Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Evernote … time to say goodbye …

Evernote is an absolutely great note-taking service and application.

Or at least it was once …

You see, they have decided to push the freeloaders away and extort encourage us free users to “upgrade” to the premium service. Now, had they ever managed to do a premium feature that was worth the money, that might have worked.

But no, they did not. All the really useful features were already available for free.

So some genius at Evernote realized that the only way to get some of us to go over to premium was to start taking the really useful features away.

Some months ago they remove direct email forwarding to Evernote. That really stung, but I can always use Office integration and so it is manageable.

But today … wow … they just announced that in a few weeks they will restrict the free service to two devices, period. Evernote’s biggest strength is ubiquity across all devices and platforms. And they are now bring that into the paid service.

It makes sense. They obvious have a weak product management team and possibly weak development, so they are taking things that have worked forever and simply shutting us off.

Well, screw that.

I’ll be moving to OneNote rather than pay for what I already had for years. What a joke …


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Quicken Cash Manager 2016 – *updated* Painful Process, Finally Working

Remember that post a few weeks ago where Quicken extorted be to buy the next version of Cash Manager in order to continue downloading from my bank?


Well, I finally caved in because (and they know this) I really did not have a choice.

And the install went well enough.

But it turns out that the product will not run. I have to have a Quicken ID, which apparently started in 2014 and was hardened in 2015. I finally created one and successfully authenticated it in email.

But it still won’t run. When trying to log in from the application, I get a vague “something went wrong” error. Googling about leads me to realize that this is very common. Also that Quicken has no email support. You have to phone and only during business hours.

* update *

Technical support on the phone dropped my call after waiting 20m in the queue. The chat session they suggest you start would not do anything and no pop-up warning showed up. So effectively, Quicken technical support does not exist.

The community, on the other hand, does exist. I tried the standard manual and mondo patches they recommend ad nauseum and neither would install on my version. I tried to follow a link to a Canadian version of the patch and it just showed “file not found” …

So I finally posted the exact same question with a lot of bitter vitriol and within less than an hour I was up and running. There is a new Canadian patch that updates the product just fine.



Quicken continues to be the 800 pound gorilla … but the shine is coming off the star. The product has been sold to some management group and who knows what they will do with it. The technical support is weak, although the community did respond with the correct info once I bluntly complained, so kudos for that.

Cash Manager 2016 seems to be running, but I will update this if I have any trouble with the bank downloads. I have seen stories …

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Published as the Father’s Day Edition header for Ourtown in the Ottawa Citizen

Thanks go to Robbi Hay, the editor of the Ourtown section of the Ottawa Citizen.

Pick one up this Thursday to get the scoop on all the goings on around these parts …


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Panasonic G7 – The Arrival

So I finally broke down and bought the G7. I’ve been wanting to get a DFD / 4k camera for ages and finally got the opportunity. In fact, I had decided to go for the Nikon D7200 instead, which would have given me the top consumer dSLR out there. But after thinking really hard on the difficulty in using two systems one evening, I decided that the D7200 could wait. Traveling with m4/3 is so much better than travelling with the larger APS-C dSLR kits that I could not consilidate only on dSLRs.

So … I am keeping the D90 for now because of the Sigma 105mm 2.8 Macro, a stunning lens with phenomenal acuity and smooth bokeh. I just can’t relegate that lens to manual focus on the m4/3 bodies.

DSC_0007-4288 x 2848-160523-NIKON D90-
Nikon D90 + Sigma 105mm 2,8 Macro

On the other hand, the G7 turned out to be INCREDIBLE with the 100-300, focusing pretty much instantaneously in great light, and still quickly in low light. The promise of DFD definitely seems to have been met.

P1000214-4592 x 3448-160525-DMC-G7-LUMIX G VARIO 100-300-F4.0-5.6
Panasonic Lumix G7 + Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300 4.0-5.6

So how to I like the G7 so far?

  • DFD – excellent
  • AF on Olympus lenses – fast
  • Body – light and yet accomplished feeling with a much better initial impression than the G6 gave me (I like it now though)
  • Grip – perfect
  • Dual control wheels – amazing – I set the front wheel to exposure compensation in auto modes and that is a joy to use
  • Buttons – I’ll reserve judgement as there are so many and I have not started programming them for my own style
  • Video – TBD
  • Image quality – obviously this thing has a great sensor … I think it is a refined version of the one in the GM1, which itself is excellent … but more later
  • Articulated LCD – as excellent as the one on the G5 and G6 but with seemingly greater clarity

All in all, I have to say that this is a huge upgrade on the G6, which was a pretty big upgrade on the G5, at least for video. So Panasonic might make us wait for the next G, but it is always worth the wait. I’m keeping the G6 as backup and third video cam by the way. The G6 is still stunning in daylight, as are all sensors derived from the venerable GH2 sensor.

P1000250-4592 x 3448-160525-DMC-G7-LUMIX G VARIO 100-300-F4.0-5.6
Panasonic Lumix G7 + Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300 4.0-5.6

Why not an Olympus EM5 II or EM10 II, which bracket the price range of this camera?

Simple answer is video and ergonomics. Not a contest. But … I would love to grab the EM10 II to replace the E-PM2, which has mediocre ergonomics by comparison.  Perhaps one day I will find a used body for a decent price and sell of the E-PM2 (which has equal or superior image quality to the Panasonics.)

P1000260-4592 x 3448-160525-DMC-G7-LUMIX G VARIO 100-300-F4.0-5.6
Panasonic Lumix G7 + Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300 4.0-5.6

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Shameless Quicken



I can still use Quicken … but they are going to stop allowing my version to import from my bank. Another word for this is extortion. As in:

Upgrade within 2 weeks if you want your otherwise perfectly functional software to continue to perform its primary function.

I wonder how that trick is done, since the files adhere to a standard of some sort, but I have no doubt that they have some kind of built in obsolescence such that the software is simply going to stop importing. Like magic … dark magic.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Microsoft and Skype – Almost excellent, but for one area of total disaster …


That message comes from the fact that I subscribe to Office and thus get something like 1 free hour of long distance from Microsoft, owners of Skype.

I also pay for the unlimited subscription, but even though I and others have complained about this silly issue, they steadfastly refuse to fix it. All they have to do is look at the fact that I have an unlimited subscription and use it first. No other free subscription is needed.

But they insist on running the short subscription down first and so they invariably drop at least one call per month because they apparently do not have the ability to switch to the other plan in the middle of the call.

And yes, the call just dropped as I was writing this …sigh …