Saturday, November 30, 2013

How to manage stock menu bar items on OS XHow to manage stock menu bar items on OS X

When you initially install OS X, there are a few items that are placed in your menu bar by default. There are a couple of ways to go about adding or removing stock OS items from your menu bar in an effort to keep it tidy and organized.
In this tutorial, we’ll cover some of the basic menu bar management tips for stock menu bar items. This includes basic tips on rearranging, removing, and adding items back to the menu bar. We’ve also got a handy video showcasing some of the basic concepts of stock menu bar item management. Have a look inside for more details.

Removing items from the menu bar

Items can be removed from the menu bar by unchecking the menu bar option in the item’s preferences, or by a simple ⌘+drag away from menu bar and release.

To do so by means of the item’s preferences, open the Preferences app and navigate to the section containing your particular menu bar item. Once there, uncheck the “show in menu bar” option and you should see the associated menu bar item immediately disappear. You can add items back by checking the menu bar option; they should reappear immediately.

Rearranging items in the menu bar

Stock menu bar items can be easily rearranged using the same ⌘+drag mentioned in the removal section above; the only difference is, instead of dragging them out of the menu bar and releasing, you position your cursor on the menu bar at the place you’d like the item to reside and release.
Just like the previous section mentioned, rearranging menu bar items can only be done with stock items. You cannot do this with third party apps that place items in the menu bar. There is another utility that we will cover in a future post that allows you to better manage all menu bar items, and that includes third party items as well.

A few exceptions

While most of the stock menu bar icons such as Time Machine, time, user, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Wi-Fi, sound and various others can be moved and removed with no issue, there are a few exceptions to the rules. Spotlight search can neither be removed or moved to a different area of the screen. It will always occupy the second to right-most portion of your menu bar. The other exception is Notification Center, which is the right-most app icon available in the menu bar. It should be mentioned that you can’t even hide these icons by unchecking their menu bar options in the Preferences app; these two particular menu bar items are here to stay.
That’s about as far as you can take menu bar management without the help of additional utilities. As you can see, managing the menu bar is quite limited with stock OS X, but a whole new can of worms can be opened up with a handy third party utility. We’ll be back with more examples and tips on managing the menu bar in OS X. In the meantime, leave us a comment below discussing how you manage the menu bar items on your system.

    Yoink is an awesome drag and drop utility for the Mac

    Sometimes dragging and dropping items between multiple windows and full screen apps and folders can be challenging. But dragging and dropping doesn’t have to be a tedious or perplexing task. One of my favorite utilities for the Mac is called Yoink, and it allows you to simplify the process of dragging and dropping on OS X.
    Its description in the Mac App Store states that Yoink simplifies drag and drop between windows, apps, spaces and fullscreen apps. As a long time user of the tool, I can vouch for developer Matthias Gansringler’s description. As you’ll see in the video walkthrough that follows, Yoink is one of those apps that you don’t realize you need until you see it in action. Have a look inside for the full walkthrough.
    Using Yoink
    Once you have Yoink installed and running, all you need to do is initiate a click and drag motion on any app in your Finder. After doing so, you’ll notice the Yoink pop-up folder appear on top of all other windows. This folder acts a temporary place holder for any files you drag there. You can then navigate to your desired designation, and drag the apps out of the temporary holding spot into their final resting place.
    It’s one of those things that’s a bit hard to explain in writing, but the lightbulb goes off when you see it in action. For that reason, I urge you to watch the video walkthrough above to see Yoink in action.
    Yoink’s Preferences
    Yoink features a variety of setup options found in its preferences. There, you can choose the desired location of the temporary holding folder pop-up window. By default, the window resides on the left hand side of the screen, but you can position it elsewhere, or have it float near your dragging location. You can also choose a set of ignored apps, and create a keyboard shortcut to invoke the Yoink pop-up folder.
    Yoink’s preferences allow you to reposition the pop-up folder
    Yoink is a great utility for my workflow
    Yoink is instrumental to me when working with full screen apps like Final Cut Pro. Because of my 11" MacBook Air’s small screen, I always find myself running Final Cut Pro in full screen mode. It’s difficult to drag and drop files into my project’s timeline without a tool like Yoink, so I’m extremely grateful for its existence.
    If you always find yourself in an awkward situation while moving your files from one location to another, then give Yoink a try. It’s a great app, and its developer provides excellent support and keeps it constantly updated. Again, you can find Yoink on the Mac App Store for $3.99. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

    Friday, November 29, 2013

    iPhone tops Yahoo UK’s 2013 tech searches

    Rivals often point to Apple’s sub-20 percent share of the global smartphone market as a proof of sorts that the iPhone has run its course. In reality, the device remains the most sought-after item in technology which people searched for most on the web throughout the year, at least among the British.
    According to Yahoo UK’s annual roundup of trends and stories gleaned from the billions of online searches throughout the year 2013, the iPhone was the most searched-for technology item this year. After the Apple handset, Yahoo’s UK users were most interested in Amazon’s second-ranked Kindle e-reader and Samsung’s third-placed Galaxy brand.
    Apple’s iPad and Sony’s new PlayStation 4 round up the top five most searched-for tech items on Yahoo UK (the Xbox One ranked sixth)…
    Here’s the whole list (via The Telegraph newspaper):
    Yahoo 2013 Tech Searches
    1. Apple iPhone
    2. Amazon Kindle
    3. Samsung Galaxy
    4. Apple iPad
    5. Sony PlayStation 4
    6. Microsoft Xbox One
    7. BlackBerry
    8. Apple iPod
    9. Nokia Lumia
    10. Sony Xperia
    It’s interesting that more Brits were interested in the iPod than the Nokia Lumia handsets. And in terms of Yahoo’s top Obsessions and top-searched News Stories, the birth of Prince William and Princess Catherine’s first child, Prince George, easily leads the way.
    The second most searched-for item: the iPhone.
    Yahoo News senior editor Nick Petche commented:
    Yahoo Year in Review is a fascinating insight into our daily search habits and the social trends of 2013. This year we were transfixed by the birth of Prince George and continued with our abiding love of gadgets and football.
    Also, for the first time Yahoo looked at the UK’s ‘obsessions’ which showed how twerking, Candy Crush and even the false widow spider demanded our attention.
    Yahoo’s UK users were also obsessed this year with Miley Cyrus, twerking, Candy Crush Saga (who knew?), Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad (it’s become an international obsession) TV shows, among other items.
    Here are the remaining Yahoo 2013 lists.
    Yahoo UK 2013 Top 10 Of Everything
    1. Royal Baby
    2. iPhone
    3. Arsenal FC
    4. Kindle Andy
    5. Liverpool FC
    6. House Prices
    7. Football Transfers
    8. One Direction
    9. iPad
    10. Manchester United
    Yahoo UK 2013 Most Searched News Stories
    1. Royal Baby
    2. House Prices
    3. Nelson Mandela
    4. Rolf Harris
    5. Oscar Pistorius
    6. Syria
    7. Madeleine McCann
    8. Michael Le Vell
    9. Samantha Lewthwaite
    10. Margaret Thatcher
    Yahoo UK 2013 Obsessions
    1. Royal Baby
    2. Miley Cyrus
    3. Susanna Reid
    4. Andy Murray
    5. Game of Thrones
    6. Candy Crush Saga
    7. Breaking Bad
    8. Gareth Bale
    9. Widow Spider
    10. Twerking
    The #9 Widow Spider, you say?
    Blame it on The Daily Star newspaper, which brought the story of the sightings of Britain’s most poisonous spider – the false widow. The venomous creatures with the distinctive white skull image on its back arrived from the Canary Islands 140 years ago and can kill a human being with a single bite.

    While it only used to appear in warmer parts of the country like Devon, Dorset and Cornwall, widow spiders were on rampage in London and Essex in late-summer so small wonder frightened citizens took to Yahoo for advice.
    Yahoo UK 2013 Most Searched Celebrities
    1. One Direction
    2. Miley Cyrus
    3. Kim Kardashian
    4. Cheryl Cole
    5. Susanna Reid
    6. Helen Flanagan
    7. Katie Price
    8. Kelly Brook
    9. Jennifer Aniston
    10. Michelle Keegan
    Yahoo UK 2013 Most Searched Athletes
    1. Gareth Bale
    2. Cristiano Ronaldo
    3. David Beckham
    4. Lewis Hamilton
    5. Serena Williams
    6. Lionel Messi
    7. Bradley Wiggins
    8. Luis Suarez
    9. Maria Sharapova
    Yahoo UK 2013 Most Asked Questions
    1. When do the clocks change?
    2. What is my IP address?
    3. How do I change my password?
    4. How to make money?
    5. When is Easter?
    6. What is twerking?
    7. What Does the Fox say?
    8. How to tie a tie?
    9. How old is Cher?
    10. How to write a CV?
    ‘How to tie a tie?’ will never get old.
    ‘How to make money?’, on the other hand, just shows how a lot of people continue to be really desperate in the aftermath of the post-recession age.

    Boxie goes free: everyone can now prettify their Dropbox

    As a Dropbox power user on a daily basis, I am very dissatisfied with their mobile app because it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of advanced capabilities, so much so that I’ve recently become a Boxie convert and never looked back.
    This awesome Dropbox client for the iPhone and iPad used to cost two bucks so I imagine the price tag must have put off a lot of would-be users, especially give Dropbox’s own official iPhone and iPad client is free in the App Store and good enough for most of casual Dropbox users.
    Those who depend on Dropbox will be happy learning that developer Tapwings has now completely removed barrier to entry because starting today, you can download Boxie free from the App Store (the price cut is permanent).
    Dropbox fans would be wise to immediately treat themselves to this awesome app which will soup up your Dropbox experience with the elegant user interface while allowing for some advanced features not supported by Dropbox’s own app.
    I’m talking stuff like moving an item in a folder via drag-and-drop, per-folder sorting, ZIP archive extraction, direct Dropbox-to-Dropbox transfer and lots more…
    The new Boxie version 1.2 introduces markdown documents support (plain text only), a new delete confirmation switch available within the app’s settings, localizations for French, Japanese and Russian, a FAQ in user settings and a bunch of fixes and tweaks.

    Boxie now honors your Region Format in iOS Settings, uses Finder-like format for alphabetical order sort and clears notifications in the iOS Notification Center after you tap on them.
    Oh, and they updated the app icon, too.

    Here’s everything that’s new in Boxie 1.2
    - added In-App Purchase support with Pro features included in the Power pack
    – updated plain text preview, with text encoding selection, markdown documents support (shown as plain text), tap to show/dismiss bars
    – added delete confirmation in user settings
    – fixed alphabetical order sort to be Finder-like
    – fixed shared folder upload (now it is possible to upload to a shared folder, thanks to Dropbox staff for the support on this!)
    – updated app icon
    – updated date format to match the Region Format in iOS settings
    – added FAQ screen in user settings
    – added third-party screen in user settings
    – added Twitter follow options in user settings
    – fixed quick navigation menu tappable area
    – fixed passcode potential issue when setting a time interval
    – fixed occasional passcode hang
    – fixed offline navigation issues with cached items
    – notifications in Notification Center are now cleaned when tapping on them
    – added localizations: French, Japanese, Russian
    – various minor fixes and optimizations
    Should the basic feature set in Boxie leave you wanting for more, Pro features are available as a $2.99 in-app purchase. If you previously bought Boxie, you’re automatically entitled to unlock the Pro features included in the Power pack for free.

    Thursday, November 28, 2013

    Pebble Smartwatch: some thoughts on why the smart watch is here to stay

    Believe it or not, but Monday marked my first hands-on experience with the Pebble Smartwatch. I’ve striven to avoid the product all of these months, because I figured that Apple would eventually get around to making a “real” smart watch.
    Apple still might do that, but its time table hasn’t aligned with the expectations of the tech blogging industry, mine included. Apple never said that it was working on a wearable, so it’s really our fault for creating such expectations.
    In the meantime, the Pebble Smartwatch and its SDK have had plenty of time to marinate and mature. The latest update to Pebble’s software brings with it systemwide notifications, and there’s no hacking or jailbreaking needed to do that. In the eyes of many, that’s enough to make the Pebble Smartwatch worthy of serious consideration, and I tend to agree.

    Unboxing the Pebble Smartwatch

    Unboxing the Pebble was a simple affair. The device’s brick and mortar retail package comes in a tiny box wrapped in cheap shrink wrap. Inside of the box you’ll find the Pebble Smartwatch and a USB cable attachment for charging the device. You’ll also find a few pieces of documentation used for setting things up. Here’s a video showcasing the unboxing:

    Looks, size, and fit

    The Pebble comes in a variety of colors: grey, jet black, cherry red, orange, and arctic white. I have the jet black model, which is probably the best bet if you want to stay on the conservative side. From a pure looks standpoint, I do think the arctic white is the best looking color. All of the colors can be ordered from Pebble’s website, while only jet black and cherry red seem to be available from retail stores, including
    The Pebble is a bit smaller than I imagined it to be in person. It’s probably no larger than a modern men’s watch you’d find at a retailer like Macy’s. The Pebble isn’t a gaudy wrist accessory, but it’s big enough to be noticed and identified by passersby.

    The wrist strap that comes with the Pebble is large and consists of rubber. It’s definitely the weak link when it comes to overall looks. Due to its cheap rubber makeup, the wrist strap can be irritating to the skin. It’s not uncomfortable enough to make me want to take it off, but it doesn’t “disappear” like a good wrist strap should. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of third party wrist straps available, and I plan on acquiring one as soon as I can.

    Setting things up

    Setting up the Pebble Smartwatch for the first time was a nightmare, and judging from Pebble’s support forums, I’m not alone in my sentiments. I actually plan on publishing a setup tutorial at a later date, just because the setup was so clunky and cumbersome.

    For whatever reason, setting up the Pebble Smartwatch properly involved downloading older firmware from some random link on its support forums, and installing the latest firmware on top of the old firmware. If you don’t go about this procedure in the right order, you’ll find yourself stuck in a recovery loop. I spent about an hour researching and trial testing my Pebble Smartwatch before I could even begin using it. It’s definitely not a plug and play procedure, and I could see a few people returning their Pebble’s due to the frustration that results from the poor setup experience

    Using my Pebble

    Once you finally get the Pebble setup on the latest firmware, using the device is an enjoyable experience. Actually, I’m shocked at how much I like the Pebble thus far. I’ve always doubted the viability of the Smartwatch or other “wearables,” but, after using the Pebble for a day, I’m a believer.
    The team behind the Pebble did a great job of creating a functional and practical product. The Pebble’s e-ink display — similar to the one’s used in Amazon’s Kindle and other e-readers — makes it so that you can read the watch face in direct sunlight, and also promotes long battery life. Though I haven’t put it through its paces entirely, the Pebble reportedly last a week on a single 3 hour charge.
    Functionality wise, there isn’t a whole lot you can do with the Pebble. You can’t initiate calls or texts messages via the device. It has no speakers, microphones, cameras, or any other input functionality, sans four physical buttons. The Pebble is a device used to spit out information from your smart phone, and nothing more. But that’s okay, because that’s an incredibly useful feature in and of itself.
    The ability to receive all of your text message notifications, tweet alerts, incoming phone call notifications, and virtually any other type of alert is a massive convenience. This allows you to silence the alerts and squash the vibrations coming from your smart phone, and instead forward them all to your wrist.

    I’ve setup my Pebble to vibrate on incoming phone calls, so when a phone call does come in, I can quickly view the incoming caller, and answer the call with a simple button press. Or, if it’s someone calling that I don’t need to speak to at the moment, I can use the Pebble to quickly screen the call without removing my phone from my pocket. Think about how many times you take your phone out of your pocket each day to view a notification that requires no real action at that moment. Now think about the fact that you’ve just eliminated the need to do that so many times throughout your day.
    The Pebble allows you to focus on driving, or continue a conversation without being rude. The Pebble makes it so that I don’t have to go digging out my smart phone every few minutes just to see an alert or an incoming call. All of those alerts now reside on a place that feels incredible natural — my wrist. It’s a liberating feeling that you may not come to appreciate until you try it for yourself.
    Of course, the Pebble Smartwatch does more that act as a billboard for your phone’s incoming notifications. It can also control your music, tell the weather, act as an alarm clock, and yes, it can tell time, too. You’ll find quite a few apps on the App Store that allow you to get more out of your Pebble, and the list keeps growing each day. I’ll be sure to follow up with some reviews of my favorite Pebble apps in a future post.

    The bottom line

    I’m quite late to the party when it comes to the Pebble, and there are tons of reviews out there that go over every single nook and cranny concerning the device. With that in mind, I didn’t want this to be a regurgitation of what you’ve already read. I wanted to bring you this write up in order to emphasize how much I now believe in wearable technology.
    The Pebble Smartwatch is by no means a perfect wearable. It has a terrible setup, an uncomfortable wrist strap, and it’s quite expensive at $149. Nevertheless, it has made me an unequivocal believer in this market. It vastly reduces the number of times that I have to look at my phone, and it silences its notifications. Because of that, it’s a product that I’ll be wearing on my wrist until the inevitable happens and something better comes along.
    I’ll be sure to come back and provide you with a proper video review once I’ve spent enough time with the device to truly put it through its paces. In the meantime, sound off in the comments below and share your experiences with the Pebble Smartwatch.

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    This is Facebook’s upcoming Reader feature

    With so much great content being posted online on a daily basis and so little precious time to spare (talk about information overload), we as a technological society have grown dependent on various apps to scrap news articles and store them in pure text form for later reading. And boy are these services plentiful!
    Not only do you get clutter-free content, but also can pull your saved articles from the cloud whenever and wherever a few minutes need killing – all in one app and without having to manage and bookmark the URLs.
    I used to be a big believer in Marco Arment’sInstapaper read-later app for the iPhone and iPad ($3.99 on the App Store). However, Marco’s lack of vision, slow pace of development and just his general attitude on Twitter prompted me to make a switch to Pocket (formerly Read It Later) months ago.
    Honestly, I never looked back since. Pocket comes free and provides tons of capabilities packaged into such a clean and elegant reading experience that’s consistent and available across my iPhones, iPads and and Macs.
    These services also cut down on time-sucks that are social networks because people spend less time actually reading news articles on Facebook and increasingly save the stories to Instapapers and Pockets of this world. Zuck & Co. have taken notice of the trend and have been testing a read-later Facebook feature for months, a new rumor has it…
    Mike Isaac shared the top-right screenshot in his AllThingsD post, writing that the social networking giant is testing a feature that would allow users to save links shared inside Facebook to a list for later reading.
    “The functionality is quite similar to the popular apps Pocket and Instapaper,” Isaac’s post notes.
    The feature, which was pointed out to AllThingsD by the technology blog MyTechSkool, comes in the form of a small iBook-like bookmark button attached to stories shared in the News Feed. Click the button, and the link will be set aside in a “saved” menu inside a user’s Facebook apps menu.
    A Facebook spokesperson refused to comment on the story, issuing its standard boilerplate saying “We’re constantly testing new features, but we have nothing further to share at this time”.
    Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch has more on the implementation:
    When you see a link shared by your network in your newsfeed, you can click a small bookmark icon on the right side to save it to a list of saved links available from your apps menu. The feature is currently visible only to a small selection of Facebook users, as is common when the company rolls out new features.
    Whether or not it gains wider release is up in the air, and while some features Facebook tests in this way do make it to the general population, many others do not.
    The feature lacks offline access at the moment, Darrell noted.
    Facebook has been making strides in this direction for some time now.
    In March, Facebook unveiled a redesigned News Feed focused on photos. The move represented an effort to boost engagement and surface more of relevant content that Facebook’s users might have otherwise missed.
    “We want to give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper in the world,”Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said introducing the new News Feed.
    Likening the revamped News Feed to a personalized newspaper drew ridicule from some pundits, but Zuck could easily have the last laugh – according to a June report by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s been working on its own newsreader-like feature, internally called Reader, in a bid to become a destination for both media content and discovery.

    Isaac claims the internal screenie he shared represents the second iteration of a Reader feature, “though earlier efforts were less visible and not as easy to understand and use”.
    I’m still trying to get my head around the idea of consuming news entirely on Facebook.
    I mean, folks typically click on news article links shared on Twitter and Facebook, which opens the story in a new browser tab. I know some big media newspapers and tech sites now have their Facebook Timeline apps, but I just don’t see any benefit in “social reading”.
    If I’m interested in a story, I’ll click your link and read the article in its original form and eventually comment on it. I just don’t see myself using Facebook Reader instead of Pocket or Instapaper.

    The best personal finance apps for iPhone

    As of Friday, Nov. 29, the U.S., and much of the industrialized world, will go on a month-long spending spree that will break their budgets, put them in debt, and help the economy grow, all at the same time.
    We have a list of the best personal finance apps for iPhone that we think might be helpful to you this holiday season. If you are living from one paycheck to the next, you might need one of these helpful budget trackers…

    Many people have multiple accounts with multiple bills that are automatically withdrawn each month. Sometimes, you need a complex personal finance app to help you keep all eyes on all accounts. Mint allows you to track, budget, and manage money from various bank accounts all in one place. You can add multiple banks, credit cards, loans, and retirement accounts. This app automatically pulls in information and categorizes your transactions. You can check out an overview of your monthly spending using the included charts and graphs. Let Mint customize your budget based on your actual spending. Set up bill reminders, alerts, and advice so you will never miss a payment again. This app is available for free.


    With this simple personal finance tracker, users can easily keep track of daily, weekly, and monthly spending. It is great for people who hate balancing their budget, but always seem to get behind with money every month. Instead of having too many features with too many options, users are limited to categories like car, travel, bills, entertainment, etc. Then, add an income or expense amount and you are ready to go. Thanks to the apps’ graphic chart feature, you can see where you are spending too much and where you need to cut back.This app is available for $1.99.

    Level Money

    If you are somewhere between needing to track multiple bank accounts and wanting a simple personal finance app without many bells and whistles, Level Money is up your alley. It allows users to add multiple accounts from a huge list of banking establishments. The app automatically detects income and fixed expenses so that you can quickly see your monthly budget. Use the at-a-glance feature to see how this month’s cash flow is doing. Set up daily, weekly, and monthly budget and keep track of when you are going over. It is like counting calories when you are on a diet. This app is available for free.


    If you don’t need to link your bank accounts, but you still want to keep track of daily expenses, this app may be more to your liking. All you have to do is enter your daily expenses and the app will do the math for you. You can create your own budget to keep track of where you should be each month. Create and manage your own categories, set reminders, and check end of month projections. You can go back and add expenses after the fact, so you won’t feel obligated to check in every single day. This app also updates currencies when you go to a different country. You can turn on Travel mode to enable currency conversions as well. This app is available for $0.99.


    I have to admit that I’ve been in love with this app since I reviewed it last month. It is very similar to Spendee, but features one addition that, to me, makes it a great simplistic personal finance app. The calendar puts your month’s spending into a big picture display. Each day, you add your daily income and expenses. You can also add recurring items for future financial transactions. Then, check the last day of the month every time you add an income or expense to see what you will probably end up with at the end. If it looks like you might overspend, cut back on purchases for a few days. You can also see a chart of where your money goes each month. If you see that you are spending too much on going out to eat, maybe it’s time to start going to the grocery store more often. This app is available for $1.99.

    Square Cash

    I have a group of friends who pay what they owe each other in rent and bills each month using Square’s personal payment app. I’ve used Square to receive payment for working at a convention. I know people who have used it to buy and sell items on Craigslist. To receive money through Square Cash, all you need is the app, a US bank debit card or bank account number and an email address. When someone sends you money, Square will deposit it into your bank account for you. Sending money through Square Cash is just as easy. Just tap the “send cash” tab and enter at least one dollar. Then, attach the email with the recipient’s name and he or she will be sent an email with the amount attached. As long as both sender and recipient have a bank account linked to Square Cash, everything works smoothly. This app is available for free.

    Pocket Expense

    This personal finance app is a full-featured finance software that you carry in your pocket. It’s like having an accountant sitting on your shoulder. You can combine multiple accounts, including banks, credit cards, and loans into one convenient place. Plus, categorize transactions, keep track of bills, and set a budget so you don’t overspend. You can even set savings goals if you are hoping to set aside money each month for that new car you’ve been dreaming about. This app supports multiple budgets so you can track specific areas of finance instead of everything you spend each month. Plus, set up reminders and alerts for bills and keep track of them on the calendar to see when they are due. This app is available for $4.99.


    MoneyWiz is a cross platform personal finance app, keeping all information synced over iPhone, iPad, or OS X. Using a MoneyWiz account, simply logging into the app on any device. Main sections include Accounts, Budgets, Schedule, and Reports. Accounts tracks individual expenses for checking/savings/market options with incomes, transfers between known accounts, balance adjustments, and even reconciliation options. Budgeting is account dependent, specific amounts are set for spending, and will roll remaining dollars at month’s end. Spending allowances are set on user specified times, giving a daily amount per budget. Scheduling provides a way to monitor reoccurring expenses and Reports keep things graphical with trending views and helpful charts. Offering both streamlined and spreadsheet layouts, most customers will be pleased with the operability. Locations and types of spending are added to the individual account users database, allowing autocomplete for entries across platforms. The UI, while not yet iOS 7 compliant, is extremely attractive and very Apple inspired. MoneyWiz is available for iPhone $4.99iPad $4.99, and OS X $24.99, requiring a hefty buy-in for each device, but with syncing and many features, including export, the package is worth it for personal finance gurus.

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Jobs’ biopic now available in iTunes

    For those of you who were unable to see it in theaters, Ashton Kutcher’s much talked about ‘Jobs’ film is now available for purchase. You can either buy it or rent it in iTunes, and then of course it’s available in Blu-Ray and DVD as well.
    After months of rumors and a lengthy delay, ‘Jobs’ opened to mixed reviews on August 16. It stayed in theaters for just 7 weeks, and only pulled $35 million worldwide. It was considered by many to be a flop, but now you can be the critic…
    Here’s a quick excerpt from our review of the film:
    “At the heart of the Jobs film is the story of how Apple was founded, which is a great one no matter how you tell it. It’s crazy to think that the world’s largest company (by market cap) started in a garage with a group of kids soldering circuit boards.
    Speaking of which, all of the main cast members gave solid performances. While Kutcher probably won’t win an Oscar for this role, he was good, as was Josh Gad, who played Steve Wozniak, Dermot Mulroney, who played Mike Markkula, and the rest of the early Apple gang.”
    And here’s the movie trailer for those who missed it:
    If you’re interested, you can find Jobs in iTunes. It’s $19.99 to buy it and $4.99 to rent it in HD, and $14.99 and $3.99 to rent it in SD. And for those looking for discs, it looks like most retailers have the DVD at $17.99 and the Blu-Ray at $22.99.

    New Apple retail boss Angela Ahrendts: ‘it’s all about people’

    Angela Ahrendts, the outgoing chief executive officer of Burberry Group Plc and Apple’s incoming head of Retail and online Apple Stores, has penned a rather interesting little post over at LinkedIn. The article deals with following one’s gut instinct and hints at what we might expect from her after she joins Apple a few months from today.
    Titled ‘Why a Successful Transition is a Great Legacy,’ it outlines the challenges of transitioning to a new leadership and details her intuitive approach to the decision-making process that had gone into weighing Apple’s and Burberry’s offers to join their respective executive ranks…
    The post opens with a passage on trusting one’s intuition and following one’s instincts. “I firmly believe in following your intuition, especially in relation to the most important decisions in your life,” reads the article.
    In drawing parallels between joining Burberry in 2006 and accepting Apple’s offer in 2013, she notes that the idea of “uprooting our lives to move to London demanded a lot of soul searching and over months of consideration,” with the final decision eventually coming down to intuition, “my truest guide”.
    A few months from now, she will be moving again, this time to Cupertino, California.
    My instincts didn’t let me down, and my time as CEO of Burberry has without question been the most rewarding period of my professional life.
    If the theme sounds familiar, that’s because it is.
    In a similar vein, Apple’s boss Tim Cook said while addressing his Alma Mater at their January 2013 commencement that the idea of joining the nearly-bankrupt Apple in 1988 sounded like a career-destroying move.
    Instead of listening to the sound of reason, Cook opted to follow his gut instinct instead:
    Apple was in a very different place than it is today, and my employer at the time, Compaq Computer, was the largest personal computer company in the world. Not only was Compaq performing much better than Apple, it was headquartered in Texas and therefore closer to Auburn football.
    Any purely rational consideration of cost and benefits lined up in Compaq’s favor, and the people who knew me best advised me to stay at Compaq. One CEO I consulted felt so strongly about it he told me I would be a fool to leave Compaq for Apple.
    In making the decision to come to Apple, I had to think beyond my training as an engineer. Engineers are taught to make decisions analytically and largely without emotion. When it comes to a decision between alternatives we enumerate the cost and benefits and decide which one is better. But there are times in our lives when the careful consideration of cost and benefits just doesn’t seem like the right way to make a decision.
    There are times in all of our lives when a reliance on gut or intuition just seems more appropriate–when a particular course of action just feels right. And interestingly I’ve discovered it’s in facing life’s most important decisions that intuition seems the most indispensable to getting it right.
    In turning important decisions over to intuition one has to give up on the idea of developing a life plan that will bear any resemblance to what ultimately unfolds. Intuition is something that occurs in the moment, and if you are open to it. If you listen to it it has the potential to direct or redirect you in a way that is best for you. On that day in early 1998 I listened to my intuition, not the left side of my brain or for that matter even the people who knew me best.
    It’s hard to know why I listened, I’m not even sure I know today, but no more than five minutes into my initial interview with Steve, I wanted to throw caution and logic to the wind and join Apple.
    My intuition already knew that joining Apple was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work for the creative genius, and to be on the executive team that could resurrect a great American company. If my intuition had lost the struggle with my left brain, I’m not sure where I would be today, but I’m certain I would not be standing in front of you.
    Angela’s past eight years at Burberry’s helm taught here that “it’s all about people”.
    This is the lady who firmly believes in succession planning. Apple does, too, it’s just the company in years past has kept its succession plans hidden from investors behind the famous veil of secrecy. She’s a believer in social media, an area Apple is not very good at – company employees are famously strictly prohibited from blogging, for example.

    On management transitions and succession planning:
    Too often management transitions are viewed with fear or suspicion, when they should be the ultimate example of a natural and healthy organizational evolution.
    In fact, I believe succession planning is one of the greatest responsibilities you have as a leader – so when your time comes to move on, your team not only doesn’t miss a beat but gains in momentum, embracing new challenges and realizing future opportunities.
    The larger the company, the greater the obligation, she says expressing her belief that“great companies add greater social value”.
    We’ll see how that works out for her after she joins Apple.
    Finally, Ahrendts dropped hints at what she believes “will define the next generation,”wrapping it up nicely by saying:
    If a seamless transition is my greatest legacy, then the greatest gift I can receive in return is to see the true measure of the company’s success by how many lives are touched and transformed by the power of our performance.
    Her thoughts appear to match up Apple’s recurring theme on the importance of collaboration, customer emotions and touching people’s lives. For what it’s worth, Cook called Angela in an email to troops “the best person in the world for this role”.
    After spending more than a year carefully profiling candidates for former SVP of Retail Ron Johnson’s replacement, Tim Cook & Co finally picked the Burberry CEO since 2006, Angela Ahrendts. Unlike Johnson, Apple tasked Ahrendts with managing all of Apple’s retailing efforts, including – for the first time – the online Apple Store.

    Ahrendts, 53, currently #53 on Forbes’ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, will be joining Apple in mid-2014 and some have already proclaimed her Apple’s next CEO.
    Cook’s reign is expected to last at least until 2021, when the remaining half of his restricted shares will vest, giving him plenty of time to groom Ahrendts as his eventual replacement. She is also #4 on Forbes’ list of the top corporate executives in 2013.
    I would very much like to see Jony Ive take over from Cook come 2021 but Leander Kahney’s unofficial bio book on the design guru makes it clear Ive isn’t interested in CEO matters as his primary preoccupation focuses strictly on industrial design and new product development.
    Here are a few recommended reads by Ahrendts, posted previously to LinkedIn:
    After she takes over as Apple’s retail boss, Ahrendts will be barred from posting to social media due to Apple’s strict policy on employee blogging, designed under the Jobs regime to ensure the company’s full control over its message.