Katie's Week in Review: May 1, 2016

I’m in the midst of studying for my last final exam of my L.L.M. program. The exam starts at 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning, so think a good thought for me. I wasn’t planning on doing a week in review post this week, but truth be told I need a little break from Subchapter K. So here is an abbreviated version of the links I found of note for the week ending May 1, 2016:

  • Apple reported their Second Quarter earnings this week. Based on the reports in the news you’d think the sky was falling and the company was doomed. All good things must come to an end and it looks like this is the turning point where the company finally stops churning year-over-year growth in the iPhone market. Jason Snell at Six Colors picks apart Apple’s Q2 2016 results and offers several charts breaking down the revenue per category. If you want the blow-by-blow there’s also a transcript of the quarterly call prepared by Jason and Rene Ritchie of iMore.
  • Last year Apple announced an upgrade program in the U.S that allowed customers to pay a monthly installment for their phones rather than purchase them outright (or with a carrier subsidy) and be eligible to trade in that phone for a new one after 12 months. The plan was aimed at those who always wanted to have the latest iPhone. But there was a catch, to participate, you had to join at an Apple Retail store. Juli Clover at MacRumors reports that Apple’s upgrade program is now available for iPhones purchased through the online store. I just checked out pricing on a 64GB iPhone 6s on Verizon, which I assume will be comparable to the price of the iPhone 7 I’ll likely buy in a few months. The cost to purchase outright is $749, that same phone is $299 on a 2-year contract with Verizon or $31.20 for 24 monthly installments (including AppleCare) from Apple. Something to think about.
  • Dropbox previewed “Project Infinite” which aims to solve the problem of what do you do when your Dropbox storage space is large than your hard drive in your computer. As Jason Snell at Six Colors explains, with this new feature you’ll be able to browse all of your files, but choose which files you want to have synced with your local computer and download on the fly any files that are stored offline. I think it’s a great idea and makes a paid Dropbox plan a lot more appealing.
  • In privacy news this week, Jeff Gamet of The Mac Observer reports that the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill requiring a search warrant when law enforcement seeks to access email and documents stored in cloud services such as Dropbox and iCloud. The bill is pending before the Senate. Candidly, I’m shocked this was even a question, but in today’s world I guess it is.
  • One of my other favorite companies, TiVo had some news this week. As reported by Jared Newman at TechHive, TiVo changed the pricing model on their Roamio OTA box designed for cord cutters. The box now costs $400 but includes lifetime subscription to the TiVo service, meaning no more monthly fees. For $400 cord cutters can plug in any over-the-air antenna, record shows on a 1TB hard drive (expanded from 500GB) and access streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others. I have a similar setup at my home and have been very happy. If you’re a cord-cutter with good OTA reception I’d take a strong look.
  • In other TiVo news, Leslie Picker of the New York Times reports that Rovi bought TiVo in a $1.1 Billion deal. The company will keep the TiVo name.
  • Finally this week, Allison Janney, also known as C.J. Craig on the West Wing, took over the real White House press briefing room this week. The West Wing is probably my favorite television show of all time and if you miss it as much as I do, you may want to check out the West Wing Weekly Podcast, it’s great.

Mac Power Users #317: Myke Hurley: Collector of iPads

This week on Mac Power Users, David and I are joined by Myke Hurley to talk about how he's increasingly using his iPad Pro(s) to get work done and his workflows for running the business end of the Relay FM podcast network. David also takes the opportunity to drop a bomb on me in the middle of the podcast just to see how I'll react to his insanity.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Clean My Mac 3: A simple and powerful application for keeping your Mac clean, maintained, and healthy. For a limited time, Mac Power Users listeners can save 30%.
  • Drobo Created by you. Protected by Drobo. Save $100 off select models using code MPU100.
  • Automatic The connected car company that improves your driving and integrates your car into yoru digital life. Enter code MACPOWER to get 20% off your purchase. 
  • Fracture Bring your photos to life.

Study Break

I'm taking the week off from the Web site and will probably have a minimal presence social media.   I do not have any posts planed for the site and there will be no "Week in Review" post on Sunday.

As my regular readers will know I've been working on my LL.M (Masters of Law in Taxation) part time the last two years and that journey is (hopefully) coming to an end. My last final exam is scheduled for Monday, May 2nd and I expect this week week will be quite hectic as I prepare for exams and finish my final paper. 

Think good thoughts. I expect to emerge with a heavy weight lifted from my shoulders on May 3rd. 

Katie's Week in Review: April 24, 2016

It’s been a fairly busy week in the world of Apple, here are the links of note for the week ending April 24, 2016:

  • Apple introduced an update to the MacBook Line. The update includes faster processors, longer battery life and a new Rose Gold option. The new machines feature Skylake Intel Core M processors up to 1.3 GHz and Intel HD Graphics and faster flash storage that will deliver up to 25% faster performance. Notably, the basic design and features of the notebook remain unchanged. While this is a nice update to the existing product, it’s not the Gen 2 overhaul that some were hoping for. As appealing as the small MacBook may be, it pretty much solidifies my decision that my next Machine will be a 13" Retina MacBook Pro, which is widely rumored for a major update in the coming months.
  • That new MacBook Pro (and hopefully a Retina External Cinema Display) that I’ve been longing for might just be announced at WWDC. Apple has announced the World Wide Developers Conference will kick off June 13th in San Francisco. Apple held a ticket lottery and winners have already been notified and billed for their tickets. For those who weren’t lucky enough to get a golden ticket, the Keynote will be live streamed and sessions will also be streamed live via the WWDC Web site.
  • Last week the iTunes Movies and iBooks store suddenly went dark in China. As reported by Paul Mozur and Jane Perlez of the New York Times, Apple initially had governmental approval to launch the stores but a regulator from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television demanded the stores be closed. Husain Sumra of MacRumors has additional reporting.
  • In legal news this week, the Justice Department has dropped its New York case against Apple in an effort to obtain a passcode for an iPhone 5s. As reported by Husain Sumra from MacRumors, the Justice Department claims that an “individual has provided the passcode for the iPhone at issue.” Curious.
  • This news comes on the heals of a report that the FBI paid in excess of $1 million for the hack that was used to access the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c. Jeff Gamet of The Mac Observe has additional analysis. Despite the significant amount the government paid for the iPhone hack, it may have actually been less expensive than the pending legal battle with Apple.
  • Amazon has introduced new subscription plans for Amazon Prime. In addition to their standard $99 a year model which includes access to all Prime benefits, Amazon is now offering a Prime Video only service for $8.99 a month and an option to subscribe to all prime services on a monthly basis for $10.99. I’m not sure for the price difference the video only model makes much sense in the long term, but it’s $1 a month cheeper than Netflix’s basic plan. (Albeit for a smaller catalog) Though the Prime monthly subscription may make sense for people who are just trying the service or perhaps only want to subscribe to prime a few months out of the year (say for the holidays). I’m very selective about the number of subscription services I subscribe to, but Prime is one that I find great value in.
  • Serenity Caldwell of iMore tells her terrifying tale of losing her iPad Pro at a rest stop at 1 a.m. Thankfully the story has a happy ending but emphasizes the importance of using the Find my iPhone/iPad service.
  • Last week on Mac Power Users David and I discussed tips for Locking Down Your Technology. One of the reasons behind that show was the recent ransomeware attack that targeted Macs. Lucian Constantain, writing for Macworld, looks at a free security tool that can detect attempts by ransomware programers to encrypt files and warn the user before too much damage has occurred.
  • My thanks to Agenda Minder for becoming the inaugural sponsor on KatieFloyd.com this week. Agenda Minder is a personal productivity app for the Mac that helps you prepare for your meetings. Click here for more information on how you can advertise on this site through an RSS sponsorship.
  • Finally this week, Federico Viticci of Mac Stories and an avid iOS user detailed his wishes for iOS 10. In addition to the article, Federico collaborated with Sam Beckett to create a concept video of what these wishes might look like if implemented by Apple. I found myself mesmerized watching the video and hope that Apple has some of this, and more, in store for us when they release iOS 10. Here's the video:

Podcast Pick: The Law Entrepreneur

David and I try not to focus too much on our day jobs as lawyers on Mac Power Users. However, you'd probably be surprised how many emails I receive from attorneys, especially those in small firms and solo practices asking us to do episodes specifically focused on workflows for law practices. (Hint...check out MPU 161 and 272) If you're looking for more, I've got a podcast pick for you. 

Lately I've been binge listening to Neil Tyra's The Law Entrepreneur.  He's up to 12 episodes so far, released weekly, and each week has interviews with successful practitioners and business entrepreneurs on how they started and are running their practice. 

The show is on iTunes, or you can subscribe though Overcast or RSS.

Mac Power Users #316: Locking Down Your Technology

This week on Mac Power Users, David and I run down options for securing your tech and staying safe online. We cover securing your iOS devices and Macs as well as discuss best practices for passwords, email, web browsing and locking down your online profiles.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Igloo: An intranet you’ll actually like, free for up to 10 people.
  • PDFpen from Smile With powerful PDF editing tools, available for Mac, iPad, and iPhone, PDFpen from Smile makes you a Mac Power User.
  • 1Password Have you ever forgotten a password? Now you don't have to worry about that anymore. 
  • The Omni Group We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad.

Amazon Echo On Sale Today Only

I'm officially on team Alexa.

When Amazon introduced the Dot earlier this year I ordered one as a low-cost way to introduce myself to the Echo product line. I enjoyed it so much I ordered an Echo for my home. The Echo now lives in my kitchen while the Dot stays on my bedside table. I love being able to do simple things like turn on and off my Hue lightbulbs. adjust my Nest thermostat, turn on and off WeMo switches, add items to my Reminders and Shopping lists, as well as make general inquiries. Last night I was watching Apollo 13 and asked Alexa to tell me about other Apollo missions, which she did.

Today, for one day only, Amazon has dropped the Price of the Echo to $153.71, a savings of $26.28. The Tap is also discounted to $111.01, a savings of $18.98. If you've been on the fence about ordering an Echo - just do it. I love mine. 

Katie's Week In Review: April 17, 2016

Just when you thought the iPhone unlocking drama was over, the Justice Department is back with another phone to unlock. Here are the links of note for the week ending April 17, 2016:

  • Although the Justice Department has formally dismissed its action seeking Apple’s assistance to unlock the iPhone 5c that was used by the San Bernardino shooter, they have announced their intention to continue on with a similar New York lawsuit where they have asked for Apple’s help in accessing an iPhone 5S used in a drug related case. Juli Clover at Mac Rumors has more details. A U.S. Magistrate previously ruled the FBI lacked the authority to force Apple to assist in unlocking the phone, but the Justice Department is in the process of appealing that ruling. Among other things, Apple is arguing the Justice Department has not exhausted all other remedies, including seeking assistance from third parties, like the one who unlocked the 5c in the San Bernardino case.
  • Speaking of the San Bernardino iPhone that was the subject of so much legal drama - what was on that phone anyway? According to a CBS News report, nothing significance has been found so far. Though the FBI says that analysis is still underway.
  • The next big battle over encryption may not happen in court, but with the United States Congress, where legislation has already been proposed requiring technology companies assist with unlocking devices. Dustin Volz of Reuters reports Apple’s General Counsel Bruce Sewell is among the witnesses who will testify before Congress on Tuesday.
  • If you’re running QuickTime on your Windows machine you’ll probably want to uninstall the software. Ian Paul at Macworld reports that Apple has abandoned QuickTime for Windows and left the program with several outstanding critical security flaws.
  • It’s been widely anticipated that Apple will soon rebrand OS X to simply MacOS in the near future. Chance Miller of 9to5 Mac points out that evidence of the change is mounting as the term slipped out on a few of Apple’s Webpages and was quickly corrected.
  • Mitchel Broussard of MacRumors reports that one analyst predicts Apple Watch shipments may decline more than 25% year-over-year. The reasons cited for the decline include what the analyst describes as an “immature wearable device market” and the first generation product lacking many key features.
  • That being said, I still love my Apple Watch and wear it every day. Casey Liss wrote a post that nicely summarizes my feelings about the Apple Watch. I think the Apple Watch was a device that was over-sold to us and perhaps didn’t have a clear purpose or message. The first generation hardware hasn’t lived up to the hype. But for me, the basic functionality of the Apple Watch as a fitness tracker, notification wrangler and easy access to Siri and other basic information is more than enough to keep me wearing the Apple Watch. What I love most of the Apple Watch is that it allows me to disconnect from my phone, leaving it in my purse or in another room, but still know that I’ll receive a notification for those items that I deem most important.
  • Finally, my pal David Sparks posted an interesting piece about how after all these years he’s finally killed his e-mail “action” folder and the other methods he’s now using to triage his inbox.