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Esquire | Mac is a blog by Adam Greivell, a 20+ year Mac veteran and Maryland litigation attorney. Adam practices law primarily in Hagerstown, Maryland. Macs are his weapons of choice.
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(1) It should go without saying, but, I'm a lawyer and I can't keep from saying it: This site is for informational purposes, and is not to be construed as legal advice. I can't imagine how anyone could possibly think anything here equates to legal advice, but in case you did: it doesn't. 
(2) Although I work for the above referenced law firm, this site is not affiliated in any way with that firm. This site is solely a personal endeavor. 
(3) This site has nothing to do with the magazine "Esquire" or esquire.com. Esquire is used in the title here in a purely descriptive sense invoking the traditional definition of the word as a label for an attorney.


Why We Love Apple Products

Why do we love Apple products? Because Apple makes products they want to use.

This quote from Steve Jobs in 1997 says it all (it's from 30 minutes into the video, below - though, it's worth watching the whole thing):

I think every good product that I’ve ever seen in this industry and pretty much anywhere, is because a group of people care deeply about making something wonderful that they and their friends wanted. You know? They want to use it themselves. And that’s how the Apple I came about, that’s how the Apple II came about, that’s how the Macintosh came about. That’s how almost everything I know that’s good has come about. It didn’t come about because people were trembling in a corner worried about some big company stomping on them. Because if the big company made the product that was right, then most of these things wouldn’t have happened. If Woz and I could have went out and plunked down 2000 bucks and bought an Apple II, why would we have built one? We weren’t trying to start a company; we were trying to get a computer.

Right after that, Jobs also made the excellent point that:

It’s incredibly stupid for Apple to get into a position where for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. That’s really dumb. ... Apple can win without having Microsoft lose.

And, that has, in fact happened.


Billings Pro Is Out (and Multi-User)

Back in April, I posted about Marketcircle's popular Mac billing application, Billings, announcing that it was "going pro," a.k.a., multi-user, and headed to beta testing. Tonight, The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports that Billings Pro has gone live.

As I am currently a solo practitioner, I have not put the multi-user version through its paces. I do religiously use Billings 3 for my billing needs, though, and highly recommend it. Time capture could be a little easier, but it is a solid program that has my full confidence otherwise.

The Pro, multi-user, version requires you to set up a "server" version of the application on any "stationary" mac. Billings Pro uses a web-based "Switchboard" to solve the problems related to "opening ports, worrying about static IP's, or crawling on the floor in search of your router's model name. Switchboard is the middle-man for your database connection."

The system establishes a web-based Timecard interface that Marketcircle describes as "a simple and intuitive web interface for Billings Pro with a laser focus on active projects with quick time, expense and mileage entry. We built it for non-management staff and have kept out the stuff they don't need such as financial data, reports, estimates and more."

Whereas Billings 3 will set you back $39.95, Billings Pro will set you back $199.95 per user. An upgrade for one user to go from Billings 3 to Billings Pro is $174.95. This means, if you're a solo using Billings 3 and you want to upgrade to Billings Pro to use with a partner or associate, you're going to have to fork out $375, minimum. That's quite a jump.

Of course, in light of the alternatives, the price-point probably makes sense. You can avoid the up-front cost by opting to go "Pay As You Go" and pay $24.95 per user per month. Of course, at $50/mo, after 8 months, you'll be paying more than if you just bought two licenses.

That said, Freshbooks is $39.95/mo for two users, and Harvest is $40/mo for up to 5 users. Freshbooks and Harvest have their own benefits, but with Billings Pro, the data is always yours and always stored only on your own "server."

Naturally, Billings Pro will sync with your iOS device via their app. Though, at the moment, it's not clear whether there will be a new "Billings Pro Touch" as is referenced on their website, or whether it will sync with the existing "Billings Touch." Presently, there is no "Billings Pro Touch" in the App Store.

Anyway, go check it out!


My Favorite Typinator (or TextExpander) Snippets

I know everybody raves about TextExpander from Smile On My Mac, but I got Typinator from Ergonis as a part of a software bundle about a year ago and I've loved it ever since. If you're into using one of these text-expanding utilities, here's a couple of snippets I find invaluable on - quite literally - a daily basis.

  • "dt" = {YYYY}.{MM}.{DD} (e.g., 2010.04.25) - This is my go-to for naming files. Just about every file I name in my practice is prefaced with the date in this format. This way, when sorting alphabetically, my files automatically fall into date order.
  • "dx" = {M}/{D}/{YYYY} (e.g., 4/25/2010) - This is how I record the date in my billing timesheet. As opposed to the reverse format above, this format is Numbers and Excel friendly, and will be recognized as a date.
  • "ttm" = {h12}:{m} {a} (e.g., 12:36 AM) - This inserts the current time. This is very helpful when I'm entering my start and end times into my billing timesheet. Using this, I don't even have to know what time it is - I just hit "ttm" when I start or finish something and it tells the time for me.
When I make or take a phone call and want to take notes on it, the first thing I do is type "dt" and "ttm" and automatically the date and time of the phone call are recorded and I don't have to think about it or break my attention from the conversation. Ok now, go and have fun.


Quick Tip: Put Your Templates Folder In Your Dock For Easy Access

This tip works for both Pages and Word, and it's very simple. I've been doing it for probably over a year, and I'll never go back. I make my own template documents for things like generic pleadings, fax cover sheets, letterhead, fee agreements, etc.

Instead of opening Pages or Word and then going into the templates chooser, by putting the templates folder in the right-side of your dock (or the bottom, if your dock is on the left or right side of your screen), you have two-click access to your templates.

  • For Pages, your templates folder is in Macintosh HD > users > [YOUR USER NAME] > Library > Application Support > iWork > Pages > Templates > My Templates.
  • For Microsoft Word [at least, for Word 2008], your templates folder is in Macintosh HD > users > [YOUR USER NAME] > Library > Application Support > Microsoft > Office > User Templates > My Templates.

Once you've located the folder, just drag it to the right/bottom side of your dock. Clicking on the folder spreads out the stack. Click again on the template you want to open. This opens up a new document based on the template you picked.

You just saved yourself a lot of clicks over the rest of your life. You can thank me later!


Billings Goes Pro (Multi-User), Wants Beta Testers

The popular and professional Mac billing application, Billings, from Marketcircle (the same folks responsible for the celebrated Daylite software) is getting a much desired multi-user "pro" version.

The developers are looking for a "limited number of beta testers," and you can apply for the beta here. They say they'll contact you "within a month or two."

The new application will include a server piece (like Daylite), a way to use the application offline and then sync to the server (once again built upon Daylite), over-the-air sync (as with Daylite Touch), and Marketcircle's expertise in desktop and mobile user interfaces.

Other fun facts about Billings Pro:

  • Snow Leopard Only

  • Ship Date Officially TBA

  • Pricing Officially TBA

Good luck if you apply to get in on the beta. I won't be applying for this one since I just went solo!