It’s Melissa’s birthday (by the time you hear this) AND it’s the LAST GSE of 2020! What a long year it’s been — good riddance! We’ve had to do a lot of adapting and it feels like there’s still sooo much more to overcome. In episode 347 of Geekiest Show Ever, we’ll discuss some of the ways we’ve used technology throughout the year to adapt and attempt to overcome some of the challenges this pandemic has thrown at us so far. Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShowhttps://twitter.com/geekiestshow
My grandparents’ candlestick telephone was a very special gift I received for Christmas from my mother. There is a photo of it for our episode artwork. I played with this as a small child and it has a lot of special memories attached to it. I think these are the best kinds of gifts. Now it sets on my dining room hutch and I love to hear the sound of the rotary dial when the kids play with it. I think it’s what makes technology magical yet.
Reminders List Exports
I found out that in macOS Catalina, you can no longer export Reminders lists. If this has changed in Big Sur, I’ll be wanting to know, but as of yet, this script from Gary Rosenzweig of MacMost.com is the closest I’ve come to getting something I can work with. It involves some programming and use of the Automator app, but Gary is really good about explaining it in good detail. I was able to implement it and utilize it. My next goal will be to create an iOS Shortcut to try and work with the text it generates. My son likes creating shortcuts, so that’s always a little fun project for him and I to do together.
Creating space and a little order among the chaos is our theme for Geekiest Show Ever episode 346. We talk about the devices and services we use to organize our data and enjoy our media. We’ll also discuss our initial impressions and how to troubleshoot some of the issues we encountered when we upgraded to the subscription service for 1Password. Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShow
In an email to customers, 1Password announced a Thanksgiving sale for standalone license users and we finally decided to dig in. (See what I did there?) At the time of this post, you may still be able to get the great deal they offer on 1Password for Families. If you can find that email message, it provides a promotional link and explains how you can trade in the standalone license and pay nothing until September of next year. That’s a long enough time to evaluate whether or not you want to afford the $60 annual fee or cancel the trial and go back to using the standalone version. At any time, you can try it out free for 30 days: https://1password.com/sign-up/
One way to practice self care and carve out some space for yourself is by listening to podcasts, audiobooks, or music. Do you have “books on tape” (on CDs) that you forgot about? Now would be a good time to get them off the discs and into your music library. From there you can sync them to your Apple Watch or other wearable device and pair it with bluetooth headphones to give your phone some alone time.
Get those refresh buttons ready for Geekiest Show Ever 345 — it’s our annual Geekiest Gift Guide, just in time for the holiday sales season. Wacky Wednesday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday —who knows this year?! It seems the sales are going on each day that ends in Y. High-tech, low-tech, there’s bound to be something here for every one of the geeks in your life. We also share some tips that won’t cost you a dime and if you shop with our links, we’ll keep you safe at home and out of the line. Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShow
Scribd Disclosure: the link in our show notes is a referral code. If you join Scribd, you’ll get 60 days free and Elisa will get 30 days free. Price is $9.99/month for unlimited reading. Gift subscriptions are $50 for 6 months, or $100 for 1 year. Included in a Scribd subscription are some added benefits called Scribd Perks, including Pandora Plus. Keep an eye out for upcoming sales.
Masterclass Right now they’re offering a buy one annual membership get one free deal, good until November 30, 2020. The gift recipient has one year to activate the gift. $180/year
Clutch V2 Clutch is a lightweight, credit card-sized portable battery. Easily carried in a wallet, tote, or purse. Regular price is $49.99, but it’s currently on sale for $39.99 with free shipping. See Elisa’s review on MyMac.com.
GGMM D3Battery Base for Dot 3rd Gen Listener Clive Hammett suggested this WiFi speaker. The regular price is $29.99 and there is currently a 15% coupon that brings the price down and it’s exactly what Elisa is looking for. Thanks, Clive!
Heredis Passion Gift Set for Mac As we talked about in great detail on episode 341, genealogy is all the rage. Ancestry will probably put their subscriptions on sale during the holidays. The best way to stay updated is to sign up for their emails. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a Mac genealogy program, Heredis has their Passion Gift Set on sale, which Elisa is seriously considering. You’ll not only get the Heredis 2021 for Mac download, but you’ll get a 32GB flash drive and a Heredis mouse pad, with free delivery. If all you want is the software, it’s on sale for $23.99 in the Mac App Store or Heredis website.
Now is a good time to get in touch with loved ones virtually and work on your family tree over Zoom, FaceTime or your preferred video chat app. Here is the link to episode 341 where Elisa reviewed genealogy software and tips. As we predicted, MacFamilyTree 9 is currently on sale for 50% off.
Apple Watch SE: 40 mm Aluminum case (originally $279, look for sales as low as $229)
I am LOVING my new Apple Watch SE! Combined with the larger screen and Space Gray Aluminum case, the contrast really helps to make the display more readable. I debated on getting the Series 6, but when I weighed out all my options, I ultimately decided that it just was not worth the $120 extra (compared to the price of the SE model) for an Always-On Retina Display, ECG, and blood oxygen sensor. (Series 6 costs $399 for the base model.) I appreciate what Apple is trying to accomplish with their wearable tech, but for the time being, I’m going to stick with seeing a physician for my heart and lung health needs that extend beyond self-monitoring with the tools I already have and use.
Elastic Apple Watch Bands Stretchy watch bands are so much easier for frequent hand-washing and also help those of us with metal allergies. I really love this band and design made by Zalaver. The other useful thing about stretchy bands is they are great for kids and people with small wrists. Since my youngest child was recently given an older hand-me-down watch, I got him this Cissden band in navy blue and it fits him well. What’s nice about this particular stretch band is that it has a strip of grippy-like silicone running down the center to keep it from sliding around. I paired it with a “sea blue” Easuny case protector and he really, really likes it. These bands and case covers would make for really great stocking stuffers. The case protectors come three in a pack so you can change the colors to suit your fashion tastes. I am really picky about screen protectors and these barely impact the touch-screen functionality so I’ve been really impressed with them.
If you’re not quite ready to upgrade your Apple TV because you want to wait and see what goodies might still be in Apple’s pipeline, then install a TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter in between your aging Apple TV HD and “dumb TV” to accomplish “shared audio.” It may not be quite as elegant as Apple’s implementation on Apple TV 4K, but for only around $30, it gets the job done with a few tweaks.If you happen to have have any spare bluetooth headsets laying around that maybe don’t have the best battery life, keep them paired to this tiny little transmitter that sets just under the TV. They’ll be fine for watching a few hours of TV when the kids go to bed.
• They definitely stay put. When I read reviews, it was rare that anyone complained about these not staying in their ears. For those who do have trouble, there are hooks you can add on to them that help keep them in.
• Stellar sound. I’m very picky about how things sound. I’m not necessarily an “audiophile” but I do struggle with audio processing at times, so it’s much more helpful when things sound crisp. There are custom settings you can adjust right on your iPhone to get just the kind of sound you want.
• The Spatial Audio feature is really amazing. Listening to shows on Apple TV+ with that feature is a real treat. I hope more media will have it soon.
• Noise cancellation is just: ahhhhhh. When I put them in and play some white noise, music or even just listen to a podcast on low volume, being able to cancel out the constant whirr of my busy household is a great way to reduce stress.
• Self care or adaptation, perhaps both. Wearing them helps me create my own space during quarantine where everyone is stuck sharing the same, small space. I feel it helps from feeling like the walls are caving in.
• Live Listen is an interesting feature that might let me hear better in noisy environments. I’m still putting this to the test and I think it will be even better when I upgrade my iPhone.
• Ear and hearing health awareness
• You always know where you stand when it comes to battery charge percentage for each AirPod and the case and can plan accordingly.
• After extended wear time, ear tip fit can be painful at first. I believe adjustments and tip replacements can help solve this over time. Everyone’s ears are different and fatigue is something to be aware of.
• Battery life is only around 4 hours and many might find that too little. I am learning that the initial shock of how fast they drain is mitigated by just how easy it is to keep them charged up.
• These things are tiny! Like, scary-tiny. For such a simplistic product, the hardest thing will be not dropping or losing one or both of them. Accessories like a charging case skin with a carabiner hook or lanyard will become a necessity to minimize loss.
Our first interview is with Mr. Pacelli, a local hero and 5th Grade Math Teacher who calls Elisa, Mom. We’ll be discussing Distance Learning and how technology has impacted his work and life. Follow us @GeekiestShow.
Go big or go home or go small and stay home? We finally have a Twitter account for all things geeky! Follow us @GeekiestShow. We discuss all the Apple updates and prior announcements with ideas and details to consider for your own tech.
macOS Catalina 10.15.7, iOS 14.1, iPadOS, watchOS 7.0.3 (Series 3) 14.1, tvOS 14.0.2 are the current updates to Apple gear at this time.
HomePod Mini and truth or dare in advertising and why cables matter
Using Augmented Reality is actually really useful! Open this link using your iPhone or iPad then scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see what we’re talking about. When viewing it as an object you can rotate it and that’s when you’ll see the cable attached to the back. We believe they don’t show the end of the cable because it would be unsightly and because the plug connector at the end may be different depending on the country in which you live.
No power brick for you! You’re going to have to get yourself an Apple 20W USB-C Power Adapter as a stocking stuffer along with that new iPhone because there will not be a power supply inside its skinny, new box. So much for saving trees or lowering the carbon footprint because that new adapter will still need to be transported on one or more delivery trucks in its own box made of up the same amount of material that would have been in the new iPhone box had it been included.
If you want to hear the satisfying “thunk” of a new MagSafe Charger it’s also got an absentee power supply. Be kinder and order them both at the same time to reduce the amount of delivery trucks coming to your place.
Daily Cash with Apple Card
Correction: Apple Card Daily Cash does include taxes so it does come off the total purchase price from which you save, not the subtotal.
T-Mobile vs AT&T – who serves you best and why? Please let us know your thoughts in a comment, email, or tweet. Stay safe and thanks for listening!
Do you have questions about what you heard in this episode? Please send us your feedback. We’d like to hear from you. Let us know about a tech topic that interests you.
We break stuff then try to fix it so you don’t have to because we’re just nice that way. Thinking about syncing is our focus for episode 342 of Geekiest Show Ever. Data loss can become a real problem in the pandemic era of working and learning from home. Melissa shares some concerns and strategies for preventing data loss before it occurs by keeping track of syncing services and testing them out periodically. Elisa wants to learn how to create an additional shared vault in 1Password.
“You can restore your calendars and events together with your reminders and reminder lists from an earlier version that was automatically archived in iCloud. If you have shared calendars or shared reminder lists, all sharing information is removed when you restore calendars and reminders. You have to share your calendars and reminder lists again and ask other people to re-invite you to share their calendars and reminder lists. Note: If you’re using upgraded reminders, you can’t restore reminders.”
To prevent data loss, export your Reminders first, then make sure syncing is disabled in third-party apps like Calendars 5, for example. Then you can upgrade and try to re-import them later.
Shared Vaults in 1Password
Sharing a digital footprint between two or more people such as podcasting co-hosts or teachers can be managed much easier with a password manager. It’s also a useful tool for digital estate management.
We are curious about how we might share a vault using 1Password with the individual user subscription model compared to the family user service. If you have any suggestions, please email us or get in touch with us on our social graphs. https://support.1password.com/guests/
Syncing vaults via a 1Password.com account, though incredibly efficient and increasingly necessary, comes at a significant cost year over year. How do you decide when it’s time to pay for convenience compared to putting up with inconvenience in order to save money? We lay out our expectations of how we want it to work in order to justify the cost of switching from our “homegrown” way of doing things. The Family plan costs around $60 a year. So far, Melissa has been willing to sync her own multiple vaults via Dropbox, but she is curious how switching to the subscription model will impact her family’s workflow and budget. Elisa is still on the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” plan. Tip: check your local user groups to see if they offer a discount with membership.
Have you ever wanted to research genealogy and learn about your family history, but weren’t sure where to start? Then episode 341 of Geekiest Show Ever is just for you! Elisa walks us through how to get started using the free and paid versions of Ancestry.com as well as other tools like MacFamilyTree and more. Melissa shares a quick check-in on Distance Learning with the ways she’s flexing her geekery at home to get through another day. Elisa gives us even more tips for using watchOS 7 for sleep tracking and shopping — though not at the same time — we’ll save that for another show!
Apps & Tips:
Use an app on your computer or mobile device in addition to an Ancestry.com tree. There are facts, stories, or photos you may not want made publicly available online for various reasons.
MacFamilyTree by Synium Software GmbH
This goes on sale at least once per year so you might be able to get it at a discounted price. The macOS app is currently $59.99. They offer a free demo version. There is also a version for iPhone and iPad that currently costs $29.99
Reunion used to be the app everyone used on the Mac. It’s now it’s up to version 12 and priced at $99.00. The web site is very dated and it doesn’t reflect when the software was updated, but it seems like the message boards are current. It may be worth checking out to see if it has the features you want or need.
You’ve probably heard phrases like “first cousin once removed” or “second great uncle.” It’s quite confusing to figure out the relationships of distant family. A nice feature of Ancestry is that it discloses the relationship of a person to you. For example, when you enter info for your mother’s sister, underneath the death date it will say Aunt. Sadly, there’s no way to figure out how one person is related to another automatically.
Hear our reactions to the latest announcements from the Apple Event on September 15, 2020 and find out what interested these geeks the most.
Welcoming Apple One to the Family
We finally got our wish for a bundled plan, yay! Our new wish is that someday we can pick and choose the services we want to have in our bundle of joy. Apple’s Family Sharing features already let you manage parental controls and Screen Time, send money securely with Apple Cash Family, share purchases*, subscriptions, and iCloud storage with up to six family members — the more the merrier!
Apple One will truly broaden this value when they offer the right amount of storage and combination of services. Based on her experiences with setting up Family Sharing for her own family and others, Melissa believes the Apple One Family plan should increase the storage offering from 200GB to 1TB or allow some form of incremental pricing to upgrade the storage. In her professional opinion, 200GB is better suited for a couple. For her family of five, even 500GB is tight. She’s been subscribing to the 2TB plan so her family has room to grow, digitally-speaking, but 1TB would be more suitable.
As subscription services and in-app purchases overwhelm budgets, something has to give. Kids these days are creating and consuming an ever increasing amount of digital content for school at home and for hobbies they hope to someday convert into careers. A storage and services plan built for a family should support that in an economically responsible way.
The Family Grows Again with Family Setup for Apple Watch
Smartphones and kids are a tricky and expensive combination full of additional responsibilities and hazards that a young family may not want to take on. The same is true for family members caring for an elderly loved one. Apple Watch could be a good alternative for a young child or older adult who doesn’t need a fully-featured smartphone to manage health and wellness. Though it will require an additional fee through a cellular carrier, it might be worth taking a look at what’s involved in setting up and Apple Watch for a family member, then decide if the cost is a good fit for your situation.
Apple One Bundle Breakdowns (all pricing in US dollars) Individual: $14.95/mo.
50GB of iCloud storage, Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade Family: $19.95/mo.
200GB of iCloud storage/month for up to six family members, Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade Premier: $29.95/mo.
2TB of iCloud storage/month for up to six family members, Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade, Apple News+, and Apple Fitness+
*Excluded from sharing are: in-app purchases, hidden purchases, specific apps from the App Store, third-party subscriptions, and individual or student Apple Music subscriptions. Shared music can not be accessed on an Apple TV.
In episode 339 of Geekiest Show Ever, Elisa shares what got her interested in tech and what makes her a geek. We check in on distance learning with Melissa who has some stress-reducing tips for dealing with the new normal of using technology for longer periods of time.
For digitizing worksheets https://dochub.com is a free tool for annotating PDFs online that works with Chrome and integrates with Google Drive. If all you have for source material is a smartphone photo, convert the image file into a PDF then use annotation tools to add blocks of text, shapes, lines, highlights, and other marks to digitally “write” on the page.
If you or your kiddos are struggling to sit for long periods of time in front of the computer, try keeping a small selection of quiet fidgeting tools on hand like: stretchy bands, Velcro, sequin bands, or an unplugged game controller that has buttons. Sometimes balloons can also be good for practicing deep breathing or just for stretching. Remember that it’s ok to stand up and take stretch breaks.
Try this Mindfulness Grounding Exercise called “5-4-3-2-1”
• Take a deep breath then name five things you can see.
• Take a deep breath then name four things you can touch. This is where fidgets like bands, sequins, Velcro, etc. can come in handy.
• Take a deep breath and name three things you can hear.
• Take a deep breath and name two things you can smell. It helps to keep something nearby that has a pleasant scent like a candle or even scratch and sniff stickers. You can also put some drops of essential oil onto cotton balls and seal them in a Ziploc snack bag to keep at your desk.
• Take one last deep breath then name one thing you can taste. Again, a handy snack bag that has some breath mints, Lifesavers, Tic Tacs, or other tasty treats can help in this process.