Editing in Final Cut Pro X on a Mid-2013 MacBook Air

I never imagined I would be editing Final Cut Pro X videos on a Mid-2013 MacBook Air. At the time, I was upgrading from a Late-2009 MacBook and was primarily looking for a MacBook to take with me when I travel but also one that would offer a balance between portability, performance and price. I elected to go with the Mid-2013 MacBook Air with a 1.7GHz Intel Core i7 Processor, a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. Along with AppleCare and tax, the total cost came in under $2,000 which was within my budget and reasonable. It was well worth the investment given that I’ve gotten over five years from it and it still performs relatively well running on Apple’s latest operating system - macOS Mojave.

Over the past few years, I’ve been creating and producing more digital content including making videos and while I can certainly edit videos on the MacBook Air, it’s clear that my MacBook Air is under-powered and overtaxed for this purpose. Editing short videos isn’t too bad provided you’re taking a minimalistic approach in terms of transitions, effects, color grading, enhancements and so forth. The rendering times are somewhat bearable.

However, when you start editing longer videos, especially with high quality footage (ex: 1080p at 30 fps or better), it’s a different story. You’re dealing with large file sizes and the process of transcoding and rendering all the video footage that make up your final video takes an enormous amount of time. You need processing power (CPU), memory (RAM) and a good GPU to handle these tasks and unfortunately, a Mid-2013 MacBook Air with these specs just isn’t going to make the cut. I should also mention that the lack of a Retina Display makes quite a difference in the overall viewing experience.

While working on some recent videos, Final Cut crashed numerous times and the transcoding and rendering times for the videos were substantial. Fortunately, I’m not producing and releasing a large volume of videos right now because I would almost certainly be backlogged.

I have been looking into upgrading to the 15-inch MacBook Pro since the 2018 refresh but held off following last year’s issue with the throttling of the i9 processors (later resolved via a software update) and the ongoing issues with the butterfly keyboard. Apple recently announced updates to the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro lines with faster eighth and ninth-generation Intel processors; respectively, and improvements to the third-generation butterfly keyboard. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is also available with 8-core Intel Core i9 processors.

Investing in a new 15-inch MacBook Pro would certainly improve my workflow and the preliminary reviews on performance of the updated MacBook Pros are looking quite promising so it is something I am strongly considering. In the meantime, I’ll make do with my MacBook Air.

 

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Camera Gear & Accessories

Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQLMyF

Sony A6400 with 16-50mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Ii6feP

Sony A6400 with 18-133mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Mzbgoq

Sony Shooting Grip - https://amzn.to/2W8Mnzq

Sony NP-BX1 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2QDvHPL

Sony BC-TRX Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2WjHKaN

Sony Travel Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQu3ao

Sony NP-FW50 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2EQUL0R

Sony BC-TRW Battery Charger for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2JUP46j

JOBY GorillaPod 3K - https://amzn.to/312jPvo

JOBY GripTight ONE Mount for Smartphones - https://amzn.to/312omOr

Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC 128GB - https://amzn.to/2EOxJaK

 

External Storage

Samsung T5 Portable SSD 500GB - https://amzn.to/2QCjASU

Samsung T5 Portable SSD 1TB - https://amzn.to/2HP0GoV

Samsung T5 Portable SSD 2 TB - https://amzn.to/2IhvsG4

What Cameras Do You Use For Photography And Filming?

I currently use a combination of cameras for both photography and filming.

My always on-hand “camera” is my iPhone X. I always have it with me and it has a pretty good built-in camera for taking photos and recording video. It’s perfect for the spur of the moment situations when you have an opportunity to take a photo, record a video, capture an important or rare moment and don’t have a digital camera readily available. The iPhone X camera does have its limitations but in relatively ideal conditions, it does a pretty good job. I’ve taken some incredible photos while traveling and created videos using footage filmed entirely from the iPhone X.

Here are a few videos shot entirely on iPhone X:

A Trip To Hudson Yards - https://youtu.be/gU6VWXjaQbo

A Trip to Hoboken for the Waterfront View - https://youtu.be/dfKmGWakwmw

The Seaport District & New Pier 17 (NYC) - https://youtu.be/1AQWdXFUKdU

My small form factor camera of choice is the Sony RX100 VI. Previously, I was using the Canon PowerShot S120 for photos and videos, but it was time to really step up. The Sony RX100 VI has worked well. I like the quality of the photos and videos that come from this camera. The Sony RX100 VI supports both RAW and JPEG formats for still photography. The quality of recorded video on the Sony RX100 VI is crisper and cleaner even in low light situations with no adjustments to the camera settings. I did get the Sony Shooting Grip (sold separately) for the Sony RX100 VI which works great for filming and helps with stability. In addition, the grip doubles as a tripod. The flip screen is extremely useful when you’re trying to get a shot and need to position the camera in an awkward or inconvenient position yet still be able to see what your capturing or filming. The ability to flip the screen backwards for selfie-mode is great for those solo and group shots when you don’t have someone around to take a photo or video for you.

While the Sony RX100 VI has great features, there are some areas for improvement including better image stabilization, external mic support for improved audio, built-in support for interval shooting/time lapse videos and a longer-life battery (you should get spare batteries and an external battery charger).

Here are a few videos shot on the Sony RX100 VI:

2019 New York International Auto Show – Part 1 - https://youtu.be/1zcxuAWHsCA

2019 New York International Auto Show – Part 2 - https://youtu.be/uqO_quQV2Sw

Take Me Out To Cooperstown - https://youtu.be/jvHYm6GvyLY (includes iPhone X footage)

The most recent addition to my camera gear is the Sony A6400 mirrorless APS-C camera. I did extensive research into the various options and it came down to balancing size, features and price. I did get both kit lenses (the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 and the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6) which serve as a good starting point though I may eventually need to get additional lenses. The Sony A6400 has a lot of similar features to the Sony RX100 VI but also includes external mic support and interval shooting/time lapse videos. The A6400 does not have in body image stabilization but both lenses do have Optical Steadyshot. I do recommend getting spare batteries and an external battery charger for this camera. I’ve only begun to test the camera but so far, I’m happy with the investment. I’m looking forward to field testing the Sony A6400 over the next few months.

 

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQLMyF

Sony A6400 with 16-50mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Ii6feP

Sony A6400 with 18-135mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Mzbgoq

Sony Shooting Grip - https://amzn.to/2W8Mnzq

Sony NP-BX1 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2QDvHPL

Sony BC-TRX Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2WjHKaN

Sony Travel Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQu3ao

Sony NP-FW50 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2EQUL0R

Sony BC-TRW Battery Charger for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2JUP46j

JOBY GorillaPod 3K - https://amzn.to/312jPvo

JOBY GripTight ONE Mount for Smartphones - https://amzn.to/312omOr

Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC 128GB - https://amzn.to/2EOxJaK

Running Older Versions of Adobe Creative Cloud Apps? You May Need To Upgrade!

Earlier this month, Adobe announced changes to the availability of Adobe Creative Cloud applications through the Creative Cloud desktop app and Adobe.com. As mentioned in Adobe’s blog post Changes to Creative Cloud Download Availability, Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers will now only have access to download the two most recent versions of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications with the exception of Adobe Acrobat. Acrobat will only be available for download in the most recent version.

The post goes on to say that the changes “will further enable us to develop the features and functionality most requested by customers and ensure peak performance and benefits across Windows and Mac operating systems.”

However, some Creative Cloud subscribers running older versions of Adobe Creative Cloud applications have received notice from Adobe advising them that those Creative Cloud applications are no longer authorized, and the continued use of the unauthorized versions could have potential legal ramifications.

Here are a couple of excerpts from the notice:

“For customers who have not yet updated to the latest version of Creative Cloud, please note that you are no longer licensed to use certain older versions of the applications or deploy packages containing these older versions.”

“Please be aware that if you continue to use or deploy the older, unauthorized versions of Creative Cloud, you will not have third-party claim coverage pursuant to your contract with Adobe. Should you continue to use or deploy these unauthorized versions, you may be at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties.”

Adobe has not provided any specifics on the matter, but the issue appears to stem from ongoing litigation. Adobe has provided information on how to remove unauthorized versions of Adobe Creative Cloud applications and has provided a list of authorized and unauthorized versions of Creative Cloud applications. If you aren’t running the latest version of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications, you should check to see if you are using authorized versions of the Creative Cloud applications by checking your installed versions against the list of authorized and unauthorized versions. This applies to all Creative Cloud subscribers including, but not limited to: individuals, businesses, students and teachers, schools and universities.

As someone who has worked in advertising for almost twenty-years and served as Head of MIS/IT, I understand the issues, problems and headaches that this creates and the complexities with compliance. Upgrading Adobe software across the board isn’t as simple as it seems when you look at this from a business and organization perspective. Hardware and software costs, OS and software compatibility, testing and downtime are just some of the factors which need to be considered before upgrading software. Businesses of all sizes face a variety of challenges whenever there’s a need to deploy new hardware or software within an organization. There are best practices which must be followed to avoid disruption to workflow and productivity.

That said, it’s important to review these changes and take the necessary steps to implement changes now. Not doing so could be risky for Creative Cloud subscribers. Until further guidance is available on the potential legal implications to Creative Cloud subscribers, be proactive and take the necessary steps to mitigate any potential liability down the road.

Before You Sign That Commercial Lease . . .

Finding commercial office space can be quite a challenge. While there’s certainly real estate available, finding the right office space that satisfies your business needs, fits your business vibe, is conveniently located, offers your business the flexibility to grow and which falls within your budget doesn’t necessarily come easy. And, even if you should find that “perfect” or “close to perfect” office space, you’ll still need to negotiate fair lease terms and work out the language in the final lease agreement before it’s a done deal. You don’t want to blindly sign on the dotted line!

First, negotiate the lease terms with the landlord. If you aren’t a strong negotiator or don’t feel you have the experience to negotiate, seek an experienced and qualified real estate broker who specializes in working for and in the interest of tenants. They should have insight into the real estate market and relationships with buildings and landlords to help you find the right space and negotiate, in good faith, fair terms with the various buildings and landlords.

Keep in mind that there are various factors which may help your negotiating power including, but not limited to: prominence of your business, size and financial position of your business, amount of commercial real estate space you intend on leasing and the length of the lease term (a longer term lease may offer you stronger negotiating power over a shorter term lease).

Once you’ve negotiated the lease terms to a point which are reasonably fair and agreeable, the landlord will have their legal counsel draw up the lease documents. Be sure to read the commercial lease agreement and all the applicable attachments, amendments, riders, guaranties and related documents thoroughly. Be sure that the lease terms and conditions, responsibilities and obligations of both the tenant and landlord are clearly spelled out and align with what has been agreed to during the lease negotiations. These include, but are not limited to: the start/end date of the lease, the lease term (number of years), the lease renewal and termination provisions, the date landlord shall deliver possession of the premises to the tenant, the date in which tenant shall surrender the premises to the landlord, base rent and any applicable rent abatement(s), additional fees and costs outside of the base rent (ex: cleaning, security, water/sprinkler), annual rent escalation (percent increase), proportionate share of property taxes and other applicable costs/expenses beyond the base year, the base year to be used for calculating property taxes and other applicable costs/expenses beyond the base year, electricity costs (ex: if the space is individually metered), HVAC (ex: if HVAC is tenant controlled – annual maintenance agreement requirement, who is responsible for repair/replacement of major components like compressor/condenser or replacement of the unit(s) in the event of a failure during the lease term? the landlord’s certification that the existing HVAC unit is in good operating condition; if HVAC is not tenant controlled, availability and costs for after-hours and weekend use), security deposit requirement, office space build out work and responsibilities, work to be performed by landlord, work to be performed by tenant (if work requires written approval by landlord), landlord responsibilities, tenant responsibilities, cost for building and office keys/key cards, covered and non-covered (a la carte) building services, commercial insurance requirement, “good guy” clause, etc. These are just some of the common items that typically appear in a commercial lease agreement which you should be on the lookout for and review carefully.

Even as an experienced business owner well-versed in negotiating contracts and agreements, it should go without saying that you should tap into and consult with a good real estate attorney who will thoroughly review the lease agreement and all the applicable attachments, amendments, riders, guaranties and related documents to make sure they are in order and contain the appropriate language to protect your interests. Let me be clear, having a good real estate attorney review the lease agreement does not mean that you should “pass the buck” and not exercise due diligence. YOU need to review the lease agreement thoroughly, make notes and consult with the real estate attorney so that you have a thorough understanding of what you are getting into before you sign and commit to the lease agreement. Don’t assume anything! Ask questions, get clarification and be sure you fully understand and are comfortable with the provisions of the agreement. Don’t think for a moment that any questions are stupid or silly. If it’s ambiguous, vague, unclear etc., get clear, definitive answers! Contracts and agreements often contain legalese which are difficult to fully comprehend and understand and may be vague and ambiguous.

Commercial leases are written for and inure to the benefit of the landlord. The objective is to try and get the lease terms to a point where the terms provide adequate protections, to the maximum extent possible, for you – the tenant. There may be several rounds of back-and-forth between you (and your legal counsel) and the landlord (and the landlord’s legal counsel) before you hash out the final language of the lease agreement so be patient, be thorough and exercise continued due diligence. This is one of those things where taking shortcuts will be more harmful than helpful. Don’t take shortcuts! Stick with best practices!

One final note . . . give yourself ample time to work through the process of lease negotiations and towards a final agreeable and acceptable lease agreement and whenever possible, have a backup plan. If you, with the advice of counsel, don’t feel comfortable with the lease terms and the landlord is not acting in good faith, don’t give in and don’t sign the lease agreement! Be prepared and willing to walk away! You don’t want to be stuck in an agreement for which you will ultimately regret!

A Look Back At The 2019 New York International Auto Show

The 2019 New York International Auto Show has come and gone but the memories will last forever or at least until next year. It’s always a blast heading to the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to check out all the new vehicles from automakers around the world; even those high-end, luxury vehicles we can only dream about.

I enjoy getting an up close and personal look and feel at some of my favorites (including vehicles from Kia, Jeep, Ford, Dodge, Chevy, Toyota, Audi, Lexus . . . just to name a few), learning about the latest technologies, advancements and innovations in the automotive industry, feeling a sense of nostalgia seeing classic and vintage vehicles and taking in and enjoying the experience. It’s a fun and great event for individuals, friends and families alike.

Here are some photos that I took at this year’s New York International Auto Show:

 Also, check out my videos from this year’s trip:

If you’re interested, the 2020 New York International Auto Show is scheduled to take place Friday, April 10 through Sunday, April 19, 2020. To learn more about the New York International Auto Show, check out their official website at https://www.autoshowny.com/.

I’m looking forward to next year’s New York International Auto Show.

My Favorite Music From The YouTube Audio Library

Music is an important element in the videos that I create and a crucial part of the storytelling. It helps set the mood, tone, tempo and atmosphere. It keeps the story on pace and moving, helps with transitions and keeps the content entertaining and interesting. Music also helps establish an emotional connection with viewers.

While there are many resources for music available to creators, if you create content on YouTube, the YouTube Audio Library is a good resource and starting point. The YouTube Audio Library is a convenient way to access royalty-free music (with and without required attribution) for videos published on YouTube. Though I primarily use music from the YouTube Audio Library that does not require attribution, I do include the name of the track, artist and indicate that the music comes from the YouTube Audio Library in the description below each video.

Before editing a video, I’ll typically go through the process of selecting appropriate music for the video. The process can be quick or lengthy depending on whether I can find the right music that I’m looking for. Sometimes, the beginning of a track may not be what I’m looking for so I’ll scrub through the track to determine if any part of the track might work for the video. When appropriate, I’ll use the entire track (and usually, several tracks are required for most videos) but on occasion, I may just want or need to use a portion of a track for a particular part of the video.

I’ve found and used a lot of great music from the YouTube Audio Library for my videos. Here are ten of my favorites so far . . .

Vibe Tracks – “Over Time”

Vibe Tracks – “Take You Home Tonight”

Vibe Tracks – “Deep Hat”

Vibe Tracks – “Faith”

Vibe Tracks – “Universal”

Vibe Tracks – “Undeniable”

Text Me Records / Leviathe – “Yummu”

Vibe Tracks – “TFB9”

Jimmy Fontanez/Media Right Productions – “Follow Me”

Gunnar Olsen – “First To Last”

Check out these videos to watch and listen to how these tracks accompany the storytelling:

LINKS:

YouTube Audio Library (requires YouTube sign-in) - https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music

Can’t Change The iTunes Media Folder Location? Try Creating A New iTunes Library!

Apple iTunes defaultly stores iTunes media on your Mac or Windows PC in the following storage locations:

Mac:

Macintosh HD | Users | <User Account> | Music | iTunes | iTunes Media

Windows:

C:\Users\<User Account>\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media

Normally, you should be able to change the default location of the iTunes Media folder by launching iTunes and then going to:

Mac:

iTunes | Preferences | Advanced

Windows:

Edit | Preferences | Advanced

Once you are in the Advanced Preferences window, you should see the current iTunes Media folder location and be able to change the location by clicking on “Change” and selecting the new location.

Recently, on a Windows 10 (version 1809) laptop running the latest version of iTunes (version 12.9.4.102), I experienced an issue where each time I tried to change the default iTunes Media folder location, iTunes would revert to the default location after quitting out of iTunes. The laptop recently underwent a reformat, clean installation of Windows 10 and was up-to-date on all current software updates and patches. In addition, iTunes was uninstalled, the laptop was rebooted, and iTunes was subsequently reinstalled as a precaution; however, the issue remained. I did research the issue but couldn’t find any current reports of known bugs/issues between Windows 10 (version 1809) and iTunes (version 12.9.4.102) like the issue at hand.

As a workaround, I decided to try creating a new iTunes library in the location where I wanted the iTunes Media folder to be located.

To do this, first close out of iTunes then do the following:

Mac

Hold down the Option key while launching iTunes

Windows

Hold down the Shift key while launching iTunes

An iTunes window should come up which says, “Choose iTunes Library.” You will need to create a new library in the location where you want the new iTunes Media folder to be located. Click “Create Library …” then follow the on-screen prompts to select or create a folder location where you want the new library to be located then click “Save.”

Choose or Create iTunes Library in Windows

Choose or Create iTunes Library in Windows

Choose or Create iTunes Library in macOS

Choose or Create iTunes Library in macOS

Once that’s done, iTunes should generate an “iTunes Library” database file in the new iTunes Media folder location that you selected along with sub-folders for “Album Artwork” and “iTunes Media.” If you go to either: iTunes | Preferences | Advanced on a Mac or Edit | Preferences | Advanced in Windows, you should be able to verify that the iTunes Media folder location is set to the new location which you previously selected. To be certain the change will not revert, close and re-open iTunes and verify the change again. Also, take a moment to check that your other iTunes settings are correct (ex: “Keep iTunes Media folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library” are selected, if so desired).

While there’s nothing wrong with using the default iTunes Media folder location, if you prefer to use a different location and run into similar issues changing the default folder location and/or iTunes retaining the change, creating a new iTunes Library is a potential workaround.

AirPods (2nd Generation): Good, But A Minor Upgrade

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case

I bought the AirPods (1st generation) a couple of years ago and started using them daily after the headphone jack on my iPad Pro broke. The AirPods (1st generation) sound and work great so when the AirPods (2nd generation) came out, I decided to get them and give them a try. After using the AirPods (2nd generation) for over a month, I do like them. The quality of the AirPods (2nd generation) is consistent with the quality I would expect from Apple and they work just as well as the 1st generation with some improvements made possible by the new H1 chip. That said, the improvements of the 2nd generation overall are subtle making it a minor upgrade over the 1st generation.

If you have a fully functional set of AirPods (1st generation) and you’re satisfied with the features, functionality, performance and don’t really care about voice-enabled Siri, wireless charging and some of the other improvements made possible by the new H1 chip, then you probably won’t gain a substantial benefit from the AirPods (2nd generation).

If you’re looking to stay within the Apple ecosystem and are considering AirPods for the first-time over traditional EarPods, earphones or headphones, AirPods are worth the investment; however, you should think about the importance of wireless charging. If you want or need wireless charging, you’ll be paying a premium - an extra $40 for the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case ($199). If you don’t care about wireless charging, you can save $40 by sticking with the AirPods with Charging Case ($159). Likewise, if you need to replace AirPods that are non-functional or partially non-functional, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll want to spend the extra $40 for the wireless charging case.

Circling back to those with a fully functional set of AirPods (1st generation), if you truly want the wireless charging capability without the $199 sticker price, Apple does offer the Wireless Charging Case for $79.

I will say that it is nice to have some of those subtle improvements with the AirPods (2nd generation) including voice-enabled Siri and the wireless charging option. You’ll need to decide for yourself whether the AirPods (2nd generation) are truly worth the investment.

 

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case - https://amzn.to/2DqTdd4

Apple AirPods with Charging Case - https://amzn.to/2VhRxNp

Anker PowerWave 7.5W Wireless Charging Pad - https://amzn.to/2IypCTv

2019 New York International Auto Show

The 2019 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) makes its return to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center this Friday. From coupes to sedans, SUVs to trucks, new vehicles to future concept cars, the New York International Auto Show is a showcase for nearly 1,000 vehicles spread across four floors of the convention center and offers a look at some of the latest technologies and innovations from automakers around the world.

From walking the show floor and exhibit halls to getting into vehicles for a hands-on, look & feel experience to participating in a ride-along or test drive (ex: Camp Jeep Ride & Drive), the New York International Auto Show is a fun and enjoyable event for auto enthusiasts, individuals and families alike and a great way to spend a few hours of your day.

NYIAS starts on Friday, April 19th and runs through Sunday, April 28th with an opening ceremony taking place on Saturday, April 20th from 8:30am to 10:30am. The event is open to the public, but you do need to purchase tickets for the event available on the New York International Auto Show website.

For me, it’s always fun heading to the auto show to check out some of the latest vehicles coming to market, the emerging technologies and innovations in the industry and seeing some of the concept cars in development. I also like the hands-on experience. Having the opportunity to get into vehicles from a variety of automakers and get an up-close look & feel. It’s a great opportunity to check out different vehicles (cars, SUVs, trucks) which you might not ordinarily do unless you are in the market to buy or lease a new vehicle. Of course, what’s an auto show without a sense of nostalgia seeing some of the vintage classics on display.

I’m looking forward to checking out the new vehicles at this year’s NYIAS.

Check out the short video I created last year walking the convention floors of the 2018 New York International Auto Show.

Stop Procrastinating! Tax Day Is Coming!

If you tend to procrastinate when it comes to the tax season, it’s time to stop procrastinating and start taking action. Tax Day for the 2018 tax year is right around the corner. For most filers, Monday, April 15, 2019 is the deadline to file your tax returns with the IRS and where applicable, your state tax agency. However, for states observing a holiday, those filers will get additional time.

“For the 2018 tax return, the due date is April 15, 2019 for most filers. For residents of Maine and Massachusetts, the due date is April 17, 2019 because of the Patriot's Day and Emancipation Day holidays in those states.” – IRS Topic No. 301 When, How, and Where To File

Whether you file electronically or by paper, it’s vital that your tax returns are filed on-time. The IRS provides the following guidance:

“Your return is considered filed on time if the envelope is properly addressed, has enough postage, is postmarked, and is deposited in the mail by the due date. If you file electronically, the date and time in your time zone when your return is transmitted controls whether your return is filed timely. You will later receive an electronic acknowledgement that the IRS has accepted your electronically filed return.” – IRS Topic No. 301 When, How, and Where To File

If you have an Accountant or CPA firm handling your tax returns, be sure to return any applicable e-file authorization forms to them in a timely manner so they may electronically file your returns on your behalf. Also, make note of any filings you may be required to submit by mail and get those filings sent out on-time. If you are using a third-party tax preparer to do your taxes, be sure to schedule your appointment as soon as possible to ensure your returns are prepared and transmitted on-time. Appointments can become harder to come by as the tax deadline approaches. For paper filers, be sure to get to the Post Office ahead of the April 15th deadline or risk potentially waiting on long lines to get those returns mailed by the tax deadline.

The IRS and state tax agencies do allow qualified filers to request an extension to file their tax returns. A request for an extension must be filed by the tax deadline. However, an extension only extends the tax deadline for filing your returns. It does not extend the deadline for paying your taxes. If you owe taxes, you are still required to remit payment to the IRS and/or to your state tax agency by the tax deadline.

“If you cannot file by the due date of your return, you should request an extension of time to file. To receive an automatic 6-month extension of time to file your return, you can file Form 4868. File your extension request by the due date of your return. An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay so you'll owe interest if the tax you owe isn't paid by the original due date of your return. You may also be subject to a late-payment penalty on any tax not paid by the original due date of your return.” – IRS Topic No. 301 When, How, and Where To File

Filers should check with their individual state tax agency for guidance on their state’s tax filing requirements and deadlines. If you are unsure or unfamiliar with tax preparation and filings, be sure to seek professional counsel from an Accountant, CPA firm and/or certified tax professional.

 

RELATED POSTS:

Getting Ready For The Tax Season

Do Your Own Taxes Or Seek A Professional

AirPower In One Word – Canceled!

It’s been over eighteen months since Apple first offered a sneak peek into AirPower, Apple’s own wireless charging mat capable of charging an iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch simultaneously. First announced in September 2017 with a potential release in 2018, Apple has since remained primarily silent about its whereabouts while rumors have swirled around potential production challenges and issues with AirPower.

Over the past few weeks, talk of AirPower has returned to the forefront in light of Apple’s recent product refreshes including a refresh of the 7.9-inch iPad Mini, revival of the iPad Air in a new 10.5-inch form factor, refresh of the iMac with processor upgrades and the option of Vega graphics, the release of the AirPods 2nd generation with wireless charging case and the announcement of new services including Apple News+, Apple Arcade, Apple Card and Apple TV+ at Apple’s March 25th event. If you missed the March 25th event, you can watch it on Apple’s website here.

On Friday, Apple made one additional announcement and it concerned the future of AirPower though not quite the one many were anticipating. AirPower is canceled!

As reported by TechCrunch, Apple’s SVP of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio, provided the following e-mailed statement:

“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.”

It certainly didn’t take long for this announcement to make it across media outlets and social media.

While Apple has put an end to AirPower, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t and/or aren’t working on other potential wireless charging products. But at least for now, if you’re looking for a wireless charging pad, you’ll need to step outside the Apple ecosystem.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand (White or Black) - https://amzn.to/2ToFB88

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad (White or Black) - https://amzn.to/2MGJ7IR

 

RELATED POSTS:

Making The Move To Wireless Charging

Making The Move To Wireless Charging - Part II

Customer Service Can Make or Break Your Business

Customer service is a core part of many businesses. When customers reach out to or for customer service, quite often it’s about a problem or an issue that requires a resolution. Customers are typically looking for someone who is going to listen to and understand the issue at hand. They are looking for someone who understands that there is a sense of urgency, the issue needs to be treated with a level of priority and that it will be addressed in a timely manner. Customers are also looking for accountability; someone to take charge, be responsible and follow through from start to finish to ensure the problem or issue reaches final resolution or is escalated appropriately and promptly up the chain until reaching that resolution.

Talk is cheap! Customers want results!

It’s important to note that this is not the time to upsell or downsell to customers. Upselling or downselling is not a solution or resolution to a problem or issue. These are retention tactics, plain and simple! Sure, some customers may be taken in by the tactic while others who understand the retention tactic may manipulate it to their advantage. For real problems or issues, this will likely infuriate customers, especially patrons. Fair warning: If you’re going to play with fire, you’re going to get burned! Put your customers first! Focus on resolving the issue at hand in a timely, effective and efficient manner. Don’t give your customers the runaround and don’t make them jump through hoops. In the end, it can have serious repercussions on your business and its reputation.

Any business that is defined, in whole or in part, by the quality of their customer service, their customer service reputation and customer satisfaction rating MUST step up and provide an exceptional, premier level of customer service to their customers not only to differentiate themselves from their competitors but also to demonstrate and prove to their customers that they have earned and deserve their customers’ business. Anything less is simply unacceptable.

In A Field of iPads

With the recent release of a refreshed iPad Mini and the revival of the iPad Air, Apple has created quite the iPad lineup. The selection includes 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros, a 10.5-inch iPad Air, a 9.7-inch iPad and a 7.9-inch iPad Mini. So, which iPad should you choose?

Well, it generally comes down to cost, usage and preference.

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

The Bookends

If you’re looking for the latest and greatest most powerful iPad available with all the bells & whistles and cost is no object, you’re looking at the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1TB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular which will run you about $1,899 before tax. AppleCare+ coverage and any accessories (ex: Apple Pencil 2nd Generation, Smart Keyboard Folio) will be at an additional cost. However, if you’re looking for the least expensive base level option, you’re looking at the 9.7-inch iPad 32GB model with Wi-Fi only which will run you $329 plus tax. If you choose to splurge on AppleCare+ coverage, it will cost an additional $69 plus tax.

9.7-inch iPad

If you’re looking for a basic iPad for reading, listening to music, watching and streaming videos, using apps, playing basic games, surfing the web, general productivity and more while also balancing size, weight, performance and cost, the 9.7-inch iPad should suffice. With a starting price of $329 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi and $459 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular, it’s not bad. There are a couple of key trade-offs. One is the chip. The 9.7-inch iPad features an A10 Fusion chip (used in the iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus) instead of an A12 or A12X Bionic chip. The other is the 1.2MP FaceTime HD front camera which is the lowest quality front camera offered across the entire current iPad lineup. Still, the 9.7-inch iPad offers a good value and is a viable option in the current iPad lineup.

7.9-inch iPad Mini

For those seeking ultra-portability while also balancing performance and cost, the 7.9-inch iPad Mini is worth consideration. Its small form factor makes it an ideal travel companion. It can fit easily in a small bag or even a wide coat pocket. With the recent refresh, it boasts an A12 Bionic chip, 8MP rear camera, 7MP FaceTime HD front camera and offers support for Apple Pencil (1st generation). The 7.9-inch iPad Mini is perfect for reading, listening to music, watching and streaming videos, using apps, playing games, surfing the web, productivity, design & creativity, taking photos & capturing videos and more. The 7.9-inch iPad Mini comes with a starting price of $399 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $529 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular.

10.5-inch iPad Air

Apple has brought the iPad Air out of “retirement” in the form of a brand new 10.5-inch model. The 10.5-inch iPad Air offers more viewable screen area than the 9.7-inch iPad while also weighing slightly less. It retains the same classic look & feel with home button as does the 9.7-inch iPad and 7.9-inch iPad Mini. The 10.5-inch iPad Air boasts an A12 Bionic chip and support for Apple Pencil (1st generation). It also features an 8MP rear camera and 7MP FaceTime HD front camera; great for capturing video, video conferencing & video calls. The 10.5-inch iPad Air is also great for reading, listening to music, watching and streaming videos, using apps, playing games, surfing the web, productivity, design & creativity, taking photos and more. The 10.5-inch iPad Air comes with a starting price of $499 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $629 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular.

11-inch & 12.9-inch iPad Pro

If you’re ready to make the leap to the top of the line in iPads, you’ll want to set your eyes on the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro is available in an 11-inch and 12.9-inch model. Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros are for those who want and/or need power, performance and a premium feature set in a tablet-style form factor AND are willing to pay for it.

If you’re into high-end gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality, creative & design, audio & video production and so forth, the iPad Pro is the right choice for those power-hungry, performance-driven and memory-intensive apps. Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros boast similar specs including a Liquid Retina Display with ProMotion technology and True Tone, Face ID (gone is the home button), the A12X Bionic chip, 12MP rear camera and 7MP TrueDepth front camera, Apple Pencil (2nd generation) support, USB-C connector and more. The 11-inch iPad Pro comes with a starting price of $799 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $949 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro comes with a starting price of $999 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $1,149 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular.

Keep in mind . . . the iPad Pro does not serve nor is it intended to serve as a laptop or desktop replacement. The iPad Pro and iPads in general can do a lot of great things that both laptops and desktops can do; but, there are still a lot of other things that just handle and work better on a traditional laptop or desktop.

AppleCare+ and Accessories

AppleCare+ coverage is available on all iPad models in the current lineup with pricing ranging from $69 to $129 plus tax. In addition, all iPad models include a variety of accessories available for an additional cost.

Wi-Fi Only or Wi-Fi + Cellular

Unless you use or plan on using your iPad on the road and don’t have trusted, reliable Wi-Fi access wherever you go, the Wi-Fi only model should suffice and will save you some money. However, if you think you may want or need cellular service now or in the future and are willing to pay extra for the capability (keeping in mind that you still need to pay for carrier service too), then go for the Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad models.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking into getting, replacing or upgrading an iPad, check out Apple’s website for all the tech specs. There’s a “Compare” feature on the site where you can compare the iPad models side-by-side. I would also highly recommend that you visit a local Apple Store and get hands-on with the various iPad models to see what feels most comfortable to you. Obviously, cost and usage are key factors that will affect your decision but getting hands-on experience with the various iPads will give you an opportunity to see if the iPad model that you are considering truly is the best model for you.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Apple 7.9-inch iPad Mini - https://amzn.to/2Yjehva

Apple 9.7-inch iPad - https://amzn.to/2USyvtD

Apple 10.5-inch iPad Air - https://amzn.to/2CBrE0C

Apple 11-inch iPad Pro - https://amzn.to/2UUTbRs

Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro - https://amzn.to/2Yhuzoc

Apple AirPods with Charging Case (1st generation) - https://amzn.to/2WkzmDA

Apple AirPods with Charging Case (2nd generation) - https://amzn.to/2CAkVni

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (2nd generation) - https://amzn.to/2CEGjbb

Apple EarPods with Lightning Connector - https://amzn.to/2U64bi0

Apple Pencil (1st generation) - https://amzn.to/2U6AuNx

Apple Pencil (2nd generation) - https://amzn.to/2YkTPtO

Using an Apple USB to Ethernet Adapter on a Windows Laptop

Apple_USB_to_Ethernet_Adapter.jpg

Ever wondered if an Apple USB to Ethernet adapter will work on a Windows laptop?

Well, the short answer is YES, but it does require a little work to get it setup.

Before going any further, let’s just clarify why we would even consider this. The general reason would be that the Wi-Fi connection you’re on isn’t working, isn’t reliable and/or is too slow to perform whatever task(s) you need to get done. You need a stable, reliable fast network connection so a wired connection is the way to go. Unfortunately, you don’t have a built-in Ethernet port on your laptop. Computer manufacturers, especially when it comes to slimmer and sleeker laptop models, will do away with a built-in Ethernet port in favor of wireless only or wireless with the option to use a USB to Ethernet dongle to establish a wired connection.

If you have a compatible USB to Ethernet dongle for your Windows laptop, you should use it. However, if you happen to be in a situation where you don’t have a compatible dongle but have access to an Apple USB to Ethernet adapter, you can potentially get it to work. That said, there are some prerequisites. First, you need to be running a 64-bit version of Windows 7, 8, or 10. Secondly, you need to have Internet access on a computer where you can download drivers and have a way to transfer those drivers onto the Windows laptop for which you will be connecting the Apple USB to Ethernet adapter. And lastly, you’ll need an Apple USB to Ethernet adapter.

If you meet all the prerequisites, you’ll need to download a version of Apple’s Boot Camp Support Software from the Apple website onto your Windows laptop. Once the .zip package is downloaded, extract the files to a location on your computer (ex: desktop). Go into the extracted folder and locate the “BootCamp” folder. Go into the “BootCamp” folder and locate the “Drivers” folder. Go into the “Drivers” folder and locate the “Asix” folder. Asix is the manufacturer of the driver software for the Apple USB to Ethernet adapter. Go into the “Asix” folder and run the “AsixSetup64” installer application/executable. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation. You may be required to reboot your computer.

Once the installation is complete, you should be able to connect the Apple USB to Ethernet adapter to an available USB 2.0 or higher port on your Windows laptop. The Windows 64-bit operating system should be able to detect the hardware and install the appropriate driver for the adapter. Alternatively, if you are having problems getting the Apple USB to Ethernet adapter working using the “AsixSetup64” installer from the Boot Camp Support package, you can try downloading a driver directly from the manufacturer’s (Asix) website. Asix does have various drivers for various versions of the USB to Ethernet adapter so you may need to do a little trial and error.

 

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Apple USB to Ethernet Adapter - https://amzn.to/2N3esFO

A Sub-Chapter S in New York

If you are planning to establish a legal business entity (ex: Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation) or have an existing legal business entity in New York and are considering a sub-chapter S election, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First, it’s important to understand that single-member LLCs (defaultly treated as a disregarded entity and taxed like a sole proprietorship for tax purposes), multi-member LLCs (defaultly treated as a Partnership) and Corporations making a sub-chapter S election are all considered pass-through entities for federal tax purposes. This means that the entities themselves are generally not subject to income taxes. Profit/loss from the business is passed through to the individual members (LLCs) or shareholders (S-Corps), generally reported on a Schedule K-1 for Partnerships & S Corps, and each member or shareholder reports and pays their respective share of income taxes on their respective share of profit/loss on their individual tax returns.

Eligible single-member LLCs, multi-member LLCs (Partnerships) and corporations (C-Corps) can elect to be treated as sub-chapter S for federal tax purposes in lieu of their default classification. There are various pros and cons associated with making a S election, so it is best to consult with your Accountant, CPA Firm and/or legal counsel so that you may make a well-informed decision.

At the federal level, to make a sub-chapter S election, eligible LLCs will need to file both Form 8832 – Entity Classification Election and Form 2553 – Election By A Small Business Corporation. Eligible corporations (C-Corps) will need to file Form 2553 – Election By A Small Business Corporation. When filing Form 8832, keep in mind that the election may take effect no more than 75 days prior to the date the election is filed or no later than 12 months after the election is filed. When filing Form 2553, keep in mind that the form must be filed no more than 2 months and 15 days after the beginning of the tax year for which the election shall take effect or any time during the tax year preceding the tax year for which the election shall take effect. Both forms do allow “Relief for Late Elections.” Eligibility information is available in the instructions for each form. Your Accountant or CPA Firm should be able to help prepare the necessary forms for you to sign and send to the IRS. The IRS should provide written notice as to the acceptance or rejection of the filing(s) within 60 days of receipt.

At the state level, things start to get complicated. While many states recognize the federal S election at the state level, New York State does not. By default, New York State will treat your entity as a C Corporation for tax purposes even if you have made a federal S election. In order for your entity to be recognized and taxed as a S Corporation at the state level, you must file New York State’s Form CT-6 – Election by a Federal S Corporation to be Treated As a New York S Corporation. Again, your Accountant or CPA Firm should be able to help prepare the necessary form for you to sign and send to the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance (NYS DTF). The NYS DTF should provide written notice as to the acceptance or rejection of the filing within 60 days of receipt. While filing Form CT-6 will allow your entity to be treated as a New York S Corporation for tax purposes, New York State requires most general business corporations to pay a franchise tax at the entity level under Article 9-A of New York law.

One last complication is at the city level. New York City does not recognize the federal S or New York State S elections. Therefore, S Corporations are subject to New York City’s General Corporation Tax (GCT) and will be required to pay this tax at the entity level.

If you are planning to make a S election for your business, be sure to seek and consult with professional counsel (ex: Accountant, CPA Firm) to understand the pros and cons as well as the administrative requirements and tax implications at the federal, state and local levels. As you can see in the case of New York, there are a couple of added complexities at the state and local level that you’ll want to be aware of. A good Accountant or CPA Firm should stay ahead of the game and keep you well-informed but don’t hesitate to ask your Accountant or CPA Firm directly about how the S election works within your state and local levels.

A 27-inch Mid-2011 iMac in 2019

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Buying a new computer can be a major investment and more so if you need to customize the configuration to meet your specific requirements. For instance, someone who uses a computer primarily for e-mail, surfing the web and streaming content will not need all the “bells and whistles” that a graphic designer or video editor may need. That said, when budgets are tight, you’ll need to find ways to maximize the life of your computer while being able to work efficiently.

A few years ago, I had a similar situation dealing with an Apple 27-inch Mid-2011 iMac. The iMac was originally configured with a 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 Processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB 7200RPM hard drive and an AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics card with 1GB of memory. At the time, this accomplished what it was intended for. However, over time it began to run slow. Formatting the hard drive and performing a clean installation of macOS (OS X at the time) did not resolve the performance issues.

One obvious course of action would be replacing the hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD). Of course, opening an iMac and replacing a standard hard drive with a solid state drive is no easy task and having it done by an authorized Apple Service Provider wouldn’t be cheap. So, what to do?

Well, the iMac did have four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 800 port and two Thunderbolt ports so I was already thinking about using an external bootable drive as a workaround in lieu of replacing the internal hard drive. After doing some research, I opted to go with the Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt solid state drive. I had found several cases where this drive had been implemented and worked well as an external boot drive on an iMac. I’ll include a link to the Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt SSD at the end of this post.

I also did some additional research on the RAM limitations for the Mid-2011 iMac. While Apple’s technical specifications list a maximum of 16GB of RAM, I did check the OWC website and found that the Mid-2011 iMac did support up to 32GB of RAM. While 16GB of RAM would likely suffice, the cost of an additional 16GB of RAM wasn’t too expensive. If the external bootable SSD worked and brought new life to this Mid-2011 iMac, the additional RAM would be well worth it. I’ll include links to OWC compatible memory modules at the end of this post.

Since the original internal hard drive was recently reformatted with a clean install of OS X and all applications, it didn’t make a lot of sense to go through this exercise again unless absolutely necessary. So, the solution was to clone the internal hard drive onto the new Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt solid state drive and then boot from the new SSD. This required the use of Carbon Copy Cloner to create a bootable clone of the internal drive. Back then, there was a free version of Carbon Copy Cloner. Today, you can still get a 30-day trial before you need to pay for the software which should be fine to create a one-off bootable clone of your internal hard drive to an external SSD.

The result . . .

It all worked out well. The drive cloning worked perfectly. The iMac was able to boot from the external solid state drive and gained a huge performance boost over the standard internal hard drive. Note: I left the internal hard drive intact as a backup. The additional RAM gave it a beneficial boost to support newer memory intensive applications. There was one small issue. You could restart the iMac without an issue but if you shut down the iMac and then started it up, the iMac would defaultly boot to the internal drive instead of the external SSD as the SSD would not yet be powered up at initial startup. The way around this would be to hold down the Option key on startup to get boot options, power cycle the external SSD so that the external SSD would be an available boot device then select it as the startup disk. Of course, this would be tedious to do on a daily basis, so the simpler workaround was to restart the iMac under normal conditions and only shutdown when needed. It was a small price to pay to bring new life to the Mid-2011 iMac.

While the Mid-2011 iMac is not supported by macOS Mojave, you can still use it with macOS High Sierra. Eventually, this iMac will be retired but for now, it’s gotten a few extra years of life for a fraction of the cost of a new iMac.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt Solid State Drive StoreJet 500 for Mac (TS512GSJM500) - https://amzn.to/2Eu6fYm

OWC 16GB (2x 8GB) 1333MHz PC3-10600 DDR3 SO-DIMM 204-Pin Memory Upgrade Kit (OWC1333DDR3S16P) - https://amzn.to/2XoGLD0

OWC 32GB (4 x 8GB) 1333MHz 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM Memory Upgrade Kit (OWC1333DDR3S32S) - https://amzn.to/2ErZB4L

 

RELATED POSTS:

MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 Series . . . in 2018

Making The Move To Wireless Charging – Part II

Anker_PowerWave_7_5_Stand.jpg

Last year, I made the move to wireless charging with the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad. While the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad works great, I decided to step up from a wireless charging pad to a wireless charging stand. With a stand, it’s easier to use your phone, watch content, etc. all while continuing to charge your device (you don’t need to lift your phone off the stand).

I researched a few different options and ultimately set my sights on the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand with Quick Charge 3.0 Charger. The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand is very similar to the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad. Included in the box are the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand, a micro-USB to USB cable and a Quick Charge 3.0 Charger. The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand features a front-side LED indicator to let you know your device is charging, a case-friendly design allowing you to charge your device while in its case (most cases should be compatible), a built-in cooling fan to prevent overheating and the stand will charge your phone in both the horizontal and vertical positions.

I also like that you don’t need to find the center position on the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand for the phone to charge properly. With the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad, if your phone is off-center, it may not charge properly so you need to make sure the LED indicator is lit.

The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand supports 7.5W fast charging on the iPhone 8/8 Plus/X (it should also work with the latest generation of iPhones - iPhone XS/XS Max/XR) and 10W fast charging on the Samsung S7/S8/S8+/S9/S9+ and Note 8. For a complete list of supported devices, visit the Anker website. The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand is available in two colors: white and black. The white model retails at $49.99 and the black model retails at $55.99. I’ll include links to both models below if you’re interested.

I’ve been using the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand for a couple of months and it works great. And yes, I still use the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad which also works great.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand (White or Black) - https://amzn.to/2ToFB88

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad (White or Black) - https://amzn.to/2MGJ7IR

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Making The Move To Wireless Charging

Planning For A Rainy Day

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you suddenly lost your job? Are you financially prepared to deal with a sudden loss of your income stream? Do you have a backup plan and reserve funds for a “rainy day” event?

Hopefully, you’ll never end up in this situation; however, life doesn’t always play out the way we hope it will and change is always constant. While there may be early warning signs or indications that something may be brewing, without a clear sense of urgency, there may be no desire to act without knowing for certain something is imminent. Sure, you can actively look for new job opportunities (and there’s nothing wrong with that) but when it comes down to timing, events don’t always play out the way we would like them to.

That said, if you haven’t already started to, it’s important to create a safety net or security blanket for yourself, and if applicable, for your family. Start setting aside reserve funds for a “rainy day.” You’ll want to have reserve funds that will cover no less than three (3) months of expenses to start, but ideally, you’ll want to grow it to cover anywhere between six (6) months to one (1) year worth of expenses.

You’ll always want to maintain a stable reserve of funds. In good times, you can tap into reserve funds to meet short-term cash needs (ex: major investments and capital improvements like replacing major appliances, home improvement, etc.) but keep in mind that you need to replenish those funds as additional funds become available. Don’t get into the habit of draining your reserve funds and only realizing there’s a problem when you have an “Oh No!” moment. There is a REAL inherent danger when using reserve funds irresponsibly. Don’t be irresponsible! Of course, you’re better equipped to assess your financial situation at any given time, so you need to make those responsible decisions when it comes down to whether you should tap into your reserve funds in various situations.

Also, be sure you are living within your means. Plan and budget for your expenses. Don’t get into the habit of spending what you don’t have or what you can’t afford simply because your credit card issuer or bank is extending a line of credit to you. A credit line is NOT free cash. If you are constantly paying the minimum balance on your credit cards or overdrawing your credit cards or bank account, you are NOT living within your means.

Make it a point to periodically review your spending habits; trim any non-essential expenses. It’s okay to splurge every now and then but don’t throw your hard-earned money down a big, black hole. You want to be responsible with your finances. If you run into a “rainy day” situation, you’ll be in a much better position if you’ve been responsibly managing and monitoring your finances.

ANYA MARINA: INDIE-PENDENT WOMAN Web Series Debuts

What happens when a recording artist gets dropped by her record label?

Find out in the brand-new web series, mockumentary and LABELED spin-off, ANYA MARINA: INDIE-PENDENT WOMAN. The web series stars singer/songwriter Anya Marina and comedian Nigel Fullerton. You’ll also see some familiar faces/characters from the LABELED web series as well as other notable guest appearances.  

The series premiere episode of ANYA MARINA: INDIE-PENDENT WOMAN is now available and streaming exclusively on The Warner Sound’s YouTube Channel. You can watch the series premiere episode here. New episodes of the web series will drop every Monday.

Be sure to check out Anya’s latest singles, “Over You” and “Dynamite,” off her forthcoming EP, Over You, now available for pre-order wherever music is sold.

ANYA MARINA: INDIE-PENDENT WOMAN comes from the creative and producing team of Bethany Watson (actor/producer/voice-over artist, co-host of An Acquired Taste Podcast) and Jon Sosis (writer/producer/director/Say It Ain’t Sosis Productions), the same team that created and produced the hilariously funny comedy web series LABELED. If you haven’t watched LABELED, check out the entire first season streaming exclusively on The Warner Sound’s YouTube Channel. Watch LABELED Season One here and stay tuned for LABELED Season 2, currently in production.

LINKS:

The Warner Sound’s YouTube Channel

ANYA MARINA: INDIE-PENDENT WOMAN Playlist on YouTube

LABELED Playlist on YouTube

Anya Marina Music & Merch Store on Bandcamp

LABELED Merch Store on TeeSpring

Netgear Releases FW 1.0.9.64_10.2.64 for R7000; Early Reviews Not Promising

Netgear recently released firmware version 1.0.9.64_10.2.64 for the Netgear R7000 AC1900 Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi router. For those continuing to experience issues with the Netgear R7000 running firmware version 1.0.9.60_10.2.60, don’t rely on this latest update to resolve your issues. Based on some early reviews and comments from Netgear Community posts, this latest firmware release does not appear to fix or resolve the ongoing issues brought about by firmware versions 1.0.9.60 or 1.0.9.58.

According to Netgear’s firmware release notes, firmware version 1.0.9.64_10.2.64 includes the following:

New features and enhancements:

  • Improves the network device identification.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixes the issue where the router should not remember the device name that was changed before the reset.

  • Fixes the issue where the OpenVPN client Connection Type shows as wired in the Attached Devices page but no information about the client shows in the VPN Client Devices tables.

  • Fixes the issue where the user can access the Internet Setup page via the Router/AP/Bridge/Repeating mode page.

  • Fixes the issue where some functions are grayed out if the user is using Firefox as the web browser.

  • Fixes the issue where watch devices cannot be detected and don’t display on the attached devices page.

  • Fixes the issue where some devices will display an unknown device name.

  • Fixes the issue where offline devices do not disappear.

  • Fixes the issue where the device name will show an unknown string.

Known Issues:

  • When using the Nighthawk app, the login fails when the password contains special characters.

  • The Internet will not disconnect when using a static WAN IP address and has reached the monthly traffic meter limit.

  • When disabling Circle using the Nighthawk app, the GUI still shows the Circle status as enabled.

The release notes make no mention of any fix for the dropped wireless connections or sporadic router reboots. If your Netgear R7000 router is running stable on firmware version 1.0.9.42, your safest bet is to stick with it. If you are feeling bold and want to do your own testing, you can download the latest firmware release through the R7000’s dashboard or directly from the Netgear support website.

Personally, until Netgear releases a solid piece of firmware to resolve the ongoing issues with the R7000, there’s no reason to continue putting time and effort into trial and error fixes. It’s time to move on.

If you’re interested, below are some stable routers I’ve used along with some new routers I’m looking into.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Stable Netgear Routers I’ve Used

Netgear R8000 AC3200 Nighthawk AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2W6zSWv

Netgear R8300 AC5000 Nighthawk X8 Smart WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2AXDDEC

Alternative Routers I’m Considering

Synology RT2600 AC – https://amzn.to/2W0ZDHP  

Netgear XR700 AD7200 Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2MnzePK

Netgear RAX80 AX6000 Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2RTqlms

AmpliFi Mesh Wi-Fi System - https://amzn.to/2SaYpup

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Here We Go Again! Netgear FW v.1.0.9.60_10.2.60 Fixes Some Bugs; Creates New Issue on R7000

Netgear Releases FW 1.0.9.60_10.2.60 for R7000 Router; Fixes Bugs with FW v.1.0.9.58_10.2.58

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