Sunday, November 27, 2011
Beware of a phishy Xmas e-card making the rounds of emails, ostensibly from 123Greetings.com. If you open the web link, it tells you need a FLV plug-in to see the video. Wait a moment and you may get a message that an applet is requesting access to your computer.
Don't even click the link. I have all the Safari blocks turned on, and LittleSnitch to prevent outgoing messages that would otherwise be invisible. My spam filter identified it; yours should too, but don't be taken in. No idea what it does, but it can't be good.
Mac Power Users podcast
I have been listening to this regular podcast for a couple of years now. It is created in the form of a friendly conversation about various Mac subjects, with guests discussing their own personal workflows and favorite tricks. Links to topics mentioned on the show are at their site. The show isn't for people who are already power users, although we can all learn new stuff from it; it is designed to help you become a power user. Go to the site to hear past episodes, read hints and tips, and to subscribe to it through iTunes. No charge; it comes out weekly. Past issues are downloadable through iTunes. This is a good one; you'll be glad you did.
Get 'em while they're hot - all have been out over a week and none have been shown to cause serious damage. Software Updates to Security, Java, iTunes, Safari, RAW Camera compatibility and many application-specific updates, including new drivers for your printer.
These printer updates are here because most major manufacturers have handed over the update process to Apple so they can feed through Software Update. This has not proved troublesome, except where the companies have been sluggish about posting downloadable files for people who need to reinstall their printer drivers on a freshly initialized drive.
How To Repair Permissions
As always, before and after running Software Update you should run DiskUtility and have it Repair Permissions and Verify Disk. For those who have forgotten, this is the procedure.
1) Open your Utilities folder, inside the Applications folder.
2) Locate Disk Utility. Double-click to launch.
3) When the program loads, the main part of the window will tell you to select a disk or volume from the list on the left.
4) Choose Macintosh HD (unless you have renamed your drive something else).
5) Notice the main part of the window change. You are now in the Disk First Aid part of the program. At the bottom you will see four buttons. On the left, Verify Disk Permissions and Repair Disk Permissions.
Depending on the version of the MacOS you are running the wording may be slightly different. At the bottom right will be Verify Disk, and Repair Disk, which will be greyed out. (Under Tiger, both Verify and Repair are greyed out.)
6) Click Verify Disk. When it finishes, it should say "The disk appears to be OK." Then click Repair Disk Permissions. Forget about the Verify button above it. This could take between 2 and 10 minutes. You will see a very inaccurate progress monitor and time-remaining estimate on the right.
7) When it finishes the progress monitor will go away and you can quit the program.
In the past I have had people stop at certain versions of their OS because of trouble with the update. My wait-a-week rule has been a good thing because the last update of Snow Leopard, 10.6.8, was one of those that broke things. Within a week Apple had updated it to 10.6.8 v1.1 and released a new updater. They also released a 1.1 update to fix things for those who had installed the troublesome version of 10.6.8. If you are still at 10.6.7, there is no compelling reason to run 10.6.8 as it did little to change things.
Lion is at 10.7.2 and it is still growing. Because 10.7 was such a radical change, it brought radical issues to many users, even though most people went through it okay. I believe anyone running Lion should make sure they are at the latest version.
Tiger and Leopard are stopped at 10.4.11 and 10.5.8, respectively. There are no known plans for further point updates to those versions, especially Tiger, which is now officially abandoned. Apple's rule is to support two system versions behind the current one, which is why you can use the latest Safari and iTunes with Leopard and Snow Leopard.
(PowerPC Macs, G4 and G5, end their lives at Leopard 10.5.8 and can go no further.) The reason to keep these older Macs around is to run software that does not run on newer Macs. A lot more people (including me) are doing just that.
AOL Desktop Glitch
Not many people are still using the AOL Desktop program any more, but there are still some. I ran across a bug in the application I have not been able to fix. I would love to hear from other people using it who experience the same problem.
Normally the Return and the Enter keys do the same thing: Issue a new paragraph command or click a highlighted window button. When typing in a word editor, whether email, Word, TextEdit or anything else, neither key should do anything but end a paragraph. However, in AOL's email composer, hitting the Enter key issues a Send command! If you accidentally brush that key, easy to do when typing, your mail is gone. This is a major bug and should be something you can enable or disable in a preference. I've asked on an AOL forum page about this, and all I found was a three-year-old post from someone asking how to re-enable that feature of the Enter key! It seems in the previous version of AOL Desktop they took that out and this user was unhappy.
I think it's a bug, a design error, a mistake. Hitting Enter should never just send off a message, without at least giving you an "Are you sure..." dropdown dialog that would let you cancel the send.
There are no support personnel at AOL any more, either for live chat or telephone talk. It's understandable since they had to make the service free to even stay alive at all. But it would sure be nice to have SOMEONE at the company who can receive and respond to issues.
But I can understand why there isn't. Recently the tech news announced that top executives were leaving AOL-owned companies in droves (well, small ones, anyway) and I can understand why. I've seen "The Walking Dead"; it's probably not a safe place to be right now.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Lots of things have happened since my last update. Time to catch you all up. This is for users of Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion.
Hard drive prices to soar
A recent typhoon in Thailand destroyed four hard drive plants. This has already raised prices by $20 or $30; by the end of the year they may simply be hard to find at all. If you are thinking of getting a backup drive or upgrading your internal drive, I recommend you hop on this NOW.
It’s almost over. Apple supports two systems into the past, and now that Lion is established, that means Leopard is all that will receive updates from Apple. This doesn’t mean you have to leave Tiger if everything still works for you, but it does mean that some web sites will not work with the newest possible version of Safari (4.1.2). If yours is older than that, it is okay to update Safari now. The .2 version fixes all the bugs and screwups that were introduced in version 4.1. But you will still be excluded from some of the latest places. You can still run Chrome or Firefox, though. Other updates you should get, if they are offered, are Security and Java updates.
G-Macs with the PowerPC chip can move a little closer into the present with an officially hacked version of Firefox called TenFourFox. Google it, and download the version designed for your chip (G4, G5).
You can’t sync the new iPhone or iPad because iTunes needs to be the latest version (10.5) to sync to the Mac. Minimum requirement is Leopard 10.5.8. However, the iPhone 4S can work without linking to a Mac at all and just stand alone. Its version of Mail can access your ISP directly, has its own Safari and can buy from the iTunes App Store. It can back itself up through iCloud. You have to maintain your address book within the phone. When you do upgrade your MacOS or get a new one, you can then sync things up.
Still supported with current updates to Safari 5. The current version is 5.1, which is for 10.5, 10.6 and 10.7. You can use the latest version of Firefox and Chrome as well. Be sure to get the latest security updates, and it’s also okay to get the current version of QuickTime and iTunes. At the moment, if you are on 10.5.8 there are no problematic updates out there. Leopard is the end of the line for G-Macs.
Snow Leopard 10.6
Just a few printer updates plus iTunes 10.5. The current version is 10.6.8, which is a version updated two weeks after the first one came out, to fix some bugs in that release. This is why I always say to wait a week or two before installing updates. I had not had any problems myself, but the blogs were full of complaints, later resolved by the 10.6.8 v1.1 update. Now that is included in the normal 10.6.8 update. Check with Software Update and see if there is a Supplemental Update; if so, get it.
Current version is 10.7.2. If you are running Lion you need this update. Lion was the most troublesome upgrade we have seen in some time. It’s been working pretty well for me, but I don’t really push my Mac very hard. The MacFixIt blog is full of comments and complaints, and reports of icon placement bugs that were fixed in the update, others claiming still weird.
Safari 5.1 had a text-rendering problem that has been fixed in the 5.1.1 update. Otherwise the new Safari has been fine. You must update 1Password to work with it, however.
I am still searching for alternatives to the apps I lost in the move to Lion. At MacCamp earlier, two classes focused on Lion and one on alternatives to Quicken. I will be very happy to leave the Intuit company behind for good, because they have always been hostile to Mac users and put less effort into their products. One pro-Mac company is IGG Software, publishers of iBank, which is Mac-only and also makes a version for iOS. I will be reporting on how well it works after I have tried it out for a while. It comes with a free trial period so you don’t have to buy it until you know it works for you. It can import Quicken files directly from the exported .qif format, supported in Quicken 2007 or earlier. Quicken Stripped to Worthlessness, aka Quicken Essentials, doesn’t even do this kind of export so avoid it at all costs, even if it is Lion compatible.
Speaking of 1Password, although it has a complex learning curve, I recommend it as the solution to the multiple-password problem so many Mackers have. You create a simple but difficult-to-guess passphrase and it creates almost-uncrackable passwords for all your web sites. It saves them in a format that you can look up whenever you need to see them, but it does the login for you whenever you go to a password-requiring site. You can also store your bank info in it, and your personal form data so when you find a site where you want to fill in your name, address, phone and other info, it will do it for you in one click. Used in tandem with the free Dropbox to archive and protect your 1Password data file, you can eliminate all worry about losing passwords again.
I like to keep a human-readable text file stored in its Secure Notes section so I can just open the program and read the info whenever I need to say my credit card info on the phone, or otherwise use a password in a non-Web browser context. Dropbox can also copy that file to your iPhone or iPad, and there is a version of 1Password for the phone as well.
Some people report failure to install this update to their phone or pad. My iPhone 4 had no problems with the update, and I like the new features it brings. I’m in no hurry to get the 4S, although it would be fun to play with the Siri feature. One thing I like a lot about the update is the fact that the camera shutter can now be triggered by pressing on the sound-up button on the side, making the phone work more like a real camera. Very convenient. Auto-correct is still a good source of mirth and frustration, which makes really bizarre and incorrect assumptions about what you want to type. I turned mine off immediately in Settings.
To experience some of the fun others have had, visit the Auto-cowrecks section of FailBlog.
Part of Lion 10.7.2 and iOS5, this replacement for MobileMe automatically stores desired files on Apple’s servers (what marketers call “the cloud”) and syncs contacts and bookmarks, among other things, between your Mac and your iOS device. Although I am using it now, I have not really experienced it because I have not had to recover any files from it. It is nice to have my Apple Address Book info always updated in my iphone without having to wait for a manual sync through iTunes. There is talk of bringing iCloud to Snow Leopard through a 10.6.9 update, but that has not happened yet. MobileMe will go dark next June, so if you are using it, start planning your migration away from it now. iWeb has been discontinued, and any photos or other web pages you have created on MobileMe should be moved over to Flickr or some other photo-hosting service.
Byword; Mac Power Users
This post was composed in a new $9.99 word-processing program designed for writers who are sick of Microsoft Word and find OpenOffice too complex for just plain old writing. Another, more expensive, program called Scrivner has a lot of fans too. Byword supports the Markdown format of coding pages, which is a much simpler way to create coding for blogs, or html for your web site. Markdown is a world of its own and I must learn more about it, which I am starting to do with this app. Once the page is composed, it can be exported to the Clipboard in HTML, ready to be pasted into your blog-site composition window.
I learned about this on the podcast MacPowerUsers, which you can subscribe to through iTunes. It’s not just for power users; it’s to help all Mac users become power users. I recommend everyone subscribe to this and listen. Each episode discusses a specific topic - the last one was about a writer's workflow and his favorite writing applications. There is always something to be learned in the discussion-format program; you will want to keep a pen handy. The show notes, with links, are on the site, where you can play any episode of the show.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
While I like some of the features, I do not like the changes to Spaces. It is now too easy to accidentally invoke a screen shift while difficult to drag items from one to another. I also find it increasingly obvious that this is not really ready for prime time and one should wait for 10.7.1, at the earliest. I am seriously thinking about blowing off Lion and returning to SNL myself. I discovered that now that I can no longer use Eudora, I really hate AppleMail.
Recently I had my first repair call for a Lion installation gone bad. Recovery from this is much worse than I imagined. First the warning:
DO NOT DO THIS UNTIL YOU HAVE MADE A CLONE BACKUP OF YOUR SNOW LEOPARD DRIVE!
Even a TimeMachine backup is not sufficient because full recovery from them is very difficult. You want to be able to boot off of your backup drive and clone it all back, killing Lion completely.
This client had broken all the rules. He left his startup items in place (System Preferences, Accounts, Login Items) instead of deleting them all. Each restart automatically launched incompatible apps, causing crashes. He did not do a Repair Disk and Repair Permissions with Disk Utility first.
He did this on his production Mac Pro, without a clone backup. All of this made his Mac's Murphy chip glow hot with excitement. If he had the clone, the chip might have let his installation succeed, but due to the other factors he would still have had problems. Without a clone it is impossible to return to Snow Leopard without erasing the drive before installation, and since TimeMachine had already run, all he could have recovered were his documents.
Lion installs an emergency recovery partition on your drive that contains a copy of Disk Utility and a minimal system. You access this by holding down the Option key at startup and choosing it from the icons that immediately appear. At the moment that is the ONLY repair program available; DiskWarrior will need an upgrade to work on a Lion system.
Oh, the icing on the turd: his drive was 98% full. You should never let a startup drive go beyond 80% because the rest of the space is needed by virtual memory for swapfiles, printing for temporary spool files, caches and the like. I was able to get him down to 92% full, which helped, and set him about clearing off the rest of the space hogs to an external drive. Then I had him go buy another drive for SuperDuper and get that running. I believe, but am not certain, that SuperDuper's latest version is compatible. (2.6.2 is not.)
Speaking of that Murphy chip, another client has suffered hard drive failure on a production iMac with NO backups. This is not repairable due to actual disk damage. I am able to rescue files with DiskWarrior, but that particular iMac does not use industry-standard drives (special heat sensor built onto the drive) so I could NOT keep the old one for later recovery (which I had started to do using DiskWarrior). To fix under warranty Apple wants the dead drive back immediately as an exchange or they want $340 cash for the new one. They give only 48 hours slack for the old drive to be returned. Mac shops do not keep extras of this drive in stock. Oh, and she had deadlines to meet. Those deadlines are now dead.
Most of you already know this and are doing it now, but for those of you who are not, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Would you feel badly if your Mac woke up dead and you lost every document on it, including your email, web bookmarks, Documents folder, iTunes music, etc.? Some people only use their Macs for Web browsing and email and keep the email on the server (Gmail, for instance) so they could lose their data without worry.
Do you use your Mac for production? Could you do without it for a week? With a clone backup you can boot from the clone and finish critical work before taking your Mac in for repair, or move it to a 2nd Mac, if you have one. That 2nd Mac would need to be able to boot from the same drive, impossible if your main Mac is Intel and the other one is PPC. You might have problems launching applications from the clone on the 2nd Mac if the registration is tied to the machine (Adobe is the killer here).
Do you have a lot of documents you do not want to lose, but can do without your Mac while it's being repaired? A TimeMachine backup is sufficient for you. A daily clone is much more convenient because a TimeMachine backup will still require you to reinstall your applications. If you have CS5 purchased as an upgrade from an earlier CS version, you will need the older disk, or at least the serial number, to install the upgrade. Can you find it?
The answer for all Mac user except the extremely casual user cited above is this: Go buy an external drive now. If you want to combine TM and Clone on the same drive, it should be a terabyte, partitioned into two volumes. Check your internal drive now - how much data is on it? Highlight it with a click and type Command-I. It will tell you the capacity of the disk, how much data is on it now, and space remaining. If you have a 500Gb or 1Tb internal drive but less than 100Gb full, a 500 will do you. The clone volume can be 200Gb with the other one serving TimeMachine, which does not delete older versions of documents and needs more space. Powered drives are usually 1Tb and are cheaper than unpowered portable 500 drives, but if you have a laptop and want to take your backup with you, the portable is better. Be aware that both could be stolen! Better to leave the backup drive at home or have ANOTHER cloned backup stored elsewhere. Hardcore paranoids rotate backup clones each week, keeping one in a safety deposit box.
It's your data. DriveSavers charges $1500 and up to recover a dead drive. How lucky do you feel?
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Getting Ready for Lion
My original intention was to just forget about Lion for a few months, letting others do Apple's field testing for them. Then I realized I should go ahead and do it because I need to learn as much as possible, in preparation for those clients who will need help with it. But to give it a go, I had to do a lot of preparation.
A Twin System
The recommended way is to make a clone backup of your Snow Leopard (SNL) system so if things fall apart, one can just boot from the clone and copy it all back, wiping Lion off the map. This is always good, and I always run a clone (SuperDuper) backup in addition to my TimeMachine backup.
Since so many of my necessary programs die under Lion I decided I need to have a 10.6 system always around, which is easy to switch over to. Programs I lose under Lion include Eudora, AppleWorks, Word 2004 and Quicken 2006 (and 2007). The only Quicken that runs under Lion is Quicken Stripped Of Any Usefulness, aka "Quicken Essentials." Intuit doesn't care; they are in the business of helping Microsoft sell as many computers as possible and they couldn't care less about their Mac clients.
I already have a keyboard, mouse and 24" Asus display. I also have a MacMini that serves the TV set. So I bought an IOGear KVM switch (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) that supported DVI plugs, which both Macs do, with an adapter. Price: $99. So off to Frys I go.
This one also has sound ports, so I can, with a single button press, switch screens, sound output and USB devices. That's the idea, anyway. Setting it up I learned that while the video and sound switches flawlessly, the USB would not switch. I called the company to find out why, and the tech, who didn't really seem to know much, told me that their device did not support USB hubs, powered or otherwise, contrary to the page in the manual which shows how to set it up. He even tried to convince me that the mouse had to go in the mouse-marked port and the keyboard in the KB port.
With a lot of trial and error I finally managed to plug the keyboard in and get that switching, and then got the mouse to work plugged into the keyboard. Since the Air has only two USB ports I did not want to use them both to feed the KVM switch because I could get the hub to work by manually switching the plug between the two Macs when I wanted to print something or run the backup drives.
So I almost got what I want and it works well enough to use. That is good because KVM switches that have DVI are uncommon; most of them are VGA, which costs a quarter of what the DVI one cost. Projectors, the most common market use for KVMs are perfectly happy with VGA output since they are not capable of high resolution images.
It was the first day, so there was no other way but to buy and download it from the App Store. It took almost 10 hours because my house is located in 2001 where the best DSL signal I can get is 1.5 Mbps. One mile north and I am in 2011 with 20Mbps. I could, of course, hand over 33% of my soul to Concast and get a good signal from them, but I'd rather have my eyes sucked out by lampreys. (Using Concast's TV costs another 33% of your soul, with the final third going for their phone service. You are allowed to keep 1% of your soul for other purposes.)
Anywhilst, late that evening I had the Lion installer on the drive of my MacBook Air, so I quit everything and started it up. I violated several of the rules I and other techs insist on, just to see what would happen. I did not remove my startup items from Account Preferences, and did not repair permissions first. I had already run Disk Warrior so I knew the Air's "disk" was okay. Installation took just 20 minutes.
By the way, Apple claims that you need 10.6.8 in order to get Lion from the App Store. That is not true. You can do it with 10.6.6 or 10.6.7. All that is necessary is that you be able to access the App Store, which was introduced with the 10.6.6 update. People on Leopard 10.5 will not be able to get Lion until Apple makes it available on a Flash drive, rumored to be out in August some time.
I was pleased to learn that a lot of my most important utilities (Dropbox, SMC FanControl, Little Snitch, You Control) worked fine. I did have to give up Remember, which popped up reminder messages when configured to. The one that comes with iCal does not work as well.
The other issue I had trouble with was actually on the SNL Mini. I could not get screen or file sharing to work, even though both Macs were on the Internet and all the IP addresses were correct. I called AppleCare, and after an escalation to a network specialist, we found the problem was actually incorrect preferences in Network. There were two AirPorts, one of which had an Ethernet icon. She had me clear them all away and create new ones, one for Ethernet connection and one for AirPort.
That fixed it. Screen sharing works perfectly now.
For those of you who have never used it, screen sharing allows me to display the screen from one Mac on another, and operate it remotely. (I wish that worked well enough over the internet that I could use it with my clients!) But since I now have a laptop that will not run the primary programs I have on the Mini, Screen Sharing means I don't have to go to the desk and run the Mini to enter something in Quicken or read/write mail in Eudora. This was the last barrier to using Lion full time.
I can always use Safari to access my email when on the Air, which is what I do anyway when I am away from my Mac but have access to another one.
The differences in how Lion works compared to SNL are pretty interesting. Scrolling with fingers on the trackpad or using the arrows (or the Magic Mouse) are backwards. Instead of dragging in the direction you want the scroll bar to go, you instead drag in the direction you want the page to move. It's more intuitive once you get used to it. Scroll bars disappear when not being used. Check your own use of scroll bars: When you want to move up screen the text is actually moving downward as you drag upward. Bet you never even thought of it as being backwards before.
Windows that always have a scroll bar, like your Documents folder, work the same way when you drag the bar, but to drag downwards with two-finger dragging on the Pad, it moves the opposite way. It's difficult to visualize and describe, even when I have one hand on the Mini's slider and the other on the Air's. Get used to using the arrows on the keyboard more; in Safari and reading email, among other things, they make it much easier.
Sites you should visit to learn more about Lion, including reader reports include the Lion section of Macintouch; the App Compatibility Table; the Lion FAQ on Macintouch; and MacUpdate, State of the Apps. Want more? Google is your friend.
Along with the release of Lion, Apple shipped two new Macs: an upgraded Air with the i5 and i7 chip that is in the rest of the MacBook/iMac line (almost twice as fast as the Core 2 Duo at the same clock speed) and a new Mini. Both have the ThunderPort that can drive an external display (not including Apple's current model) and various external storages devices which will begin to show up in the stores soon. The new Air, with the biggest SSD and most RAM appears to be $100 cheaper than the last model.
If you have an older Mini now and you have the software that you need to use upgraded to Lion compatibility, this looks like a great buy. It does not have an optical drive, like the Air, so you will need an external USB drive for that. Apple's is $79 and works only with the Air and the new Mini. The Mini can have either a 500 (standard) or 750Gb hard drive, or the 256G SSD that the Air uses and is unbelievably fast. The base model is $599 but has only 2Gb RAM, so you would want to expand that, at least. It will take up to 8Gb. (4Gb add $100; 8Gb add $300.) Visit the Apple Store online and have fun with their configurator so you can see just what your unit would cost with all the add-ons you desire.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
10.6.7 is out
I no sooner send out my first mailing this month and an hour later Apple releases the 10.6.7 update.
As always, wait a week before getting this, to give Apple a chance to discover some horrible mistake and replace it with a fixed version. If I experience or read about any problems with it, I will report, but if I say nothing after a week you can go ahead and get it.
Here's the direct link for the Combo update but be aware that it's 1.06 Gb in size. Just downloading it made my MacBook Air feel heavier.
After studying the reports from others who installed the 10.6.7 update, it seems the only people who were reporting problems were those who had the same Mac I have: the fastest MacBookAir. They were getting freezes upon opening iTunes 10.2.1.
I made a SuperDuper clone backup first, then turned off the backup drive so I would have a way to return everything to the way it was. This is why clone backups are good to have in addition to Time Machine backups.
Then I repaired permissions and Verified Disk with Disk Utility.
Then I restarted, holding down the Shift key until I got Safe Boot in the login window. This was advised by other bloggers, although I have seldom done it before myself.
Finally I applied the Combo update, which I had downloaded from Apple (also recommended). After it finished and restarted, I repaired permissions again.
I took a breath and launched iTunes and plugged in my phone. No freezing; no problems.
Owners of the new laptops released earlier this month cannot use the Combo Update. You will have to use Software Update to go to 10.6.7. Same precautions apply.
If you don't have a backup drive, you might want to skip the update until you can get one. If you have Time Machine only, you can still use that should you have to restore your 10.6.6 system; it's just more of a nuisance.
Now officially released, here is a page of reports on how people are responding to Firefox 4.0 and how to get it.
It doesn't say on the FF page, but this requires you be running 10.5 or 10.6 on an Intel Mac. The reader reports also discuss how to keep both 3.1.6 and 4 going together so you can switch back and forth, but you will need a separate Profile for each. Info on how to do that is at http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Managing%20profiles. Note: if this seems very complicated, you are correct. I may decide not to bother and just delete FF3.
Firefox 4 for PowerPC
There is a 3rd-party build of FF4 for older Macs called TenFourFox. You can get it and read all about it here. This is not by the Mozilla people, but is a good way to keep a modern browser (for banking, commerce, etc.) on older Macs.
Google Chrome 10
I did all this reading and downloading on the newly-released Google Chrome version 10. This is faster and smoother than Chrome 9 was. Intel Mac users might want to get this as well. It never hurts to have various browsers to switch to in case your primary one (in my case Safari) has any trouble with a particular site. To get it, just go to Google and there will be a Get Chrome link.
This is a review of a password-management program that I wrote for the April issue of PMUG Mouse Tracks. If you hate dealing with passwords as much as I do, you will want to learn and use this program.
by Michael Pearce
I got hooked on this program after the publisher presented at PMUG last year. It finally motivated me to quit using the strategy of using the same password for all junk sites, and a more complex one for banking and commerce.
Everyone does this. Nobody likes to deal with passwords, and most people forget to write down their important ones, letting the web browser store and fill them for you. This is why so many get hacked; and figuring out what you use for one web site lets the maliciously-minded explore other sites with the same one. Each site stores another piece of your identity so it can be possible to discover your home address, phone number, mother's maiden name, first pet's name, work place and everything else needed to attack your bank's site, or crack your Amazon or iTunes account.
1Password eliminates this problem entirely by generating, filling and storing a different complex password for every web site you subscribe to. You need only create and memorize a single passphrase to access the application and it does the rest. For this, the most secure route is to create an pass-sentence of 3 or 4 words, no spaces, with the first letter of each capitalized. No dictionary attack is going to figure that out.
The program will not only store all your website logins, but it will also store your credit card info and fill it out for you on any web form. It has a Secure Notes section where you can write out all that information in English so you can look it up directly whenever you need to. Notes can also store all your serial numbers in case you need to reinstall an application and re-enter your number. All this is encrypted so no one, even if they steal your laptop or break into your house, can get into the 1Password database without your secret passphrase.
If you have an iPhone you can also get a version for it, and coupled with the Dropbox application, store a copy of your database on the phone and on the Dropbox web site.
I have never needed to access that remotely stored info, and don't use the phone for web very often, but many do and they will find this added security very handy. The only difficult part will be using the iPhone's pathetic keyboard screen for typing your passphrase. You might be able to use Smile Software's TextExpander to do that for you, but that could increase your risk a tad.
The Strong Password Generator, an option in the 1P button in your web browser, is simplicity itself. Pick the number of desired characters and the complexity and it creates one for you, saves it under the name you choose along with your login name for the desired web site. Afterwards, when you go to the site's login window, just click the button and choose Fill and Submit Login and it does the work for you. When the browser asks you if you want to save the info for you, click Never for This Site and it won't ask again.
After you have finished creating new passwords for all your logins, go into the browser preferences (Safari: Autofill) then click Usernames and Passwords' Edit button. Click Remove All and you are done. If you then uncheck the box next to Usernames and Passwords it will stop asking, even when you visit new sites for the first time.