Sep 10

Apple is announcing its latest iPhone news today (9/10) and that includes a firm release date for iOS 7 – slated to be pushed out to over 700 million iOS devices starting 9/18.

image courtesy –

How does it compare?
Alexis Madrigal at NPR has done a great job explaining why the physical world metaphor no longer applies for your iPhone / iPad.

A live feed from can be found here – Liveblog

Paperless office revisted via IREM Gadgets column

Jul 16

Thanks to IREM’s Journal of Property Management for publishing my latest article on going paperless.


The full article can be found by clicking here.

Tiered service and pricing on inflight international wi-fi

Apr 11


My wife, Kahleetah and I are headed to South Korea today. United’s flight #893 is offering Wi-Fi with a twist- regular speed for $14.99 and higher speed for $22.99.

I thought I would test out the higher speed at $22.00 – here is what Speed tests results were.

Ping: 1081 ms, Download 0.25 Mbs, Upload 0.16 Mbs

Nifty drives for the Mac

Mar 15


Nifty Drives is another project. This one offered Mac laptop owners the ability to turn a little used SD card slot into a permanent storage drive.

Reminiscent of Apples packaging,NiftyDrive did a nice job on packing and labeling their product:

NiftyDrive-032013 (1)

I ordered the 64 gigabyte version for Apple Macbook Air (it was not available for my Mac Retina 13″), and I have to admit, I like the design and fit of the product.

Here is a photo of what it looks like installed flush with my MacbookAirs SD Card slot.

NiftyDrive-032013 (4)


 The product includes the holder (shuttle?), the MiniSDCard and the nifty logo hook which is used to remove the holder.


NiftyDrive-032013 (3)


So how do I use it?

I’ve made a backup of all my data and put it on that drive – its small enough to be removed and put into my wallet (the mini sd card), and permanently installed on the mac so it doesn’t get accidentally used.

All in all it makes a great interim backup tool.



Automatic Key Maker

Mar 12

Reminiscent of an ACME device from the Roadrunner/Coyote cartoon, my local Lowe’s hardware store now offers a DIY key maker.

Known as the Minute Key, the very visual and stand alone key maker is an attention getter!

KeyKiosk-03102013 (4)

The process is pretty simple – insert your key, select the key copy (comes in many interesting designs) and insert your credit card – the machines makes your key in less than a minute!

KeyKiosk-03102013 (1)

Of course, our family loves anything that promotes a QR Code (for more info).

KeyKiosk-03102013 (2)




Mar 08



For Sale – single owner Macbook Pro – 15″ display – core i7 2.7Ghz, paid $2,549 in October 2010.


Includes this Custom Mac Case that holds an iPad and iPhone (4)


Another shot of Custom Mac case (included)

Not covered under apple care, was used for about 9 months, then I upgraded to my MacBookAir.

Great machine – just slightly big to carry in daily meetings.


– I replaced the 500 gb drive with a 1 Tb drive

– I replaced the SuperDVD drive with a second 1 TB Drive (for total storage of 2 tb)

– I moved the SuperDVD into an external case (it can be moved internally with the removal of 10 screws and about 10 mins of work).

– I custom designed and made a case that holds an iPad (any model) and iPhone (4) to the top cover of the laptop – this has allowed me to use the Mac as my briefcase during the day (more on this in an article here.)

I’ve currently configured the machine to dual boot between Max OS X and Windows 7 using Bootcamp AND it can run them side by side using Parralells .  I cannot include any of the software (office, adobe, etc.) as the registrations numbers have been used on my newer machines, BUT, if you want to buy the software, I will custom configure the machine for you.



A comparably new MacBookPro will set you back $2,549.  One thing to note, the MacbookPro I have for sale is the last model to offer an internal DVD drive as the new models do not offer that feature any more (important for all of those CCIM files we have!)

So my price is $1,599 – which is $1,000 less than what I paid, or what they are selling for now.  Sure, you can order a new low end MacBookPro for $1,799, but for this price, I will custom install and setup any software/configuration you would like (normally I charge $325/hr for that)

Windows 8 is not for the power user

Mar 08


This posting is a reprint of an article I wrote for the Journal of Property Management which can be found on IREM‘s website.  A PDF copy can be found here.



I’ve had a chance to play with the pre-release and official copies of Windows 8 and while I appreciate the amount of work it must have taken to engineer this
newest version of Windows, I do not intend to upgrade any of my machines.

For the purposes of this article, I will define a “power user” as anyone who uses 2 or more applications at a time. The new interface is attractive and informative, but as a power user, it is just I my way to getting work done and at the end of the day really adds little value to being more efficient.

Where to Start?
Ideally, the next operating system interface would build on and enhance what you already know. After years of training us to go to the “start menu” to find our programs, Windows 8 has erased it (fear not, there is an $4.99 app for that – ), which reminds me of the less efficient Microsoft Office Ribbon that ate our menus (but fortunately not the shortcut keys).

Power Power user
You may have seen my office setup ( ) before and know that not only do I run more than 2 apps, I run more than 4 computers spread across 9 monitors, something that Windows 7 made a joy, and Windows 8 makes unnecessarily difficult ( )

Getting Work Done
Most of my work involves reading something the client (or a 3rd party) has generated, processing it, analyzing it, and incorporating it into a new document. I often run Adobe Acrobat (where I have my clients document in digital format), side by side with Excel, Word, Publisher, Outlook (for calendaring), Internet Explorer, Evernote and many others. I often have half a dozen apps running at the same time as I do research, crunch numbers, and write content.

To get the Windows 8 to be as efficient and productive, I need to go into Desktop mode (a couple of clicks or swipes) first. Essentially, Microsoft has just added another layer between me and my work.

The Windows 8 devices are starting to ship with less harddrive space, reflecting the ongoing trend to use the faster and more reliable solid state drives. So a 64 gig to 128 gig drive is common. Since 23 years of business data and paperless office takes up almost 100 gigs, that doesn’t leave enough room to work. In fact, it has been reported that the Windows 8 Operating System takes up twice as much space as Windows 7 ( ).

Bottom line, it’s a move backwards.

Hands off!
After spending a lifetime of telling my kids not to touch the monitors or big screen tvs, now Windows 8 encourages touching. Not only do I not want to take my hands off my desk to touch, I don’t really want to look at finger prints all day long. We have a touch screen all in one computer that has Windows 8 and its monitor looks like a finger painting kindergartener attacked it!

Back to the office
Never fear, as though torpedoing their largest source of income wasn’t bad enough, the upcoming Office 2013 (or Office 15, or just Office Office), has some new features (, but drops the ever popular Microsoft Publisher (which is one of the main apps I use that keeps me from just booting into the Mac mode all day).

If the target audience for the newest version of Windows is the new user, then explaining to them that Windows 8 Phone ( is a different operating system than Windows 8 RT (that runs on the recently released ad uber cool Microsoft Surface neither of which runs legacy applications like Windows 8 Pro does (Surface running Pro to be released in 2013 ). This reminds me of the 6 different versions of Windows Vista that Microsoft released ( and the public’s inability to tell them apart.

It also reminds me of the marketing/branding flop of Adobe Acrobat (I’m amazing at how much time I spend in classes explaining to the audience, that the free version of Adobe Acrobat will not do the things they need for a paperless office that the paid version of Adobe Acrobat does.)

A tablet is not an laptop
I love my iPads and spend quite a bit of time reading, surfing and being entertained with them. They make great devices to replace paper (Good reader rocks for this), and carry documents, but they in no way come close to being a replacement for my excel, word, and publisher driven work style.

The Surface, appears to want to be both, without doing a good job of either.

How to survive when you’ve missed the mark
If you do need to run Windows 8 you might check out this Windows 8 Survival Guide from Gizmoddo –

an upgrade in speed saves $100 a month

Feb 22

We recently moved our internet service provider from Comcast (which has promised 10 mbs service)

to Qwest/Century Link which promised 36 megabit service

for an effective savings of $200/month. The only downside? 3 year contract.

My ideal laptop case is… a Laptop?

Feb 08

In a continual quest for the every elusive increase in productivity, I’ve taken to creating my own laptop cases for my use during the business day.

When I’m on the road, I’ve yet to find anything that offers the durability, portability and ease of use of my Tom Bihn Buzz Bag.

I have both sizes of the Tom Bihn Buzz Bag and I have traveled the world entrusting my electronic equipment to these bags.  It has a main compartment for a laptop, a secondary compartment for an iPad, Kindle, backup laptop, A/C adapters, cables and a zippered outer compartment for pens, pencils, keys, passport, as well as one across the chest and over the shoulder strap that has a pocket for my iPhone right over my heart.

Unfortunately, unless I’m looking for the Josh Liberman (a character from West Wing who lived carried suited up for work complete with his back pack), I’ve not found the backpack as compatible with the style of my day to day work.

Although briefcases are nice, I find I have a bad habit of just loading them down with stuff I don’t need, so my ideal solution was something that wrapped my laptop, and allowed me to hold everything I needed in one hand, something that was transportable enough to walk through a property tour and toss down on a table ready to go.

My solution has evolved over the three iterations of laptops – my first the MacBook Pro (now up for sale), my MacBook Air and my new favorite machine, the MacBookPro 13” retina.

My ideal setup includes the ability to carry the following:

–          iPhone (sometimes its my main iPhone, and on some cases it’s the backup iPhone which doubles as an Internet wifi access point)

–          iPad or iPad mini

–          Echo or Sky Smart Pen

–          Smart Pen Pad

–          Regular pen

–          A number of USB keys

–          Apple headset/headphones

–          Microsoft’s flat mouse + Apple charging adapter or Kensington’s portable trackball

–          1.5 terrabyte harddrive (holds iTunes music, movie and TV Collection)

–          USB micro cable, USB mini cable, USB to iPod cables for charging and syching

–          Business Cards


To accomplish this, I’ve either purchased Speck or (Leather case brand) cases both of which have a nice feel and a tight fit to the laptops.


I then modify the upper case (the one that attaches to the screen) – carefully laying out the cases to hold all of the items I need then super gluing them directly to the case (its highly recommend you not superglue them when the laptop is attached).

Round I modifications

My original guinea pig for laptop case design was the MacBookPro, a machine I had already customized by dumping its “super” optical drive for a 2nd terabyte of storage.  To this machine I added a Logitech iPad 1 case that was super glued to the Speck case allowing for easy access to my iPad.  I also added a slide in case holder for my iPhone 4s.


MacBook Pro Custom Case

MacBook Pro Custom Case

ToddsMacBookProCustomCase1 (1) (1024x768)

ToddsMacBookProCustomCase1 (2) (1024x768)

Although the case that I mounted on my MacBookPro was for the 1st generation iPad, as you can see here, the 2nd/3rd generation iPad fits in just fine.

ToddsPortableOfifceSetup (2) (1024x768)

This is what it looks like with everything on:

ToddsPortableOfifceSetup (3) (1024x768)


Round II modifications

For my MacBook air, I used the (leather case) and found the exterior portion of that case allows for easy modification and the ability to run cables underneath the leather exterior.  This has allowed me to hookup a USB hub that runs the iPhone and a cordless trackball from one USB port.

This version was the 2nd iteration for my MacbookAir.  Noticed the streamlined setup made possible by one large pocket that zips.  This iPad case swings out when the laptop is open allowing the iPad to be run as a 2nd monitor (using MaxiVista or iDisplay) for the laptop.

This photo shows what it looks like in use (happens to be from our Europe trip so its a good shot of my mobile office).

Europe-Paris-MercureHotel-example-MicroApt-112012 (13) (1024x768)



Round III modifications

My latest modification is the MacBook Pro 13” with Retina display.  I have added a number of features over previous modifications including the ability to “attach” an iPad and an iPad Mini to either side.  So if my desk on the road is big enough, I can run iDisplay (or MaxiVista) and have the iPad  double as a 2nd screen.


Notice how the “smart cases” have been modified to hold an iPad? USB and cable storage happens here
A discard in the Staples discounted bin turned into a cool looking business card holder


While the new case increase the weight of the MacBookPro by just over 1 pound, and adds another 1” to the overall thickness of the svelte machine.  I’m sure the ever astute design guru, Steve Jobs, would turn over in his grave to see what I’ve done to his prized machine, I personally find my new office setup makes me extremely efficient and effective in any meeting.


This is the latest version of what is mounted on my new 13″ new Macbook Retina laptop.  It has room for my iPad mini, my trackball, business cards, harddrive, iPhone 5, headphones, USB keys, and miscellaneous cables and cords.









and this is what it looks like with out the labeling.

















NAR interview with Todd Clarke on Social Media and its impact on commercial practioners

Feb 08


Thanks to another great interview with Steve Lubetkin and the National Association of Realtors for this podcast interview.