that once elevated Donald Trump now predict his fall from presidential politics. If his second-place showing in the Iowa caucuses is an indication, the comedy will soon turn toward Ted Cruz. Variety even magazine headlined one story: “Donald Trump: Is the Joke Over?” It doesn’t have to be, thanks to a website that […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Upcoming ‘Nerds’ Broadway Musical Chronicles Rivalry Between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates

An upcoming musical comedy that highlights the rivalry between Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is set to debut on Broadway on March 31, 2016. Called Nerds, the musical will chronicle the rise of Jobs and Gates and the competition between their two companies.

According to Variety, the musical will feature „an array of tech“ like onstage holograms, projection mapping, and an interactive in-show app that lets audience members interact with one another and help choose the show’s ending each night.

„We’re thrilled to add a jolt of comedy to this already astounding theater season, with this hilarious tale of the Founding Fathers of Tech, from a creative team stacked with new voices,“ said producer Carl Levin. „While fine-tuning and re-coding the show for this exciting launch, we’ve also been exploring innovative ways to enhance the ‘user experience’ inside the theater, for a uniquely entertaining event – compatible for Broadway audiences of all generations.“

The cast for Nerds has not yet been announced, but the screenplay was written by Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner, both of whom previously wrote for cartoon series Robot Chicken. Casey Hushion directs, while music was written by Hal Goldberg.

Previews for the show start on March 31, 2016, and its official opening date is April 21, 2016. Tickets are available from the Nerds website with prices that start at $39.

Tags: Steve Jobs, Nerds, Bill Gates
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Pro Tip: Easily edit your iPhone videos with Adobe Premiere Clip

You have so much great video footage on your iPhone, but therein lies the problem. The thought of sitting down at a computer to edit any of it seems like a mountain you have no time to climb. Cielo de la Paz is happy to help you reach the summit – rather quickly, too. de […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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‘Steve Jobs’ Film Debuts Impressively in Limited Release

Only a limited number of fans have been able to see Steve Jobs over the weekend, thanks to its initial small scale release in only Los Angeles and New York on October 9. Despite that limited run, the Danny Boyle-directed film has debuted with impressive numbers, making $521,000 in its first weekend with a per-theater average of $130,250 (via Variety).

Although those numbers landed the movie well below any top-earning spot for the weekend box office at large (it placed sixteenth overall), that per-theater average places Steve Jobs as the fifteenth highest PTA figure in film history. As the rollout for the film expands – 25 new markets and 60 theaters on October 16, and then 2,000 theaters on October 23 – Universal has doubled down on its release strategy, believing the slow trickle to wide release will help generate positive word of mouth.

“By holding back and platforming it in this way, we let the public know what this movie is all about and we generate a hotter ‘want to see’ among audiences,” said Nick Carpou, head of Universal’s domestic distribution operation.

Universal hopes these limited release numbers translate into bigger returns when Steve Jobs debuts in wide release next weekend, aiming for a similar trajectory as The Social Network‘s $97 million overall domestic haul. Current analysts predict at least a $20 million opening wide release weekend for the new film, pointing to the ubiquity of Apple products, largely positive early reviews, and the audience’s hunt for „prestige movies“ at this time of year as the main factors for its potential success.



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Scrap that bulky tripod for easy-to-use Pakpod

Two things about me as a photographer: I hate tripods and I will never tell another photographer what they must carry with them. Both changed when the Pakpod arrived in the mail. Weighing 15 ounces, the PakPod has legs that can quickly extend and lock in crazy asymmetrical positions with the turn of a single […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Nomad Review: The Pod is an Apple Watch Stand Made for Off-the-Grid Travel With its Built-In Battery

The Nomad Pod, with its built-in battery, is one of a small selection of Apple Watch stands able to offer functionality beyond simply holding the Apple Watch charger in a more accessible position. Priced at $60, the Pod is a compact, modern-looking Apple Watch stand that’s small enough to fit in a backpack or bag and able to keep the Apple Watch’s battery full when traveling away from the grid for a few days.

I’ve been testing the Pod for several weeks now to see how it stacks up against other Apple Watch docking options on the market, both as a travel companion and as a stand at home on my desk.

Setup and Design

The circular Pod is made up of two pieces: a plastic and aluminum base that holds the Apple Watch charger and cord in place, and an aluminum faceplate that snaps on over the base to hide the cord from view. The Pod is made from brushed aluminum in Silver or Space Gray that matches Apple’s MacBook, iPhone, and iPad lineups, and its minimal design will let it fit into almost any decor.

Size wise, the Pod fits into the palm of a hand and is quite similar to a hockey puck both in diameter and thickness. It can potentially fit in a generously sized pants pocket or a jacket pocket, but its thickness and round shape makes that less than comfortable. At one side, there’s a micro-USB port to charge the Pod itself, a button that activates the Pod’s charging function, and a 4-LED indicator for displaying battery life. It also ships with a Nomad-branded micro-USB cable.

The Pod’s setup instructions are overly simple, but setting up the Pod isn’t difficult. You can start by placing the Apple Watch charger in the cutout in the Pod, or by plugging the USB end into the Pod’s USB port. I recommend starting from the back, plugging the USB side in first. It’s a little tricky to get it lined up right, but it didn’t take me more than a few seconds to get it plugged in.

Once the USB side of the Apple Watch charging cable is in place, the next step is to wrap the cord around the outside of the Pod until there’s little enough cord left that the Apple Watch charger can be put in place through one of nine grooves. The Pod ships with a foam insert, which needs to be used with the stainless steel Apple Watch charger because it’s slightly thinner than the plastic charger the Apple Watch Sport ships with. That will make sure the Apple Watch charger sits flush with the Pod when the aluminum cover is in place.

With a 1m Apple Watch charger, winding up the cable around the base is no problem, but things are tricker with the longer 2m cord. With the longer cord, it needs to be wound very tightly or the aluminum cover won’t fit properly. For that reason, I’d recommend using this with a 1m Apple Watch charger. With either variety, 1m or 2m, setting up the Pod is a lot easier than the other battery-equipped Apple Watch dock I reviewed, the Boostcase Bloc. Since set up is relatively easy, it’s also not that much of a hassle to take the Apple Watch charger out when necessary.

Once the cord is wound up, the aluminum top piece of the Pod fits over the bottom part, hiding the cord from view for a neat, clean look. The cover snaps into place magnetically with two magnets, so it’s not going to come apart in a backpack, and at the bottom, there’s a rubber pad to hold it in place on a desk.

Due to the shape of the Pod, it’s only going to work well with open-loop bands like the Apple Watch Sport. It’s possible to use it with closed-loop bands like the Milanese Loop, but why spend the money on a stand that’s going to require it to be opened flat when there are so many others on the market? For most users, the hassle of having to fully open a closed-loop band to use with the Pod isn’t going to be worth it.

The Pod is not compatible with Nightstand Mode in iOS 9 because the Apple Watch needs to be flat to charge. That’s going to be a deal breaker for some users, but not everyone is going to want to use Nightstand Mode.

For charging, the Apple Watch sits atop the Pod, with the bottom lined up with the embedded Apple Watch charger. It’s simple to put the Apple Watch in the right position, and with the foam insert, my stainless steel Apple Watch had no problems charging on the Pod.

Battery Life

The Pod has an 1,800 mAh battery built in, which Nomad advertises as long enough to „get through a long weekend.“ That seemed about right in my testing. With the 38mm Apple Watch with a 205mAh battery, I got just over three full charges both times that I tested the Pod with a fully-charged Pod and an Apple Watch that had its battery drained.

The 42mm Apple Watch has a larger battery so the Pod may not give that device a full three charges, but most of us probably aren’t draining our Apple Watches entirely on a day-by-day basis.

With passthrough charging, both the Pod dock and the Apple Watch can be charged simultaneously using the aforementioned mini Nomad micro-USB dongle. The micro-USB dongle is somewhat useful when traveling to charge through a MacBook, but for home use, a longer micro-USB cable would have been preferable.

Without a longer micro-USB cable, there’s no way to charge the Pod while it’s placed on a desk or a nightstand. It needs to be removed from the desktop and charged via MacBook or a USB charger plugged into an outlet, a task that I found to be a hassle. I used a self-supplied micro-USB cable so it could sit on my desk and I unplugged it and moved it around as necessary for charging on the go.

The Pod’s wind-up design is nice because it hides the Apple Watch cable, but you’re still going to have to deal with a micro-USB cord or fuss with charging it through the included micro-USB dongle.

When charging an Apple Watch with the Pod when it isn’t plugged in, it’s important to make sure to press the button on the side of the Pod to activate it. Without the button press, it’s not going to charge the Apple Watch, something that I discovered after waking up to a dead device.

Bottom Line

The ultimate portable travel charger for the Apple Watch is the Apple Watch charging cable all on its own. It’s light, takes up little space, and when most of us travel, we have access to something to plug it into. That said, for someone who often goes camping or takes short trips where there is no access to power, the Nomad Pod’s built-in battery will keep the Apple Watch at full power.

For a lot of users, the Nomad Pod is not going to be a better solution than the Apple Watch charger paired with a higher-capacity standalone battery pack, because such a setup is a lot more versatile since it can be used to charge other devices. But for someone who wants portability, a built-in battery, and doesn’t want to hassle with a loose 1m or 2m cable, the Pod is a good solution.

Having the Apple Watch cord out of sight is a plus, but the Pod itself still needs to be charged, so you’re just exchanging one cable for another. The Pod’s micro-USB dongle is arguably less convenient to use than the Apple Watch cord plugged directly into a wall, but someone who likes the look of a cordless desktop might not mind charging the Pod every couple of days.

I would not recommend the Pod for Apple Watch owners who use it primarily with a closed-loop band like the Milanese Loop, because having to open up the band each night and close it again in the morning is an extra, unnecessary step when there are other stands and other portable charging options available. I would also not recommend it to anyone looking to use Apple’s Nightstand Mode, because it’s incompatible.

Pros:

Built-in battery
Clean, cordless look
Solid construction
Simple set up
Portable

Cons:

Micro-USB dongle is too short
Micro-USB dongle is easy to lose
No Nightstand Mode
Not easily compatible with closed-loop bands
1,800 mAh battery only works for 3 charges

How to Buy

The Pod can be purchased from the Nomad website for $59.95. It’s also available in Best Buy retail stores, but it’s better to buy from Nomad directly as the Pod is priced at $70 from Best Buy.



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First Impressions of ‘Steve Jobs’ Film: ‘Thrilling… an Action Movie Driven Almost Exclusively by Words’

The Danny Boyle-directed and Aaron Sorkin-penned Steve Jobs film premiered last night at the 42nd Annual Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, and the first impressions of the biopic are surfacing on the internet this morning. Although not a full review of the movie, Deadline has posted a short opinion piece about the film, noting impressive directing, well-paced editing, and a script by Sorkin that is „even more effective“ than his Oscar-winning work on The Social Network.

It’s a companion piece to Sorkin’s Oscar-winning The Social Network screenplay — but even more effective. Boyle said the script is 200 pages and it is densely filled with the kind of dialogue only Sorkin seems to specialize in these days. It’s actually thrilling to listen to, an action movie driven almost exclusively by words, a rare thing for sure in today’s visually driven cinema.

[Boyle’s] direction is flawless and really keeps this thing moving, avoiding the static pace it might have been in lesser hands. The result is well worth it, and those magical words provided lots of opportunity for great acting performances led by Michael Fassbender’s spot-on and relentless portrayal of the not-very-likable computer genius.

Notably, Deadline also caught up with Steve Wozniak at Telluride to get his opinion on the film, which partially portrays Wozniak’s own life as well with Seth Rogen in the role of the Apple co-founder. Wozniak was enthusiastic about the movie, calling it „authentic“ and particularly praising Kate Winslet’s performance as Macintosh marketing chief Joanna Hoffman.

When I caught up with him Wozniak told me that, unlike the Jobs biopic with Ashton Kutcher, this one is totally authentic. “I saw a rough cut and I felt like I was actually watching Steve Jobs and the others (including Rogen’s dead-on portrayal of Wozniak), not actors playing them, I give full credit to Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin for getting it so right,” he enthusiastically told me, He adding that of all the actors in the film he thinks Winslet might be the most likely to garner awards attention.

The movie was portrayed as a „work in progress“ to the attendees at Telluride, due to the fact that Boyle and his workers are still tweaking and editing parts of the movie. With just about a month to go until the film’s wide release, it’s likely small details like sound cues and other small edits that will make the Telluride screening largely similar to the final movie.

Other sites have begun posting full-length reviews, including Variety, who compares Sorkin’s three-act, multiple time period structure to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Also of note is a neat detail that Boyle shot each time period on era-relevant formats, a fact along with Boyle’s uncharacteristically restrained direction that Variety particularly liked.

Working with d.p. Alwin Kutchler, Boyle sometimes sends the camera hurtling after the characters in lengthy, down-the-corridor tracking shots; elsewhere, the brief transitional snippets between acts feature some fairly aggressive stylization, in line with his usual m.o. But for the most part, this is the filmmaker’s most reined-in picture in some time, as if a too-kinetic approach would interfere with the verbal energy of Sorkin’s script.

Besides Guy Hendrix Dyas’ unobtrusively excellent production design, the picture’s major visual coup is the decision to shoot the three acts on three different formats: grainy 16mm film for 1984, lustrous 35mm for 1988, and sleek, high-definition digital for 1998. The distinctions may well be lost on the vast majority of viewers, but it’s just the sort of nicely understated aesthetic flourish that Steve Jobs himself would have surely appreciated.

Indiewire gave the film a B+, pointing out good performances from the cast and the movie’s decision to focus on three highly stressful points in Jobs’ life to showcase his true personality, ultimately calling it „a kind of „Birdman“ for the tech sector,“ thanks to its real-time accounts of some highly dramatic backstage moments prior to a big show. The website also noted, however, that Sorkin’s dialogue can suffer from „constant overstatement“ and some foreshadowing to Apple’s future feels „unnecessary.“

The movie currently sits at a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, but still has just five reviews collected at the time of writing. Although it’s still just a handful positive opinions, it’s a bit more encouraging as we enter the final stretch before the October 9 theatrical debut, especially for a film that’s been a large source of speculation and rumors for so many years now.



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