GSE342 Syncing Snafus

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

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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.

iOS Reminders PSA

Be aware of your settings when working with third-party apps that can be set to sync with iOS Reminders because you could inadvertently delete them never to be restored again. Apple’s support article: Restore contacts, calendars, bookmarks and more using says,

“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.

Syncing vaults via a 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.

1Password Pricing links for more information:
For Families (up to 5 members) it’s $4.99 per month or (x 12 = $59.98). The Standalone License is $64.99 at the time of publishing.

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.

Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.)

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GSE341 Getting Started with Genealogy

pocket watch with old black and white photograph of a young man
Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

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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 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 tree. There are facts, stories, or photos you may not want made publicly available online for various reasons.

app: Ancestry Family History

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

MacFamilyTree app icon

app: MacFamilyTree for macOS

app: MobileFamilyTree 9 for iOS and iPadOS

Currently, Heredis 2021 is on sale for $23.99 until October 6. It normally costs $50.00. There are other platforms besides Mac and iOS.

app: Heredis 2021

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.

You don’t need a membership or account to look at these articles. It gives a nice overview of how to research, then what to do with records once you find them: for Free? 7 Ways to Research With No Subscription

Kindly consider using Elisa’s Ancestry referral link if you decide to try Ancestry. She’ll get a gift card from Amazon if you decide to use the service.

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.

Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.

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GSE340 Apple Announcements – Time For a Recap

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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.

Compare Apple Watch Models

Compare iPad Models

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+

Apple One plans and pricing screenshot

Subscription Services

iCloud Storage Plans:
50GB: $0.99/mo.
200GB: $2.99/mo.
2TB: $9.99/mo.
Apple Arcade: $4.99/mo.
Apple TV+: $4.99/mo.
Apple Music:
Student: $4.99/mo. including Apple TV+ at no additional charge*
Individual: $9.99/mo.
Family: $14.99/mo.
Apple News+ $9.99/mo.
Apple Fitness: $9.99/mo. or $79.99/yr.

*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.

Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.

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GSE339 How Did We Get Here?

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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 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.

Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.)

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GSE338 What’s in YOUR Keyboard?

tools for cleaning a mechanical keyboard

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We have a new email address! Listen to the show to find out where you can send us feedback about our episodes. We would love to hear from you!
In episode 338 of Geekiest Show Ever, we discuss surviving the first full week of distance learning with some observations and tips. These days, we find ourselves doing a lot more cleaning and disinfecting. Now that more kids are learning from home, all those keyboards are bound to get icky! Melissa shares her hack for how to clean a mechanical keyboard.

Distance Learning Tips & Observations

• Setting up a workstation is crucial whether you’re a teacher, parent, or guardian helping to prepare a child for distance learning.
• Minimize distractions with over-the-ear headphones, preferably with noise cancellation for smaller kiddos who have ears too small for earbuds.
• Over the weekend, take some time to test out your child’s audio input and output settings. Make sure their mic isn’t turned all the way up or all the way down. Teach them how to use the keyboard shortcut for muting themselves.
• Use a decorative sheet or green screen as a backdrop to create a private space.
• Make sure the work area has plenty of light.
• Keep an eye on the thermostat and make accommodations. Children may get sleepy or irritable if it’s too hot or too cold in their workspace. Try adding a fan or a cuddly blanket.
• Take breaks up and away from the workstation and computer to do physical activities.
• Try to replicate your child’s bell schedule with an egg timer, watch, or smartphone app that makes a sound or vibration.
• Remember that you won’t be able to replicate all things that pertain to on-site learning, but you can get creative when teaching skills like staying on a schedule. A routine is good for mental health during these uncertain times.
• Check out your local communities or estate sales and ask around for tech supplies.

Look for wired keyboards, headphones, printers, and other “last year” models that people may want to discard. Many consumers want wireless these days, but going back to wired for kids can be a bit more tried and true. It also negates the need for replacing batteries or negotiating Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections in what could be an already strained network.

Learn Something New

If your child is using a mechanical keyboard and has trouble typing despite being skillful, it may be time to deep-clean that keyboard. Perhaps you just need to inspect under the keys for a foreign object like a loose staple, piece of paper, or potato chip. You can take apart a mechanical keyboard by making your own key cap puller out of florist wire. Here is what a key cap puller looks like. This is a video that shows how to twist the wire into shape. Using florist wire you can skip the step of stripping the coating.

homemade key cap puller tool

Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.)

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GSE337 Preparing for Distance Learning

Photo by John Barkiple on Unsplash

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This week Melissa is focused on retrofitting her home in preparation for distance learning. She has many thoughts and questions about what to expect when entire households are all online all at the same time.

Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.)

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GSE336 QuaranTV

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This episode we discuss the shows we’ve been watching to escape the challenges of being stuck at home. Out in Arizona, Melissa feels like she’s living in a Hobbit movie where things are on fire. Mike is excited for another celebrity spotting in South Dakota. In New York, Elisa has been knitting her way through a TV watchlist like none other, so tune in and make a checklist along with us. We are all just waiting around to Upload anyhow. 😉
Reelgood – Streaming Guide app for iOS and tvOS, for Amazon Fire TV, and for Android

Elisa’s Watch List:

Amazon Prime
Just Mercy
Modern Love
Mrs. America
Little Fires Everywhere
Apple TV+
Defending Jacob
Dear …
Uncut Gems
Schitt’s Creek
Elisa’s pick: Ancestry All Access Plan 6 months

Melissa’s Watch List:

Community Netflix
The Great Hulu
Upload Amazon Prime
Melissa’s pick:
Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner

Mike’s Watch List:

Bless This Mess  Hulu
God Friended Me  CBS
Letterkenny  Hulu
Marvel’s Runaways Hulu
Mike’s pick: Fire TV Cube

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GSE335 WWDC20 Reactions

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Apple Special Event June 2020
After watching and listening to WWDC20 demonstrations and announcements, Elisa thinks the new App Clip will be really useful. Melissa is excited for macOS and iOS to finally have some UI consistency. Mike is looking forward to kicking the tires on the new Apple CarPlay.

Here are the links we followed for our discussion:
iOS 14 Preview
iPadOS 14 Preview
watchOS 7 Preview
macOS 11 Big Sur Preview

Melissa is happy to eat her rant about the lack of adding metadata using the native Photos app in iOS 14. Though there wasn’t time to demonstrate everything in the Keynote, this would have been an amazing thing to see!! From Apple’s iOS 14 All New Features, scroll to the Photos section and you will see:

“Add context to photos and videos with captions”
View and edit captions to add context to your photos and videos, and easily find captions you’ve added in the Search tab. With iCloud Photos enabled, captions sync seamlessly across all your devices.”

Mike can be found at or
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Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from links on this site.)

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GSE334 Simply the Worst

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Last episode we discussed what makes a great design and what we liked most or felt was life-changing. This time, we’re flipping it to talk about the Terrible Product Designs We Love to Hate. How could these product designs be improved to make the world a happier place? Dealing with waste and bad design takes some thinking outside the box.

13 horribly designed everyday products that need to be reinvented” — Business Insider, May 1, 2017
10 exasperating design flaws in everyday objects” — Creative Bloq, July 06, 2018
7 Bad Designs Of Everyday Objects You’ve Become Used To” — Ed Times, June 2, 2018
Examples of Bad Design in the Real World” — Site Builder Report, July 8 2015
The guy who invented USB finally admits it’s annoying to plug in” — Digital Trends, June 24, 2019
The Pros and Cons of Switching to a Shampoo Bar” — Mind Body Mastered, February 11, 2020

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Mike can be found at or
Elisa can be found at or
Melissa can be found at or
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases with links on this site.)

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