- On your iPhone, go to Settings | iTunes & App Store | Apple ID | View Apple ID | Manage | Your Subscription
- OmniFocus 2 - The Omni Group (Universal)
- Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple - DeskConnect, Inc.
- Fantastical 2 for iPhone - Calendar and Reminders - Flexibits Inc.
- Drafts 4 - Quickly Capture Notes, Share Anywhere! - Agile Tortoise
- PDFpen Scan+ with OCR, PDF text export - SmileOnMyMac, LLC
- TextExpander 3 + custom keyboard - SmileOnMyMac, LLC
- You Need a Budget (YNAB) - Steine LLC
- Circus Ponies NoteBook 4 - Circus Ponies Software, Inc.
- OmniFocus 2 for iPad - The Omni Group
- Fantastical 2 for iPhone - Calendar and Reminders - Flexibits Inc.
- Drafts 4 - Quickly Capture Notes, Share Anywhere! - Agile Tortoise
- Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple - DeskConnect, Inc.
- TextExpander 3 + custom keyboard - SmileOnMyMac, LLC
- NoteBook 4 - Circus Ponies Software, Inc.
- OmniFocus 2 - The Omni Group
- Fantastical - Calendar and Reminders - Flexibits Inc.
Did you know the iPhone offers an easy way to sign PDFs? I find in my practice that I often need a client to review and sign a document. This can sometimes cause issues for my clients as they don’t have easy access to a printer and scanner. This can add delay to getting a project completed. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution on the iPhone.
Enter the iPhone
Thankfully, many of my clients use iPhones. By utilizing the iPhone’s Mail app and the Markup feature (more background at iPhoneJD) your clients can easily review and sign documents. Note, this is not a post on the legality of electronic signatures.
Step 1: Open the Attachment
In iOS mail, tap to download and then open the PDF attachment. Once the PDF is open, look in the lower right hand corner of your device. You will see an icon that looks like a tool box.
Step 2: Open the Toolbox
Tap on the toolbox. The PDF is now in edit mode. Tools appear along the bottom of your screen. Tap the one that looks like a signature.
If you haven’t created a signature yet, do so now. It’s pretty easy to draw your signature or initials with your finger. Your iPhone can save the signature for reuse later.
Step 3: Size and Place
Your signature should appear in the middle of the screen. You can resize the signature by dragging one of the corners near the blue dot. You can move the signature to the appropriate place by tapping and holding and then dragging the signature to the signature line of the PDF.
Tip - if it doesn’t work, tap in the white area not on the signature. Then, tap the signature box again and retry. With a little practice, you’ll get used to how it works. Take your time and keep at it.
Step 4: Add the Date
There is often a date field that needs to be completed on signed documents. Thankfully, this can be handled as well. Simply tap on the “T” to type in the date (or use a text expansion tool to add it for you automatically).
Then, click on the “AA” near the right side of the screen. This allows you to change and/or resize the font. Make the font size look appropriate for your document. Then, drag and place the date like before.
Step 5: Click Done
Once you are satisfied with how the document looks, click done. The PDF is attached to a ready to send email. Enter the appropriate information in the to: and Subject: fields and your signed PDF is on its way.
Here are the step by step screenshots for how this works on your iPhone:
It is amazing that some of these features are present on the iPhone. I often find myself utilizing the iPhone for PDF related tasks that I cannot perform on my Windows computer (at least without high-priced software). Just today I used PDF Expert to rotate pages and combine PDFs into one document on my iPhone. It's nice having an office in my pocket.Read more. . .
Anyone who tracks time likely uses certain phrases numerous times per day. While each time entry is unique, it often contains similar components. Those repeated phrases are prime candidates for automated text expansion. Faster billing entries are essential in today's fast moving environment. I use and recommend TextExpander (iOS) and TextExpander (Mac) (there’s also a Windows beta). Entering billable time should be fast and accurate. Automation tools help with both of those metrics.
These tips can also be used in AutoHotKey (though it will take a bit more configuration).
Let's Get Started
Let’s take the phrase “Correspondence to” or “Correspondence from” as examples. You could write two “snippets”, one for each. Or, you could use some more advanced techniques and save even more time. Through in the ability to have the initial C be caps or lowercase, depending on what you want, and you have the recipe for a solid snippet. Let’s get to work.
Set the Label and Abbreviation to something of your choosing. See screenshot 2.
Finally, set the case sensitivity to Adapt to Case of Abbreviation. See screenshot 3.
This last part will allow you to type C or c and have the snippet expand accordingly. Try it to see what I mean.
Next, type in the “opening” portion of your snippet using the word “correspondence.” See screenshot 4.
The “middle” portion of the phrase is always “‘to” or “from”. We can use a “Fill-ins | Popup Menu” choice to select one of those automatically each time the snippet is triggered. See screenshot 5.
Set the name of the fill in to your choice and then set the two options. The blue button indicates which choice will be selected by default. See screenshot 6.
Click OK and you should see something similar to screenshot 7.
The “ending” portion of the phrase is the word “regarding” with a space character after the “g”. Type that into your snippet as shown in screenshot 8.
The completed snippet should look like screenshot 9.
Now, open a document where you can type text. Type your Abbreviation and watch what happens. If you type a lower case character to start the Abbreviation, you will get a box that looks like screenshot 10.
Note that “to” is selected by default, but you can change that by clicking the dropdown (screenshot 11) or by typing the first letter of the other options in the list (here, f for from).
So, if you used my “xcorr” abbreviation, type that phrase and the enter key. The result should be “correspondence to regarding ”.
If you wanted it to be “from”, use “xcorr”, f, enter. The result should be: “correspondence from regarding ”.
Simply use a capital “X” in “Xcorr”, and the to/from selector, to get “Correspondence to [from] regarding ”.
Practice this a few times and you will definitely shorten the time it takes to write a billing entry.Read more. . .
From the article:
If you are on the fence, consider how often and for what purpose you use your current device. As lawyers, we need to have good tools at our disposal. If your iPhone is your tool, it might be time to upgrade for the improved performance. Better battery life, better cameras, faster performance and larger storage capacity can mean more productivity. If your iPhone is a toy, games are supposed to be incredible. Maybe your iPhone is a little of both.
Are you planning to buy the newest iPhone 7? If so, what version (regular or Plus)? How about the accessories (Apple Watch or AirPods)? Let me know in the comments.Read more. . .
As of 2:30 pm on September 13, 2016, iOS 10 was available for my iPhone. The update is a whopping 1.2GB, but states it is "the biggest release of iOS ever."
I'll be posting some thoughts on the new iOS once I've had a chance to download and test.
More information on iOS 10 is available here.Read more. . .
There were lots of items discussed at today's Apple event. Two big items are the new iPhone and a new Watch. The new iPhone has no headphone jack, a super fast processor, and improved camera options. Oh, and Apple no longer offers the 16GB option. Isn't it amazing that 16GB is not enough space anymore?
While there are numerous articles out there, this article has a good summary of the announcements and is a quick read.
What about you? Are you planning to upgrade? I have a 6 Plus and I'm on the fence. My wife has a 6S and the camera is great. My deciding factor may be the camera and upgrading the amount of storage I have available.
And the incredibly fast professor.
And the new color options.
Or, the $160 AirPods.
As always, Apple is good at creating excitement around its new product offering. It will be interesting to see how these new offerings bolster Apple's product line.Read more. . .
Several years ago, my wife and I tried Amazon Prime. At the time, we didn't really take advantage of all we were paying for and ended up cancelling the service without really testing it out.
Fast forward a few years. Our third child was born. With the kids now spanning ages 0-11 and an eight year gap between the baby and the next oldest, time has become an even more precious commodity. As a result, we decided to try Prime again. So far, we've been really glad we did.
One of the features of a Prime membership is Prime Music. We access the service through either the web or our iPhones. Like most streaming services, you will find that some things you want to listen to are not available, but I've found that most newer music is available.
What I like is that app acts as the music player and keeps things organized. I don't have to sync music to the device or use up storage space on my device, which is largely comprised of photos.
I also like that I can use Prime Music as part of my overall Prime subscription and don't have to pay another charge. I don't know that we would subscribe just for the music offerings, but since that service wasn't the primary reason we subscribed to Amazon Prime, it works for us. The other benefits of Prime are worth it so far. More on that in the future.
If you are interested, check it out here:Read more. . .
On the iPhone, one of my favorite apps is TextExpander. I also really like, from the same company, PDFPen Scan +. The maker of these apps, SmikeSoftware, has a bundle deal for the next few days. If you buy PDFPen, Smile's PDF editing software for iPhone/iPad, these other two apps are free. Check out the bundle here.Read more. . .
I just updated to iOS 9 on my iPhone 6 Plus. Here are my initial notes:
New font looks great. Very easy to read and matches the bigger screen of the iPhone 6 Plus. The update looks cleaner and is easier to read. Not a drastic change, but feels fresh.
The keyboard has upper and lower case keys. You can now see when you have activated the shift key. Excellent!
Passbook is now Wallet.
News is turned on by default. I'll try this out a little and see what it does.
You can add the iCloud drive app to your home screen.
New section for the Battery under settings. You can switch on low power mode to temporarily reduce power consumption.
You can search the settings instead of just scrolling through. This is a handy update.
There are some bugs with how the apps appear. There are some logos that don't appear and the text overlaps the app logo in some of the sub menus.
Wallet & Apple Pay now have their own menu.
Find Friends is now a default app on your home screen. You can have the app notify you when your "friends" arrive at a certain location.
The Mail app looks cleaner and is more responsive.
Using Siri to respond and the sound wave has changed. In my limited tests, it seems more responsive and accurate. Digital dictation keeps getting better.
Apple Watch Update (not yet)Read more. . .
The Indiana Lawyer recently published an article I wrote providing some tips for scanning while out of the office.
From the article:
Mobile scanning apps continue to improve and get easier to use. With a little practice, you can become comfortable with scanning from your mobile device.
Here's the link.
What are your favorite mobile scanning tips?Read more. . .
My favorite PDF reader for iPad and iPhone (GoodReader) is on sale for $0.99 for a limited time. Get it if you don't have it.
I'm also excited to try out the, by all accounts, excellent photo editor Pixelmator, which is also on sale for $0.99 for a limited time.Read more. . .
Recently, Apple revamped iTunes and its music service. Many keys have been tapped writing about the pros and cons of Apple Music and how it works (a good overview is available here and here's a good podcast on the subject).
One big change is the ability to stream a large portion of Apple's music catalog. Almost everything you could download in iTunes before Apple Music is now available for streaming for a monthly fee. To get you hooked, Apple offers a free three-month trial period. The service is definitely worth checking out, but you may want to turn off the auto-renew feature by following these steps:
To use Apple Music, you will need to update your iOS software. The built-in Music app will provide access to the new service. You can rate your favorite genres and/or artists to help Apple know what type of music you like. The interface takes some getting used to, but I'm slowly getting used to how to find music and play music.
I like the fact that after adding a few favorite artists, I found an album I was not aware existed and was able to add to my device with a couple of taps. The more you use the app and rate music within the app, the better it gets at suggesting new music to you. You can check the album I was referring to here:
If you have a limited data plan, you can make the album available for offline listening, so you don't burn through cellular data, downloading the album while you are on wi-fi or through iTunes.
Right now, I'm using the service to add the tracks to a playlist for songs I'll be playing that week in my church band. I make the songs available for offline listening and use Siri to play that playlist while I'm driving to and from work.
I plan on using the service as much as I can during the next few months to determine if it fits me. I'm not thrilled about adding yet another subscription/lease service to my life. But, the ability to access a large library of music might be worth the price of admission.Read more. . .
Last week, I noted that the Workflow app was on sale. I just checked and it is still on sale. Get it at the reduced cost while you can. Once you start using it, you will find more and more uses for it.
When you first open the app, you will have the option of viewing the Gallery or creating your own workflow. Look through the Gallery for some ideas on what is possible.
When I first purchased the app, I didn't really know what I could do with it. Now, it is one of the most used apps on my iPhone.
Here's one of my recent workflow creations. I got the idea one day when I was driving into work. I knew I had a teleconference starting in a few minutes, and had the thought that if I had the number listed in my calendar entry, my phone could find that number and call it for me.
Of course, I could just call the person, but what would be the fun of that?
What would even be better is if I could use Siri to say "Call Teleconference," and have that action performed for me automatically. Enter the Workflow app.
Using this Workflow does require a little bit of preparation and consistency with how you make your calendar entries. First, you create the calendar event. Then, add the text "Call:" in the note field, followed by the number you want your iPhone to call. This is what Workflow will search for to make the app work.
If you read my Technology for Time Management pdf, I give some recommendations on creating checklists so this information can be added by your assistant. Don't have a copy? Simply sign up for my e-newsletter before the end of June, and I'll send you a copy.
Now, set up your Workflow app. First, create a new workflow. You'll have to tap around a little bit to figure things out. Click on the gear icon to change the name and add the workflow as an action extension or to your home screen.
Next, you can swipe the screen to the right to see "Actions" you can add to the workflow. Add the "Action" that is titled "Find Calendar Events Where" and match the photos below. You can adjust the time to suit your preferences. I chose 10 minutes because that is generally when I'm getting on a call.
Next, add the "Get Details of Calendar Events" Action. Then, the "Get Text from Input" action.
Now, you want to tell Workflow to remove the text "Call:", leaving just the phone number. Then, you "Get Text from Input" to put the phone number into the next action.
Finally, simply add the "Call" Action to tell your iPhone to call the phone number.
If you add this Workflow to your home screen, you can use Siri to activate the Workflow (i.e., say "Call teleconference" and Siri will run the workflow for you). Basically, the app creates a shortcut back to the workflow that looks like an app on your home screen. You can either tap the icon to run the app or activate it with Siri.
The Workflow app gets more powerful the more you use it. If you can think of an action that you do over and over on your iPhone, chances are you can make a Workflow to help automate the process. Let me know if you need help.Read more. . .
I often use Apple's ear-buds with my iPhone. I have an older pair that I keep in my car and one that I keep with me in my briefcase.
For easier storage, I found myself trying to re-wrap the headphones into the provided case.
After several failed attempts, I had to look up how to do it and came across this video explaining the process. Hopefully, this will help you.
What is/are your favorite headphones for iPhone?Read more. . .
This week's Tech Tip Tuesday offers some ideas on how to reduce email notification distraction, without completely turning off all notifications. Read the tip over at The Indiana Lawyer, here.Read more. . .
For this week's Tech Tip Tuesday, I'm sharing links to my favorite iOS (iPhone/iPad) based text-expansion software TextExpander (TE) (by Smile Software). The app goes on sale today for $0.99 with the price increasing by $1 per day until the sale ends March 20.
I use this software every day on my iOS devices. It's great to be able to tap a few short keys and send out a large snippet of text. The custom keyboard is also slick. For more on what TE can do, check out this video by David Sparks.
Investing a few minutes learning this software will save you hours over your lifetime. One idea is to have TE automatically a short phrase into a phone number. For example, I type "scell" and TE replaces that text automatically with my cell phone number. I use it to automatically expand names of family members (e.g., "s/" becomes "Seth") or to include an email signature block.
TE snippets can sync across your iPhone/iPad and to your Mac so you have the same shortcuts available to you, no matter the device you are working on.
TE does way more than just text expansion, but that is the subject of future posts.
Download TextExpander 3 + custom keyboard - SmileOnMyMac, LLC for your iPhone (affiliate link).
Download TextExpander 3 + custom keyboard - SmileOnMyMac, LLC for your iPad (affiliate link).
What are your favorite text-expansion tricks?Read more. . .
If you want to get more from your iPhone, check out this article I recently wrote for The Indiana Lawyer here.
What are your favorite iPhone tips?Read more. . .
Recently, I started a post with a list of some of the apps I'm currently testing and some that are on my wish list. You can visit the list here. This post will show you how I create that list.
I often read about an app I might be interested in, but don't want to purchase without further research. In today's Tech Tip Tuesday, I will show you how to add an app to a wish list using your iPhone or iPad.
Open the App Store
Browse for the App
In this example, I'm searching for the Paprika iPhone app.
When I browse to the app, you will see the share button (circled in red). Tap the share button to see some options. (Incidentally, this button is available in many places in iOS).
Check the Wish List
Wish list for the Wish list
It would be nice to be able to share the app directly from the wish list screen. This would come in handy if someone is looking to gift you an app. You can purchase directly from the wish list or you can tap on the app icon to return to the main page for the app and share from that page. Not a big inconvenience overall.
Also, it would be nice to be able to rearrange the wish list. I would like to put the "next app up" so when I have a new gift card or extra funds, I can purchase the top item.
How I use the Wish List
I do a lot of reading through RSS feeds and on my iPhone (email, Facebook, Twitter). When someone links to an app I'm interested in, but not ready to research or purchase, I add that to my wish list. When I have some down time, I can browse to my wish list without getting distracted by the top charts in the App Store. The wish list helps me stay focused on tools I think will help me be more productive.Read more. . .
Here is a (ever growing) list of some of my favorite apps (and some I want to try out). Note that these links are affiliate links.
Bundles (iOS)Read more. . .
There are two iPhone apps on sale "for a limited time" that I recently downloaded, largely on the recommendation of the excellent Mac Power Users podcast.
The first app is called Fantastical 2 for iPhone. This is a calendar app that enhances Apple's built in iOS calendar.
I just downloaded this a few minutes ago, and it was easy to set up with the calendars I already added to my iPhone. Check it out while it's on sale!
The second app is one I'm really excited about. It's called Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple. You can have your phone to do actions based scripts you set up. For example, Workflow can read your calendar and text or email the attendees of your next event to tell them you are running late. This is just one of many things you can do with Workflow. I'm excited to test out what it can do.Read more. . .
For example, I have a master Project for each Matter or case I'm handling. Then, within that Project, I can have a sub-project with tasks under that sub-project.
Many task managers only allow a project with tasks underneath. In my practice, matters always have various "projects" going on at any one time. It is nice to be able to focus in on one of those sub-projects at a time.
Here are some screen shots to demonstrate what I'm talking about:
Project with actions and sub-projects.
My office uses Windows, but because the Reminders app on my iDevices can sync with Microsoft Exchange, OmniFocus is able to grab those tasks from Reminders. I know, I sound like Charlie Brown's teacher.
The process is simple: add a task in Outlook. That task syncs to the iDevice (iPhone/iPad) through the Reminders app. OmniFocus talks to the Reminders app automatically and pulls that task into the OmniFocus inbox. Pretty slick.
Of all the task management apps I have tried, OmniFocus 2 is the best for my purposes. It has a robust feature-set and can be customized to work for you. There are also some excellent resources available to help you learn the program.Read more. . .
I've had the 4, 5, and now the "6 Plus" versions of the iPhone. Each phone gets better, faster, and bigger. The 6+ is huge when you first use it. After a few weeks of use, makes the iPhone 5 seem tiny when I pick it up. My top three features of the iPhone 6 Plus so far are: the screen, the battery, and the camera.
The screen of the 6 Plus is larger than the entire iPhone 5. The resolution and size of the screen is makes reading feasible for me for longer periods of time, using apps like Pocket. Emails, web sites, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and pictures all look great on the screen.
I have not done any formal testing to check Apple's battery performance claims. In normal use (for me), I have noticed that I can charge the phone overnight, use it all day the next day, not charge it, and then use it until the end of the next day with approximately 20% battery remaining. Normal use for me is managing email, checking in on social media, watching a few short videos on YouTube, and using the camera. Oh yeah, I will also make and take some phone calls. The battery is strong.
The camera takes great pictures (see the photo above). I'm not much of a photographer, but the shots I have taken look better than they did on the 5. I use it to take photos of the kids, things around the house, and occasionally for work. There are details about the camera available on Apple's website. It's impressive.
Thoughts on the Size
I know some folks who do not like the larger form factor. It is hard to handle with one hand. I have found that it fits well in my pocket, mainly because it is so thin. I have the leather case from Apple and it does not add much to the size of the phone.
Personally, I have trouble typing on the screen when the phone is in landscape (tilted sideways), but because there is so much space in portrait (upright) mode, I just use that keyboard (or dictate). It is comfortable to hold with one hand and read.
For phone calls, I generally use the headphones that come with it when I'm on the phone because it is large to keep up next to your ear. But, I did that before with my other iPhones. If you often use it like a traditional phone, you may not like the increased size.
For me, the iPhone is a tool. I try to use it to help me be more productive. I like the increased screen size as it allows me to do more of my reading and social media sharing without needing a larger device. I can read PDFs easily without pinching and zooming. I can also read my presenter notes for Keynote due to split screen capabilities on the 6 Plus.
If you are having trouble deciding between the 6 and 6 Plus, I would go to the store and handle the 6 Plus to see how it fits in your hand. I like it and will be keeping it.Read more. . .
Tech Tip Tuesday
Basically, two-factor authentication requires your user name and password, along with some second method, to verify your login to a service. Some services send a text message to your mobile phone with a code to enter after you log in with a user name and password. There are apps available for secondary authentication as well. The trick for me was making sure I could login to those services after changing phones.
I use a fairly typical assortment of online services. For example, I use Gmail (personal email), Dropbox (personal files), Evernote (reference material), and Dashlane (password manager). I had two-factor authentication turned on for most of these services, using the Google Authenticator - Google, Inc. as the secondary authentication device. This app allows you to log in with a password and enter a numeric code generated by the app as the secondary layer of protection.
Before changing phones, I disabled two-factor authentication in all services listed in my Google Authenticator (GA) app on my old phone. I then deleted the GA app from the old phone. After I had the new phone up and running, I reinstalled the GA app on the new phone and enabled the two-factor authentication in the various services.
All in all, secondary authentication is generally straightforward to set up. It does take some time to log in to each web service or app and enable the additional security, but I recommend taking the time to enable it where it is available. While nothing is completely secure, two-factor authentication is another step to help secure your data online.Read more. . .
Have you ever wanted to just tell your iPhone/iPad to activate Siri to perform a task? Now you can.
This week's Tech Tip Tuesday will show you how to set up your iDevice (iPhone/iPad) to have Siri listen for your voice and respond automatically.
A couple of notes: (1) You must have iOS8 installed; and (2) you must have the iDevice plugged into a power source.
So, what is "Hey Siri"?
"Hey Siri" allows you to say "Hey Siri" and then the command. When enabled, your iPhone is "listening" for this cue (which could explain why it has to be plugged in to work). Once your iPhone hears the words "Hey Siri," it will activate Siri, just like you pressed the Home button.
Let's say you have you have your iPhone plugged in. You could say "Hey Siri," wait for Siri to beep, and then say "call the office." Siri will dial the office for you.
Or, "Hey Siri," text Steve Smith to meet me at the coffee shop.
Here's how you set it up.
Switch "Hey Siri" to On
Note, if you haven't used Siri yet, make sure you have "My Info" connected to your contact card.