sponsor

Sponsor: OmniFocus

This week MacSparky is sponsored by OmniFocus. We are all busy. We all have multiple commitments. In the modern world, it is very easy to wake up in the morning with a sense of dread and foreboding. You know you have a lot of tasks to do and a lot of commitments to keep. The problem is you don’t know where to start.

OmniFocus solves that problem. It’s a task management application for big boys and big girls. I hear from readers and listeners every day that use OmniFocus to make amazing things happen in their lives. As we are entering the new year, if you are having trouble keeping up with everything, now is the time. All I ask is that you give a half day to learning OmniFocus. Watch my video or watch some of the great materials on the Omni Group’s Inside OmniFocus website. Then download the free trial and spend some time familiarizing yourself with it. Once you understand how it all works, the magic starts.

One of the great things about OmniFocus is that the development team never sleeps. They’re constantly striving to make the application better in all of its iterations. This was evidenced most recently when Apple gave it a “Best of 2015” award for their Apple Watch OmniFocus app.

Learn more directly from the Omni Group. Thank you OmniFocus for sponsoring MacSparky and all the help you give me with my task lists every day.

Sponsor: Curbi Parental Controls

The holidays are over and you may know of some little ones with shiny new iOS and Android devices. That's great. Kids should be using technology. However, they should also be subject to rational limitations. That, however, is easier said than done. Enter curbi

Curbi lets kids enjoy the Internet while at the same time protecting them from the nefarious parts. One of the great things about Curbi is that it protects kids not only your local WiFi network, but also through a cellular connection or at a friend’s house. curbi solves this problem, giving you amazing parental controls for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. You can easily block specific types of content or add a specific site list. curbi tracks (and can block) websites through Safari or any other iOS app that has a web browser. Perhaps even more importantly, the curbi blocks will work no matter how they access the Internet, even using their pal's home WiFi on the other side of town.

curbi also lets you set boundaries. For example, you could block social networks from 3pm to 6pm and the entire Internet from 9pm to 8am. For just $6.99 a month, you can protect all of the iOS devices in your home. curbi is the only service I’ve ever seen that can protect your kids, no matter where they are. Learn more here.

Sponsor: OmniFocus and New Screencast

This week MacSparky is sponsored by OmniFocus. The gang at the Omni Group has been hard at work at work and recently released an update that adds custom columns. This new feature gives you tons of control over what you see in your perspectives. You can learn more about custom columns from the Omni Group directly. Adding this feature wasn’t easy and the Omni Group developers explain how they pulled it off right here

I like custom columns so much that I made this short screencast. Enjoy.

Sponsor: PopClip for Mac

I’m pleased to welcome PopClip as this week’s MacSparky.com sponsor. PopClip is a Mac utility that gives you the ability to perform acts upon your text just by selecting it. Select some text and you are just one tap away from doing something clever, like changing text formatting or dialing a selected phone number. This works just like the popup tools you get on the iPhone and iPad. One of my favorite PopClip actions is putting quotes around selected text when I’m writing legal briefs.

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There are now 143 downloadable PopClip extensions that range from something as simple as converting the selected text to uppercase to something more exotic, like looking up the selected word in the urban dictionary or sort the selected text alphabetically.

For just $6.99 you can dramatically shorten the amount of time you spend formatting and otherwise working with text on your Mac. This one’s a no-brainer. Learn more at the developer’s website.

Sponsor: Hoban Cards and Hoban Press

For several years now Hoban Cards has sponsored MacSparky. I love Hoban as a sponsor because I’ve always wanted to make this site about discriminating content and products and Hoban fits the bill perfectly.

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They’ve proven it once again with the third iteration of the Hoban Cards website. As always Hoban Cards give you a way to minimize the cost of letterpress printing while still getting something beautiful. The website is better than ever and there are some new templates to choose from. (I like “The Requisite Card”, pictured above.) They’ve also got some gorgeous Stationery, again reasonably priced.

If you want to do something even more unique, head over to Hoban Press and Evan will help you make something beautiful. Regardless of which route you take, use the discount code “MacSparky” for $10 off. Thanks again Hoban for sponsoring MacSparky.

Sponsor: OmniOutliner

This week MacSparky is sponsored by OmniOutliner. Just last week I was outlining a contract for a new client in OmniOutliner. I used one of the OmniOutliner templates and the outline came out really pretty. I saved it as PDF and sent it to the client and when she first called me back, the first words out of her mouth were, "Your outline is very impressive." I'd like to think it is because my content was particularly brilliant but I know a lot of the reason for that statement and first impression on a new client is because of all the spit and polish the Omni Group puts into OmniOutliner.

No matter how you pay for your shoes, you are going to get information thrown at you in a jumbled mess. When that happens, there simply is no better tool than OmniOutliner for bringing order to chaos. You can organize data and include links, images, sound files, and movies. The app even has the ability to record audio while you outline. This is so useful for students.

Thanks to OmniPresence, you can sync your outlines seamlessly between your Mac, iPad, and iPhone. A good outliner can make your work product better and this is the best outliner available on the Mac and iOS. Go check it out.

Sponsor: SaneBox

This week MacSparky.com is sponsored by SaneBox. I’ve been using SaneBox for years and at this point I can’t imagine email without it. There are so many great benefits to Sanebox. It filters my mail so I don’t wake up to an inbox bursting with irrelevant email. It helps me defer email and it lets me set reminders for outgoing emails. Most recently, SaneBox has added a new feature: SaneNoReplies.

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It’s easy to lose track of emails you’ve sent requiring replies and forget to follow up if there was no response. To help you out, SaneBox now has an optional SaneNoReplies folder, that contains all the emails you sent over the last four weeks that were not replied to. I’ve been using this feature through its beta and occasionally looking through this new folder, I’ve already found email threads that fell through the cracks. This is a great feature and requires no effort to maintain. You can learn more on the SaneBox blog.

Because SaneBox is a cloud-based service, it works in the email client of your choice, including Apple Mail. You can learn more at SaneBox.com. Note the links in this post will get you a discount when you subscribe.

Sponsor: OmniPlan 3 for the Mac

This week MacSparky is sponsored by OmniPlan 3 for the Mac

It has been four years since the last major update to OmniPlan and the recent release of version 3 is a doozy. OmniPlan brings the usual level of Omni-style attention to detail to a project planning application. 

Like versions before, you can easily set up an outline and turn it into a Gantt chart. I use this with project planning in my day job and share the charts with clients. It lets everyone know when to expect things to start happening. As with every other Omni Group productivity application, everything looks gorgeous.

The new version includes a substantial number of brand new power features starting with network diagrams, which do a fine job of pushing my nerd buttons. With the network diagram, you can see the visual flow of your project and make connections and adjustments.

With the Pro version you get a multi-project dashboard that lets you track now only one but many projects going on in your company at the same time. The Pro version also has a reports feature that lets you see where things are working and not working. They've also added Monte Carlo simulation, which lets you run your project through different scenarios to see how it impacts the project outcome. It's powerful stuff and it's now in OmniPlan 3 for the Mac.

I've been using OmniPlan for some time and am going to start covering it in more detail here to explain where I can make it work for me. Learn more at the OmniPlan website

Sponsor: Automatic

This week I'm pleased to welcome back Automatic to MacSparky. Automatic is a device  that plugs into your car's OBD-II port. (Just about every car made since 1996 has one.) The Automatic then has access to your vehicle's data and connects via BlueTooth to your iPhone.

In a lot of ways, the Automatic makes your dumb car a smart car. Last week I spent several days driving around for the day job and needed to keep track of my mileage. That is no problem with the Automatic. It knows where I start and where I finish and gives me extremely accurate data on my iPhone and on their website. 

There is a lot more you can do with the Automatic including:

  • Get extremely accurate data about fuel efficiency, trip distance, gas used, and other performance metrics.
  • Get notifications when your car's fuel level is getting low.
  • Get explanations of any alarms or other events your car reports. No longer do you need to visit a mechanic when you get a cryptic light on your dashboard.
  • Detect when the vehicle has been in a significant accident and call you, your loved ones, and emergency support.
  • Get driving feedback when you are accelerating too fast, braking too hard, and otherwise doing silly things behind the wheel.

Automatic truly lets you geek out your ride. I purchased Automatic not only for my own car, but my wife and daughter's cars as well so if they are in an accident, I know about it immediately.

There is no subscription fee. Once you buy your Automatic, you're good to go. Moreover, they are giving 20% off to MacSparky readers. Use this link and the usual price of $100 drops to $80. I use my Automatic every time I step in my car. I bet you would too.

Sponsor: OmniPlan

This week MacSparky is sponsored by the Omni Group's project management software, OmniPlan. For years, operating project planning software has always felt like something just one step below brain surgery. That is not the case with OmniPlan. The Omni Group's top notch set of programmers and designers came up with a project planning software that actual humans can operate. It looks gorgeous and appears on all of the Apple devices including the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. It lets you simply setup projects with appropriate resources and easily maintain and track your project as you proceed forward.

I create Omni Plan documents for larger client projects and share with my clients. That way they can see what I'm up to and my projected date of completion. It makes me look great. Learn more at the OmniPlan website.

Sponsor: SaneBox

This week MacSparky is sponsored by SaneBox. This only seems appropriate since over the last few days I’ve received multiple emails from MacSparky readers thanking me for the reference to SaneBox. Managing your email is harder than ever and SaneBox can make a big difference. SaneBox is a series of web-based tools that will help manage your email while you’re off doing other things.

SaneBox will filter your email for you, separating them more important from the less important. Imagine waking up to find your inbox with just six important emails instead of 150 emails with six important emails hidden inside them. SaneBox can also defer your email so if you get something that needs to wait a few days, you can defer it and it will disappear from your inbox until the designated date and time.

SaneBox can also keep track of the replies to your email so if you have an important email that doesn’t receive a reply, SaneBox will remind you. This is just a few of the many features you get with the service. I honestly don’t know how I get by without it. Learn more at SaneBox.com. Get $5 off with the links in this post. Trust me, this one can change your game.

Sponsor: Automatic

This week I'm pleased to welcome back Automatic as a MacSparky sponsor. Automatic is a device  that plugs into your car's OBD-II port. (Just about every car made since 1996 has one.) The Automatic then has access to your vehicle's data and connects via BlueTooth to your iPhone. It gives you tons of data and new and geeky ways to interact with your car. Just a few of the things you can do with Automatic are:

  • Get extremely accurate data about fuel efficiency, trip distance, gas used, and other performance metrics.
  • Get notifications when your car's fuel level is getting low.
  • Get explanations of any alarms or other events your car reports. No longer do you need to visit a mechanic when you get a cryptic light on your dashboard.
  • Detect when the vehicle has been in a significant accident and call you, your loved ones, and emergency support.
  • Get driving feedback when you are accelerating too fast, braking too hard, and otherwise doing silly things behind the wheel.

Automatic truly lets you geek out your ride. One of my frequent uses is to keep track of mileage for my work. When I finish any trip in my car, Automatic gives me a notification to mark the trip as work-related. (The notification even displays on my Apple Watch.) If I tap the button, Automatic flags the trip and I can view it through the free Automatic App or on the web. I liked it so much that I bought two more for my wife and daughter's cars. Having automatic in their cars gives me a notification if any of the car's sensors go off and also gets me a phone call if they are in an accident.

There is no subscription fee. Once you buy your Automatic, you're good to go. Moreover, they are giving 20% off to MacSparky readers. Use this link and the usual price of $100 drops to $80. I use my Automatic every time I step in my car. I bet you would too.

Sponsor: OmniOutliner

My thanks go this week to OmniOutliner for sponsoring MacSparky.com. OmniOutliner is THE outlining application for your Mac, iPad, and iPhone. I use it all the time. As an example I'm planning out a complex contract for client this week. My client is a windows user but that didn't stop me from making a gorgeous outline in OmniOutliner and sending it to him in PDF. (OmniOutliner makes this really simple.) So today we did our phone call and he gave me feedback and I updated the outline as we spoke and then sent him the new version as PDF as soon as I hung up. Now I've got exactly what I need to proceed forward and my client thinks I'm the most "with it" guy on the planet. Don't you want your clients thinking that?

With OmniOutliner it actually takes work to make an ugly outline. The application also gets all the fundamentals right with easy outline creation and modification and solid syncing between devices using Omni's own OmniPresence syncing engine. Go learn more here and let them know you heard about it here. Thanks Omni.

Sponsor: inShort

This week MacSparky is sponsored by inShort (website) (Mac App Store) (iOS App Store). inShort is is an iPhone/iPad/Mac application that lets you plan projects and processes graphically across all of your Apple devices. This brings a new paradigm to process and project planning and is absolutely worth checking out. 

One of the more clever features is the way it allows you to embed processes and drill down to the level of detail you need at the moment. I like to think of this as "nested" flowcharts and I think it's really smart. It's a great way to sort out a process in your own mind and then explain it to others when you're done. 

inShort is under constant development and the application has evolved a great deal in the last year as Apple has changed the design aesthetic of its operating systems. The Mac and iOS version s both look fantastic. Want to learn more? Read the developer's PDF