No subscription

My Ulysses free use period is up in a few days. I’m writing this to convince myself that I don’t need a Ulysses subscription.

I like writing in Ulysses. I also like writing in my other writing apps at times. If I’m paying a subscription I would feel compelled to always use that app. So, I think the best option for me is to use the paid version of Ulysses that I already own. My paid version works with Sierra and High Sierra. Of course, there’s no guarantee it’ll work in future versions of macOS or iOS but I’ll deal with that if or when the time comes. I’ve also determined that I can do almost everything in my other writing apps that I can do in Ulysses should it go away. The methodology is just different.

Here’s a list of writing apps that I own and enjoy using:

My thoughts after two weeks of Hulu Live TV

We cut the cord on Cable TV about 2 years ago. At that time I installed an HD antenna for local stations and subscribed to Netflix, Hulu, and Sling TV. That has worked out okay but we’ve been missing programming on stations like CNBC, NBCSN, and MSNBC. We could have gotten those stations on Sling for another $20 on top of the $20 we were already paying.

About a week ago I upgraded our Hulu to include Hulu Live TV. Hulu with Live TV is $39.99 per month, which includes the $7.99 per month on-demand service we were already paying for, and that price is on a month-to-month basis with no extra fees.

The service comes with 40+ channels including the four major networks CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC as well as a handful of sports channels like NBCSN and ESPN. It also included our local stations. So I disconnected the HD antenna canceled our Sling TV subscription and went all in with Hulu Live TV.

Here are some issues that we ran into. None deal breakers though.

Confusing UI
The interface takes some getting used to. It’s confusing. There is no grid like you may be used to. To make things more confusing it’s mixed in with the Hulu on-demand lineup. I still get confused but I eventually get to where I want to be.

Buffering
Hulu Live TV has buffering issues. At first, I thought it had something to do with our connection. We have 100 Mbps internet so that couldn’t have been the problem. After doing a bit of research, I found that buffering is a common problem for lots of folks. Sometimes it’s really irritating but again it’s not a deal breaker.

Spike in data usage
Watching local stations as part of Hulu Live TV instead of via our HD antenna resulted in a big spike in our data usage. I did some calculations and determined this was going to put us over 1 TB data allowance. To solve this problem I hooked the HD antenna up again for watching local stations.

For the most part, we’ve been happy with the Hulu Live TV service.

Update March 24, 2018: Canceled Hulu Live TV
The buffering problem has become a deal breaker.

Here’s the problem. We are rarely able to watch a program without some degree of buffering. Today I tried to watch MSNBC during lunch. The buffering was so bad it was impossible to watch. I tried CNN and got the same result. I’ve tried to roll with it but I can’t do it anymore. It’s just too frustrating!

I canceled the Live TV part of our Hulu subscription and went back to Sling TV. We don’t get as many channels with Sling but we do get the ones we watch the most.

Checking out the new Firefox Quantum browser for Mac

Back in my PC days, Firefox was my browser of choice. So when I moved to the Mac I installed Firefox because that was what I was used to. After a month or so of using Firefox, I tried Safari and have never looked back until today.

I noticed a couple of articles about Firefox Quantum in my newsfeed yesterday. I thought I would check it out.

Here’s my quick takeaway:

It’s fast. Really fast! The speed increase comes from the completely overhauled core engine with new technology. I like the new look and feel. But I’m most impressed with how fast it is.

I’m going to run it as my default browser for a few days as a test. I doubt that it can replace Safari. It will definitely replace Chrome as my backup browser though.

If you’re already a Firefox user you should receive an automatic update otherwise you can download it here.

MacRumors has a good review of Firefox Quantum for Mac which you can read here.

My new favorite podcast

My favorite podcast is Lance Armstrong’s The Forward. I listened to my first episode in July of 2016. At the time, I wasn’t all that impressed and didn’t listen to any more episodes.

When this year’s Tour de France was approaching I was looking for a way to follow the race. I’m a cord cutter so TV was out. I could follow VeloNews on Twitter but that wasn’t the kind of coverage I was looking for. Then I learned Lance Armstrong had a podcast called Stages.

Lance Armstrong shares his incisive perspective on the 2017 TDF with a new daily podcast, Stages. Co-hosted by longtime Austin radio personality JB Hager, Stages airs about an hour after each stage finish, from July 1-23.

The podcast features special guest appearances, insightful course previews and race analysis from Armstrong’s distinct point of view, which takes listeners deep inside the world’s most iconic cycling race. In addition to a daily recap of all the action, Armstrong, who also hosts The Forward podcast, shares anecdotes from his years racing Le Tour.

Followers can watch this year’s race unfold through the lens of someone who knows the suffering and splendor like no one else.

Stages was what I was looking for. Lance and his co-host JB Hager gave excellent coverage of each stage of the TDF. In fact, it was so good I thought I would check out The Forward podcast again.

I don’t recall which episode of The Forward I listened to first but I came away thinking Lance had become a great interviewer and was interviewing some really interesting people. I’ve since gone back and listened to almost every episode.

The Forward Podcast with Lance Armstrong gives the audience a rare and revealing listen into Armstrong’s conversations with some of the most interesting people he’s met through the years. Guests of the weekly podcast include an eclectic range of personalities—some well-known, others simply with intriguing stories to tell—from the world of politics, entertainment, art, business, sport and more. The podcast, which often touches on current events, is also a community forum where the audience is encouraged to send questions, comments and any feedback directly to Armstrong. Above all, The Forward Podcast is a personal, honest, engaging and always entertaining dialogue that leaves the listener with new insights and information every week.

I know folks have strong opinions about Lance. Love him or hate him The Forward podcast has some amazing interviews with some great life lessons.

If you like podcasts you should definitely check The Forward out. Here are some of my favorite episodes: Michael Morton, Becky Hammon, Rahm Emanuel, Shep Gordon, John Paul DeJoria, Jimmie Johnson, Troy Aikman, and Roy Spence.

Listen on iTunes here: iTunes
Listen on Soundcloud here: Soundcloud
Listen on Google Play here: Google Play

Thinking about the apps and web services I’ll be using in 2018

I’ll be writing my article about the apps and web services I’ll be using in 2018 soon. Between now and then I’ll be choosing those apps and web services.

I have some prerequisites for next year:

  1. The apps I’ll be using must be cross-platform. That means there must be a Mac, iPhone and iPad app.
  2. I don’t want to manage files anymore. I want to use apps that have an app-based organization.
  3. And lastly, I want to keep subscription-based apps and services to a minimum.

That means there will be some departures from what I’ve done in the past. I’m excited about sharing my must-have apps and web services for 2018 with you.

Addresses in Bear notes link to Maps

I discovered this totally by accident. I was creating a note in the Bear notes app that included an address. What I found was, when I place an address in a note it becomes a link to the address in Apple Maps. Of course clicking the link takes me to the address in Maps. This saves having to launch Maps and type the address again. This can also be frustrating if you want a plain text address because there’s currently no way to disable address linking. I did find this workaround. If you bold the address it won’t link. It would nice if Bear would include an option for an address to be a link or plain text.

Problems upgrading to High Sierra

Well, I should have waited a few weeks, like I usually do, before installing High Sierra on my Macs.

Let’s start with my MacBook Pro. So far everything has been working fine. I did have to reset some of my settings. For example, all my startup apps were gone so I had to re-add them to the user login items. Not a big deal.

Now let’s talk about my late 2013 iMac. Everything didn’t go so good. I spent two and half days working with Apple Support to get my iMac running.

The first issue happened during installation. A lot of water has gone under the bridge. I’m not sure if the first boot up problem was at install or the next time I did a restart? The bottom line is my keyboard wasn’t working so I tried a reboot to see if that would fix the problem. It didn’t reboot. It got stuck during the reboot process. I shut it down by holding down the on button. This time it booted up. I tried a few more restarts and sometimes it would boot up and other times it wouldn’t. At this point, I knew something was wrong so made my first call to Apple Support. The Support tech ask me a few questions. Then he had me do a P-Ram reboot ⌥ ⌘ P R (I think that’s what he called it). That fixed the boot problem. Feeling like everything was working, including the keyboard problem, I shut down for the day.

The next morning when I turned on my iMac it booted up fine. Then the keyboard issue reared its ugly head again. By the way, this is the Bluetooth Apple Magic Keyboard we’re talking about. Sometimes it would work sometimes it wouldn’t. I called support again. They walked me through re-pairing it to Bluetooth which did no good. Then they had me change the batteries. After that, the keyboard was working fine so I parted ways with Support.

After taking a lunch break I went back to my iMac to do some writing and the keyboard wasn’t working again. So I got to thinking this isn’t a keyboard issue. So I dug out a Logitech USB keyboard, I had in a closet, to see if it would work. Well, it had the similar issues.

After some trial and error, I determined that anytime I would leave the keyboard idle for a few minutes and then come back to start using it again it wouldn’t work. I called support again a third time and this time it was determined there must be a bug in High Sierra that’s causing the problem. With no available fix, they had me restore to Sierra from a Time Machine backup. After being back on Sierra the keyboard is working fine. Apple Tech Support was excellent. They ask me not to attempt to upgrade my iMac to High Sierra until they called me back sometime in the future to let me know the bug was fixed.

I’m sure glad I did a backup just before I started the update. So now I have Sierra on my iMac and High Sierra on my MacBook. Oh yeah, the boot issue caused a file in Dropbox to get corrupted, which messed up syncing, so I had to fix that too.