#408 SCO Monthly Mag, CrashPlan, Hypercel, Mophie Helium, Transporter, Microsoft Surface and Office Pricing

This week we’re going to talk about the ScreenCasts Online Monthly Magazine, my progress with offsite backups through CrashPlan. We have an interview from Macworld with a company called Hypercel with an iPhone 5 battery case and a cool car/wall charger, and then I’ll give you my review of the new Mophie Helium iPhone 5 battery pack. Then we’ll talk to the Connected Data folks at Macworld about their new Transporter device, and in Chit Chat Across the Pond I’ll talk to Chris Ashley of the SMR Podcast about the new Microsoft Surface Pro, new pricing on Office for Windows and Mac including the subscription service, and then you’ll get to hear Chris lose his mind when he talks about Microsoft not including some features in Skype…for Windows.

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Hi this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Mac Podcast, hosted at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Macintosh bias. Today is Sunday March 3, 2013 and this is show number 408. This week we’re going to talk about the ScreenCasts Online Monthly Magazine, my progress with offsite backups through CrashPlan. We have an interview from Macworld with a company called Hypercel, and then I’ll give you my review of the new Mophie Helium iPhone 5 battery pack. Then we’ll talk to the Connected Data folks at Macworld about their new Transporter device, and in Chit Chat Across the Pond I’ll talk to Chris Ashley of the SMR Podcast about the new Microsoft Surface Pro, new pricing on Office for Windows and Mac including the subscription service, and then you’ll get to hear Chris lose his mind when he talks about Microsoft not including some features in Skype…for Windows.

ScreenCastsOnline Monthly Mag

You’ve heard me talk before about Don McAllister and his amazing subscription podcast, ScreenCasts Online. Don has an uncanny ability to learn an application for the Mac or iOS and teach it better than anyone I know. He’s taught me about tools I’ve used for years and shown me things I never even noticed. His subscription service starts at $6 for one month, which gives you access to this month’s shows, and the entire back catalog. He’s got much more efficient pricing plans once you’re hooked too. But that’s not what I actually want to tell you about. A while ago Don got the idea to create a digital magazine that features his videos, but also has written articles. The magazine is called ScreenCastsOnline Monthly Mag, which is actually an iPad app you can get in the iTunes store. When you subscribe, you get it in the heretofore useless Newstand app on your iPad, with an introductory issue to enjoy for free, and after that you pay a monthly subscription just like a paper magazine. The reason I’m yapping about this is not just because it’s fantastic, but because I’m one of the authors in the magazine! He’s got articles by Katie Floyd, Wendy Cherwinski, Wally Cherwinski, David Sparks, Tim Verpoorten, and a lot more. I’m really proud to be part of such a prestigious crew; I’d love it if you went out and subscribed. I should tell you that one of Don’s rules is that we can’t repurpose something we’ve talked about on our shows within 3 months so it’s all fresh, new content!

CrashPlan

Last week I played an interview from Macworld with the offsite backup solution CrashPlan. As I said in the interview, Katie Floyd has been bugging me to use them for a couple of years, so I promised in that interview I’d finally give CrashPlan a try. On Sunday afternoon before last week’s show, I downloaded the software and bought a one month’s cup of CrashPlan unlimited family plan. I had tried to find the free one month try, but after downloading the app, it wasn’t an option for me. no big deal, just a warning to not download the app first.

The thing that pushed me over the edge to finally using CrashPlan was when in the interview the guy showed me how easy it was to selectively choose what got backed up and what doesn’t. For example, I have about 25 movies ripped into my iTunes library. They’re backed up on a local disk, they’re on Steve’s Macbook Air, they’re on our Mac Mini, and we have the original DVDs so they’re reproduceable. I really don’t need them backed up. The CrashPlan interface lets you easily navigate your file and uncheck them as required. I was able to take about 400GB of data and get it down to a much more manageable 281GB to be backed up. almost 100GB of that is my Aperture library which I very much want backed up offsite.

In preparation for this exercise, I took the audio files for the NosillaCast out of my folder structure of year, month, date of the show and just piled them all into one giant folder, and then chose not to back that up. I can do this because all of these files are already on Libsyn where I host the show so I can get them back. I also started a new workflow where the approximately 4GB of new data I create a week for the show is in that folder so as I create and subsequently delete the uncompressed files, poor CrashPlan isn’t furiously adding and deleting stuff. that was the biggest reason I didn’t do it sooner.

I’ve been leaving my mac running most nights with the energy saver set to never sleep and in one week I’ve gotten 75GB uploaded to CrashPlan, so I’ll be able to get this done under the 30 days that the guy promised. It only took me about 3 days to become a believer. The thing that made me a believer was when I put the CrashPlan app on my iPad and I was able to navigate through what felt like my own hard drive on my mobile device. I always carry my MacBook Pro with me everywhere I go in case I need something from it – but now I’ve got it all with me all the time. This is a super cool feature. I was pleased enough with the first few days progress that I bought the family plan and Steve is past halfway backed up on his Macbook Air already!

I should mention that when I went to buy a 2 year subscription to CrashPlan, I did something wrong and it didn’t add 2 years to my 1 month, it made it in parallel. I wrote to CrashPlan customer support and in just a few hours the guy figured out how I messed up the free trial and the 2 year subscription. He fixed it so I still got the free 30 days, the 30 days I paid for, AND the 2 years I paid for, which was more than I hoped for. In this case it was a mixture of user error and perhaps not clear enough screens, but they fixed it instantly and above my expectations. I should also mention that the guy couldn’t have known I was a podcaster who would be writing about it either so I think you can expect the same level of service. CrashPlan is available at crashplan.com

Hypercel

We’ve got two final interviews from Macworld and I’d like to start with the interview with Hypercel.


Using a Screen Reader? click here

Mophie Juicepack Helium

I played the Hypercell video for you first on purpose, before I give you another product review. So let’s suppose you’re going to Macworld or on vacation or some place where you plan on using your iPhone 5 a LOT. Spare battery options are a booming industry, and wherever I go with Mac nerds we all pull out our favorites and pass them around discussing how many mAh’s they have, hefting them to see how heavy they are, and feeling their form factors. I’ve talked to you about the i.Sound Portable Power Max with 18,000 mAh’s which is about 10 iPhone charges that was originally recommended by Rod Simmons of the SMR Podcast. That’s still my choice for travel because I don’t even have to dig up a power outlet if I’m only gone for a weekend – I can charge iPhones and iPads all weekend. The downside is that it weighs a LOT because it’s a giant battery. I love this battery charger and won’t leave home for long with out it. It’s $77 on Amazon right now.

On the lighter end of the scale, I carry with me the Innergie 3000mAh pocket charger everywhere I go – short or long trips. I’ve talked about this one before too – it’s not much bigger than your thumb and will give you about 1.5 charges to an iPhone. For the size and weight it’s fantastic. It’s around $50 right now with that cool 3 way cable I’ve told you about with micro, mini and 30 pin dock connectors on it. If they just had a FOUR way with Lightning it would be perfect!

Now since I’ve told you all of this before, you’re probably trying to figure out why I’m writing yet again about portable battery chargers. That’s because Mophie FINALLY came out with the Juice Pack Helium battery case for iPhone 5. I know, right after the interview with Hypercel about their iPhone 5 charger case, but Mophie beat them on delivery. As of right now Hypercell still doesn’t yet have their charger case available, but I do hope to test it when it comes out. So let’s talk about the Mophie Helium battery case, because I just love it. The Helium is $80 and is only available through the Mophie site right now. To insert the iPhone 5 into the Helium case, you slide apart the case, insert the iPhone into the 9-pin connector end and then slide the top of the case back on. When it’s on the phone is sleek and comfortable in the hand because of it’s rounded back and velvety case material. You really want to touch this case. The battery capacity of the Helium shouldn’t be quite a full iPhone 5 charge at 1500mAh, but when I’ve gotten nervous because my battery is down to 10%, the Mophie Helium charges it to 100%. Mophie cases come with an industry-standard Micro-USB connector, and if you keep the phone inside the case, it gets charged too, which is ideal. The case comes with a button and 4 LEDs that will light up when the button is pushed, indicating how much charge you have in the case. There’s also an on/off switch on the back of the case so you can run off your iPhone battery first, and only enable charging from the case when you need it.

I used the Mophie Helium case on my iPhone for about a week, and I really didn’t notice the increase in weight of 2.44oz. I did a bit of math on the tech specs and discovered that the iPhone 5 with the Mophie Helium still weighs less than the Nokia 920 if only by .13 oz. (iPhone 5 @ 3.95 oz + Helium @ 2.44 oz = 6.39 oz. Nokia 920 = 6.52 oz). Don’t get me wrong, the 920 is a very heavy phone but 95% of people who picked it up and played with it in my presence said they liked the heft of it. Honda Bob got the Mophie Helium for his iPhone 5 and discovered one thing not to like – with the iPhone in the case, he can’t sync it to iTunes because he doesn’t have access to the 9-pin connector, but he’s investigating how well over the air syncing will work for him with his Windows machine. I suspect we’ll hear back from him on that. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Mophie Helium battery case for the iPhone 5 from mophie.com.

Let’s listen to our last interview from Macworld now.

Transporter from Connected Data

Using a Screen Reader? click here

I put a link in the shownotes to the low end Transporter (the one where you add your own disk) so go check it out!

ScreenSteps

I LOVE user testimonies about ScreenSteps. This week I got an email from Barry Porter where he was telling me about his good experiences with CrashPlan, and he ended it with this: ” let the good people at Blue Mango know you browbeat me into getting and using Screensteps.” I love that! He went on to explain that he was recently having trouble describing (on the phone) how to backup Quicken data to a CD drive for a client he was going to see at the end of the week. He used ScreenSteps to make a tutorial, and emailed it to his client. He was thrilled and actually understood how to do it with the step by step visual instruction. Isn’t that awesome? Think of how much time he saved, and how when he arrived at his client’s office he wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time fooling around with making him a backup when he can do it for himself from now on.

Barry went on to explain about how he’s done tutorials on archiving email and more. he said that ScreenSteps is becoming his ‘go to” program for assisting his clients accomplish tasks on their computers that are hard to describe on the phone (and a wonderful followup tool after an in person session).

If you have clients, friends, family who you find you’re constantly explaining things to about how to do something on their computer – Mac or Windows, check out ScreenSteps from BlueMangoLearning.com. If you want a smaller, more focused tool for short tutorials, consider Clarify in the Mac App Store, also from Bluemango Learning. Thanks for the great examples Barry!

Chit Chat Across the Pond

Chris Ashley from Wingadget News and the SMR Podcast

  • first impressions on the Surface Pro (I know, it will be all roses and butterflies but still would be fun)
  • what you think about the new licensing for Office – we should be able to have a pretty good food fight over this one because I think it’s horrible
  • why you should develop for Windows 8 & Windows Phone 8
  • Skype with voice messaging not coming out on Windows – say what?

I love Chris Ashley – no one can make me laugh like he does. After talking to him about Office 365 I decided that I’m going to give it a spin, and compare it to both my beloved Excel, and Google Drive (formerly known as Google Docs) and see how the three compare. I may not spend much time on the text document capabilities and the presentation programs since I don’t do either of those in my home life often but I’ll be giving the spreadsheet programs a real run through and hopefully get back to you on that next week.

That’s going to wind this up for this week, many thanks to our sponsor for helping to pay the bills, Blue Mango Learning at bluemangolearning.com makers of ScreenSteps and Clarify. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments and suggestions by emailing me at allison@podfeet.com, follow me on twitter at @podfeet. Check out the NosillaCast Google Plus Community too – lots of fun over there! If you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to podfeet.com/live on Sunday nights at 5pm Pacific Time and join the friendly and enthusiastic NosillaCastaways. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

4 thoughts on “#408 SCO Monthly Mag, CrashPlan, Hypercel, Mophie Helium, Transporter, Microsoft Surface and Office Pricing

  1. listener lynn - March 4, 2013

    I was interested to hear about your experience with CrashPlan, but your didn’t mention security. What does Bart think about this service?

  2. Allison Sheridan - March 4, 2013

    Hey Lynn – I think we talked about it a hundred years ago, because I remember asking Bart what “Blowfish Encryption” is. Here’s CrashPlan’s security explanation:

    What type of encryption does CrashPlan/CrashPlan+ use?

    CrashPlan (the free version) uses 128-bit Blowfish to encrypt your files. CrashPlan+ uses 448-bit Blowfish encryption, which is much stronger than the 128-bit encryption that online banking and most businesses use.

    Blowfish is an encryption algorithm. It’s a freely available, documented, and open method of encrypting data. Being Open is very important. This means that the processes it uses are public and can be tested by everyone and are proven to be secure. Blowfish was invented by a security expert named Bruce Schneier. More information is available online here: http://www.schneier.com/blowfish.html
    448-bit is the length of the key. The longer the key, the harder it is to decrypt data.
    Put simply, if someone ever accessed your backup archive, both your password and encryption key is needed to decrypt your data.

  3. Bob DeGrande - March 7, 2013

    I’m another Crashplan user and very happy with it.

    Chris is a great guest and his Simple Mobile Review podcast is terrific, entertaining and covers a lot of different platforms.

    I don’t like what Microsoft has done with Office pricing at all, though. Since your podcast was released, they have backtracked a bit, saying that you CAN transfer a license from one computer to another, say, if you buy a new one. However, not being able to use software on a desktop and laptop in 2013 is absurd.

    The $100/year pricing is much more expensive than buying Office used to be for anyone having only one or two computers over the life of your using the software. However, it is also not a good deal for the high end power user when you consider that you can get a Microsoft TechNet subscription for $199 for the first year and $149 for renewals, which gives you not only Office but Windows and a great deal of other Microsoft software. It is only for some people in the middle, maybe someone with 3 computers who doesn’t need Microsoft apps other than Office, where the subscription model really makes sense, although it may be more useful when they extend it to iOS and/or Android devices.

  4. […] In March of 2013 I finally got on the bandwagon of doing offsite backups. Backups in general are the kind of task that sounds hard and annoying but if you haven’t tried lately are easy. Once I had CrashPlan running, it ran flawlessly for three and a half years. […]

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