Reevaluating the Blog

If you listened to the latest episode of Mac Power Users, you may have heard that one of my goals for 2018 is to spend more time doing the things that I enjoy or bring a return and less on the things that don’t.

Here’s some news that may come as a surprise - I don’t particularly care for blogging. I really wanted to. Many people I admire and respect have wonderful blogs and website, so I figured it was something that I should have too. Over the years I’ve tried to “force” myself to blog more often and it always felt like a chore.

I’m writing this post to let you know that in 2018 you will see a lot less on and that the decision was intentional. Everything is fine. I’d just rather put my time and attention into other things.

I recently renewed my hosting, so I’m not quite ready to let the site go dormant. You may see a post or two pop up if I have something particularly important or insightful that I feel can’t be expressed through the podcast or Twitter. However, as time goes on, it’s also possible this site may go away completely. So, consider this fair warning that if there were any particularly useful posts you might want to save an offline copy.

For now, the best places to follow me are through Mac Power Users and Twitter.

Thanks for understanding.

iTunes Sale on TV Series - West Wing, X-Files and More

Apple is having a rare sale on entire TV seasons on iTunes. It’s a great opportunity to easily grab a digital copy of some of your favorite shows at a discounted price. I’ve been picking up my favorite TV series when I can since they tend to come and go from the various streaming services.

Even better, couple this with a discounted iTunes Gift Card and save even more. Here are a few of my favorite picks (several of which I picked up myself):

Mac Power Users #409: Holiday Tech

This week on Mac Power Users, David and I break down all the ways to use your technology for the holidays including smart decorations, streaming audio (and David's Yule playlist), managing parties with tech, recommended family-friendly Apple TV games, David's holiday card production workflow and Katie's envelope hacks, tracking gift giving, and setting up your network for visiting relatives and friends.

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. 
  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.
  • Jamf Now: Manage your Apple devices from anywhere. Get your first three devices free!
  • Freshbooks: Online invoicing made easy.

Mac Power Users #408: Revisiting Emergency Preparedness

This week on Mac Power Users, David and I revisit the topic of emergency preparedness. This can include everything from natural disasters, personal emergencies, accident or illness, technology failures and even happy emergencies. We share our for getting your tech prepared and how technology can help you weather the storm.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Eero: Never think about WiFi again. Use code MPU for free overnight shipping.
  • TextExpander from Smile Type more with less effort! Expand short abbreviations into longer bits of text, even fill-ins, with TextExpander from Smile.
  • 1Password Have you ever forgotten a password? Now you don't have to worry about that anymore. Save up to 20% using this link.
  • Making Light Get (or give!) a candle subscription and make some new habits. Use offer code MPU10 to save $10 on a new subscription

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

Christmas is just 17 days away. A few weeks ago David and I released our annual Geek Gift Guide episode of Mac Power Users. You can also find a list of some of my Favorite Things on this site which may provide you with shopping inspiration. If you, like me, are still struggling to find a few last-minute gifts, I thought I’d offer up a few of my favorites.


Fujitsu ScanSnap - If there’s someone in your life who wants to go paperless but is struggling, there’s no better gift than a document scanner. My favorite is the ix500. Without question, it’s the best document scanner on the market. I keep one on my desk at home and at the office and it churns through paper. Don’t settle for a lesser product, this is the one you want.



Eero Home Wi-Fi Network - I’ve tried everything to create a solid home Wi-Fi network over the years. Powerful routers, the latest standards, Powerline adapters, wireless repeaters, multiple base stations, you name it. Eero is a simple solution to most home Wi-Fi problems. Since they became a sponsor on MPU they sent me one to install in my home. I’ve since installed on one in my parents home as well and it has solved all our coverage problems.


Amazon Echo - In the past eighteen months I have become a full devotee of the Amazon Echo. I have an Echo in my kitchen and Echo Dots in my bedroom and office. I use them throughout the day for controlling smart home devices, getting the news and weather, listening to music and podcasts and much more. The Echo has become an essential piece of my home.


Ring Video Doorbell - While I initially brushed this off as a gimmick, it has brought a lot of peace of mind. The Ring Video Doorbell tells me who is at my door, notifies me when a package has been dropped (even when the delivery person fails to ring), lets me know who has been at my house and allows me to check in on things when I’m away. perhaps most importantly, I’ve found having a camera at my front door to be a great deterrent to solicitors and other foot traffic. Go for the Pro version if you can, if you can’t wire it in, the v2 Ring is great too.


AirPods - Yes, they really are as good as everyone says. These are the only headphones I want to use anymore and I regret wasting money on other purchases. No cords to tangle, fast and easy charging, and a convenient size to carry. I use them for everything from conference calls to working out.


Dyson V6 Cordless Stick Vacuum - I have a full-size upright vacuum that I use for whole house cleaning, but since buying my Dyson Stick Vacuum I find I rarely use it. The Dyson Stick Vac is lightweight, can be used almost anywhere and will give you up to 20 minutes of use on a charge. It’s great for quick cleanup jobs around the house.


Brother HL-L2340DW MMEF2Compact Laser Printer - I initially bought this printer for my office, but have since picked one up for home. It’s an inexpensive monochrome laser printer that you can connect via USB, AirPrint or Wi-Fi Direct. The printer is fast and efficient, providing up to 27 pages per minute and has a 250-sheet capacity with a manual feed tray. The printer is also Amazon Dash enabled so it can be configured to order its own toner. In over a year of ownership and fairly heavy use, I’ve only had to reorder toner twice. It’s much faster and economical than my old inkjet printer.

Qi Charger.jpg

Qi Charger - I admit, when Apple announced wireless charging on the iPhone 8 and X I thought it was a gimmick. Wireless charging is slow and isn’t really “wireless” as it requires the charger to be plugged in. Turns out, it’s actually pretty convenient just to set your phone down on a pad. The trick is, to put these chargers in places where you commonly set your phone down already. I like a stand-up charger for my desk, and a charging pad for places I commonly lay my phone down like on my side table in the family room.


Lutron Caseta Starter Switch Set - I love my Hue lights, but sometimes they’re a pain to operate. Turns out, smart switches are better. A single smart switch can turn a whole room into a room full of “smart lights”. The Lutron Caseta is my favorite as they are available in a variety of styles and configurations and work with both the Amazon Echo and Apple Home Kit. Start with a hub and grow from there. I’ve already set up my family room, kitchen, bedroom, and fan and am itching to do more.


Top Greener USB Outlet - While you’re replacing your wall switches, might as well replace a few electrical outlets too. These outlets include USB outlets to neatly charge your devices without the need for unsightly wall warts. You can pick up outlets with USB-A ports and now USB-C ports as well depending on your needs. I like having a couple of these in the kitchen or other places people commonly charge their devices.

Mac Power Users #407: Workflows with Shahid Kamal Ahmad

Thi week on Mac Power Users, Game developer and former Sony executive Shahid Kama Ahmad shares his Apple hardware, software, and workflows for getting work done.

Guest Starring: Shahid Kamal Ahmad

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Making Light Get (or give!) a candle subscription and make some new habits. Use offer code "MPU10 to save $10 on a new subscription".
  • Fracture Bring your photos to life.
  • Gazelle Sell your iPhone for cash at Gazelle!
  • Casper: Start sleeping ahead of the curve. Get $50 off with the code ‘MPU’.

ScreenCastsOnline Monthly Magazine: Lessons Learned in Home Automation


This month’s issue of ScreenCasts Online Monthly Magazine is now available in ScreenCasts Online Magazine App. In the December issue you’ll find an article from me about lessons learned with home automation.

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

MPU Hoodie and Glow Shirt Now Available

Last week David and I launched a new set of MPU Merchandise that is available through December 3rd. For a limited time, you can buy a MPU Hoodie or a Glow T-Shirt from Cotton bureau. We’re really proud of these offerings, not just the design but also the quality.

The MPU Hoodie is a heavyweight zip hoodie made by Independent Trading Co. It features the embroidered MPU Battery logo.

The T-shirt is available in styles for Men and Women and a few different varieties including Black, Vintage Black and Heavy Metal. Best of all, the battery icon is created using glow ink.

We’ve also worked with Cotton Bureau to make sure we can ship these products internationally for reasonable fees. If you’ve been turned off by international shipping in the past, take a second look. Most orders should arrive in time for Christmas.

Grab them here: