Category Archives: MacOS

Printers and Scanners

I am often asked to recommend printers and scanners. Here is my set of favorites as of November 2018.

Printers? I like Epson. I find HP to be bogged down with complex software and setup, I find Brothers to be good but finicky sometimes with connecting over the network, and I like Epson. I like Epson based on the experiences I have with them – people who buy them require less help in general and are happier with their printers.

So Costco is currently selling the Epson ET-4750 for $379. It scans, faxes, and prints.

Manufacturers now sell printers with ink tanks, rather than cartridges, and the Epson ET-4750 comes with 2 years worth of color and black and white ink. That’s why these new printers, while still inexpensive, are much more expensive than printers from a few years ago that replied on expensive cartridges to subsidize them.


As for scanners, you can easily scan with the Epson above, but for people that do a lot of scanning, and for people that scan documents of all sizes, I really like document scanners.  I use a Scansnap S1500 and the modern versions of that sell for about $450 on Amazon.  For less hard-core scanning, I recommend the little portable Scansnap scanners.  The software is great and easy to use.  The scanner is fast and creates super great PDFs and can also convert them to Word documents.

If you wanted a stand alone scanner for documents, receipts, and other things, these Scansnap scanners are the best.  Here it is on Amazon

iOS 12 to include Parental Controls we actually need!

Worried about your kids and their devices?

You are not alone.

In fact, I have been working on this issue as a parent for many years.  Phones and computers are tools to do homework, but they also introduce ongoing distractions that prevent homework from being done.  They also seem to isolate our kids in a digital world.  They change the way their brains are wired.

So do we just take them away?  Not if you need them to do their homework.  Homework these days REQUIRES a computer, etc. . .  Plus our kids NEED devices to some extent to interact socially with their peers.

Thankfully, there are a few old solutions.  On the Windows PC side of the world, there is Microsoft Family Safety.  It’s not great, but it’s better than nothing, and it can limit screen time, block access to certain websites and programs, etc. . .  In the Mac/Iphone/IPad world, there are programs like Qustodio and devices like Circle, but something new is coming NEXT WEEK that will change everything.


For those of you who use Apple devices, the fix is coming next week.  The new version of Apple’s operating system for iPhones and iPads, iOS12, is being released next week and will include a number of features to protect your kids from themselves.

What it includes?

  • SCREEN TIME TRACKING – You and your kids can finally see and understand where the time goes. . . this can be a great starting point for discussions on how to manage it or a starting point for setting limits.  It will actually work since it’s built into the phone!
  • APP LIMITS – put a limit on time spent for any particular app.  Are they on Snapchat 6 hours a day?  Let them know they’ll only be allowed 2 and the phone will enforce it.  I believe that it will allow them to ask you for exceptions when needed too, so you can easily give them a little extra time if they need it. (without dealing with SETTINGS!)
  • DOWNTIME – It allows you to specify times that devices won’t be usable for your kids.  You can turn off those pesky phones during dinner or at night-time, and good news, you can allow certain apps to still function.  This way, they can still use the music app to play music while they do homework.

Rather than write volumes about it here, I found a great article on Common Sense Media’s website that explains the upcoming changes.  CLICK HERE TO READ IT

Why am I writing to you about this?  This change is coming next week, will automatically install on all your Apple devices, and needs to be set up to work properly.  I can make sure your family set-up is ready for this change and I can help you set it up.  I’m sure most of you can figure this out on your own, but do you want to do it alone?  I can help you get it done and done right.  It’s not just a tech issue, there are a lot of issues that you might want to discuss and work through and tie together with how your life works.  I don’t have all the answers, but we can set up the tools.  In the end, you’d tell me how you want to use them.  And you’ll be able to manage it on your own once we are done.

Code2 Sync for iCloud

Nearly all of my clients use iPhones, and nearly all of my clients use Outlook.

As a result, my clients fail to get the most use out of their calendars. To solve this, I simply install the iCloud control panel and Outlook plug-in on their devices, and then I use a tool called the Code2 Sync for iCloud.

The tool very easily syncs their iCloud calendar with their Outlook calendar, so that clients can start to use both, knowing that appointments and scheduled items will carry over between them.

Suddenly, clients can start to accept meetings in Outlook from e-mail, and then it will appear on their phones!  And they can add stuff on their phone while they’re out and about, and it will appear in their Outlook calendar.


The calendar is a great tool, and this lets people get the most out of it!


(Google users – I use GSyncIt for the same result)

Ad Block Plus

I have kids.  And kids need some help on the internet to avoid traps and sneaky ads.  But I’ve found that adults need help too, and as a result, I recommend that everybody install AD BLOCK PLUS on their computers.

It removes all the advertising (except for advertisng that Ad BlockPlus has already deemed to be safe and non-deceptive) from all web sites.  Ad Block Plus is created by a non-profit company devoted to making the internet safer for everyone.

You can find the program here:

You may need to visit this site from each of your web browsers and install them separately. So first install it on Internet Explorer, then Chrome, and then your other browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Yandex, Safari, Firefox, Android, Opera are supported as of Feb, 2015)