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Posts Tagged ‘apple’

The many uses of Dropbox – syncing 1Password and Things data between Macs

April 15th, 2010 7 comments

A couple of weeks ago a lot of my friends (and acquaintances) got spammed by me on purpose: I sent them an invite for Dropbox. The intention was two-fold: 1. to increase my backup space; 1. to get them using a free backup solution. Several people signed up and I hope they are enjoying Dropbox by now.

Thanks to Dropbox, my two all-time favorite applications (1Password for login and general secret management and Things, a neat to-do list manager) have just gotten better. They both have iPhone and now iPad apps, as well and let me tell you, they are wonderful. One of the issues I had was the lack of proper syncing between my Mac Pro and my MacBook Pro. 1Password actually synced properly through the iPhone, but Things items got duplicated and this actually caused me to stop using Things. Then the iPad came out and Things looked beautiful on it, plus now I can enter last-minute items before falling asleep. About a week or two ago I learned that you can sync 1Password to many Macs using Dropbox. Thanks to Twitter I learned today that, indeed you can do the same for Things. So, here’s how this works.

  1. Create a Dropbox account, if you haven’t yet.
  2. Get 1Password, if you haven’t yet (Click on the banner on my site)
  3. Get Things, if you haven’t yet.
  4. Move your Things Library to Dropbox:
    1. Make sure Things is not running
    2. Move ~/Library/Application Support/Cultured Code folder to your Dropbox.
    3. Hold down the OPTION key while starting up Things then point to the Database.xml file at the newly created location.
  5. Move your 1Password keychain to Dropbox:
    1. In 1Password go to /Preferences/General click MOVE
    2. Choose Dropbox as the destination

That’s all. This is how simple it is to have your Things and 1Password libraries stored online in a safe place and have the ability to use them from several Macs. One caveat, however is that you CANNOT have Things or 1Password run on two different computers at the same time, because you’d be reading from/writing to the same data source, which, all my developer friends wold tell you it’s a BIG no-no.

* If you click on the Dropbox links on this page, you WILL generate me extra space. If you are against it, simply go to www.dropbox.com and bypass me.
** I am an affiliate partner for 1Password.
*** CulturedCode I am not affiliated with by any means.

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Quick and Dirty iPad Review

April 5th, 2010 3 comments

I wasn’t the first in line to get an iPad, but I did drive to Staten Island to avoid lines, and got one as soon as it was released. It is a pleasure to have it. I have demoed it to fellow former Apple coworkers over the weekend and they were unilaterally amazed and they all want one. There is no such thing as a perfect product, but the iPad surely comes very near.

Here’s a little breakdown of my first findings of the iPad:

  • Speed: It is super-fast. I mean unbelievably responsive. I open up Mail and instantly it loads my 13 unread items that weren’t there a nanosecond ago. I click on an email, it loads instantly, then I click on link in it and takes me to Safari in nanoseconds. Every app is responsive and it’s not something I expected after owning an iPhone and iPod Touch for awhile. The iPad is much-much faster.
  • Weight: it seems light at first lift up, but it really is 1.5 pounds, so reading on your back is not very comfortable. Holding it in your lap, though is.
  • Form factor: It is large. It’s mean to be large, so you can read your magazines with glasses in bed, but it fits in my Tumi handbag, which is quite small. It is beautiful in every way. The screen is incredible, the back is aluminum (hasn’t gotten hot yet, but I heard it might), the speaker is mono, but the sound comes out deep and rich.
  • Keyboard: Fairly comfortable to write on it in both portrait and landscape modes. The only problem I’ve been having so far is tapping to the beginning or a middle of any word; it will just simply not happen. I can however tap to the end of a word. Selecting full words happens sometimes. I have not been able to have the CAPS lock on; maybe it cannot do it (yet).*
  • Browser: Safari can display PDFs beautifully, on top of bringing your websites to you. Have experienced some issues while trying to view some Hungarian websites, which partially loaded in a frame but most of the screen remained empty. Viewing a website and clicking on an article or zooming in on something is all done in nanoseconds. I’m not joking, sites load faster than in my Mac Pro with it’s 10,000 RPM HD.
  • Apps: there are a lot of good apps out there already such as WordPress that I’m using at the moment to type up this review. I have downloaded and can recommend most of the following apps:
    1. TweetDeck: Comfortable Twitter client with columns. I use it on my Desktop, so it was an obvious choice for the iPad.cannot display Facebook feeds, nor can you open a link that’s in the tweet. I’m assuming updates will fix it.
    2. GoodReader: A full-featured PDF editor. You can send PDFs over WIFi or download them from a link within the app. You can view the PDFs in their original form or view them as text. If you choose to view them as text you can choose the background and text colors, both in day and night modes.
    3. NYT Editor’s Choice: Not a full paper or a full web site, but certainly enough articles to read. It does crash fairly frequently, though, but that’s nothing new after using their app on the iPhone.
    4. WeatherBug Elite: A very nice weather app. Haven’t figured out how to change to Celsius, but I’m assuming most of you won’t consider this an issue. **
    5. gogoDocs: Google Docs reader, exactly as it sounds. Supposedly, there will be an update, where it’ll introduce editing capabilities.
    6. Netflix: Need I say more? It works. Not as intuitive as the web interface, but still very nice.
    7. ABC Player: Plays ABC TV shows just like the web site.
    8. Wikipanion:Fast, logical and you can even create bookmarks.
    9. 1Password: A beautiful application to keep track of your passwords, web site log-ins and other secrets. If you don’t have it for your Mac, I’d highly recommend getting it, since you can sync your data wirelessly to your iPod/iPhone/iPad.
    10. Things: A very simple yet pretty task management app I started using on my Mac, then iPhone, now iPad. Awaiting automatic syncing through a server, but I know the developer are working hard to bring that to us.
    11. Scrabble: Have not used it, but I’m assuming it’s similar to the iPhone version, which I loved.
    12. WordPress: I started writing this blog on it, but since I cannot tap into words properly, plus this app is buggy, I switched to my Mac. I closed the app without saving and it saved and recevered my post. Next time I saved the draft, closed the app, restarted and half of my post was gone. So use this one with caution.

So, all-in all: I love it and it’s only day 3. I cannot wait for my 3G version so I can use it anywhere. This one already has a new mommy.

* Go to Settings/General/Keyboard and enable Caps Lock

** Go to Settings/WeatherBug to change units

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Snow Leopard Can Be Installed On Tiger Macs

August 27th, 2009 No comments

Though users of older Intel-based Macs were led to believe they would have to spend $169 to migrate from Tiger to Snow Leopard, new reports state the $29 upgrade disc will work just fine. Apple Insider

So this is good news, right? I ordered my copy of 5, which will arrive tomorrow. My main computer is due for a wipe so I thought I’d just wait for Snow Leopard and get this done at the same time.

“For owners of Intel-based Macs who are still using the older Tiger version of the Mac OS, Apple is officially making Snow Leopard available only in a “boxed set” that includes other software and costs $169,” Mossberg said. “The reasoning is that these folks never paid the $129 back in 2007 to upgrade to Leopard. But here’s a tip: Apple concedes that the $29 Snow Leopard upgrade will work properly on these Tiger-equipped Macs, so you can save the extra $140.” Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal

Wired also confirmed that they were able to upgrade a system directly from Tiger to Snow Leopard. In addition, it is possible to completely erase a hard drive and install Snow Leopard without a pre-existing operating system in place, enabling users to bypass the possible headaches of an upgrade and go with a clean install instead. Wired said many users upgrading from Tiger should probably consider backing up their files from Tiger and doing a clean install instead. Apple Insider

So far news of upgrades state that they have been performed smoothly. Not all third party software is guaranteed to work. Do your research before upgrading.

Adobe, for example, has already stated that Creative Suite 3 has not been tested on Snow Leopard and may have compatibility issues. We were able to test Adobe Photoshop CS 3 on Snow Leopard and thus far have had no problems. We also tested QuickSilver, App Zapper, Adium, Tweetie and Evernote, and all seemed to work fine. But do some research and pretest on a nonproduction system if you’re concerned. Wired

Conclusion: Do not expect Earth shattering changes from Snow Leopard. You will see some minor interface changes, you will save some hard drive space but you mostly pay the $29 prize for performance improvements.

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Reminder, anyone?

February 17th, 2009 3 comments

There’s a really nifty apple Dashboard Widget called Reminder. That’s exactly what it does: you tell it what you want to be reminded of and when and it will remind you. 2.0 only runs on Leopard, but they have a 1.0 version for Tiger users.

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Having trouble managing domains and websites? DomainBrain will come to the rescue!

February 5th, 2009 No comments

Are you managing your friends websites or are a professional developer managing tons of websites? Do you find it difficult to remember their FTP log in database access, which MySQL table their data stored in? I have just some across this handy application called DomainBrain that will do just that for you and even more. It can even tell you (through a WHOIS query) when you need to renew the domain.

The image below will tell you what type of information you can store in DomainBrain. Then with a mouse click on the arrow icon next to the URLs, it will launch your FTP program (Fetch, e.g.) and log you in automatically. Now, I know, we all have our login information stored in our FTP programs (rather in our Keychain App), bu having everything centralized is worth the exploration.

With the free version you can manage up to 4 domains, or if you have more to handle you can have unlimited domains with a mere $14. It is Mac ONLY.

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Importing Feeds from Google Reader to NetNewsWire

February 4th, 2009 No comments

After reading several articles on Google one would think it’s a horrendous task to get all your feeds from Google Reader to NetNewsWire. But, really, it isn’t. Export your feeds from Google Reader, then import them into NetNewsWire. It’s that simple. You’ll get a folder with the freshly imported feeds, then you can just do a little organization. Then you can sync your feeds with NewsGator and read them on any computer or your iPhone. It’s that simple!

Download NetNewsWire

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DrawIt

January 31st, 2009 No comments

Having a little fondness for design, I always feel like I’ve just eaten lemon when I look at somene’s hard work in coding, and the design was just an afterthought. One of these areas that are usually lacking in database development is icons. You can buy icons or download free sets that never really communicate the point. Or you can design your own, but it’s a it of work. Now anymore! I just found this beautiful application for drawing: DrawIt. I will certainly buy it, especially now that the Euro is affordable. For all of those who cannot afford $37 (with today’s conversion rate of 29 Euros), there’s a DrawItLite version for free.

The company’s other application is Fontcase that let’s you view fonts like you’ve never seen them before, preview paragraphs, tag your fonts and even share them on your network, sort of like songs with iTunes, but it let’s you preview and download fonts from another vomputer on the same network. Currently on sale for 35 Euros.

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A New Place to Find Out About Mac Apps

January 31st, 2009 No comments

Envato has been a great place to find all design-related resources. The have given us the psdtuts.com, vectortuts.com, flashden.com for tutorials and free graphic downloads, themeforest.com for downloading beautiful themes (see my website: www.zerobluetech.com)  and now they have launched appstorm.com, a Mac Apps Blog. They introduce you to new and exciting apps, and you can follow them by RSS or on twitter.

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OS X Malware Found in Pirated iWork 09

January 23rd, 2009 No comments

From ZDNet

Researchers at Intego have intercepted a Mac OS X malware threat circulating in pirated copies of Apple’s iWork 09 software.

The malicious file, dubbed OSX.Trojan.iServices.A, was found on BitTorrent trackers and other sites containing links to pirated software.  The booby-trapped version of the iWord 09 productivity suite is complete and functional but the installer contains an additional package called iWorkServices.pkg, Intego said.

When installing iWork 09, the iWorkServices package is installed. The installer for the Trojan horse is launched as soon as a user begins the installation of iWork, following the installer’s request of an administrator password (in older versions of Mac OS X, 10.5.1 or earlier, there will be no password request). This software is installed as a startup item (in /System/Library/StartupItems/iWorkServices, a location reserved normally for Apple startup items), where it has read-write-execute permissions for root. The malicious software connects to a remote server over the Internet; this means that a malicious user will be alerted that this Trojan horse is installed on different Macs, and will have the ability to connect to them and perform various actions remotely. The Trojan horse may also download additional components to an infected Mac.

Now, what’s important to learn from this is no matter how well-protected you think you are (have anti-virus software installed, it is up-to-date, etc.), if you download pirated software, you are exposing yourself to threats. With trojans, the perpetrators can really have access to your computer, and they can do harm. One example would be getting keystrokes from your computer and analyzing them. They will know which bank you visited and your log in information. You don’t need to have a vivid imagination to figure the rest out.

Be prepared; be smart. Don’t try to save money by not paying for a $99 app; you might end up paying $-400 for repair.

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