Downgrade Your QuickBooks Online Plan

On a previous episode of Mac Power Users when we discussed my Mac Based Small Business, I lamented that QuickBooks online did not let you downgrade once you signed up for their service. I encouraged new business owners to start with the smallest plan they could and only upgrade when they needed to.

(QuickBooks customer service offered a way to “downgrade” but it involved downloading the data file and a PC version of the software and starting a new plan and re-importing the data. I was warned this may result in data loss.)

I’m pleased to report after numerous customer complaints QuickBooks has finally offered customers a way to downgrade, but they don’t make it easy. You have to log into your QuickBooks Online account through the web and navigate to the “change plan” screen. I never could find this screen so the easiest way is to just change the URL so the last portion ends in /changeplan

From there you are presented with this image:

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 4.27.53 PM.png

For weeks I tried to change my plan and it failed.  A series of DMs with QuickBooks Support on Twitter revealed that they are still having trouble with the system and their engineers are “working on it” and they would add me to a list of impacted users. I never received any follow-up but tried again this week and was able to downgrade my plan and am now happily saving $35 a month

Hopefully this helps someone else.

Mac Power Users #396: Apple Announcements and iOS 11 on the iPad

This week on Mac Power Users, David and I run down Apple's September 12th announcements including the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple TV 4K, iPhone 8 and iPhone X. We also begin our discussion of iOS 11 starting with the best features for iPad users.

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.
  • Sanebox Stop drowning in email!
  • Pixelmator Powerful image editing that gives you everything you need to create, edit and enhance your images, now on iPad and Mac.
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Thoughts on the Apple Event

It’s been an odd week, thanks, Irma. However, I was extremely fortunate to have power and Internet restored in time to watch Apple’s Special Event on September 12th. David and I recorded a special episode of MPU that will be in your feeds Sunday evening. Until then, I wanted to share a few quick thoughts. In no particular order:

  • I was glad to finally see Angela Ahrendts on stage, but disappointed that after her appearance Apple seemed to revert back to its same staple of presenters.
  • I’m buying an Apple Watch Series 3, but am not entirely sold on the LTE features. I skipped the Series 2 watch last year and feel I could benefit from the power boost offered by a newer watch. (Please make Siri better!) I also have someone who is anxiously awaiting my old Series 0 watch. However, if you upgraded to the Series 2 last year, and aren’t interested in LTE I’m not sure this is a must-buy.
  • The Heart Study that can potentially detect atrial fibrillation is amazing. I have several family members who suffer from a-fib and can go in and out (very dangerously) without knowing it. If an Apple Watch in the future could tell you if you were in a-fib it would be lifesaving.
  • LTE coming to the watch is the next step. Having the ability to leave your phone behind can be very liberating. But the $10 per month added monthly cost would probably be hard for most of us to justify. I wish Apple could have found a way to work with the carriers to make this more aggressive. Another disappointment is that the Stainless Steel watches (which I prefer for their looks) are only available in the LTE model. So I’ll be paying more for a feature I’ll likely never activate.
  • Beware - the battery life for the watch when using LTE will take a significant hit.
  • Apple just keeps swinging and missing when it comes to the Apple TV. If you don’t have a TV or data source capable of taking advantage of 4K content, the 4K Apple TV probably not worth the cost. Everything else will come via software update. The price is also disappointing considering all the other set top boxes are significantly less expensive than Apple’s offering.
  • Two bright spots - free upgrades to 4K content for iTunes purchases and the 4K Apple TV brings back the Gigabit Ethernet Port. But the USB service port is conspicuously missing.
  • The iPhone 8 looks like a nice upgrade, especially if you’re coming from a 6 or 6s. I love the glass front and back (better get AppleCare or a good case) and appreciate that Apple has finally jumped up to 64 MB of base storage. If you can’t justify spending $1000 on the iPhone X or are looking for a phone for family members who don’t have to have the latest and greatest, the iPhone 8 is a great phone.
  • But, no one reading this website is going to buy an iPhone 8 for themselves. It’s all about the “One More Thing” that was the iPhone X. While I’m not sure the screen size, Face ID and the dreaded Animoji are worth a $300 premium over the iPhone 8, it is the future of the iPhone and thus the iPhone all the geeks want. Yeah, I’m probably going to buy one. I’ll probably go rogue and opt for Silver.
  • Wireless charging felt like a “check the box” feature. Wireless charging is slower and often less convenient than plugging in. I liked that the iPhone X will support fast charging via USB-C, but am disappointed that given the price tag you’ll have to buy another $75 worth of accessories to take advantage.
  • Did you notice that AppleCare prices took a jump? Apple knows that with the double glass these phones are more likely to break and they will be more expensive to fix.

Mac Power Users #395: MPU+: It's Called Hermes

In this episode of Mac Power Users David and I cover listener questions, must-have iOS utilities, tagging, automation, and more feedback. Finally, we discuss the Apple iPhone event scheduled for September 12.

 

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Gazelle Sell your iPhone for cash at Gazelle!
  • The Omni Group Celebrating 25 years of making outstanding productivity apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. 
  • 1Password Have you ever forgotten a password? Now you don't have to worry about that anymore. 
  • Fracture Bring your photos to life.

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

st-jude-logo1.jpg

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.