Mac Power Users #364: The Calendar Show

This week on Mac Power Users, David and I dive deep into calendars and discuss the various cloud calendar services, sharing, calendar apps, best practices, and scheduling services.

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. Save up to 20% using this link.
  • The Omni Group We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad. 
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Katie's Week in Review: February 12, 2017

The year is just two months old and already rumors of the next iPhone are in full swing. Here are the links to the tech news of note for the week ending February 12, 2017:

How I Use My Synology (Casey's Network Attached for N00bs)

Casey Liss wrote a post this weekend that I’ve been meaning to write for the past several months about the benefits of Network Attached Storage (NAS) and how he’s using his Synology Disk Station.

Casey’s post goes into quite a bit of detail so I’ll encourage you to read his post first and I’ll supplement with some of my own uses for my NAS.

Late last year I picked up a Synology DS416 (I originally ordered a DS415 play on a special closeout deal but it sold out and this was the replacement unit). The play models typically have better video transcoding abilities and in retrospect, I wish I had coughed up the extra money to upgrade to a 416 play since one of my main uses of my Synology is for Plex, but I find that the 416 is generally fine for playing back videos that have already been transcoded.

My Synology has 4 drives and is reasonably suited for home tasks. I’ve filled all 4 bays with 3TB Western Digital Red Drives which offers ample storage with room to grow. My Synology is formatted using Synology Hybrid Raid (SHR) which means that I have one disk redundancy should a drive fail, I can replace it without losing data. Here’s how I’m currently using my Synology:

TimeMachine Backups

Backing up both my 2016 MacBook Pro and an older Mac mini. I’ve been very happy backing up my Macs via TimeMachine to the Synology and have found it to generally be faster than using Apple’s time capsule. One tip - set up separate data stores for each computer you’re backing up so your sparse bundles don’t conflict with each other.

Archive Storage

There’s something to be said about having a big bucket of storage available. Any file I think I may want to keep to have access to later but don’t necessarily want to store on my computer goes on the Synology.

Plex

There’s an entire MPU episode on Plex, and it’s still good. Since the Apple TV 4 has a Plex application it’s probably my preferred place to manage media. Most of my media content is already stored in a format optimized for playback on my devices so my 416 has no trouble. However, in retrospect, I wish I had coughed up a few more bucks to upgrade to the Play model for additional transcoding abilities.

Surveillance Station

I’ve been experimenting with home surveillance and video cameras. However, I really don’t like putting that video up on the Internet or paying for the subscription services that go along with most internet cameras. Synology’s Surveillance station software works with hundreds of different model cameras and will allow you to view and locally save footage from your cameras. Out of the box my synology came with licenses for two cameras with additional licenses available for purchase. I have a couple of inexpensive D-Link cameras connected to my synology and configured to save the last 24-hours of recordings locally.

Overall I’ve been very happy with my purchase and my Synology has taken over many of the tasks I previously used a Mac mini functioning as a home server for. I feel like I’ve really only scratched the surface of what my Synology can do and look forward to exploring additional features like VPN, file sharing and download station in the coming months.

Mac Power Users #363: Workflows with IT Specialist Ivan Hemmans

This week on Mac Power User, we talk with Ivan Hemmans who manages Macs, PCs, and a lot of iOS devices. He joins us this week to share some advice for managing your home and work networks and devices. Ivan also frequently presents and has some great tips for speakers.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Casper: Because everyone deserves a great night sleep. Get $50 off with the code ‘MPU’
  • Ministry of Supply: Dress smarter. Work smarter. Get 15% off your first purchase.
  • TextExpander from Smile Type more with less effort! Expand short abbreviations into longer bits of text, even fill-ins, with TextExpander from Smile.
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Katie's Week in Review: February 5, 2017

It’s Super Bowl Sunday which has particularly special meaning for my family this year. (More on that here.) For now, here are the links to tech news of note for the week ending February 5, 2017:

  • Apple’s record quarter by the numbers - Six Colors - As always, Jason Snell breaks down Apple’s numbers with graphs breaking down the results. You’ll see a few interesting trends.
  • The future of computing - Marco.org - The iPad continues its downward spiral trend. While it still sells far more units than Macs, Marco Arment questions the iPad’s future. Are people simply not buying them, or just not as often as Apple would like?
  • Apple Watch Dominated Holiday Season With Estimated 5.2 Million Shipments - MacRumors - The Apple watch, while still relegated to the “other” category in Apple’s finical report had a record quarter. I am personally very bullish on the Apple Watch and think it’s best days are yet to come.
  • Apple Said to Work on Mac Chip That Would Lessen Intel Role - Bloomberg - Is Apple developing an ARM-based Mac? Or perhaps their own chip, much like the custom chip that powers the Touch Bar in the MacBook Pro, that adds and enhances the computer’s capabilities?
  • Firm That Helped FBI Break Into San Bernardino iPhone Gets Hacked, Tools Leaked Online - Redmond Pie - We were warned that exactly this type of thing would happen. Still think backdoors are a good idea?
  • Pro Apps Bundle for Education - Apple released the Pro Apps Bundle for education offering Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4, and MainStage 3 for $200. The deal is available for students, teachers, faculty and staff through the Apple Store for Education.
  • Introducing Dropbox Smart Sync and new collaboration tools - Dropbox Business Blog - In the good news/bad news category. Dropbox has finally released the “selective sync” feature we were all waiting for as well as other enhancements. But only for Business users, for now. I use Dropbox for my business, but sadly Business plans have a minimum 5 person license. I’d probably upgrade to a business plan if I could for one, but I’m not buying four extra licenses I don’t need.
  • Law Students Must Disable MacBook Pro Touch Bar App Functionality for 2017 Bar Exam - Mac Rumors - When I took the Bar Exam it was one of the first years it was available to be taken on the computer, and of course it was PC only. I had to borrow my grandmother’s PC. I’m not sure what the cheating concern with the Touch Bar is here - but I’m at least excited people can take the computer on a Mac.
  • Backblaze Hard Drive Stats for 2016 - Backblaze uses more hard drives than just about any other business I know. It’s always interesting when they release their reliability statistics.

Go Falcons, Congratulations Pat!

This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday in the United States. Admittedly, I am not a sports fan. Most years I don't even watch the Super Bowl. However, this year is very different. My Cousin, Pat DiMarco, plays fullback for the Atlanta Falcons who will meet the New England Patriots at Super Bowl LI in just a few hours.

For Patrick, today is the result of years of hard work, determination and never giving up on his dream. My family is gathering in a few hours to watch the game and cheer Patrick on.  We are so proud of his accomplishments both on and off the field.

Here's a photo Pat shared after winning the NFC championship a few weeks ago along with his son, Weston. 

ScreenCastsOnline Monthly Magazine: A Security Checkup

This month’s issue of ScreenCasts Online Monthly Magazine is now available in ScreenCasts Online Magazine App. In the February issue you’ll find an article from me about performing a security check-up.

The monthly magazine is packed with streamable versions of Don’s excellent video tutorials as well as articles, reviews and tips from authors including David Sparks, Allison Sheridan, Wally Cherwinski and more. The magazine is free for ScreenCasts online Premium Members or available as a separate subscription or you can pickup individual issues. You can download it in the AppStore or find more info at https://www.screencastsonline.com/membership_benefits/