Best Free Finance Apps for the iPhone and iPad

Sometimes the best things are free.  Here are 9 apps for the iPhone and iPad designed to help you with:

  • Tracking expenses and mileage
  • Organizing bills
  • Calculating on the go
  • Budgeting
  • Purchasing
  • Package and price tracking

Tracking Expenses and Mileage

expensify-iconWith Expensify mobile, you can track expenses, snap pictures of receipts as well as create and submit expense reports – all on the go!  (Upgrade to “company” version – $5 per month per employee.)

Use MileWiz to detect and log business mileage for tax deduction purposes.  Add places you visit often, categorize drives, track gas purchases, generate reports that can be exported to CSV (which can be opened in Excel).  Compatible with Apple Watch.

Organizing Bills

FileThis automatically collects and organizes your online bills, documents, and statements in an easy to use digital filing cabinet. Fully encrypted bank-level security. Reduces clutter. Creates searchable PDFs. The “Forever Free” starter account stores up to 500 MB of data.  Compatible with Apple Watch.

Calculating on the Go

Use your finger or a stylus to write and calculate math problems directly on your phone with MyScript Calculator.  Add fractions, functions, or symbols quickly without using the keyboard and calculate when you’re done. Edit or correct operations using natural

photomathDon’t want to write a math problem on your screen?   Use Photomath and let the app do the work.  Simply hold your phone or iPad over a math problem – Photomath will do the calculation and show you the steps used to reach the result.


mintCreate budgets and track the money you earn and spend with Mint. Receive alerts and mini updates via your iPhone for unusual account charges, and get custom tips for reducing fees and saving money.  Compatible with Apple Watch.


sortlySortly is the ultimate organizer app. Use it to label boxes, collectibles, or products and create a searchable inventory. Cheaper than inventory software; more features than Excel. Lawyers can use Sortly to track stored client files; clients can use it to organize collections as part of their estate planning.

Virtual Purchasing Assistant

Operator connects you to experts to find what you want, when you want. Search, buy, or deliver by sending a text. Designed for personal use.  Law firms can use Operator to purchase electronics or furniture.

Package and Price Tracking

slice-appWhere’s your stuff? Let Slice track all your packages, purchases, price drops, and product recalls. Designed for personal or small business use.  Compatible with Apple Watch.

Next week: the best productivity apps for iOS, including notetaking, eSigning, task management, workflow, security, travel, and video conferencing.

All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis

MS Ignite 2016: New Ideas, New Features for OneDrive, Office 365, and More

September 26-30 marked Microsoft’s second annual technology conference known as #MSIgnite. With over 22,000 attendees, the conference set Twitter afire with a long list of product enhancements – some available now, others coming before year-end.

New Functionality for OneDrive Users

If you’re a OneDrive user, you’ll be thrilled to hear about these new features:

  • Ability to sync SharePoint Online document libraries and OneDrive folders
  • One-stop shopping for browsing and editing SharePoint Online and OneDrive files using the OneDrive browser client
  • Ability to download multiple documents as a .zip file
  • Improvements to the Android OneDrive App – support for SharePoint Online files and multi-page scan enhancements
  • Notifications to your mobile device when someone shares a OneDrive file with you
  • Ability to see over time how many people have discovered and viewed your files in OneDrive for iOS

See the full list of OneDrive updates here.

Enhancements to the Outlook Mobile App

  • The new, improved calendar app on iOS and Android devices now offers event icons, simpler scheduling, and on-the-fly editing of recurring meetings
  • Use the “smart location” feature on the mobile app to easily add maps and directions to event details.  Next time you create an event, just start typing a location.  Choose one of the suggestions and Outlook will include a map with your event details.
  • Use the @ symbol to get someone’s attention: typing the @ symbol followed by a person’s name in the body of an email message or a meeting invite will automatically add the person to the To line of the email or meeting invite.
  • Coming soon: meeting invites will support real-time availability checks with a slide-bar interface – via @thevarnish
  • Outlook for iOS and Android is now powered by the Microsoft Cloud for Office 365. All your data is now fully delivered through Microsoft’s secure servers (no third party vendor, no mailbox data cached outside Office 365).
  • New assistive technology has been added for reading email, scheduling meetings, and adding a signature

Improvements to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint


  • Use Researcher to find credible sources and content: “Researcher is a new service in Word that helps you find and incorporate reliable sources and content for your paper in fewer steps. Right within your Word document you can explore material related to your topic and add it—and its properly-formatted citation—in one click. Researcher uses the Bing Knowledge Graph to pull in the appropriate content from the web and provide structured, safe and credible information.”
  • Improve your writing with the new digital writing assistant known as Editor, a cloud-based service that uses machine learning, natural language processing, and input from linguists to improve writing through advanced proofing and editing. [Caveat: not suitable for confidential content.]
  • Write or draw with your finger, a pen, or a stylus in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint mobile apps (known as “inking.”)



  • Use Designer to instantly turn a bulleted process list into a SmartArt graphic
  • Get an “instant slide makeover” any time by selecting the “Design” tab in the ribbon.  Choose “Design Ideas” (far right of the Design toolbar) to preview new slide designs.
  • Use the Recording tab to create a presentation that includes recorded slides, screen recordings, narrations, and videos. Embed quizzes and other apps in your presentation to make it more interactive for your audience.
  • Use QuickStarter to find outlines for any topic, including recommendations on information to include, categories to consider and associated images tagged with Creative Commons licenses.

Making Skype Better

Skype for Business is already the number one meeting app, so how can it get any better? Consider these improvements announced at #MSIgnite 2016:

  • Skype for Business for Mac will be available in October, with hi-def audio and video, one-click join for meetings, and video and desktop sharing
  • Also coming in October: enhancements to the iPhone app: Skype for Business calls will work just like a cellular call on your iPhone. You can accept a call via the lock screen or put a Skype for Business call on hold to take a cellular phone call—it works just like a phone.
  • Real-time transcription and translation in 50 languages will come to Skype Meeting Broadcast by year-end

Migrating to Windows 10

If you haven’t migrated to Windows 10, check out this free migration assessment tool from VMWare.  Announced at #MSIgnite, the new tool is designed to assess:

  • Windows 10 readiness;
  • End-user behavior;
  • Device inventory and configurations;
  • Software dependency and usage information; and
  • Web and network usage patterns.

If this sounds like tech-speak, it is.  But the goals are simple: (1) identify potential problems transitioning from your current operating system to Windows 10; (2) Optimize your use of Windows 10.

Still not sure?  Contact your computer consultant.

Key Microsoft Security Improvements

There are two kinds of big companies: those who have been hacked
and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked. 


Protecting Browser Sessions

Most cyber attacks start at the browser level, making browser security critically important. Windows Defender App Guard for Microsoft Edge protects against browser-based security incursions:

Unlike other browsers that use software-based sandboxes, which still provide a pathway for malware and vulnerability exploits, Microsoft Edge’s use of Application Guard isolates the browser and employee activity using a hardware-based container to prevent malicious code from impacting the device and moving across the enterprise network.

Once enabled, enterprise administrators can configure a trusted network site list policy and distribute the group policy to any devices it wishes to protect with Application Guard. Even if an untrusted site successfully loads malware, the malware is unable to reach beyond the isolated container to steal data or permanently compromise devices or the network. Once the employee exits their Microsoft Edge browsing session, any malware is erased, preventing further attacks.

Detecting and Responding to Cyber Attacks

Security features and cyber threat intelligence gathered from WDATP (Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection) and Office 365 ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) are now combined to allow enterprises to detect, investigate, and respond to advanced attacks on their networks, Windows 10, and Office 365.

Now, IT can identify and follow the complete chain of an attack from an email – to across the network – with detailed timelines and analysis. This real-time access and product integration converts the time to investigate an incident from days or weeks to mere hours. And the comprehensive security intelligence from Microsoft and our industry partners, including FireEye iSight threat intelligence, puts all the information needed to investigate and respond in an easy, simplified interface with clear steps for remediation. It’s the most comprehensive and robust security solution available today.

Interesting Stats from the Keynotes and Other Presentations

  • There are 70 million Office 365 users and over 400 million Windows 10 users
  • The Department of Defense is targeting to have Windows 10 on more than 4 million devices
  • Office 365 has an uptime of 99.98%
  • The average person uses 3 mobile devices at work (expected to increase)
  • Skype for Business is the most-used meeting app: Microsoft manages over 13,000 meeting rooms; 38% of all international calling uses Skype; the Skype app has been downloaded 1.1 billion times on iOS and Android devices
  • 58% of workers admit to sending data to the wrong person
  • Microsoft scans 200 billion emails every month for malware
  • 50% of cloud-era millennials will be in the workforce by 2020

Other News from #MSIgnite

  • You may have heard of Azure – Microsoft’s integrated cloud service platform. #MSIgnite 2016 included a number of Azure upgrades of interest to developers and IT professionals.  Read more here.
  • Many SharePoint improvements were announced at #MSIgnite 2016.  For all the details, check out this post.  Also see this summary from Microsoft.
  • Over 150 on-demand video sessions are available at no charge from the 5 day conference. Check out the list here.

All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis

All the Tech Tips You’ll Ever Need

Well… that may be a bit of a stretch, but this is still a goodie.

If you enjoy the ABA TECHSHOW format of 60 TechTips in 60 Minutes, you will certainly appreciate the lead-off presentation from this year’s inaugural Oregon State Bar Solo & Small Firm Conference.

Featuring Paul Unger and Barron Henley, “60 Legal Tech Tips, Gadgets, Apps and Websites” was a technology whirlwind.  I can honestly say I’ve saved the best post for last.  [If you missed out on prior posts, just time travel back to July 13 to see the beginning and work your way forward.]

Here are a few of the jewels Paul and Barron shared:

For the complete compilation, see this post on Storify.

All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis


Also see the related story featuring Barron’s tips on “Superior Methods for Drafting Complex Legal Documents.”

Digital Distraction: A Thief of Client Relationships?

Technology has its good points.  Mobile devices and apps give us 24/7 access to information and knowledge.  “As long as we have the Internet, we can be productive,” or so we tell ourselves.  But is it possible that tech is hurting our client relationships and we don’t even know it?

Your smartphone, smartwatch, and tablet are great gadgets – don’t get me wrong.  The 2015 ABA Tech Survey reported that an astonishing 60% of lawyers use iPhones; 40% use iPads.  Used consciously, as a tools, these devices serve us well.  The danger arises when we fail to appreciate that their mere presence may be disturbing to our clients.

Don’t Put Your Phone on the Table During a Client Meeting

In 2012, researchers at Essex University conducted two studies to learn how the presence and use of a mobile phone affected social interactions among strangers.  The participants were paired off and sat in private booths.  In half the cases, a mobile phone was placed nearby.  For the other half, a notebook was left in the same place instead of a mobile phone.  The studies revealed:

  • If a mobile phone is visible during a conversation it causes people to feel less positive towards the person with whom they are chatting.
  • The presence of a mobile phone reduces the level of empathy and understanding in face-to-face conversations.
  • Mobile phones can have negative effects on closeness, connection, and conversation quality.

‘These results demonstrate that the presence of mobile phones can interfere with human relationships, an effect that is most clear when individuals are discussing personally meaningful topics,’ the researchers wrote.  Credit to the Daily Mail.

All Client Meetings are ‘Personally Meaningful’ – Follow These Easy Fixes to Avoid Digital Distraction

The lesson here is obvious and easy: put your devices away!

Keep your phone in your pocket, purse, or briefcase during client meetings.  If you are expecting an important call (from a Judge or hard-to-reach expert) tell the client before the meeting that you may need to take a call.  But don’t use this as an excuse to keep your phone on your desk.

Not expecting a call?  How about setting your iPhone to Airplane Mode, which will automatically silence your Apple watch?

Worried about taking notes without your trusty laptop or tablet?   Don’t.  Turns out note taking is substantially more effective when done by hand, and your legal pad doesn’t need WiFi or an outlet.

Follow the Five Keys to a Successful Client Meeting

  • Avoid distractions (I think we covered this, but there is more to learn)
  • Prepare for your meeting
  • Create an agenda to stay on track
  • Anticipate and prepare for questions
  • Prepare a post-meeting summary and action list for the client

These excellent suggestions come from Tonya Pierce and appear on AgileLaw.  I highly recommend reading the original post.

[All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis]