Preparing for the Storm

So, here we are again. There's another Hurricane hurdling towards my home. This time Irma, a Category 5 monster. As I write this, we're still about a few days away from the worst of it so still time for the storm to turn. However, the time to prepare is now. Despite shortages at the grocery stores and long lines at the gas pump, I feel like I have my essential supplies in order.

While it's probably past due for an update, we addressed the issue of disaster preparedness on Mac Power Users Episode 269. You should also consult the preparedness guides and resources provided by The Red Cross and your local officials.

Here are a few tips to help with your tech:

  • Charge all your batteries - this includes handheld batteries, battery cases, battery backups, anything that could be used to charge your devices. 
  • Sync all of your devices locally and to the cloud
  • Make sure your devices are backed up, you'll want to make sure that you have a local copy stored in a secure (preferably high and dry) location as well as a comprehensive cloud backup.
  • Make sure you have copies of all of your essential documents accessible - preferably paperless copies that are accessible online.
  • Unplug any non-essential electronics and drives prior to the storm's arrival to avoid damage from lightning and power surge.
  • Plan for Internet outages - Power and cellular coverage will likely be down for some period of time. Make sure you have all of your essential information such as passwords, documents, and contacts stored locally on your devices so they're accessible without Internet connectivity.
  • Have access to news/entertainment - our last major hurricane we were without power for 5 days. Download entertainment for yourself and your family and make sure you have a way to access local news and information.

Stay safe!

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – 512 Pixels

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Every September, our pal Stephen Hackett raises funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Stephen and his family have a very personal connection with St. Jude. From 512pixels.net:

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

It’s a month that is of vital importance to my family. As some of you may know, our oldest son was diagnosed in May 2009 with a malignant brain tumor. In the blink of an eye, we went from a young family with a seemingly-healthy six month old baby to a young family facing the reality that our son was gravely sick.

Today, that baby is in second grade. As I write this, he’s eating dinner with his two younger siblings. They just spent an afternoon running around the yard together.

That may just sound like another September afternoon to you, but to me, it’s nothing short of a miracle.

I try to donate every year to support Stephen and St. Jude. This year, Stephen is trying to raise $9,000 in honor of Josiah's 9th birthday. I know there are many charitable organizations worthy of your time and attention, but if you can throw a few bucks their way, I know Stephen would appreciate it.

Click here to donate

Mac Power Users #394: Workflows with Dan Moren, the Novelist

This week on Mac Power Users, Dan Moren drops in to chat about his experience publishing his first novel. We talk about all aspects of writing a book, including planning, writing, finding and working with a publisher and marketing his book after publication.

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. Save up to 20% using this link.
  • The Omni Group We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad. 
  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.

MacTrack Legal: Tech conference for Mac-loving Lawyers

Just a reminder that Mac Track legal is coming up. Mac Track Legal (formerly known as MILOfesst) is a tech and legal practice conference for Mac-loving lawyers interested in Macs, iPhones, and iPads. The conference is being held this year October 19-21 at Disney's Yacht and Beach club in Orlando, Florida.

The slate is always an interesting mix of practical tips, substantive education, how-to sessions. I'm pleased to report that I'll be attending (Friday and Saturday) this year and will be presenting asession Saturday titled "Tips for the More-Than-Novice But-Not-Quite-Mac-Expert.

You can find more information at www.mactracklegal.com I hope to see you there.

Sponsor: Timing — the Automatic Mac Time Tracking App

Animated screenshot of Timing

Time is your most precious resource. You need to know how you are spending it.

But time tracking sucks. Big Time. (Pun intended.)

The brand new Timing fixes that.

It automatically tracks which apps, documents and websites you use — without start/stop timers.

See how you spend your time, eliminate distracting activities, and improve your client billing.

Timing lets you stop worrying about time and focus on doing your best work instead!
Mind you, this data is super sensitive, so Timing keeps it safe on your Mac.

As an attorney, I bill much of my time on an hourly basis. Keeping track of time is always a chore and when I miss time, I loose money. Timing makes keeping track of time much easier. I use Timing when generating my invoices and since using the App I've recovered enough "lost" time to pay for the App several times over.

Download the free 14-day trial today and get 10% off!

ScreenCastsOnline Monthly Magazine: Nine Months with the MacBook Pro

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This month’s issue of ScreenCasts Online Monthly Magazine is now available in ScreenCasts Online Magazine App. In the September issue you’ll find an article from me about the MacBook Pro nine months later.

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, Katie Floyd, Allison Sheridan, Wally & Wendy Cherwinski, Mike Schmitz, Frank Petrie and more.

The ScreenCastsOnline Monthly Magazine is available on the iTunes App Store, and is available for individual purchase or as part of a subscription which includes a free trial period. Find more info at https://screencastsonline.com/magazine/

One Year Solo

I looked up at the calendar and realized it was September 1st. Today marks the one year anniversary of opening my firm and going out on my own. I figured I should say a few words to mark the occasion. 

Looking back, it has been an incredible year. Personally and professionally, I'm the happiest I've ever been. I'm pleased to report my business is doing well, my best year to date. I attribute that in large part to having great friends and colleagues who have offered me tremendous support.  I'm working harder than I ever have, but am happy to do it.

David and I recorded an episode of Mac Power Users a few months back that talks about some of the tech and practices I'm putting into place in my office for those of you interested. 

I've learned a lot this past year, but I still have a long way to go. I have a few things cooking for year two, and I can't wait to see what's next.

Cloak VPN becomes Encrypt.me

The makers of the Cloak VPN service announced today they have officially rebranded their product as Encrypt.me. From their blog:

Cloak is now Encrypt.me The applications you know and love have largely gone untouched. You’ll notice a new logo and a new look and feel but won’t have to re-download anything...Along with the new name, we’re thrilled to announce the release of the long-awaited and much-anticipated Windows client...

I've been using Cloak as my VPN provider for years. I like it because it works on my Macs, iPhone, and iPad and the hallmark feature is it will automatically secure my connection when I connect to an unsecured or unfamiliar wireless network without me having to remember to toggle anything on.

My only hesitation in recommending Cloak in the past has been the lack of a Windows client as most of my colleagues in the legal world still use PCs. This transition solves that.

Though I must say, I really liked the Cloak name.

Mac Power Users #393: 2017 Developer Roundtable

In perhaps one of my favorite Mac Power Users episodes of the year, prominent App developers Ken Case, Greg Scown, and Dave Teare join us to talk about the future of macOS and iOS along with a few thoughts on the software business in 2017.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • MindNode Delightful mind mapping for your Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
  • Sanebox Stop drowning in email!
  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.
  • Fracture Bring your photos to life.