Mac Power Users #332: Other Uses For Keynote

We all know Keynote is a great app for giving presentations but it can do so much more. This week on Mac Power Users, David and I explore the many uses for Keynote beyond presentation day.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 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. 
  • The Omni Group We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad. 
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10 Great Apps for Productivity

I'm an attorney by day and others in my local legal and business community have come to know me as a "techie".  Just last week while at a meeting of the probate section meeting a colleague leaned over and wanted to know about several of the Apps on my iPad home screen.  As someone who is regularly asked about the apps I'm using for my work, I thought I'd put together a list of some of my favorites. To start, here are my ten of my favorite apps geared towards professionals. 

1. Due - $4.99 - - Perhaps I have a problem with reminder/task management apps. You’ll notice I several on this list, but they all serve a different purpose. Due is a reminders and timers App that I use for the specific purpose of reminding me for things that absolutely have to be done, or have to be done at a specific time. The problem with traditional reminder apps is you’ll typically get a notification of a task, but that’s it. If you’re busy at the moment the notification pops up, you’re likely to forget about ti and move on. Due will repeatedly remind you of items that are due until you act on them. You set the reminder interval. For extremely urgent items, you can set an interval as short as 1 or 5 minutes. For not so urgent items, you may only want to be reminded ever 30 minutes or an hour. 

2. Scanner Pro - $3.99 - - I go back and forth with scanner apps, but currently Scanner Pro is my favorite. I try to adopt a paperless lifestyle so whenever possible I try to scan receipts, papers and other bits of paper I come across in my life so I can get rid of them. Scanner Pro is a great all around scanner App but has recently added the ability to OCR documents and create a default name based on the date as well as create custom workflows for processing specific items. For example, I have a workflow that will process business receipts to a specific Dropbox folder, then delete the receipt once saved.

3. Fantastical - $4.99 – - Fantastical has replaced the Calendar App on my iPhone for time management. The big feature of Fantastical is natural language parsing. I can type out a phrase such as “Lunch with David Tuesday at Taco Toms” and Fantastical will automatically create an appointment at noon on the next Tuesday and set the location as Taco Toms and attempt to locate and add the address of the restaurant. 

4. Cloak VPN - Varies - if you use free Wi-Fi hotspots such as in coffee shops or at hotels and conference centers you need to use a VPN to secure your Internet traffic from prying eyes. Cloak is probably my favorite of the VPN solutions because they offer solutions for Mac and iOS and have a feature that will auto secure a connection to an unknown wireless network so I don’t have to think about it. As soon as I walk into Starbucks and connect, Cloak automatically activates and secures my connection. There are a couple of price options available. I keep a “mini” subscription active for a couple bucks a month that gives me 5GB of access each month which is good for occasional usage. If I’m traveling and need more data, I can add on data as needed.

5.Microsoft Office – Varies - Microsoft Office is a suite of products that has been a pleasant surprise on iOS. I most often use on my iPad and have found it to be remarkably full featured and stable. For all devices except the iPad Pro (due to it’s screen size larger than 10") most of the features of the office suite such as editing and saving documents can be unlocked with a free Microsoft account. The products also integrate well with cloud services such as Dropbox and Microsoft’s own OneDrive.

6. Duet Display - $9.99 - - I love having a second monitor and find it’s a great productivity tool. However, when I’m traveling or using my laptop on the go, that isn’t possible - unless you have Duet Display. This App allows you to use your iPad or iPhone as an extra display and will extend the desktop of both Macs and Windows PCs. 

7. PDFpen - $19.99 - - I’ve tried several PDF apps on iOS and PDFpen is still my favorite, probably because it syncs so well with PDFpen on the Mac. Especially since I’ve upgraded to a 9.7" iPad Pro, I find myself viewing and editing PDFs more on the larger size iPad and viewing PDFs in split screen for reference while working in another document. I love PDFpen’s ability to edit PDFs and regularly find myself dropping my signature into PDFs on the go and sending them back to people.

8. OmniFocus - $39.99/$59.98 - - With recent updates OmniFocus on iOS has really come into its own as a standalone application rather than simply as a companion to the Mac App and it’s my task management system of choice. Just about anything that you can do in the Mac App can now be done in iOS and Omni has now even added support for automation which is great for setting up recurring complex tasks or a series of tasks. I’m a great fan of Siri integration which means OmniFocus can read items off my default Reminder’s list or a specific Reminder’s list and when items are added to that list (either through Siri or otherwise) they will automatically be added to my OmniFocus inbox.

9. Deliveries - $4.99 - - With the exception of weekly grocery shopping, I’ve probably transitioned most of my shopping online. I buy almost all my electronics, clothing and convenience items online. This means I have a lot of packages coming to my door and sometimes can loose track of them. I use Deliveries to track shipments so I know when to expect them. My favorite feature is after buying the App you can sign up for a free account on their website, register your email address and from there you can forward delivery notification emails to a special email address and the delivery information will automatically show up in the app. It’s almost too easy.

10. Todoist - Free/$28.99 a year - - This is my third task management related App on this list, but it serves a specific purpose. While I love OmniFocus for my personal task management needs, I was missing a way to share and delegate tasks with others, particularly in the office. To solve this need, our office turned to Todoist. As a task management App it’s pretty basic, and candidly I’m not in love with the design or implementation. But the sharing and collaboration features are good and it allows me to share projects with other attorney sin my office as well as my legal assistant and assign tasks and check on the status of those tasks. For less than $30 a year per person for a business plan, the price was right to get our office started.

This article first appeared in the June Issue of ScreencastsOnline Monthly Magazine. ScreenCastsOnline monthly magazine is packed with hints, tips, articles and links to streamable versions of ScreenCastsOnline tutorials and delivered monthly via Newsstand on the iPad. You can find out more at

Katie's Week In Review: July 24, 2016

We’re still in the dog days of summer, but there’s a little more Apple news to report. Here are the links of note for the week ending July 24, 2016:

  • Apple has released a slew of software updates this week including OS X 10.11.6, iOS 9.3.3, tvOS 9.2.2 and watchOS 2.2.2. The updates include primarily bug fixes but also several security updates. The downloads can be obtained through the software updated function on your hardware. I’ve updated all my devices and haven’t run into any issues.
  • Apple announced its FY 16 Third Quarter Results Conference Call will be held on Tuesday, July 26th at 2pm Pacific, 5pm Eastern. The call will be available as a webcast and also available for two weeks after for replay on Apple’s website. Investors are a bit nervous about this call given Apple’s lackluster results last quarter and the somewhat negative rumors circulating about Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail.
  • Speaking of the new iPhone 7, Juli Clover of MacRumors reports on a new mockup circulating around the Internet which depicts three models of the new iPhone including an iPhone 7, iPhone 7Plus and a new iPhone 7 Pro. The Pro model allegedly features a 5.5" form factor, dual lens and a smart connector. I’m personally a little skeptical about this rumor, but time will tell.
  • There was major acquisition news this week, as reported by Dan Frommer of Recode, SoftBank is reportedly buying ARM Holdings for $32 billion. This is notable not only for the size of the acquisition, but also because ARM chips dominate the smartphone market including Apple’s iPhone and iPads.
  • There have been several complaints since iTunes Match launched that the service was replacing “matched” songs with different versions. For example, users have reported live tracks could be swapped with studio versions or similar mistakes. Supposedly Apple has been working on audio fingerprint technology to improve the accuracy of this match. As Jim Dalrymple of the Loop explains, Apple has already been using audio fingerprint technology for iTunes Match subscribers and will now be rolling it out to Apple Music Subscribers. I subscribe to iTunes Match, but not Apple Music. I still see a frustrating number of unmatched tracks for no apparent reason, but hopefully as the technology improves this will decrease.
  • The popular writing App Scrivener is now available for the iPad and iPhone. We’ve spoken about Scrivener a lot on Mac Power Users, my pal David Sparks has written books on Scrivener and shares his thoughts on the new iOS App. (Spoiler alert, he likes it.)
  • Jeff Gamet of The Mac Observer has news that the new Star Trek Series is coming to Netflix Streaming, but not in the US. The new series will launch in 2017, but US viewers will need a paid CBS All Access account that costs $6 per month. Still, good news for those in the 188 countries where Netflix will be showing the series.
  • Drafts is one of my favorite iOS Apps, in fact its in my Dock, but I still don’t know many of the ninja tricks. Good news, my friend David Sparks has been working on a Screencast Series for Draft with over an hour of content. The series is now complete and there are over 15 tutorials in total available on the Drafts website. Here’s a sample:

Mac Power Users #331: Stephen Hackett: Collector of Macs

This week on Mac Power users RelayFM co-founder, Apple Collector and YouTuber Stephen Hackett joins David and me to explain essential cloud-based services used to run the Relay Network, his growing collection of Macs, and his photo and video workflows.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Hover: Simplified domain management. Use code AUTOMATION to get 10% off your first purchase.
  • The Omni Group We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad. 
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Katie's Week in Review: July 17, 2016

My apologies for skipping the Week in Review last week, but I had a fabulous time at my brother’s wedding. To make up for it, I have a little extra content this week, so without further delay, here are the links of note for the week ending July 17, 2016:

  • This week we saw a leaked video that allegedly shows the iPhone 7 rear casing. As noted by Juli Clover of MacRumors, the design features no headphone jack and a larger camera hole that may accommodate an improved image sensor.
  • Eddie Cue spoke with Natalie Jarvey of the Hollywood Reporter and shared some insight about future plans for the Apple TV and thoughts on video streaming services. Among other things, Cue says Apple isn’t in the business of trying to create TV shows but is open to “helping guide them and make suggestions.”
  • Apple has released public betas of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. Although I recommend extreme caution when installing betas (and I suggest you don’t do this on any machine you rely on) Serenity Caldwell and Lory Gil of iMore has released guides on how to install iOS 10 and macOS Sierra public betas. If you decide to play with the beta, Jason Snell of Six Colors has 7 things to try in the macOS beta.
  • If you weren’t able to attend WWDC, Apple has released the videos of the sessions along with searchable transcripts. Watch and enjoy!
  • A new piece of Mac malware has been discovered. Thomas Reed writing for the Malwarebytes blog explains that this new malware is in the form of a fake document converter app that actually installs a backdoor to your Mac. As always, download software with caution.
  • Last week Apple announced it was bringing the National Organ Donor Registration to iPhone as part of an update to iOS 10. With the new released iPhone users will be able to sign up to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor from the I’m already registered as an organ donor, but I’ll be updating my information in the Health App as soon as the new OS is released
  • I’m a big fan of two-factor authentication and try to enable it for all my apps and services. Recently Apple has changed the way they implement two-factor authentication. If you’re using the old system (a four digit code delivered via push notification or SMS) you may want to update to the new and improved method. If your confused (as I was) have no fear, Dan Moren writing at Six Colors walks you through the process.
  • This week Pokémon Go! swept across the world. I’m not a big gamer and have never had much of an interest in Pokémon, but it seems to be all the Internet can talk about. If your curious about what the rage is all about, Serenity Caldwell, Lory Gil and Jen Karner of iMore have created a Beginner’s guide on how to play Pokémon Go.
  • My thanks to MailButler for sponsoring this week. MailButler is an add-on, which adds many great productivity boosting features to your Apple Mail. If you’re interested in promoting your App or service through a RSS sponsorship of this site, you can learn more here.
  • Finally, Stephen Hackett (who is our guest next week on MPU) has continued his video series. This time Stephen reviews 7 old Apple notebooks in 6 minutes.

Mac Power Users #330: I'm not familiar with "Wookieepedia"

This week on Mac Power Users David and I catch up on listener feedback. MPU Listener Ruben shares how he uses his MPU workflows on his work PC, we discuss merging Apple IDs, cleaning up after being scammed, follow-up on iOS photography, family tech support and listeners share their tips and tricks.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • Igloo: An intranet you’ll actually like, free for up to 10 people.
  • Fujitsu ScanSnap ScanSnap Helps You Live a More Productive, Efficient, Paperless Life. 
  • Gazelle Sell your iPhone for cash at Gazelle! 
  • Sanebox Stop drowning in email!

Mac Power Users #329: Special Event Tech

I'm heading off to my brother's wedding this week. As I helped prepare for this big family event I realized there was a lot of technology involved. So, we turned it into a podcast. In this week's episode of Mac Power Users David and I talk through the tech required to plan and put on a special event. Topics including project planning, audio and photo slideshow workflows, and websites and social media.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • TextExpander from Smile Type more with less effort! Expand short abbreviations into longer bits of text, even fill-ins, with TextExpander from Smile.
  • Fracture Bring your photos to life.
  • Casper: Because everyone deserves a great night sleep. Get $50 off with the code ‘MPU’
  • Squarespace: Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.

Getting Started with IFTTT

IFTTT, which is short for If This Then That, is a web-based service that allows users to create simple recipes to control web-connected devices and services. I’ve talked about IFTTT quite a bit on my podcast, but one of the comments I receive regularly is that people just don’t quite not how to get started, or aren’t sure how IFTTT can fit in their life. To help, I thought I’d give some basic examples of how I’m using IFTTT.

To explain IFTTT, we first have to understand the terminology and concepts behind the service. IFTTT is made up of dozens “channels” representing various devices and services that can be connected via the IFTTT. Many popular Internet-connected devices and web services have IFTTT channels. When you string these services together using IFTTT you are creating a “recipe.” Each channel then has a number of “triggers” - or the “this” or input part of the recipe - that cause “actions” - or the “that” or output part of the recipe.

For example, a simple IFTTT recipe might say: If I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook, then download that photo to my dropbox. This possible because Facebook and Dropbox are both supported channels on IFTTT and tagging a photo on Facebook is a supported trigger, while downloading something to Dropbox is a supported action.

Once you get the hang of how IFTTT recipes can be strung together you can start using IFTTT to automate the way you interact with your various Internet connected devices and services. However, it can sometimes be difficult to get started with IFTTT. To help you get started, I thought I’d devote this article to a couple of everyday examples of how I use IFTTT in my life.

For the Connected Home

I have a few internet connected devices at my home, including Phillip Hue bulbs, WeMo switches, a Nest thermostat and a Ring doorbell. While these devices don’t natively interact with each other, they all of these devices have channels on IFTTT.

One of the simplest series of recipes is I use on IFTTT is to turn my Hue lights on and off based on certain times of day or events. For example, I have a light in my Foyer that I like to turn on at 5:45 a.m. and off when the sunrises. I can do this by creating two simple IFTTT recipes connecting the Date/Time and the Weather IFTTT channels to the Hue channel. One recipe turns the light on at 5:45 while the other turns the light off at sunset.

This recipe turns off the light in my foyer when the sun rises.

This recipe turns off the light in my foyer when the sun rises.

You can also connect Internet-connected devices to each other. For example, when my Ring doorbell senses motion outside my door or someone rings the doorbell, I have an IFTTT recipe that will turn on the Hue light on my front porch. This not only gives the appearance that someone is home, but also illuminates the porch so I can have a better view of who may be at the door.

This recipe turns on the front porch light when my Ring doorbell detects motion.

This recipe turns on the front porch light when my Ring doorbell detects motion.

Finally, I have a web-connected security camera in my home that allows me to keep an eye on things while I’m away. Although the camera is in a public area of the home, I don’t like the idea of the camera being on while I’m home. Therefore I’ve connected it to a Belkin WeMo switch so I can cut power to the camera and know that it’s off when I’m at home. In addition to being able to toggle the power to the camera on and off manually using the WeMo app, I can also setup a few IFTTT triggers to ensure the camera is off when I’m at home.

One way I do this is if my Nest thermostat is set to Home, then IFTTT will automatically turn off the WeMo connected to my camera.

This recipe turns off the WeMo connected to my home camera when my Nest is set to "home"

This recipe turns off the WeMo connected to my home camera when my Nest is set to "home"

ikewise, the IFTTT App also has the ability to use your location as a trigger. Therefore I’ve also setup a location based trigger so if my location is at or near my home, the WeMo attached to the camera will turn off.

This recipe turns off the WeMo connected to my home camera when it detects my location is nearby.

This recipe turns off the WeMo connected to my home camera when it detects my location is nearby.

For Personal Use

I also use IFTTT to make my things in my personal life a little easier. One simple use case for IFTTT is to receive a notification in the case of a specific weather event. Because IFTTT has access to a weather channels and can trigger notifications on my iPhone it can be configured to send me a notification to my iOS device every morning in the event rain is expected. This way I never get caught leaving the house without an umbrella.

This recipe gives me a notification if tomorrow's forecast calls for rain

This recipe gives me a notification if tomorrow's forecast calls for rain

Another fun use of IFTTT is keeping me current on sporting events. You see, I don’t care a thing about sports. However, I live in a college town where Football is king and I have to have a general awareness of how the local team did from week-to-week. I also have a cousin who plays professionally for the Atlanta Falcons and while I don’t regularly follow their games, I do like to know if the Falcons won or lost on any given week. ESPEN has an IFTTT channel so I can receive notifications on my iPhone when particular team I follow finishes a game.

This recipe gives me a notification of the final score of the Atlanta Falcon's game.

This recipe gives me a notification of the final score of the Atlanta Falcon's game.

Finally, I use IFTTT to keep my various social network updated. You can use the IFTTT services to cross-post from one social media service to another or to automatically post on your behalf when certain events happen such as an when an RSS feed is updated. For example, IFTTT automatically updates the Mac Power Users Facebook and Twitter accounts anytime our RSS feed is updated with a new episode of our podcast.

This recipe updates the Mac Power Users Twitter feed every time a new podcast is posted.

This recipe updates the Mac Power Users Twitter feed every time a new podcast is posted.

Hopefully this has given you a few ideas of how you can get started with IFTTT. There are dozens of channels with new ones being added each week. Hopefully you can find a way to use IFTTT to put the web to work for you.

*This article first appeared in the April Issue of ScreencastsOnline Monthly Magazine. ScreenCastsOnline monthly magazine is packed with hints, tips, articles and links to streamable versions of ScreenCastsOnline tutorials and delivered monthly via Newsstand on the iPad. You can find out more at

Katie's Week in Review: July 3, 2016

We’re in the post-WWDC lull but that doesn’t keep the rumor mill from speculating on what we might see in the Fall. Here are a few links of note for the week ending July 3, 2016:

  • As reported by Jeff Gamet of The Mac Observer, Apple is set to report their Third Quarter earnings on July 26. Given the shock from last quarter’s first ever decline in the iPhone and the lack of any new hardware at WWDC, it could be an interesting call.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported on rumors that Apple may be in talks to purchase the Tidal music streaming service. Tidal is headed by music superstar Jay Z, and while typically less popular than services like Apple Music and Spotify, has acquired some exclusive content deals because of the rapper’s connections with the music industry. If the rumor is true, it could be Apple’s attempt to take out competition and secure exclusive content deals all in one.
  • I’m not all that excited about the changes to iMessage coming in iOS 10, I’m not looking forward to the “emojification” of my messages. However, here’s something I admit I am a little excited about. Seth Weintraub of 9to5 Mac reports that Apple has released 4 animated emoji sticker packs, one of them features classic Mac icons.
  • There’s more chatter this week about the possible removal of the headphone port from the upcoming iPhone. As Jason Snell from Six Colors points out, no one really knows what Apple is doing, so it’s hard to get worked up over something that is only a rumor at this point. But both Jason and Marco Arment question whether there is a compelling reason to remove the headphone jack now.
  • Amazon has announced their second annual "Prime Day" for Tuesday, July 12th. This is an event where Amazon will offer exclusive discounts to members of their $99 prime subscription that will supposedly rival Black Friday. Deals are expected on the Echo and Kindle line of products as well as deals on electronics. Prime members can use the Amazon App to receive notifications when deals go live. The Wirecutter has an article on what to expect and will be posting some of the best deals on their site as well as through Twitter.
  • Finally this week, we got a new teaser trailer for the upcoming Star Trek Movie. There’s some, but not a lot of new content in this trailer. It’s set to Rihanna’s new single “Sledgehammer”. The release of the movie is a little bittersweet now given the recent tragic death of actor Anton Yelchin who played Chekov in the reboot.