Mac Power Users #336: iPhone Productivity - Relay FM

This week on Mac Power Users David and I share some of the most efficient productivity tasks and apps appropriate for the iPhone. Topics include calendars and contacts, email, task management, scanning, writing, and additional utilities for productivity.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Casper: Because everyone deserves a great night sleep. Get $50 off with the code ‘MPU’
  • Eero: Blanket your home in fast, reliable WiFi.
  • The Omni Group We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad. 
  • 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.

Katie's Week In Review: August 21, 2016

It’s a crazy weekend for me so I’m leaving you with a more abbreviated “link list” for the week in review post this week. Nevertheless, here are a few links of note for the week ending August 21, 2016:

  • Apple Announces Environmental Progress in China & Applauds Supplier Commitment to Clean Energy - Apple continuing their commitment to the environment, this time by putting pressure on their suppliers in China to commit to clean energy. Apple suppler Lens Technology has agreed to run its Apple operations on entirely renewable energy.
  • Tim Cook, the interview: Running Apple ‘is sort of a lonely job’ - I enjoyed this interview by Jena McGregor of The Washington Post discussing his first five years as CEO after Steve Jobs. Cook talks about some of the missteps as CEO, how the job can be lonely at times and living up to expectations.
  • Apple, Google, FCC Team up to Stop Spam Robocalls Jeff Gamet of The Mac Observer explains how some of the biggest players in the telecom industry are finally stepping up to address the problem with spam phone calls. I received one earlier today. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t answer my phone (and sometimes miss important calls) if I don’t recognize the number. There’s a new feature in iOS 10 that will allow Apple to query a database to attempt to determine if a call is likely spam, but so far Apple hasn’t gone so far as to build or maintain one itself.
  • New Ways to Control Your Experience on Twitter - Twitter has finally taken some positive steps to allow people to attempt to filter out trolls and limit the notifications they receive from. Twitter says this is just the start of their steps to take back control of the platform and control harassment. We’ll see. Right now it seems that these features are only available in the native Twitter apps, which I don’t use because they also come with tradeoffs. Hopefully Twitter will open these features up to third party developers.
  • Introducing Automatic Pro - Automatic rolled out a new version of their connected car adapter this week. The highlights include a new 3G connection included in the purchase price so it doesn’t have to always be connected to bluetooth. This is great because I find my iPhone’s bluetooth connection can be flakey sometimes causing my Automatic to drop connection. I’ll be picking up one of the new adapters. (Full disclosure, Automatic sponsors Mac Power Users - you can save $20 using this link.)
  • AT&T Introduces new MobileShare Plans - Following a similar move by Verizon, in advance of the new iPhone announcement AT&T has announced new mobile data plans. The plans are more expensive (of course) but in lieu of overage charges you’ll have the option to throttle your speeds down to 128kbps when your exceed your data cap. While painful, it might be a nice alternative if you only have a short time left before your billing cycle resets.
  • New Star Trek postage stamps are being released to celebrate the 50th anniversary. They’re available now for pre-order through the USPS.

Mac Power Users #335: Workflows with John Voorhees

This week on Mac Power Users, David and I chat with John Voorhees. John is an attorney by day but also develops software and writes for Mac Stories. We chat with John about how he juggles all his tech related tasks while managing a busy day job. (We sympathize.) 

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 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.
  • Fujitsu ScanSnap ScanSnap Helps You Live a More Productive, Efficient, Paperless Life. 
  • Squarespace: Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.

Katie's Week in Review: August 14, 2016

Mark Gurman is back with new rumors about the iPhone and MacBook Pros. That and other exciting links of note for the week ending August 14, 2016:

  • Mark Gurman, who is known for his accuracy recently in reporting Apple rumors, claims to have details of the new iPhones. Writing for his new publication, Bloomberg, Gurman claims that the standout feature will be a dual-camera system on the larger iPhone, a re-designed home button that appears to be touch sensitive rather than a physical click wheel and removal of the headphone jack. Gurman says we can also expect a hardware design similar to that of the past two years, perhaps making way for a more radical redesign next year for the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone. Gurman’s report, if true, seems to confirm previously reported rumors but doesn’t seem to bring a whole lot of additional information to the table.
  • Also this week at Bloomberg, Gurman claims Apple is planning its first major Pro laptop overhaul in four years. Again, Gurman’s report seems to give credit to previously reported rumors claiming the notebooks will be thinner, include a touch screen strip for function keys and feature more powerful processors along with USB-C technology along with a Touch ID sensor. However, Gurman says the MacBook Pros likely won’t debut alongside the new iPhone at an event rumored for September 7th. I’ve been hanging on to my 13" MacBook Air waiting for Apple to release new notebooks and if most of this is true, it sounds like just the update I’ve been waiting for.
  • This week Fast Company ran a cover story promoting an “inside look at Tim Cook’s Apple” It features an interview with Eddie Cue and Craig Federighi with follow-up by TimCook along with a sidebar featuring Bozoma Saint John about Apple Music.
  • It’s about time. Google has finally updated Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for iOS with split view support. Jason Snell of Six Colors has the details. Like Jason, David and I use Google Docs and Sheets to plan and prep Mac Power Users and the inability to use these apps in split screen on iOS was problematic. It only took them a year - but I guess better late than never.
  • Google has also announced that the Chrome browser will begin blocking Flash that runs in the background of webpages and make HTML5 the default beginning in September. John Voorhees of MacStories reports that Chrome 55 will make HTML5 the default except for sites which only support flash. I don’t load Flash on any of my computers but find myself occasionally using Chrome (which currently has Flash support built-in) to load a site that requires it. I’m unclear how that might change in the future, but it sounds like Chrome will still support Flash in the future, just not as a default.
  • IFTTT has released a new feature that allow recipes to live inside other apps. This will allow users to browse and activate select IFTTT recipes from within the developer’s app. Currently integrations are live with partners including LIFX, Garageio and Skybell with additional integrations coming online soon from partners including Automatic and Ring.
  • Last week I mentioned I was interested in the Logitech Create 9.7" iPad Pro keyboard case and I might have considered it if I hadn’t just bought the Apple Smart Keyboard for my iPad. This week Phil Dzikly of iLounge posted a review of the Crate 9.7". Overall it earned a high recommendation from the iLounge editors, though it appears to be a bit bulkier than Apple’s solution.
  • My thanks to MailButler for sponsoring the site this week. If you’re interested in having your product or service featured on, consider an RSS sponsorship, details can be found here.
  • Finally, this week the official trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released. I have to admit, it gave me goosebumps. The trailer runs about 2 minutes. I can’t wait for the 2 hour Incomparable episode about it.

Mac Power Users #334: MPU Live: "She Can't Take It Anymore, Captain!"

This week's Mac Power Users was a live show. David and I are joined by our pal Victor Cajiao who discusses all the steps of producing a modern music album. We also take listener questions and help troubleshoot an accidentally reformatted hard drive, discuss password schemes, using a ScanSnap for photos, share listener feedback on our Special Event and Keynote shows, discuss options for Evernote and share listener tips.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 1Password Have you ever forgotten a password? Now you don't have to worry about that anymore. 
  • Gazelle Sell your iPhone for cash at Gazelle! 
  • Marketcircle We help small business grow with great Mac, iPhone and iPad apps including Daylight and Billings Pro.
  • Sanebox Stop drowning in email!

Katie's Week In Review: August 7, 2016

We continue in the lull of summer with not a whole lot of exciting tech news to report. Nevertheless I did manage to find a few interesting links of note for the week ending August 7, 2016:

  • Apple released iOS 9.3.4 this week with a single security fix. Notably, this patch fixes the “Pangu jailbreak exploit” related to a memory corruption issue.
  • On the topic of security, Rene Ritchie of iMore reports that Apple has created a new security bounty program which launches in September offering cash rewards for reporting of security vulnerabilities. iMore has an FAQ on the program.
  • Apple released their long awaited Remote App for the fourth Generation Apple TV. Instead of an update to their existing App, this is an entirely new application available for iPhone. There are some pros and cons of the new application, Dan Moren, writing for Six Colors, has an overview.
  • Writing for Recode, Peter Kafka says that Apple is working on a new digital TV Guide type system to tell users what’s on Apple TV and how to watch it. According to Recode, the idea is to let users see what kind of programing is available through their various video apps and services without having to open the individual applications. Supposedly the “single sign-on” service previewed at WWDC earlier this year was the first step of the plan. I can’t help but think that TiVo does something similar with their “OnePass” feature that allows users to browse and record shows from a variety of different services.
  • The 2016 Olympics kicked off in Rio this week. Though I’m not a huge sports fan, I do like to watch the highlights. I’m primarily watching NBC’s primetime coverage using my OTA Antenna. However, watching the Olympics can be a problem for cord cutters, especially if you want to watch the games live, not delayed. Michael Ansaldo writing for TechHive has put together a guide for how to watch the Olympics without paying for cable TV.
  • Logitech just released a new Create Keyboard for the 9.7" iPad Pro. Oscar Raymundo at Macworld takes a first look. This cover features backlit keys, has a row of iOS specific shortcuts, and includes a protective folio case with holder for the Apple Pencil. I just bought the Apple SmartKeyboard and back case a couple of weeks ago. Although I’m happy with my setup, I might have opted to try the Logitech had I waited a few more weeks.
  • Federico Viticci at MacStories highlights a problem with Stolen iPhones and Identity Theft and shares the story of very convincing phishing attempt his mother received after having her iPhone stolen a few weeks prior.
  • One of my favorite Apps, 1Password has introduced a new subscription service for individuals. (Don’t worry, the standalone service isn’t going away for those of you that are happy with that service.) The new subscription service offers some additional features including built-in automatic sync, data loss protection, web access to all your data on and includes access to all the the most updated versions of all the 1Password applications. Pricing for an individual plan is $2.99 a month with a special launch offer offering 6-months free.
  • The OmniGroup also announced a major update to an App I use regularly, OmniFocus now supports end-to-end encryption. Thanks to recent updates to all the apps on their platform, data Synced to the OmniFocus servers are now securely encrypted when at rest on the server. One you’ve updated all your devices, you’ll receive a notification that your database is available for upgrade.
  • Finally this week, for years the original model of the U.S.S. enterprise has hung in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. However, for the past several it’s been relegated to the gift shop as the model has deteriorated. The Enterprise was recently restored to its original glory and is now back on display in the Milestones of Flight Hall. Here’s a video showing the process of the restoration.

First Look: MOS Go USB-C Battery Pack

Charging a laptop with a battery pack was something that has previously only been done with expensive adapters. With more laptops switching to USB-C for power, battery packs similar to the ones we carry to recharge our iOS devices can now be used to recharge computers. Of course, not all batteries are created equal. Most batteries designed for cell phones and tablets will not be able to keep up with the power demands required by laptops and may only provide a minimal charge to a USB-C notebook, and only then if the notebook is powered off.

The MOS Go is a battery with 12,000 mAh, 44.4 Wh capacity which the manufacturer claims will recharge a 2015 MacBook up to 75% capacity. More importantly, it will also provide power to a MacBook that is powered on, meaning you don’t have to shut down your computer to recharge the battery. I viewed a video demonstration provided by the manufacturer where a MacBook with the screen at 50% brightness was connected to the MOS Go and was able to gain about 30% charge over 30 minutes.

The MOS Go has a single USB-C input and thus requires a USB-C cable to charge, but has both standard USB and USB-C outputs. This means you can recharge both your USB-C laptop as well as an iPhone or iPad with a single battery pack. With a 12,000 mAh capacity, the MOS Go should charge most smartphones up to four times and most tablets twice.

I’ve been playing with a MOS Go for about a week now and it’s a nice battery. The build quality is solid and I like that it has dual USB and USB-C outputs. My only wish is it has both USB and USB-C inputs for recharging. If you have a USB-C capable device, like the new MacBook or one of Google’s Chromebooks, adding a USB-C power pack to your travel bag is something worth considering. You can order the MOS Go direct from the manufacturer for $119.95. It’s also available on Amazon.

Now, if only I could get Apple to release a new MacBook Pro with USB-C ports…

Time Warner Buys 10% Stake in Hulu, Now Don't Screw This Up

As reported by CNET, Time Warner has bought a 10% stake in Hulu and as part of the deal will be bringing some of its content, including live broadcast TV to Hulu. According To CNET:

The streaming service, which is owned by three of the country’s main broadcast networks, plans to launch a paid option next year that broadcasts live TV over the internet. On Wednesday, Time Warner’s Turner bundle of networks became the first to sign on. Turner channels to be available live on Hulu include TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TruTV, Boomerang and Turner Classic Movies.
The deal doesn’t include Time Warner crown jewel HBO, and it doesn’t put any on-demand shows from the company on Hulu’s Netflix-like service of TV repeats and originals.

As a “cord cutter” I’m excited about this deal, but nervous that they may “screw it up.” Especially during big news events (like election season) one of the things I miss is having access to cable news, like CNN. CNN allows cable TV subscribers to stream their content live over Apple TV, but there’s currently no (authorized) way for those of us without subscriptions to access live content. I’ve long said I’d love the option to pay somewhere between $2 - $5 month to be able to buy streaming CNN as an a la cate option.

Depending on the final price of this plan with Hulu, it may be an option. I just hope they don’t screw it up by bundling together a bunch of channels and services I don’t care about and over-charging. That’s what ultimately keeps me from subscribing to services like Sling.

Mac Power Users #333: The Amazon Lifestyle

I love Amazon. It has become my default place for all my online shopping and has also replaced a lot of my local shopping as well. This week on Mac Power Users, David and I dive deep on the Amazon lifestyle. We explore many different services and features available from Amazon and share our favorite tips and tricks for how to make the most of them.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Squarespace: Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.
  • 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.
  • Fracture Bring your photos to life.