Katie's Week in Review: February 19, 2017

Do you know the way to San Jose? Apple announces WWDC dates, teases their new Apple Music series and more. Here are the links of note for the week ending February 19, 2017:

  • Apple brings WWDC back to San Jose in 2017 - The Loop - For the first time since 2002, Apple will bring WWDC back to San Jose. The Conference will be held the week of June 5, 2017 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. A few Apple Bloggers, including Jim Dalrymple were given the heads up and had an opportunity to talk to Apple’s Phil Schiller about the move. WWDC will be able the same size as previous conferences, but the move to San Jose makes the logistics a lot easier for the company. Of course, the change in venue could negatively impact some of the social events that pops around WWDC including third-party conferences, meet-ups, and parties. Time will tell.
  • Apple Vowed To Revolutionize Television. An Inside Look at Why It Hasn’t - Bloomberg - Mark Gurman takes a look at the history of the Apple TV, what could have been, and why the platform has generally failed to launch. Gurman says a new 4K Apple TV is in the works, but if that’s the only change between the next generation and current set-top box, it’s probably not enough to make me upgrade.
  • Apple’s new TV show has Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and Will.i.am telling people why their app ideas are terrible - Recode - Eddie Cue and Ben Silverman appeared at the Code Media conference to talk about Apple’s new TV show Planet of the Apps. You can view the full interview (about 1h 10m) here. Planet of the Apps appears to be a mix of Shark Take and the Voice with developer sand entrepreneurs making a pitch to a celebrity panel. If the idea is chosen, the teams will work with the celebrities and compete for VC money and App store placement. (You can view Apple’s Trailer here.) I’m not an Apple Music subscriber, but even if I was, it’s probably not the type of thing I’d be interested in. Then again, I’m not a real fan of reality TV.
  • Amazon has quietly updated its free shipping policy for the better - 9to5Toys - Last year, Amazon raised the threshold for free shipping for non-prime members to $49. This week, they dropped it back down to $35 or more, likely in response to Walmart offering free shipping on any orders of $35 or more. I’m a long time Amazon Prime subscriber, but I applaud the change.
  • Is ‘unlimited’ phone data a ripoff? - Recode - Earlier this year T-Mobile simplified their pricing. Verizon has announced they were bringing back an unlimited data plan and AT&T announced this week they were doing the same. One thing is for sure, the competition is good for consumers. But the question still remains if these unlimited plans, as good as they sound, are really good ideas. For most consumers, probably not.
  • Iconfactory Plans to Rebuild Twitterrific for Mac with Kickstarter Campaign - Mac Observer - Iconfacory wants to bring back their Twitter client for Mac. Although Twitterrific for Mac continues to function, it has not been updated in some time and Iconfactory is asking users to pledge money up front through Kickstarter to support the development of a new version of the App. It’s an interesting model, I’m curious to see how this goes.
  • Apple suspends sales of LG’s UltraFine 5K monitor over hardware issues - Apple Insider - There have been reports of the new LG UltraFine 5K monitor, allegedly due to interference with Wi-Fi routers. Right now the monitor is still available on Apple’s online store but showing ship times of 3–4 weeks.
  • Apple Music — Carpool Karaoke: The Series — Trailer Apple’s other new series coming to Apple Music is Carpool Karaoke. This series looks to have a bit more boarder appeal than Planet of the Apps. The trailer is a lot of fun:

Still Struggling with Inline Attachments in Apple Mail

I've twice written on the subject of inline attachments in Apple Mail. Those posts have been fairly popular so it seems I'm not the only one who has a dislike for them.

By default, Apple Mail sends certain e-mail attachments such as images and PDFs inline, or in the body of the message. While this may look visually appealing for some messages with images, it can be frustrating and confusing.

I previously recommended two utilities to manage in-line attachment, Clive Galeni’s Anti Attachments Plugin and Attachment Tamer. Sadly, it appears that both are now defunct.

Worse yet, Clive Galeni seems to still be selling his plug-in, which I personally have found does not function properly with Sierra and have uninstalled.  I've had several people write me and tell me they've also had trouble with the plug-in under Sierra or have recently bought the plug-in without reply from the developer. I too have reached out to the developer several times with no reply.

For now, The only way I know of to remove inline attachments are to use a terminal command. Here's how:

If Mail is open, quit it. Open the Terminal (Applications → Utilities) Enter the following command:

defaults write com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool yes

Once you restart Mail.app any email messages that you send or receive will display attachments as icons, not inline. If you later you decide you want to change your preference back to viewing attachments inline simply repeat the above command but change the “yes” at the end to “false” (without the quotes). 

You should know this method is universal. Meaning all attachments, including those that are simply graphics (such as in email signatures) will be sent as attachments -  so your messages may no longer have the desired appearance

As a side note, I've had a few people send me angry emails because they bought Clive Galeni’s Anti Attachments Plugin on my recommendation from January of 2016, a time when the plug-in was fully functional, in active development and worked with the then current OS. It's impractical for me to go back and update past posts when there is a change of circumstances. As always, I recommend you do your own due diligence, have good backups and take advantage of free trials.

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.


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’
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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.