Friday, December 23, 2011

What will you get for Hanuka and Chrismas?

If you get an iGift, and are afraid to open the box, call me on New Year's eve!

I will appear on the call in radio show:

Call Kira About Aging! on KSRO 1350 AM, on Dec 31, 2011 from 2-3 PM, with a rebroadcast on January 7 on KNEW 910.

This is your chance to call in, and ask questions about the new iGift you received. Call with any questions about your Apple products, and listen as I unravel the mystery of life with your iPad, iPhone, iPod and all Macintosh products.

Special! Listeners who call in get a 5 part eBook, Dear Macmama; a collection of articles printed in the Piedmont Post. And listen to the radio show to get 25% of of your first visit for new customers.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hope for Quicken 7 users and Lion.

There may be hope for Mac Quicken 2007 users. It looks like Intuit is looking to make Quicken 2007 compatible with Lion. The bummer? I already transferred all of my accounts to iBank, which I like fine, so transferring back will be a slight messy task.

 A letter from Intuit...

Dear Quicken Mac Customer:

As a fellow Mac fan and customer, I wanted to personally introduce myself,

and share some highlights of our Apple-related efforts with you.

I recently became General Manager of the Personal Finance Group at Intuit, 

responsible for Quicken and Intuit's 25 years of leadership in 
personal financial management software makes me excited to lead this team 
and I am committed to creating products to help you reach your financial goals.

I recognize, however, that we have not always delivered on this promise to

Quicken Mac customers.

As you may know, Quicken for Mac 2007 does not currently work on 

Apple's latest operating system, Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). I understand the frustration
this may have caused you and have put a team in place to address this issue.
I am happy to announce that we will have a solution that makes 
Quicken 2007 for Mac "Lion-compatible" by early spring. 
There are still details to be worked out, so I ask your continued patience as we 
work through these.
 In the meantime, you can find more information on our Mac FAQ page.

Working toward a Quicken for Mac 2007 solution is just a first step in winning

 back your confidence.

We are expanding our development team to continue our renewed 
focus on personal  finance solutions that suit the needs of our Mac customers. 
As we develop solutions, we'll be looking to you and the rest of our 
Mac customers for ideas and feedback.

I understand we have a way to go, but I wanted to start by communicating 

our commitment to Mac and look forward to sharing the details with 
you as they emerge.

Thank you for your continued loyalty to Quicken.


Aaron Forth
General Manager, Intuit Personal Finance Group 

Friday, December 9, 2011

iPhone 4S, yes.

I love it. In spite of the battery issue, yes it's a problem, and the fact that Siri's network does not always work, I still love my iPhone 4S. I have been able to mitigate the battery issues some by reducing the brightness, turning off bluetooth when I am not using it, and disabling some location and notification services (like Time Zone support). Apple still has to come up with a working solution for this, but I still think it's a great machine.

Now as far as the network. I switched from AT&T to Verizon, since Berkeley is a known trouble area for AT&T service. My impressions? I really do miss being able to access the web while on a call, the call quality on the Verizon network is worse and the download speed is slower. But I am hoping that Verizon catches up in all of these areas, because the fact is, I am now able to carry on long conversations. And I can't use the excuse, "Bad connection", when I really want to end a call in which I am snagged. Not you, Mom.

So bottom line, I will stay with Verizon. If AT&T fixes their issues, I may jump back over in a couple of years.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stay Away from SOS backup!

Yes, I back up religiously. Daily in 3 places. With TIme Machine, SuperDuper (for a cloned backup), and in the cloud to Crash Plan+. I want to tell you about what led me to Crash Plan. 

I was using JungleDisk, and while it was seamless, I found the interface on the web clumsy and annoying. So, in one of my "everything's really going fine, but I'm bored" moods, I decided to shop around for a new online back up plan. Well, SOS got some great reviews from PC users and media, and they came out with a Mac version of their desktop software.
So I bought a 2 year plan, and stated my upload. That's right, I did NOT try it first, I actually bought a subscription. I'm flogging myself just telling you this. I ALWAYS try before I buy. Why I didn't THIS time can be blamed on the fact that my brain is loopy from the watching the new TV we bought. I have SOOO many episodes of Dexter to catch up on, and it's the first time I have had larger than a 20 inch screen. Yes, my name is Cookie, and I have a new addiction.

OMG, so I really deserved the tsuris I went through with this company. Short story? The Mac desktop application SUCKS, with limited ability to choose files to upload, and the organization on the web is dismal. So I looked online at my account to cancel. There is no place to do that. Also, I signed up for 2 years for $119.95, but on my account page it said $149.95. And that's right, no place to change it UNLESS I wanted to upgrade the account.
When I called customer support, and was told that I could NOT speak to an account representative, the ONLY way to cancel was through the support chat window.

So I tried that, and was told I would receive an email in 24-48 hours, but all I got was a "how do you like SOS?" email. I tried the chat again, and same result. Only until I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau did I finally get a refund. I also got a call from a customer service representative named Larry, very nice guy who sounded like someone I would like to go bowling with, but maybe not be in charge of my data(!!), who said, "Things are a mess in the customer service area of this company, and I'm going to clean it up!" When I told him that the representative I spoke to told me there was no way to speak to an account rep by phone, Larry said, "He lied." Great.
Here is the transcript of my support chat with "James Anderson", which I am SURE is not his real name. By the way, my favorite line of the whole chat is, "Sure Marlene" when I went on a (polite) rant about what I don't like about this product. Notice the "like" button at the end.

James Anderson
Support Consultant
James Anderson7:48:30 AM
Hello Marlene Segelstein. How may I help you?
Marlene Segelstein7:48:51 AM
I would like to cancel my account that I signed up for on Saturday.
James Anderson7:49:06 AM
Can I help you with anything else?
Marlene Segelstein7:49:24 AM
No, I just want to cancel my account.
James Anderson7:49:46 AM
While I look in to your accounts, may I know the reason for cancellation ?
Marlene Segelstein7:51:48 AM
A couple of reasons. The Mac software is too limited, and when I signed up online, I
selected the $119.95 membership, and it put my account at the $149.95 one.
There was no place to change or cancel it. So I just want to cancel my account and
receive a full refund, please.
James Anderson7:53:19 AM
Can I help you sign up for $119.95 account ? Also cancel $149.95 and refund for the
Marlene Segelstein7:53:35 AM
No thank you. Please just cancel my account.
James Anderson7:54:18 AM
ill escalate the case to my accounts manager, he will update the status in the next
24 to 48hrs
Marlene Segelstein7:55:23 AM
Does that mean he will cancel my account? I was told by phone support that this
chat was the only want to do this. Will I get an email confirmation?
James Anderson7:57:27 AM
Yes Marlene, he will send you an email
Marlene Segelstein8:00:01 AM
Please tell your manager that this is not a satisfactory way for customers to
manage their accounts. On the other back up programs I have used, iDrive,
JungleDisk, I was able to cancel online immediately. The website seems set up for
easy in, but not easy out. For consumers that are looking for full features and
control, this does not make for happy campers. I'll look for a confirmation email
within 48 hours.
James Anderson8:00:23 AM
Sure Marlene
Marlene Segelstein8:00:53 AM
Will I also get a full refund?
James Anderson8:01:26 AM
I'm not sure, accounts manager will update you on that
Marlene Segelstein8:03:39 AM
Since I signed up only on Saturday, and the Mac software is limited, I expect a full
refund. I will also let my credit card company know this. Thanks.
James Anderson
Thank you

Friday, October 7, 2011


I have spent the last few days, since Tuesday's iPhone 4S announcement changing my mind constantly.
No, I won't buy it, it's not enough better than my iPhone 4. 
Yes, I will buy it, Siri looks amazing. 
No, I don't want to give up the ability to access data while on a call. 
The deciding factor? A 10 minute ride home from a day of MacMama work, and a phone call that dropped 3 times. Which is typical on any given 10 minute ride home.  And we barely get a signal in our house, so using my cellphone as a business phone is not possible when I am sitting at my desk. Which of course, sucks. So, Goodbye AT&T.

Because I ordered an iPhone 4S from Verizon.  Actually 2, one for me and one for my husband, who has never quite forgiven me for forcing our family off Verizon and on to AT&T,  back when the Blackberry Bold came out. SO we will be paying a termination fee of $90, and switching our wireless service. And most likely, I will use Square Trade instead of AppleCare or Verizon's insurance, like I did on my other iPhone and iPad.

I spoke to a few salespeople at Verizon who promised to call me back to set stuff up (and did not keep their promises) . So today I called and spoke to  Robert, who was an excellent sales representative. I asked if I could post his direct line on this blog, since he was so thorough and friendly.  I HATE grumpy sales people, and rude customer service reps, and I certainly speak out when I come across them, but this guy is the best. So if you ARE going to get one from Verizon, call him. 

ROBERT: 888-924-7934, EXT. 8186.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Yes, I am going to upgrade to the new iPhone that is allegedly being announced this Tuesday. Will I do it right away? And the bigger question, will I leave AT&T?
That depends on a a couple of things. Namely, if it has dual mode CDMA and GSM, I'll switch in a flash (no reference to Adobe). If I have to choose CDMA in order to switch to Verizon, (and actually be able to get a signal in my house), I may have to think about it.
More on that later. Must go walk dog. By the way, at the dog park, I get FABULOUS AT&T service. WTF?!

A Keeper, until...

Yes, the update is, I like the bag. The Eagle Creek Dane that is. I have been using it for about 6 weeks, and I must say, I have not run into a situation where I wished it had more room or more sections. The backpack straps are just fine, and when it is packed well, it actually can stand up like a hard sided briefcase. There are a few things I would like, though.

1. A place for a water bottle on the side.
2. A waist strap to take some of the weight off of my shoulders.
3. Better looking exterior. Yes it's slick, but it's just another black bag among black bags.

So until something else comes along, I'll continue to go between this and my Tom Binh Super Ego.

I like the Binh for looks and style, but the Dane holds more and is more comfortable to wear. Tom Binh has some beautiful (read expensive) bags, and is made in Seattle. So if you are feeling like getting something that will turn some geek heads, and have the cash, check them out at the link above.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Girls love bags.

I am reviewing a laptop bag, the Eagle Creek Dane.
Let me admit this, I am a bagaholic. Every time I hear of a new and improved bag, I salivate a little. I was considering the Timbuk2 Commute 2.0, but when I saw it and tried it, it seems a bit floppy, and the laptop area was too close to the top. I was afraid my 15" Macbook Pro (mid 2011) would not be protected well. The layout of the rest of the bag looked great, but it did not have backpack straps.

My criteria for a bag:

*Checkpoint friendly
*Shoulder strap
*Padded handle
*Ergonomic backpack straps
*Easy laptop access
*Good protection (suspended laptop container)
*Room for wires, external hard drives, etc.
*Good warranty, lifetime preferred

I love Eagle Creek products, so I thought I would give this bag a try. Here is what they claim:

  • Three carry options: Padded concealable daypack straps, removable shoulder strap and padded grab handle
  • Checkpoint Friendly laptop compartment with butterfly-style opening sized to fit most 17” laptops
  • Smart Travel Security™ organization with Secure-Zip™ toggle closure includes: interior mobile phone and electronics pockets, zippered mesh pocket, key fob and pen slots
  • Two-way lockable zippers on main and laptop compartments
  • Two interior pockets for electronic chargers/cords
  • Front zippered pocket
  • Back slip panel for securely stacking on wheeled luggage
  • Reflective accents for dusk and nighttime visibility

And yes, they have Eagle Creek's famous lifetime guarantee. So more on this at the end of this week as I put this bag to the test.

Friday, August 12, 2011

iBank, iApprove.

I have been using Igg Software's iBank for a couple of weeks, and although it took me awhile to get used to it, I have found it meets my needs very well. 

Initially, I was entering my transactions in iBooks AND Quicken essentials in case I hated iBank. But in the last week, I have abandoned Intuit's poor substitution for Quicken, and jumped right into iBank's interface.
The reports are very easy to read, and colorful in a way that points to pertinent info.

I Love:
I can see a list of my accounts in a left side panel.
Customizable toolbar with a calculator, currency exchange rate, reports, etc.
iPhone and iPad sync (OMG!)
Reconcile checkmark near left side of register, much more ergonomic.
Cute piggybank icon for savings account (see above).
Ability to add icons to categories.
Transferred my Quicken info beautifully.
Great customer support, constant updates.

Not so love:
Entry feels a little clumsy, once I save a transaction, it still has active entry fields, so when I come back to iBank, I'm not sure if I have saved it. It only looks final when I click the plus sign to add a new transaction.
Not enough like a check register, so it took me awhile to feel at ease with setting it up. I would rather have the check number right after the date.

Here are some screenshots (samples, not my accounts!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

iBank: Quicken substitute?

I have been using Quicken Essentials for a week, and am not happy with it. So I am giving Iggsoftware's iBank a try. Even though I upgraded to Lion, I saved a copy of my Snow Leopard system on an external drive. I booted into that and exported my Quicken data which was easily converted by iBank. I have also downloaded the iBank iPhone app, and have synced it with my Mac. 

Now, I was in no way a power Quicken user. My needs are basic. I have a personal checking, two business checking , and a savings account. I use categories for tax reporting, and don't keep track of my credit card accounts, since, yes I pay my balances off every month. 

So give me about a week, and I'll let you know what I think.

Just FYI, here's the blurb from IGGSOFTWARE:

iBank 4 delivers a new standard for intuitive, full-featured personal finance software. Monitor account balances at a glance, track your investments, maintain budgets, and manage your credit cards, savings, checking and loans — all in an easy, powerful, familiar Mac interface.

Set up in a snap.

iBank's setup assistant gets you up and running in no time. Import data from Quicken for Mac or PC, Microsoft Money, and other financial programs with minimal effort, or start with a clean slate in minutes. [screenshot]

Track all your finances in one place.

iBank includes tools for keeping tabs on all of your real-world financial accounts: checking and savings, cash and credit cards, investment and retirement accounts, even mortgages and loans. [screenshot | tutorial video]

Update your records with ease.

Many banks offer direct download for one-click updates; for the rest, iBank includes an integrated browser that you can use to import data straight from your bank's website. iBank helps you to clean up the new transactions and remove duplicates automatically. Manually record and edit transactions as needed. [screenshot]

Categorize everything.

Set up category hierarchies, assign categories to all of your transactions, and split transactions for more detailed category tracking. Best of all, iBank learns how you categorize the transactions you download and assigns categories automatically when you update your accounts! [screenshot | tutorial video]

Generate powerful reports.

Create beautiful and detailed reports on your account balances, spending categories, investments, net worth and more with the click of a button. Click on any element of a report to drill down and view more detailed information, then print exactly what you see onscreen. [screenshot | tutorial video]

Plan your budget with envelopes.

Due to popular demand, iBank now supports the envelope method of budget tracking. Plan your upcoming expenses, then save cash in envelopes until payments are due. Carry over savings from month to month, and move cash between envelopes when necessary. [screenshot | tutorial video]

Sync data with your iPhone.

With iBank Mobile for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, you can keep your account balances and transaction history synchronized between your Mac and mobile devices with the click of a button. Transfer data over a local wireless network, remotely via MobileMe, or using your own WebDAV server. [screenshot | tutorial video]

Track investments with ease.

iBank's powerful investment management features let you record the shares you buy and sell, track the prices of your securities over time, and analyze the performance of your portfolio with reports tailored specifically for investors. [screenshot | tutorial video]

Reconcile with paper statements.

For those of us who prefer to keep tabs on what the banks do with our money, iBank provides convenient statement reconciliation features. Each month when a paper statement arrives from the bank, create a virtual statement in iBank, check off the transactions that match up, and make any adjustments necessary to keep your accounts properly balanced. [screenshot | tutorial video]

Go global.

Just like your Mac, iBank works worldwide. With multi-currency support, you can set a default currency for any account, download exchange rates and calculate transfers between accounts automatically. iBank supports localization for British English, and now includes full French language support as well.

Take control of your financial life.

iBank includes a host of other features to help you keep control over where your money goes. Use scheduled transactions to track recurring expenses, and post them to your iCal calendar. Attach receipts, statements, pictures, or any other files to your transactions for better record-keeping. Maintain accounts in multiple currencies and perform currency conversions with a minimum of hassle. [screenshot]

Discover more great features.

You'll uncover lots more capabilities in iBank, including robust data export (to programs such as TurboTax), custom check printing, and password protection for your iBank documents. You'll also find a great community of active users at the IGG forums, and if you need us, an enthusiastic support team always willing to help.