| Cult of Mac

New Vivid app doubles brightness of mini-LED screens for Mac

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The new app Vivid can just about double screen brightness on mini-LEDs for Mac (but not iPad).
The new app Vivid can just about double screen brightness on mini-LEDs for Mac (but not iPad).
Photo: Jordi Bruin

When you watch HDR videos on the mini-LED screens of a Pro Display XDR or a 2021 MacBook Pro, the displays can crank out up to 1,600 nits of brightness. But under most conditions, they’ll emit about 500. So a new app called Vivid, by developer Jordi Bruin, now offers to double usable screen brightness under all conditions.

“Full Brightness, System-Wide,” reads the app’s tagline.

Apple now sells 14- and 16-inch MacBook refurbs with big discounts

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Apple preps subscription service for iPhone, Mac and more
But Amazon is still cheaper.
Photo: Apple

Refurbished versions of the newest MacBook Pro models are now available to purchase from the Apple Store online. Both 14- and 16-inch units are available with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, and customers can save up to $350.

This is the first time refurbs of these machines have been made available by Apple since they made their debut last year. But if it’s a bargain you’re after, you’re likely to find a better deal elsewhere.

‘Mac setups are cool but Lego Technic is cooler’ [Setups]

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Those Lego Technic race cars flying across the wall in the back are almost as complicated as real cars.
Those Lego Technic race cars flying across the wall in the back are almost as complicated as real cars.
Photo: whatsyourname_1@Reddit.com

Who doesn’t like to have a little fun on a Friday, especially when it’s also April Fools’ Day? Not that today’s featured setup is a joke or fake in any way. It’s real. It’s serious. Not as serious as a heart attack, maybe. But it’s a working setup that likes to have a good time, let’s say.

The seriousness stems mainly from a late-model MacBook Pro and a killer ultra-wide LG display. The good time comes from the super-cool Lego Technic racing cars on the wall — two for now, with a third to come. Each one of these things has thousands of pieces.

M1 Max MacBook drives engineer’s dual-display, dual-HomePod rig [Setups]

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What do you make of the inspirational plaques on the walls around this M1 Max MacBook Pro-driven setup?
What do you make of the inspirational plaques on the walls around this M1 Max MacBook Pro-driven setup?
Photo: apple_tech_admin@Reddit.com

We haven’t seen a tremendous number of computer setups centered on powerhouse 16-inch M1 Max MacBook Pros — much less such workstations featuring both dual displays and paired original HomePods!

But today’s featured setup is an exception. It boasts those impressive characteristics as well as a useful lesson about not judging a book by its cover as well as striving to be kind online.

Let’s take our workstation outside today [Setups]

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Working al fresco can be refreshing. Except for the downpours. And the lizards.
Working al fresco can be refreshing. Except for the downpours. And the lizards.
Photo: Scary_Departure146@Reddit.com

There’s nothing like taking your work outside on a nice day, especially if it’s a Friday — if you live somewhere that allows it, weather-wise. The sounds of the birds. The feel of the breeze. The smell of exhaust fumes from nearby traffic.

But sometimes it’s not about half-playing hooky while working on your tan and pretending to work. Today’s featured setup, looking quite complete and perfectly productive, was driven out of the house by renovations.

Turn your laptop into a desktop with new StarTech Thunderbolt 4 dock

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StarTech.com's capable new Thunderbolt 4 docking station can broaden your laptop's horizons.
StarTech.com's capable new Thunderbolt 4 docking station can broaden your laptop's horizons.
Photo: StarTech.com

With Thunderbolt 4 connectivity becoming more and more common in new laptop computers, including various Macs, you may be in the market for a worthy docking station. After all, small, lightweight laptops don’t always have all the ports you need. So it’s a good thing StarTech.com recently released its TB4CDock for Mac and Windows.

The Thunderbolt 4 station bristles with the ports you need to turn your laptop into a desktop, or close to it.

3D-render wunderkind Ian Zelbo jacks up performance [Setups]

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Ian Zelbo works on renders on a tricked-out PC in New York City.
Ian Zelbo works on renders on a tricked-out PC in New York City.
Photo: Ian Zelbo

We last wrote about the computer setup of 17-year-old concept creator and render artist Ian Zelbo back in May 2021. As then, the young New Yorker’s 3D renderings of Macs and other leaked tech products continue to amaze viewers online.

But he recently switched things up a bit with the gear he needs to get the job done. Along with a big step up from a 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro to a 14-inch M1 Pro version, he custom-built a PC to do a lot of the heavy lifting in his resource-intensive work.

Blowing half your budget on headphones and Lego sets [Setups]

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The college kid who owns this computer setup might be headed for an aerospace-related career.
The college kid who owns this computer setup might be headed for an aerospace-related career.
Photo: OolongCha@Reddit.com

College students, often not exactly made of money (yet), usually feel obliged to be super-thrifty. Their setups might feature entry-level gear, hand-me-down equipment, doors on cinderblocks serving as desks — that sort of thing.

But today’s featured setup, owned by a college student, comes with some frills. They’re courtesy of a lucrative internship the computer science major completed last summer.

Wish you could make that cable go away? Here’s how. [Setups]

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What would you do with that cable on the left?
What would you do with that cable on the left?
Photo: Dialect_117@Reddit.com

Many a near-pristine computer setup is marred by one pretty ugly thing: a power cable. People pride themselves on having “one-cable” setups, where gear plugs into other gear or works wirelessly, and the whole shebang depends on one cable going into the wall outlet from a hub or a power strip. Others get as close as they can to that Zen-like state of near cableless-ness.

Today’s featured setup has that one, nagging cable. And we’re here to help make it go away.

How is Mac Studio with M1 Ultra so darn expensive?!

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Apple blew our minds this week with its all-new and somewhat unexpected Mac Studio. The diminutive desktop, which has the same footprint as Mac mini but is almost three times as tall, is by far Cupertino’s most powerful machine to date when you buy it with the incredible new M1 Ultra chip.

There’s just one problem with that. The impressive M1 Ultra model, which is significantly more powerful than even the fastest Mac Pro, starts at a whopping $3,999 — a considerable jump from the M1 Max model, which starts at $1,999. And I can’t work out how it’s so darn expensive!