It’s been more than three years since I "cut the cord" and ditched my pay TV service. This week on Mac Power Users David and I are joined by Bradley Chambers to discuss life as a “cord cutter”, advantages and disadvantages, entertainment devices and services and the future.
I don’t often use Kickstarter. In total I’ve only backed three projects and to date none of them have shipped. I always consider a Kickstarter a bit of a gamble and I plan accordingly. However, I did recently back Click on Kickstarter, an adapter that will allow you to use a standard 22mm band with an Apple Watch. The project is fully funded with over 20 days to go. They’ve recently added some new stretch goals including aluminum and stainless steel models.
While I have no doubt the Apple Watch bands are well made and gorgeous, they are very pricey. If I can buy a click adapter and pay a reasonable price for a standard watch band, in lieu of buying a $150 Apple Watch Band, I’ll likely come out ahead. For me that’s worth the gamble.
Fantastical 2 for Mac was released today. You can find a comprehensive review by Federico Viticci at MacStories and my friend David Sparks did some fun video tutorials. (I think he might even be taunting me a bit in his introductory tutorial.) I’ve been a long time Fantastical user and use their Menu Bar app multiple times a day to complement BusyCal as my primary calendar.
Fantastical for Mac 2 is a major update in that in addition to the well known menu bar app, Fantastical is now also a full blown calendar application. (Don't worry, the menu bar functionality is all still there, and more.) It’s a nice upgrade to Apple’s built in Calendar.app. However with this added functionality comes a price, $50.00 for the new application, but for a limited launch period is on sale for $39.99.
I use Fantastical several times a day for adding events to my calendar, it has become an indispensable part of my workflow. I also use Fantastical for iPhone and iPad as my primary calendars on iOS . I quickly bought the app, in part to experience the new features but also to support the continued development of the family of products. Even so, I’m not sure Fantastical 2 will replace BusyCal as my primary calendar on my Mac. I use Exchange 365 at the office and although Fantastical supports Exchange, one crucial feature is the ability to view and interact with shared calendars for other attorneys and staff. Right now, BusyCal seems to have better support for shared calendars in an office environment. (I should note BusyCal's Exchange support seems superior to Apple's Calendar.app at the moment)
There’s a lot of chatter on social media today about the price of Fantastical 2 for Mac and I understand much of the concern (that's the kind word) over pricing. I’ve never been fan of the “race to the bottom” for App pricing and expect to pay more for productivity apps like Fantastical and to support full time App developers. That being said, if you’re only going to use the menu bar functionality of Fantastical and not the full-fledged calendar the $50 price tag, especially for current Fantastical users, may be difficult to justify. Perhaps Flexibits will consider spinning Fantastical for Mac off into two distinct apps in the future, one for those who just want the amazing menu bar, and another for those who want a true calendar replacement.
Fantastical 2 for Mac is a notable upgrade and I encourage you to check out the 14-day trial on the Flexibits site and see if it works for you.
Several sites, including MacRumors are reporting that CNNGo is making an appearance on the Apple TV. When I read the headlines I was ecstatic. The channel includes access to live news coverage and segments from the past 24 hours. When I cut the cable over three years ago one of the things I missed most was access to cable news channels like CNN. I’ve long said if I had an option to pay a reasonable monthly fee (a couple bucks a month) for a la carte access to CNN on the Apple TV I would.
Then I saw:
Much of the content within CNNGo requires authentication through a cable provider. Live television and full shows require authentication, but clips can be watched without a cable subscription.
This week on Mac Power Users, David and I revisit the current state of RSS and Read it Later services and recap our workflows for managing and reading content.
I’ve talked a lot about the new MacBook recently and how it potentially impacts my plans to upgrade my Mid–2012 MacBook Air. I still find myself conflicted, so I’ve decided for now the best course of action is to do nothing.
However, I am going to be buying an Apple Watch, so I do need to prepare. I currently wear a watch but I’ve found that I tend to take it off and set it next to my keyboard when I’m typing on my MacBook Air. My current watch has a metal band and I’m afraid constantly rubbing the watch against the palm rest will scratch the surface. Since I don’t want to take my Apple Watch on and off when I type so I decided to pickup Moshi PalmGuard protector for my 13" MacBook Air.
A quick search on Amazon will yield several results, but I picked up the Moshi PalmGuard For MacBook Air. (Other sizes available here and here - double check your fit.) It wasn’t the cheapest of the group, but I’ve used Moshi products in the past, had a good experience and it had positive reviews.
Installation was easy, just peel the back and apply it like a sticker. I found the cut and fit was precise and it feels like a high quality product. You do want to take your time and apply it with care to get a good fit. The color is close but not a perfect match to the aluminum. When sitting at the computer you can clearly tell the palm guard is applied, but from a distance it becomes less noticeable. It’s I choose not to apply the guard to the trackpad since I was concerned with protecting the palm rest area. It’s classy and seems to get the job done.
This week on Mac Power Users, we talk with Eddie Smith. Eddie has unique workflow for his job as an Actuary - he creates in-depth study guides and video seminars to help students prepare for Actuary exams. Eddie walks us through his workflow which includes culling through thousands of pages of reference material using DevonThink, creating equation-rich study guides with LaTeX and brining it all together with keynote to create video tutorials.
Oh yeah, At the end of the show we also sidetrack into a discussion of the new MacBooks and Apple watch, for all of you who wanted to know more about my thoughts on the new laptops this is your chance.
Last Saturday was the first Saturday of the month which means it's time for MPU Live. In this episode David and I discuss Smart Folders with guest Joel Anderson. We also follow-up on texting workflows, managing large scans and OCR quality, journaling, compare Launch Center Pro and Workflow, talk about monitoring your home network usage, help a listener assemble media for a family legacy project and discuss the Apple Watch. We also have a lively debate about the value and practicality of changing the color of your Internet connected light bulbs.
I’m still thinking about this new MacBook. I share a couple more thoughts at the end of the Mac Power Users episode that will release next week. For now I’ve decided to do nothing until at least mid-May. I’ve got a busy April finishing up the school semester, speaking at the ABA TECHSHOW and work and family obligations. I also want to wait and see what accessories are released for the new USB-C connector. Belkin has already announced a line of USB-C cables, including a USB-C to Ethernet adapter, I suspect they’re just the first of the accessory makers to announce these types of products.
While I’m waiting for the first reviews and benchmarks of the new MacBook to aide in my decision, I came across this article from Ars Technica discussing the new Core M chip:
We’ll need to have the system in hand to examine how the laptop throttles its CPU and GPU to save power, which will be important for things like gaming, video editing, and heavy Photoshop work. For general-use tasks that don’t peg the processor, the oversimplified version is that Core M performs a lot like the Ivy Bridge Core i5 and i7 CPUs in the 2012 MacBook Airs. If you’ve got a 2013 or 2015 MacBook Air, it will be a step down. If you have a 2012 MacBook Air, it’s a step sideways at best.
My current machine is a 2012 13" MacBook Air, 2GHz Intel i7 with 8GB of RAM. While there are many advantages to the new MacBook, namely the Retina display and thinner and smaller form factor, it seems that from a speed and processing power it’s going to be about the same. That could be hard to justify.
This week on Mac Power Users David and I discuss what to do when the worst things happen to your tech. We’ll discuss malware, compromised passwords, stolen devices and more and what what you can do to prepare now to be ready when disaster strikes.