The Quickbooks Price Increase and Why I Hate Subscription Software

I like bookkeeping… In fact I love bookkeeping. I also

I learned the art as a kid working at my Dad’s business where I helped process accounts payable, receivable, payroll, invoicing, etc. If you stay on top of it you always know where your business is at with just a glance and Uncle Sam will stay off your back.

When the YouTube channel started making some money I purchased a copy of Quickbooks for Mac to balance the books. Over the years I’d have to upgrade to the newer version mostly because Intuit, the makers of Quickbooks, would require upgrades when new versions of OS X came out. They never added any substantially new features but it’s really hard to add new features to the practice of bookkeeping that’s pretty well established.

A few months ago Inuit announced that Quickbooks for Mac was moving to a subscription model. I was not happy – if the last ten years were any indicator this was more of a money grab vs. an effort to improve the product.

I started looking for alternatives but sadly I couldn’t find anything.. Intuit really cornered this market. So I did some research and determined that Quickbooks Online’s entry plan was going to be less expensive and offer the functionality I needed. It would also let me work across multiple computers a little easier than the desktop version. So I bit.

Transferring data was a nightmare. Importing from Mac Quickbooks was broken at the time and nobody from Intuit said anything so I wasted a few hours trying to get it to import. I eventually borrowed a friend’s Quickbooks for Windows, imported the file, and then sent that over to Quickbooks Online. Not a good first impression. Oh and they started charging you regardless of whether or not your data makes it there.

The interface is a little different but the entry level version of Quickbooks Online does the job for me. I kinda like being able to keep my books up to date from my phone too.

Just like before nothing really changes with the product month-to-month. In fact it’s exactly the same as what it was when I first subscribed back in November. Yet Intuit extracts $25 a month for the privilege. What’s worse is the constant upselling I get when I log in, hoping I’ll take one of their loans, apply for their checking account, subscribe to their payroll service, etc. I feel like they should be paying me!

Some example ads

Yesterday I got an email from Intuit telling me that they’ll now be taking $30 a month vs. the $25 I had been paying. Am I getting anything new for that? Nope. Just more money for the marketing department desperately trying to upsell me.

This is why if I have a choice between a purchased license and a subscription I almost always choose the purchase option. Developers can get lazy when they’re guaranteed income every month. I’m happy to pay an upgrade price for new and useful features. I dropped Adobe when they moved to subscription and found great alternatives like Pixelmator.

So why not switch? There are some alternatives out there like Wave Accounting but none of these alternative services import data from Quickbooks. So in order to move I either have to manually key in all of my history or abandon it. That’s a no-go for me. You’d think if a company was serious about competing with Quickbooks they’d develop a migration path!

So I’m stuck. But I’ll keep looking.

The EU May Decide Phone Charging Standard Next Week

Reuters reports that the European Union is likely going to meet next week to solidify a common standard for charging smartphones. That standard will of course be USB-C which means the lightning port’s days may be numbered.

According to the article it looks like lawmakers are also trying to codify a laptop charging standard too.

I covered this topic in detail last year when this effort started gaining steam.

Links for Today

Ring announces new features, raises its basic subscription price for the first time since 2017 – TechCrunch

iPadOS 16 preview: Rumored features could bring Mac-like capabilities to the tablet – Macworld

New bookstore owners discover secret subterranean room with tunnel down the street – Boing Boing

Mariah Carey Sued For “All I Want For Christmas Is You” By Louisiana Country Songwriter – Deadline

New Video: HP Tablet 11 Review

This new 11″ Windows tablet from HP is a bit costly when factoring in all of its accessories but it does have one creature comfort that most tablets don’t : the ability to use its keyboard in portrait or landscape mode. You can see my review here.

It also has a single camera that can rotate from the rear of the device to the front as needed with a button push. Its angle can also be further adjusted via its software interface or manually.

Beyond that it’s a run-of-the-mill Windows tablet running with a lower end Intel N6000 processor. This is a “Jasper Lake” chip which is Intel’s family of low end processors that typically appear on devices like this along with Mini PCs and NAS devices.

For the sorts of things that most consumers use a tablet for the performance is adequate. The bonus here is that it is running Windows 11 so most Windows apps can be installed provided you take the machine out of Windows “S” mode.

At its current sale price of $399 (affiliate link) a fully decked out tablet with keyboard and pen will run about $587. This is competitive against a 9th generation iPad with a keyboard cover and Apple pencil. But the iPad will get better battery life, better performance for comparable apps, and has a much better camera system.

The optional keyboard attachment worked nicely. The trackpad is accurate and not too springy and the keys, while small, are well spaced with nice travel.

Pen support is here too but I found the pen to have more latency than I would like and the screen is a bit slippery when writing. The Apple pencil on the iPad is a much better experience.

But for those looking for a Windows device in tablet form this is one worth checking out. See my other tablet reviews here.

The Apple Newton Turns 30

I have always been a gadget nerd and when I first heard of the Apple Newton I wanted one.

At the time it was a totally new and different product category – “the personal digital assistant.” The device fit in the hand, was operated with only a pen, and had the ability to work with PCMCIA modems just like a laptop for sending faxes and email to online services available at the time.

In many ways it was ahead of its time and struggled almost from the get-go. The biggest problem beyond its $700 price tag (the equivalent of $1,400 today) was that the handwriting recognition wasn’t good enough for the average consumer. When it worked it was great but when it didn’t this digital device was far less efficient vs. a pad and paper. It was famously lampooned in the Doonesbury comic strip but also had mixed reviews in the press.

Apple actually released two Newtons – one was an Apple device, the other came from Sharp. But both were effectively the same device inside. Neither was very successful out of the gate.

Apple retooled and released an updated “Newton 110” the following year. That was the device I bought back in the spring of 1994. It had an updated operating system vs. the original device and worked a little better, but still wasn’t up to where consumers wanted the device to be.

It went through a number of iterations over the next four years culminating with the Newton MP2100 in 1997. But by then cheaper and smaller Palm Pilots took over the marketplace while Newtons got larger and more expensive.

Apple of course got the last laugh with their insanely profitable iPhone and iPad lines. They certainly learned from their mistakes.

I own a few Newtons in my retro collection. Here’s a video I did last year looking at how Apple’s iPad borrows a lot from the Newton’s approach to pen interfaces.

Today’s Links

Code execution 0-day in Windows has been under active exploit for 7 weeks – Ars Technica

John Deere Still Sucks On ‘Right To Repair,’ Despite Years Of Promises – Techdirt

Coffee Drinking Linked to Lower Risk of Dying, New Study Finds – The New York Times

OpenSea executive used NFTs for insider trading, prosecutors allege – The Washington Post

Physicists just rewrote a foundational rule for nuclear fusion reactors that could unleash twice the power |

The Steam Deck’s Docking Station has been delayed indefinitely – PC Gamer

New Video: HP Thunderbolt Dock G2

We have look at a lot of docks here on the channel but the HP Thunderbolt Dock G2 (affiliate link) is probably the most attractive looking of the bunch. It works with any computer with a Thunderbolt 3 or 4 port (and presumably a compatible USB 4 port) and provides a number of ports, 100 watts of power, lots of display output options, and a Thunderbolt passthrough port. You can watch the review here.

What sets this dock apart for PCs is that it can support four displays if the right combination of resolutions and ports are used. You can see all of the different combinations that work on the product specifications PDF. In the review we were able to get three independent displays active off of a Samsung laptop.

For Mac users it’s more limited. Even though the dock has three active display outputs only one of them will work because the Mac doesn’t support DisplayPort Multi-stream Transport or MST. So on the Mac you’ll need to use the Thunderbolt passthrough port to use a second display.

But from a price standpoint it’s costs about the same as other Thunderbolt docks and delivers great flexibility and performance.

New Video: What to do when your boss asks for a livestream..

My latest Weekly Wrapup video was inspired by a blog post I did the other day on putting together livestreams. I’ve been asked to help with a bunch of these over the last year or two and they tend to have the following things in common:

  1. The audience is limited to invitees only
  2. The streams will not be one-off events but done on a regular basis
  3. These are hybrid events that have an in-person audience along with people watching the presentation remotely
  4. The presenter usually has a Powerpoint that needs to be shared with both the in-person and livestream audience simultaneously
  5. They don’t have a huge budget for consulting or gear

I’ve found that Zoom paired up with an ATEM Mini tends to work best for these sorts of events primarily because it’s easy for both the presenters and the audience to set up and use. When you’re ready to go for the gusto an upgrade to Vmix is a great next step.

You can see my suggested workflow in the wrapup video. Also see all of my production videos here.

Scored More Retro Stuff!

This estate auction site is going to be bad for me.

Just scored a few more set pieces including an NES Advantage and a Power Glove. Unfortunately the Power Glove doesn’t have the TV sensor bar but it’ll still look cool in the background.

It looks like I might just be break even on this one – probably should have looked the values up first :).

At some point I’m going to try and find a professional designer to spruce up my set. One of these days!

Today’s Links

MiSTer FPGA News & Updates – Super GameBoy, CD32, Commodore 128 & More – RetroRGB

New ‘GoodWill’ Ransomware Forces Victims to Donate Money and Clothes to the Poor – Hacker News

Some top 100,000 websites collect everything you type—before you hit submit – ARS Technica

How Apple, Google, and Microsoft will kill passwords and phishing in one stroke – ARS Technica

Browser in the Browser (BITB) Phishing Technique – Infinite Logins (YouTube)

Free Top Gun DLC for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator added an F/A-18 Super Hornet back in November and a new free Top Gun themed update released this week adds some scenarios and challenges for that virtual aircraft.

The update includes three training missions, five challenges, a carrier deck landing scenario, and a new “hypersonic aircraft that can attain speeds of Mach 10 and altitudes greater than 150,000 feet above sea level.” It all works in VR too.

I took the Super Hornet out for a spin this afternoon. It’s tons of fun especially when you fly over familiar terrain. It’s crazy how different of an experience it is flying that plane vs. a Cessna!

Flight Simulator is included with Game Pass and this update will work with the Game Pass edition on the PC and Xbox.

One of these days I’ll start taking flying lessons.

New Video: Plex Hardware Transcoding on AMD Ryzen

Plex is a long time sponsor of the channel. Each month I produce a sponsored post on a feature of aspect of the product. This month we take another look at hardware transcoding of video content. You can watch my latest Plex video here.

In the past I’ve always recommended that people run their Plex servers on Intel hardware that supports Quicksync technology. Intel builds this into even their lowest end chips and it allows for nearly realtime transcoding of video to reduce bit rate and resolution on demand. For a long time that was about all Plex supported.

But recently a mysterious note appeared on the Plex hardware transcoding support page that indicated some limited support for AMD GPUs:

So I wondered.. Would this work on a Ryzen based Mini PC? It turns out the answer is YES! I took out the Beelink SER4 I reviewed few weeks back, installed the Plex Windows server on it, enabled hardware transcoding, and it started successfully transcoding a BluRay MKV file to a 1080p 8 megabit stream in hardware with minimal CPU utilization. The (hw) in the screenshot below indicates it’s running in hardware mode:

The Beelink SER4 is running with an AMD Ryzen 4800U processor with the latest AMD drivers. As Plex says “your mileage will vary” so I can’t say definitively if this will work on other AMD devices as well as it did here. But it is good to see hardware transcoding compatibility expanding.

Last year we tested it on the Macbook Air M1 and found that it was able to hardware transcode running the Intel version of the Plex server! Plex just announced an official Apple silicon version last week so we’ll give that another test in an upcoming video. Stay tuned!

Links for Today

Metal Jesus’ Map of Seattle Area Retro Game Stores – Google Maps / Metal Jesus

AYA Neo Air Plus is a $289 gaming handheld with an AMD Mendocino processor – Liliputing

Steam Deck Parts and Repair Guides – iFixit

After 30 years, the world can now play the lost Marble Madness IIArs Technica

1st look: NASA visitor complex to open ‘Gateway’ to future of space travel –

Tom Cruise’s Top Gun Maverick’ Opens to $124 Million at Box Office – Variety

All of the Sci-Fi

The Mandalorian has baby Yoda and Obiwan Kenobi has “kid Leia.” The young Leia depicted in this series is a real spitfire. The series is off to a good start and its great to see Ewan McGregor reprise the role. The prequels are viewed quite differently vs. how they were upon release. I think the animated shows helped to smooth things out for fans.

Strange New Worlds had another solid episode this week. By far the best Star Trek show we’ve had since Voyager. Also a new Stranger Things season just dropped on Netflix, the Orville returns on June 2, and Apple TV+’s awesome “For All Mankind” starts its third season on June 10. There’s some other shows I’ve been meaning to check out too. It’s a great time for sci-fi fans!

80’s Japanese Tech Was So Cool

Check this cool watch I saw in a Facebook Group post today. It’s a watch but it’s also a TV! This was back in the days of the Sony Watchman.

Unfortunately to get the TV component to work you needed to hook up this walkman size contraption that contained the tuner. But the watch itself was running with a liquid crystal display.

There was even this Casio watch that in the 1980s which not only had a touch screen but could recognize numbers drawn on its face for the calculator function.

This kind of tech was so magical to me as a kid and there never seemed to be an end to all of the cool new innovations coming out of Japan. My Dad traveled to Asia frequently and would always come back with stories of all of the cool tech he saw in the shops.

New Retro Video : Gameboy & NES Manual Estate Auction Haul!

Last week I told you about the impulse buy I made from a local estate auction website called AuctionNinja. I learned of the site from a funeral director friend of mine who often has to help families liquidate collections of the deceased.

I picked up a lot that consisted of a Gameboy with its original box, a half dozen games, a bunch of NES game manuals along with (oddly) a NES RF adapter and a four way multiplayer device. They didn’t pair the manuals up with the games which were all sold in separate lots.

As it turns out the condition of everything (except the Gameboy) is great – especially the original gameboy box. I couldn’t believe how pristine it was. Yes it’s just a box but it’s one of those things that takes you back to being a kid excited to get the latest game console. The condition of it is far better than anything I’ve seen for sale at game stores and conventions.

The Gameboy itself has seen better days. The adhesive for the screen window came off so I’ll need to reattach it. I am also going to need to take a soldering iron to the screen connection to get rid of the vertical lines that appear on screen (a very common problem with the original gameboy). It looks like a fairly easy fix.

Stay tuned for a Gameboy repair livestream! If I can’t fix the display I’ll replace it with a modern IPS one.

But unfortunately this video isn’t doing very well and that makes me sad :(.

It’s funny sometimes these throwback videos do really poorly at first and then at some point the algorithm tests it with a wider audience and it takes off. This one I did about a demo disc on the 3DO had a similar starting point but later took off an accumulated almost 65,000 views:

So check out the video if you’re so inclined to help add a few views 🙂. Thanks as always for your support!

Today’s Links

Broadcom to Acquire VMware in $61 Billion Enterprise Computing Deal – NY Times

‘Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey’ Director Teases Slasher Film Plot: ‘Pooh and Piglet Go on a Rampage’ (Winnie the Pooh is now in the public domain) – Variety

What I Recommend for Non-Profits Looking to Live Stream

I don’t do much consulting work these days but every once and awhile I help an organization (usually a non-profit) livestream an event or meeting. My approach is to train people in the use of the software and equipment so they can be empowered to go live whenever they need to without the need for additional staffing or expensive consultants.

I’ve found that most organizations don’t need to do something for mass consumption but rather for small to medium sized groups of members, congregants, etc. In those instances Zoom really can’t be beat for that purpose.

Zoom automates a lot of the stuff that can add to complexities on other platforms (especially when it comes to video encoding and audio levels), and it’s very forgiving when there’s a technical hiccup that happens locally or over the Internet. Zoom also has a webinar package that prevents unmuted participants from disrupting meetings. The biggest issues I’ve encountered with it usually involve scheduling meetings and getting the right Zoom links out to participants.

One of the things I recommend for volunteer organizations is that they have one person in charge of the video switching and another in charge of the Zoom (I call them a Zoom operator). The reason is that if they’re not opting for the more expensive Zoom webinar package they need to police the participants and be ready with the mute button! It’s also helpful for that person to monitor the chat for AV issues but also questions coming from the audience.

As far as hardware is concerned I like the following:

The ATEM Mini

ATEM Mini Pro

I love the ATEM Minis. They are super affordable and amazingly full featured. They come in three flavors with the lowest cost option starting at around $295. They allow for live switching of HDMI video sources along with titling, green screen, overlays, and all sorts of neat stuff. The best part is that once it’s configured it boots up and works the same way every time – all a volunteer needs to do is push buttons.

The ATEM interfaces with a PC via its USB port and the video output shows up as a webcam on the host computer. It plugs right into Zoom and works reliably every time. Can’t beat it.

I’ve done a full series on the ATEM Mini line here.


As for cameras there are many options – pretty much anything with an HDMI output will work so often I recommend people start with what they already have. You can also run computers through the ATEM’s HDMI ports to get its output on screen.

For those with a little more money PTZ (pan, tilt zoom) cameras are a great choice. I like cameras from Birddog and PTZ Optics – both offer cameras that can be controlled remotely and support video output via HDMI along with NDI for more advanced video production switchers.

Audio & Microphones

Microphones can be a bit trickier. The ATEM has analog audio inputs so you can plug mics directly into it if your cameras don’t have external mic support.

Sennheiser’s AVX System

If you have deep pockets I love the Sennheiser AVX system which is a wireless system that has both handheld and lavalier microphones available. See my full review here. It’s truly a bulletproof system. I’ve used this system for about six years now and have never, ever had a problem with it – even in busy places like CES and other large events.

More recently I looked at the DJI Mic system from the popular drone maker. It’s a wireless microphone system that integrates the mics along with a recorder and wireless transmitter. It’s super simple to use and a low cost alternative to the AVX system.

Going Beyond

I always recommend groups start with the “minimally viable product” and slowly build up their capacity based on need. All too often I see groups budgeting for huge equipment buys that go underutilized. Many groups don’t need a broadcast level production but rather need something that just works to get the word out to their staff, membership, congregants, etc.

When you are ready to take the next step I recommend going with Vmix. It’s a software video production tool that delivers performance on par with super expensive Tricasters at a fraction of the cost. It runs great on gaming laptops for portable productions.

In the photo at the top of this post we were running Vmix on a Lenovo Y740 laptop for a high school graduation stream. We used NDI to bring in three camera feeds into the laptop so we didn’t need to use any capture cards! I detail the whole production here:

No Right or Wrong Way..

The bottom line is there is no right or wrong way to stream something. If it works and your audience gets the information they need you’re good! Starting off in the simplest way possible will grow your confidence, give you some ideas as to how to improve the next stream, and help build your skillset as you progress.