sponsor

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

Sponsor: OmniFocus 2.6 and Video

I'd like to thank the OmniGroup for sponsoring MacSparky this week. The OmniFocus team has been hard at work, releasing version 2.6 this week. The new version includes some nice new features, including dark mode, swipe to flag, and push syncing. The new version is great. Don't believe me? Take a minute and a half to watch the below video and you will. Learn more at the Omni Group.

Sponsor: Sanebox

I'm pleased to welcome back SaneBox as this week's sponsor. I've been using Sanebox for years and it still saves my bacon every day. There are so many great benefits to Sanebox. First and foremost is filtering. Sanebox looks at all of my incoming email and filters it for me to appropriate mailboxes. That way, the first thing in the morning I see are only those emails that are most important.

However, Sanebox can do so much more. I used to make fun of email deferment until I started using it with Sanebox. Now I use it all the time. When an email comes in that I don’t need to deal with for a couple days, rather than giving myself the extra work of scheduling a response in OmniFocus, I just defer the email two days. It disappears and then shows up again in my inbox in two days and I can deal with it then. Sanebox is highly customizable so you can set defer periods in hours, days, and weeks.

Because Sanebox is a cloud based service, it works in the email client of your choice, including Apple Mail. There is also an ingenious reminder system where you can blind copy an email to 1week@sanebox.com and the service will remind you if you don't get a response to the email within one week.

There is a lot more to SaneBox. If you get a lot of email, the service can really help. You can learn more at SaneBox.com. Note the links in this post will get you a discount when you subscribe. 

Sponsor: HoudahSpot

This week I'm pleased to welcome a new sponsor to MacSparky, HoudahSpot. Imagine if there were a group of engineers at Apple that wanted to turn up the Spotlight search a notch or two and had nobody in management to tell them "no". That's what you get with HoudahSpot. 

HoudahSpot lets you search your Mac like a boss. It improves upon Spotlight to let you find files by multiple criteria, like name, text, content kind, author, recipient, and pixel count just to name a few. You can combine these search criteria to drill in quickly and choose which locations HoudahSpot looks in and which locations it ignores. You can even set up templates for repeat searches.

I've used HoudahSpot for years and if you haven't tried it yet, you should. Here's a quick war story. In a recent trial I had things go a little bit wonky with some PDFs I wanted to use as exhibits. I suddenly found myself with a "needle in the haystack" scenario with 10 minutes to find the documents. I knew they were there …somewhere… and I cooked up a quick HoudahSpot query that found them with time to spare.

Anyway, don't take my word for it, go try out the app. If you like it you can get 20% off with the coupon code MACSPARKY or purchase through this link. There's no better way to search your Mac.

Sponsor: Automatic

This week I'm pleased to welcome a new sponsor to MacSparky, Automatic. 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 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: inShort with New Features

This week MacSparky.com is sponsored by inShort, an iPhone/iPad/Mac application that lets you plan projects and processes graphically across all of your Apple devices. InShort for Mac just got a significant updated adding several new features including: 

• Data synchronization using iCloud (The iOS version also now synchronizes data via iCloud)
• The ability to queue tasks and organize the work with active tasks in accordance with the elements of the GTD methodology
• Control lists for diagrams — giving you the ability to monitor the sequence of actions with the diagram step by step.

You can now order tasks in relation to specific projects and priorities. Once you complete a task, it disappears from the list. There are different ways to display the tasks including organization by active tasks, tasks under way, deferred tasks, and tasks waiting for other tasks to begin or finish or waiting for resources. 

This task integration is a significant upgrade to inShort and worth checking out. You can learn more and purchase that application through the website and learn more with the the application's PDF documentation or user forum. Thanks inShort for sponsoring MacSparky.com.



Sponsor: OmniOutliner

I’d like to thank The Omni Group for sponsoring MacSparky.com this week. The Omni Group is a remarkable company. It is a group of extremely talented people all working hard at the goal of making the best possible Mac and iOS software. With their emphasis on gorgeous and functional productivity software, they’ve succeeded.

This week I'm featuring OmniOutliner. Often people will throw information at me in a jumbled mess. When that happens, there simply is no better tool than OmniOutliner for bringing order to chaos. Using OmniOutliner, I can quickly sort and organize information. OmniOutliner doesn’t just reference words but attachments too including links, images, sound files, and movies. The app even has the ability to record audio while you outline. I wish I'd had this when I was back in school. I love that I have it now.

OmniOutliner also can output its file to PDF so once you get your outline sorted out and make it look beautiful, send it to your clients and co-workers in a format anyone can read. Some of my best collaboration projects start out in OmniOutliner. 

OmniOutliner isn't just on the Mac. It's also on iOS and the mobile version brings all this same goodness to the iPhone and iPad. You can share your outline across all your Apple devices using the Omni Group's very own OmniPresence syncing service. A good outliner can make your work product better and this is the best outliner available on the Mac and iPad. Go check it out.

Sponsor: Hoban Cards

I'm pleased to welcome back Hoban Press as this week's MacSparky.com sponsor. I’ve heard from many readers that love their new Hoban Cards pressed out of Hoban’s 1902 letterpress machine. I sure love mine. When I went out on my own and opened my own law practice, I contacted Hoban Cards and asked them to make me something beautiful that doesn't look like most crappy lawyer business cards. They delivered with the best looking attorney business card I've ever seen, fully letterpressed.

Hoban has two lines of products. Hoban Press specializes in custom letterpress printed items like Business Cards and Stationery. This is the best choice if you need to use your own logo or artwork. They also provide design and layout services. Hoban Cards specializes in in minimal calling cards. This is a less expensive way to get into letterpress printing. Pick from among several beautiful, typographic calling card templates. These are perfect for individuals or businesses looking for a unique and classy alternative to conventional, mass produced, soulless business cards.

Use ‘MacSparky’ during checkout to receive free shipping.

Sponsor: Curbi iOS Parental Controls

This week I’m pleased to welcome back, curbi as a MacSparky.com sponsor. While the Internet can be scary for most people, it is terrifying for parents. Letting our kids enjoy the good parts of the Internet while protecting them from the scary parts isn’t easy. Not only can kids get into trouble over your local WiFi network, they can also get into trouble 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. Put simply, curbi lets you control you children's exposure to the Internet, no matter where they are.

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. Below is the official Curbi video that explains the service in detail.

Sponsor: OmniFocus

This week MacSparky.com is sponsored by The Omni Group. I’ve frequently thought that The Omni Group is the most Apple-like application group outside of Apple. They are obsessive about making great products. I use all of their applications on a daily basis and they make my life better (and easier).

My favorite Omni Group app is OmniFocus. I’ve got many responsibilities in my life as a father, husband, lawyer, and geek. The only way I’m able to wake up in the morning and not feel completely paralyzed by the amount of work on my plate is through the powerful task management tools OmniFocus affords me. If you are feeling overwhelmed, OmniFocus might just solve your problem too.

This year the gang at the Omni Group has been busy turning OmniFocus for iOS into a universal application that looks great on your iPad an iPhone. They've also shipped an update that supports the Apple Watch and I'm already finding it to be one of my favorite watch glances. You can lead a complicated life and not be a flake with a little help from OmniFocus. Learn more at the Omni Group.

Sponsor: Sanebox

This week MacSparky is sponsored by SaneBox. I've been using SaneBox for over a year now and it still saves my bacon every day. There are so many great benefits to SaneBox.

First and foremost is filtering. SaneBox looks at all of my incoming email and filters it for me to appropriate mailboxes. That way, the first thing in the morning I see are only those emails that are most important. However, SaneBox can do so much more with its Black Hole service that makes unwanted email go away … forever. There is also an ingenious reminder system where you can blind copy an email to 1week@sanebox.com and the service will remind you if you don't get a response to the email within one week. It also works for 2 days or 2 months.

Because SaneBox works on its servers, you have all of these benefits no matter what Mac and iOS apps you use to manage your email. There is a lot more to SaneBox. If you get a lot of email, the service can really help. You can learn more at SaneBox.com. Note the links in this post will get you $5 off your subscription.

 

Sponsor: inShort Planning and Diagramming

This week MacSparky is sponsored by inShort (website) (Mac App Store) (iOS App Store). inShort 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. inShort is a great tool to sort out a process in your own mind and then explain it to others when you're done. 

inShort is actually kind of hard to describe until you lay hands on it. The developer has most recently published a very quick guide to inShort that helps explain it better. The apps continue to get regular updates taking advantage of the newest iOS and Mac OS technologies. The new versions look great on iOS 8 and Yosemite. Want to learn more? Read the developer's PDF

Sponsor - Middle Davids Artisan Candles

This week I'm pleased to welcome back Middle Davids Artisan Candles. Dan and his team at Middle Davids understand the use of rituals to help with productivity. We all like our good coffee (or tea!) and ergonomic chairs, but what about scent?

I burn candles while I write and I always feel that the ritual of lighting the candle is a way to tell myself "it is on" and get to work. After I've worked a few hours, I blow out the candle and take a break. You'll be surprised how well this works. This month I'm burning through a Cherry Blossom candle from Middle David's and one of my goals is to finish a big project before the candle burns out. It's a great little analog motivational tool.

Dan, the proprietor, is a candle geek and obsesses on candles like I do productivity apps. The candles are 100% botanical soy wax, not paraffin (which is a petrochemical) and the wicks are cotton woven (no metals).

Middle Davids has a subscription plan that gets you two candles a month with 40 hours of burn time.. You also get a box of wooden matches, and a sample of the next month's scent. Give it a try. You'll surprise yourself. Use the code "macsparky5" for $5 off. Also, check out their video, below.

Sponsor: Curbi iOS Parental Controls

This week, I’m pleased to welcome back, curbi as a MacSparky.com sponsor. While the Internet can be scary for most people, it is terrifying for parents. Letting our kids enjoy the good parts of the Internet while protecting them from the nefarious parts isn’t easy. Not only can kids get into trouble over your local WiFi network, they can also get into trouble 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 2.1 for iOS. Now Universal!

This week MacSparky.com is sponsored by OmniFocus. The Omni Group has been hard at work since last year taking all of the their iPad applications universal, so they work on both the iPad and iPhone. Version 2.1 of OmniFocus for the iPad is now officially universal and works on the iPhone.

This new version looks fantastic on the larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screens. The new version works in landscape mode with a Sidebar on the iPhone 6 Plus, lets you use the Review perspective on your phone, create perspectives (with the Pro version) and view perspectives with project hierarchy (again with the Pro version). This single development has me thinking I may have to get the bigger iPhone the next time I upgrade. 

There are also some really nice new features for both the iPad and iPhone including:

  • Home screen customization. You can now tile your favorite perspectives within easy reach.
  • Display a custom perspective in the Today extension. I’ve got it currently showing my hotlist of items nearly due or flagged items and it’s super-useful. (Pro version only.)

If you’ve already bought the iPad version, go ahead and install it on your phone. If you’ve already bought it on your iPhone, the Omni Group has a plan for you too. Go learn more from the Omni Group and thank you OmniFocus for supporting MacSparky.com