Audio shootout to see if the $60 Audio Audio-Technica ATR2100 Microphone Compare to a Heil PR-40. Next up a review of the $16 HISY Wireless Remote Shutter for iPhone. Kirschen Seah from FreeRangeCoder.com joins us with a review of Drafts from AgileTortoise.com. I tell you my tale of woe about my Undead iPad and why I love AppleCare. I came up with an awesome tip on how to listen to content on your iOS device through your Mac’s speakers, without spending a dime! (Tutorial here). In Chit Chat Across the Pond, Apple Consultant Pat Dengler from www.denglerconsulting.com joins us to explain what an Apple Consultant is, how to become one and talks a little bit about the challenges and fun she has doing it.
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 Saturday January 3, 2015 and this is show number 504. Surprise – the show is a day early! Tomorrow Steve and I are heading off to CES for the first time. We’re pretty excited about it – we need a fun show to meet new people and see cool new tech since we’ve lost Macworld. Expect some fun interviews to come out of this one. I never worry about going away because my awesome friend Nancy takes care of Tesla and our awesome second daughter Brandy, who happens to be a TSA agent guards our house and takes care of Buzzy so we can leave without worries!
Drafts Version 4
Hello and Happy New Year to all the Nosillacastaways. Kirschen Seah from FreeRangeCoder.com here with a review of an indispensable iOS app. Well for me it’s Drafts, now at version 4. First off, what problem does Drafts solve? Remember the good old days when you needed to scratch down a quick note and you had to root around for a scrap of paper? And then hunt down that elusive pen or pencil? Well, the same situation haunts our modern electronic smart devices. We need to key in a short note and root around our device for a note taking app. And then when the app launches, we have to remember how to create a blank note, and then, finally, we can type it in.
Here’s where Drafts is different – launch it and instantly, a blank page appears with the keyboard up, ready to type. What a simple concept! And better than that – Drafts is integrated with my favorite shortcut expansion app TextExpander Touch. Now I can use all my snippets in Drafts.
Once you’ve entered the text, Drafts has the ability to send all that text to many destinations. You have a WordPress site and need to send the text as a post? Drafts does that through the WordPress app. Put up a Twitter post? Drafts has you covered. Send to OmniFocus? Things? Todo? Yes! You can create multi-step actions as well.
Drafts shows a count of the number of characters and words in the current draft – great if you’re trying to meet an article word count or watching that Twitter post limit. Right above the standard iOS keyboard is a (tiny) button bar with Markdown shortcuts – very handy. And Drafts is a universal app, what more could you ask for?
Drafts is so invaluable that it lives permanently in my iPhone and iPad dock, in the same lower right hand position no less. Check out Drafts in the App Store. You can get more information on Drafts at AgileTortoise.com – link in the show notes.
Once again, this is Kirschen Seah from FreeRangeCoder.com and I’ll see you in the bitstream.
It’s been too long since a review from you Kirschen! You’ve come up with another great recommendation, I definitely have to check out Drafts!
This week Dick Nelson sent in an awesome story about the developers over at Blue Mango Learning who created Clarify. If you’re new to the show, Clarify is a tool that lets you create beautiful documentation with screenshots and annotations. Let’s hear Dick’s story:
I love your show and your enthusiasm and I have been listening since some of your first episodes. Of course I have purchased Clarify and I love it. The other day I tried to open a Clarify document and I got the error message “This version of clarify cannot understand the data in this file” so I fired off an email to Clarify support. Then I noticed the the file had zero bytes. Oops. So I sent another email to support saying it was my bad and there was not really a problem. I retrieved the a good version of the Clarify document from my TimeMachine backup and all was good.
Well Trevor responded within a few minutes and said that he would fix Clarify so that it would give a more useful error message. What great customer support.
I love this story because of how many times I’ve made a mistake like this and Trevor never mocks me either. I just assumed he was this nice to be because I advertise for them, but evidently he treats every request with dignity and helpfulness.
If you haven’t already got a copy of Clarify go check out the free trial over at clarify-it.com and be sure to tell them Allison sent you when you buy!
Chit Chat Across the Pond – Time: 22 min
Pat Dengler is a member of the Apple Consultants Network (https://consultants.apple.com/us/) and I’ve asked her to come on the show to help explain to us what that is, what it means and why you would need an ACN, and maybe find if you too want to become an ACN.
What does it take to become an ACN?
- is there a certification?
Levels of ACN:
- Apple Certified Associate – not really part of ACN
- Apple Certified Support Professional – single user support
- Apple Certified Technical Coordinator – Server skills
Is there a different set of requirements for OSX vs. iOS?
Why would someone hire an ACN? I know this guy, and he seems really to know what he’s talking about…
there’s an “Apple Way” of doing things (aka Best Practices) – it’s ordered, makes sense, generally works…’this guy’ might know a few tricks but who knows if he has the logical thinking that was used to build these products then taught to ACN’s on how best to fix them.
ACNs come in all flavors – some are experts with software like Filemaker (that has it’s own certification/community), some are experts with audio/visual equipment. Small/Medium/Large enterprises. Some specialize in providing services to the entertainment industry (story about iPads/scripts).
Historically the ACN community had a presence at Macworld (pre and post Apple’s) – we had an area staffed with ACN’s and available for anyone to come up and ask questions. We also had a meeting organized by the mothership followed by a dinner – it was a great way to put a face to ACN’s from around the country. I will miss that for sure. On the technical side there are other possibilities like MacTech conferences and CES to meet.
If you want to become an ACN, the requirements include paying for membership, passing at minimum the ACSP certification exam, maintaining $1 million in insurance coverage. There are nice perks to belonging to the ACN; quarterly discounts on equipment, Apple software discounts, access to other ACN’s, referrals via the Consultant Locator, use of the Apple logo on your business cards, website, etc.
You can study with a Authorized Training Center or self study via the PeachPit Apple Essentials books.
How do you get clients?
referrals, Apple Consultant Locator, Other ACN’s, ACL via the Apple Store employees. I have a profile on Yelp.com but frankly those referrals are always the ones who ask for reduced rates.
In LA we have a great group of consultants – we meet monthly, we often share client referrals based on the clients needs or location. I can’t speak enough about our local ACNs. There’s no competition…frankly I think we all have enough work coming in that there is no need.
Another huge benefit of belonging to the ACN is that I have a community of other consultants world-wide that I can reach out to if I come across something I need help with. The ACN provides a discussion list for us to post to – much like the Support Communities that anyone can access.
Is it hard to ask for money for this kind of work?
- Are there tricks of the trade you’ve learned to get people to pay you what you’re worth?
That’s a good question! I don’t have tricks of the trade…just good business behavior. It often feels hard to ask for money – what’s the saying, ‘when you do what you love, you never work a day in your life’? I had to realize though, that I provide a service to people. I spend much of my time (and money) when I’m not with clients, researching or buying a playing with some new tech. Mostly to the detriment of my step count…
Do you get asked to work on Windows stuff?
- What do you do if you are asked?
- Charge double? Refuse?
LOL! Sometimes – I’m very clear, I don’t have that much experience with devices that run Windows. There is a lot of overlap though so I won’t flat out turn down work that involves PCs.
Is the work gratifying?
- Do you have to like people to enjoy this kind of job?
t is – I left another career in healthcare, one that required a great deal of education but was very unsatisfying. I feel great doing this. I’m generally a little nervous about new clients. Everyone is so different. I had one client jump inches off her chair the first time she was about to click on something wrong and I quickly told her not to. I learned to speak softly and move slowly. Some people are so scared of doing something wrong, others click on everything and anything and often get stuck. I have to come in and try to untangle the mess.
I have clients who complain about Apple – Why is there a new thing so often, why do I have update, why is it so expensive. Much of my job is managing expectations/perception/perspective. Everything has a lifespan…technology has a short lifespan. I generally tell people to plan on buying a new computer in the 3-5 year range (that’s very flexible…it really depends on how the client is going to use the computer). If you buy a new car, you know at some point, you will have to buy another one…
Working with people on their tech is not entirely different than being a doctor – you have know the right questions to ask in order to diagnose the ‘patient’ – often requires thinking out of the box. A client thought her computer was broken: – the keyboard would keep popping up a menu window when she typed, it wasn’t responding well. The trackpad worked though…turns out she had something heavy sitting on her bluetooth connected mouse – essentially she was constantly clicking.
- Yosemite just came out, iOS 8 just came out
I have belonged to the Developer communities for iOS and Mac for several years. That gives me a chance to download and install the beta version of Apple’s software, on secondary devices, and play with them a bit. I read reviews – I will always find something that I didn’t know about from someone else. Sometimes even clients teach me new things!
How do you remember the old stuff?
- I presume you get asked to work on Snow Leopard on a white Macbook for example…
Yeah, I cringe with really old hardware – I’m worried that the hardware might break. First thing I do is make the client know that this is obsolete software/hardware that might not be compatible with things they want to do. Old software/hardware can be delicate…
Do you help remotely or just in person?
I almost always help someone in person first…If it looks like they might need help that I could do remotely I will let them know that it’s an option. Often there are small follow up question that I don’t mind helping with (for free) – if it gets beyond about 15 minutes, I suggest we make a formal appointment.
Who do YOU go to for help?
First I’ll Google…before nothing someone for help I always try to fix it on my own – generally I’m not the first person to come across a particular problem. If that doesn’t help or if I need some clarification I’ll ask my fellow ACNs. Pretty much 24/7 I’ll get a helpful answer.
I specialize these days in the home user and small business. I personally love gadgets – these days it’s home automation tools and fitness trackers.
After Pat and I stopped recording I showed her my undeletable music on my iPhone and after seeing it she believed me. Oddly I can delete Slau’s If Every Day Were Christmas (which of course I don’t WANT to delete) but that crazy song of Kyle’s is stuck there forever. Off the top of her head she didn’t see quick solution. I will sleep well knowing that it’s bugging her though!
That’s going to wind this up for this week, many thanks to our sponsor for helping to pay the bills, the makers of Clarify over at clarify-it.com. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments and suggestions by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on twitter @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.