Sunday, March 17, 2013

MacBook Air SuperDrive Can Work with Other Macs

I have an old MacBook Air and an old MacBook Air SuperDrive.  I connected it to me iMac thinking that instead of gathering dust I could now have 2 SuperDrives but low and behold it didn't work.   Only Apple would restrict their external SuperDrive to work with only one of their computers. Lame. 

The good news is that there is a setting that one can change to allow it to work.  Basically you have to add "mbasd=1" into the

Here's where I found the directions to be able to do this.  Click here to go to this blog post.  It works.  Now I have a SuperDrive that isn't gathering dust and if I ever get a new iMac I'll still have a SuperDrive.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Now Get Win 8

I used to be a Microsoft employee so there is always a little bit of excitement when Microsoft ships something new.  (I think the brainwashing takes a really long time to wash through ones veins after leaving.)  There was a little bit of that excitement when I installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview a few months ago on an old desktop PC I had at home.  That excitement quickly left because it was a really crappy experience.  Now I was familiar with Windows 8 because I had been running it for awhile when I worked at Microsoft so I kind of new what it was going to be like but I always assumed that the Metro and Desktop worlds would be polished up and would be made to mesh together well by the time it shipped.  I was surprised to see that it was pretty much the same Windows 8 I had used a year earlier when I worked at Microsoft.  The Tiled Metro world seemed foreign to the desktop world.   Clicking in various hidden regions would pop up Metro looking toolbars from the side, top, bottom and they looked totally out of place in the desktop world.  My biggest pet peeve was that Microsoft decided to  take out the Start menu from the desktop experience and instead brought up the heavy and full screen metro UX that looked entirely different.  I hated the whole experience.  To me Microsoft had crippled the Windows desktop experience by trying to weld on the tablet UX and it just didn't work.

So fast forward to today.  This afternoon I walked into my local Microsoft Store to check out the Surface tablet and a bunch of the other Windows 8 machines.  First off to my surprise the place was as crowded as your typical Apple Store.  People were really excited.  I'm not sure if this is true across the country but I live in Silicon Valley and people are little more tech happy here.  As I waited to check out the Surface I looked around the store and to my surprise all of the Win 8 all-in-one desktop and laptop stations were also busy and being used.  People were touching the screens and swiping and having fun trying out the computers.  This is when it hit me. Win 8 sucks on a desktop computer with a mouse but it's pretty great with a touch screen.  Windows computers finally had a cool, demonstrable and clear advantage over a Mac.  I finally got to try Surface and it surprised me.  Using it felt different than an iPad because of the keyboard built into the Touch Cover.  It felt much more like a really really light, mini-laptop especially when you launch MS Office and I found myself using it propped up with the keyboard out.

In conclusion I've changed my opinion about Windows 8.   Before today I thought it was going to be a complete failure because of it's weird Jekyll and Hyde tablet/desktop UX but I'm now thinking it may do pretty well.  I don't think iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire, or Nexus 7 have anything to worry about but my bet is that corporations will look really seriously at Surface and the other Win 8 convertible machines.  Having a full version of Office (not a dumbed down tablet version) and being able to run corporate legacy applications on a tablet is a pretty cool proposition.   Also, from what I saw in the Microsoft Store today I think the touch screens built into the new Windows 8 systems have enough sex appeal to convince people to upgrade their Windows XP systems and may even get some people who were thinking of moving to a Mac to stay with Windows.  

The bottom line is that Windows 8 with a touch screen is kind of cool and cool is not a word that people would have associated with Windows computers in the past.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mint QuickView Comes Up Blank or Gets Stuck Downloading Data

We've been seeing a number of reports via support and in the App Store regarding Mint QuickView not working and launching with a blank screen or getting stuck on Downloading Data.  Clearly we would never have shipped the product this way so this has made us feel terrible that a number of people were running into this issue.  What a truly horrible experience.  We tried everything we could to reproduce it in house and we just couldn't figure it out so we asked a number of people who reported the issue to help us out and a number of really great customers installed special versions of the software on their machine and we were finally able to track it down.  The issue: fonts.  Mint QuickView uses Helvetica Neue and Georgia as the main fonts in the UI.  This gives it that unique Minty look and feel.   Well if you disabled either one of these fonts on your system using Font Book or some other Font management app then QuickView would hang when it tried to use those fonts.  We didn't have font substitution support.  We had this thing beta tested within Intuit for 2 months and never ran into this issue.  Who knew so many people disabled fonts.  In any case, we should have caught it before it went out and I'm truly sorry for those of you that have run into this issue.  Hopefully you'd be willing to give us another try.

The Fix
The fix is pretty easy.  Just enable the Helvetica Neue and Georgia fonts and QuickView will work without a least it won't be blank or get stuck downloading data.   If you don't want to turn on these fonts, we're working on a permanent fix that won't get hung up on fonts but I'm not sure when we'll be ready to release this version.

I'd like to express a big thank you to our customers that helped us find this issue.  Thanks for being patient with us and helping us test various things to figure out the root problem.

Now we're trying to find an issue with passwords.  For some reason there are a few people who enter in correct passwords for the web site but for some reason it's getting rejected by  Hopefully we'll figure out something shortly.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mint QuickView Questions and Answers 2

We're avidly and some could argue psychotically monitoring the comments in the Mac App Store and the feedback emails people have been posting regarding Mint QuickView.  I'm posting a bunch of stuff to this site.  Other than this post, I also have the following other posts:

Here are more answers to your questions.  

Q: What is the point of Mint QuickView when I can just go to
A: We love that you like  There is absolutely no reason to use Mint QuickView if you don't see a need.  Personally, there are a few reasons we built it and use it daily that you might want to consider.

  1. Mint QuickView updates throughout the day and will notify me when a new transaction has arrived in my account without me having to lift a finger or click on a browser tab.
  2. Auto-login.  I hate typing in a user name and password every time I go to the site and I even use 1Password so it really isn't that painful.  I find myself going to QuickView just to launch
  3. Mint QuickView has less stuff.  Most of the time I just want to do a quick look to see what's new in my account, check that a check has been posted, or see if I should be laying off the credit cards a bit.  I typically don't need the full power of the site.  Sometimes less is more.
Q: What does the number in the menu bar badge refer to?
A: The number displays the count of anything new in your account.  Specifically it tracks updated transactions, new alerts or advice.  We identify the new items in 2 different ways.  For transactions there is a blue dot next to the each transaction item.  For alerts and advice there is a blue ellipse with the words NEW in the title to let you know which of those are new.  

Q: When does the number in the menu bar badge get cleared?
A: This is a little tricky because it's different for different things.  Transactions get cleared once you open QuickView and dismiss it. When you open QuickView again, the blue dots go away.  Alerts and Advice are different and this is where the number in the menu bar may not match what you think it  should be.  Alerts and Advice don't clear until you actually see the alert and advice.  So to clear these you have to go through the alerts and advice to clear them.  These clear as you view them and the number in the menu bar will decrement at this time.

Q: Why is it that sometimes the same transaction will appear new twice?
A: We are basically tracking when transactions have been updated so sometimes you'll see a transaction when it's pending and we'll identify it as being new.  Then your bank will clear the transaction and it moves from being pending to being real and so we'll flag it as being new again.

Q: Can you add a feature so the icon only appears in the menu bar and not the dock?
A: We already have it.  Go to the Gear icon and launch preferences.  Under the General tab you'll see a checkbox for Show in Dock.  Uncheck this and it won't Show in the Dock anymore.  But you do lose some capabilities like you won't be able to CMD+TAB to it and there won't be any menus.

Q: When will you make it possible to edit a transaction in QuickView? 
A: We hear you loud and clear.  This is the number one feature request from everyone including the Vice President of our division, my manager and lots and lots of you.  We'll see.  We wanted to release a really solid read only app to get feedback, to understand any issues people are finding, and to learn about how people are using it.  There are lots of things to consider when allowing people to edit heir account in QuickView so we'll continue to look at it but I just wanted to let everyone know that we've heard you and are thinking about it.

Q: Can you add Net Worth?
A: We already show you your current Net Worth when you look at the Accounts view.  That big number or possibly small number in my case is your Net Worth.  It's the summation of all your checking, savings, investments, property minus all of your loans and credit card.  If you're asking about a Net Worth chart, we probably won't be doing that for awhile.  It's technically possible but there are technical reasons we'd rather not tackle this any time soon so don't hold your breath on this one.  

That's if for now.  Again I send out tips and tricks and Q&A stuff via twitter so follow me if you're interested.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mint QuickView Questions and Answers 1

All of us on the Mint for Mac team are really excited that customers appear to like the Mint QuickView product.  The reviews have been great on the Mac App Store with around 98% of customers rating the product a 4 or 5 stars.  We're the number one free app in the store at least for now and there have been lots of Twitter traffic.   I'm posting a bunch of stuff to this site.  Other than this post, I also have the following other posts:
But of course customers have questions and so I've got answers...

Q: Hope they can add an option to make the notification badge black and white too?
A: Oops.  Quite honestly we just missed this.  We will update the graphics in our next update.  The badge should be black and white when the menu bar icon is black and white.

Q: Not updating
A: Unfortunately Mint QuickView went live a few hours before we expected and this was during our regular server maintenance when the servers go offline.  If you tried QuickView between 10 and 12pm PST on 7/10, please try QuickView again. It will work now.  If this continues to be an issue, please send us email at so we can work with you to try to figure out the issue.

A: Yuck.  It would be great if you could send us an email to so that we can gather more information regarding why QuickView crashed.

Q: What I'm not so happy about:  This app just sitting in the menu bar is using 160-180mb of RAM.
A: Wow, that doesn't sound right.  On my machine it's using 34.5 MB.  It's a really small app.  Please check back and see if it continues to be that large.  Possibly you caught QuickView during a data refresh.  Someone else reported this in the Mac App Store comments so it's definitely happening but it shouldn't.  It would be good if you can contact us via the Feedback item in QuickView under the Gear icon so we can work with you to figure out why it's happening.  Do you have a really large data set?

Q: The Trends and Investment page doesn't look like the website.
A: QuickView doesn't support Flash so the charts won't work when using the built-in QuickView browser.  However, we're about to roll out a hot new Trends page on that will start to be migrated to users theoretically next week.  This doesn't use Flash and will work great in QuickView.  Unfortunately investments will continue to be without it's charts.

Q: Export to CSV doesn't work from the QuickView browser
A: Unfortunately this is true.  However, QuickView itself has Export to CSV built into the product. Just do a search of what you want to export and then right click on the transaction list and select Export Transactions.  This will export the current transaction list to CSV.

Q: The issue I have is that...I have to click the little gear icon in the bottom right-hand corner to make the app prompt me for my passcode.
A: The passcode stuff is a little confusing.  Here's how it works.  If you have a passcode and the timer set which is the default we give you a grace period before showing you the passcode again based on the time set in the timer.  The reason we do this is so you can go to using our built-in browser and then go back to QuickView without being prompted for the passcode.  The default timer setting is 5 minutes.  What this means is that if you walk away from for your desk, someone theoretically can open QuickView without being prompted for 5 minutes.  After the 5 minute time is reached then the prompt will appear.  If this is too long, then you can change the timer and make it 1 minute so that it's a much shorter grace period or you can click on the lock icon and the prompt will be forced immediately.

Q: The app appears to hang at times when you click on a feature that requires the full window to appear.
A: The performance of launching the built-in QuickView browser and actually seeing the site isn't great.  Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be a way we can speed this along.  This might be a reason you're seeing a slight stutter when launching the browser window.

Q: Why do you have the built-in browser?  Why not just launch Safari?
A: We did this so we can auto-log you into the site.  We think this is one of the key benefits of QuickView.  There currently isn't a way we could implement auto-login with a default browser from QuickView today.  We hope in time this can be improved.
Hopefully this helps answer a few questions.  Thanks again for all the great comments in the app store and use the feedback email address to give us your feature requests.  You can find it under the Gear icon.

If your interested in getting these tips and tricks via twitter, follow me at @mint4mac.