Quick Tip: Creating an AlphaNumeric Passcode in iOS

Regardless of where you fall on the ensuing encryption wars, it’s good sense to have a robust passcode on your phone these days. And with the advent of Touch ID, it makes having a complicated passcode in iOS much, much less of a tribulation.

touchIDandPasscode

“Sounds great! How do you set one up?” Here’s how:

  1. Go into Settings.
  2. Then head into “Touch ID & Passcode”.
  3. Type in your existing passcode. Tap the “Done” link in the upper right corner.
  4. On the next screen, scroll down a bit and tap “Change Passcode”.
  5. Type in your existing passcode. Tap the “Next” link in the upper right corner.
  6. On the next screen, before you start typing in a new digit-based passcode, tap the “Passcode Options” link instead.
  7. Then tap the “Custom Alphanumeric Code” option.
  8. Type in the new alphanumeric passcode that you want, followed by the “Next” link in the upper right corner to continue.
  9. Retype your new passcode in and click “Done” in the upper righthand corner.

Boom! That’s it! Not sure why this valuable option is so buried in the settings but, at least it exists.

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Extra Credit/Security:

For additional security on your device, you can set your phone to erase itself entirely after 10 botched attempts at logging in. It’s a lot easier to set that up too! Here’s how:

  1. Go into Settings.
  2. Then head into “Touch ID & Passcode”.
  3. Type in your existing passcode. Tap the “Done” link in the upper right corner.
  4. Scroll ALLLLL the way down to the bottom of the next screen and toggle the switch to the right of “Erase Data”.
  5. Bask in the confidence you now have, knowing that pretty much no one on the planet can break into your phone and look at your private data!

Now, get on out there and enjoy your way more secure iOS device!

Writing: My Writing System Revisited

If you’ve been coming to this site for a while, you may have noticed one of my earlier posts about a writing system I was using at the time. Well, two years have gone by and after years of faithful use, one of the main ingredients of that system, a Dropbox editor by the name of Elements, has finally been sunset.

Change is good.

So with that sad fact come and gone, I’ve been faced with task of finding a new Dropbox editor to fill the iOS void that was wonderfully filled beforehand. If you haven’t read the post that I linked to above in the first paragraph, I invite you to do so. Much of that writing system still exists today and if you write on the go like I do, you may find it useful. Also, I don’t plan on rehashing it here so if you are looking for context, definitely give it a quick spin, it’s not too long.

Back? Excellent!

So after some research I’ve found two beautifully developed and highly capable Dropbox editors that have been out for a good bit, so I guarantee that you’ve heard of them. That old adage “Change is good” definitely has its place in this tale and, truth be told, the ending of Elements might’ve been the best thing that’s happened to my workflow in a good bit.

Bridging the Gap.

The fun thing about workflows is that no matter how much you love a process, it can always be tweaked into something lighter and more efficient. Even though I loved how versatile my last writing workflow was, there were places where it was quite clunky process-wise or hampered by the limitations of iOS at the time. I dealt with it all because those things were mere quibbles and they didn’t slow me down that much. But with Elements out of the picture, it was an invitation to see if I could refine everything a bit, maybe get rid of a few things and, hopefully, add functionality that could make writing anywhere that much more efficient and enjoyable.

So without further ado, here are the editors I settled on.

Writer Pro by the development firm Information Architects Inc and Editorial by the one-man shop OMZ Software headed by Ole Zorn. Both of these text editors fulfilled all of the current needs I had and then some. Without a doubt, the three main stipulations I had were:

  • Markdown support
  • Instant sync across platforms, or robust export options
  • The ability to save my flat text files to Dropbox

Of course there were others on the list, but these were the main ones.

One thing to note, these two apps are still somewhat new and are constantly being developed to accommodate much-requested user features. If you don’t see something in this post that you like, I highly recommend that you go out to their respective sites and have a look a the complete list of features, as well as look at what’s in the pipeline for the future.

None of these editors are perfect, arguably they never will be, but they are a joy to use and are well on the way to being even more feature-rich with the raw talent behind them. I mention this because writers are a finicky bunch. We like our writing experiences to be just so.

So I write this post knowing full well that these editors won’t be for everyone, but maybe for a few. Let’s hit Writer Pro first and then Editorial.

Writer Pro for iPad and iPhone icon

Writer Pro.

Writer Pro was a bit of a tough sell for me. I already owned its older sibling iA Writer (which is still just as awesome now as it was then) and was curious how they were building off of the stark minimalism that they’d strived and gotten so many accolades for in the past. Would it now be cluttered? Not as easy to use? Or worse, would the extra UI/UX come off as unnecessary?

Luckily, the answer to these and all of my concerns were “no”. I can say this, if you are an iA Writer fan and can’t think of a single thing that it could do better, stay put. There is no reason to jump ship to Writer Pro. But, if you’ve loved the experience of writing in iA Writer but wished it had a more robust feature set above Writer’s wonderfully implemented “just open it and write” aesthetic, than Writer Pro is more than likely your answer.

Here’s my short-list of Writer Pro’s strengths and weakness.

Strengths:

  1. Fully supports MD (with inline preview support).
  2. Dropbox sync. I can already hear it now. “Well hold up Tad, I just went to the site and Writer Pro doesn’t sync with Dropbox at all!!” Calm down. You’re right. Writer Pro does not sync with DropBox… yet. But it will. Soon.
  3. A built in workflow that is natural and develops habits conducive to good writing. Admittedly, I didn’t like it at first, but having written a few pieces in it, it is a nice systematic flow that makes sense to me. You can completely ignore it too, but I recommend giving it a spin a few times. You may warm up to it.
  4. Syncs via iCloud to your Mac and your iOS device instantly. Truly. I know there is a lot info out there about how much of a pain in the ass creating adequate sync can be on iCloud, but iA nailed with Writer Pro. There is barely any lag at all. Write on your iPhone, and it immediately shows up on your iPad or Mac.
  5. iA Writer’s spartan layout is here in spades. Not cluttered at all and easily read. Even the sidebar they added on the right is minimalist and can easily be hidden if it bothers you.
    1. Incredible syntax filtering to keep you in check with exactly what you are writing. It’s hard to describe just how useful this is, or how amazing it is to watch it in action. I highly recommend checking it out. It’s truly a game changer for me and the general clean up I do while editing.
  6. Saves as flat .md but exports to pdf, clean html, .docx, or .rtf. More than enough for my mobile writing needs (but some may want more).
  7. Full markdown html preview. Command-R and a pop up comes up instantly, showing you your Markdown, rendered in clean html.
  8. Night mode theme. If you write at night as I often do, this will save your poor eyes from a lot of undue strain. It’s a small thing but I really appreciated it.
  9. Feature parity across platforms. I’m used to losing features when I move to my iPhone or iPad. So it’s an incredible development feat to see a writing experience expressed so completely across my laptop and iOS devices. Nothing (that I can see) has been lost when I move between environments and form factors. Everything you need is there and easy to find.
  10. Has a very talented development house behind it. iA has some big plans ahead for Writer Pro. If there is something missing now, chances are it’ll be added in moving forward. They are meticulous folks, almost to a fault.

Speaking of faults! Here are Writer Pro’s weaknesses:

  1. No Dropbox support currently. Like I said though, it is on the way. iA has already mentioned explicitly that it will be in the next update.
  2. As much as I appreciate the current export options, I wish there were more. I’d love to write a message to someone and export the html straight into an email app for instance. Currently to do that I have to highlight all text, copy, open mail, start a new message, and then paste. It’s clunky and it doesn’t need to be. Adding more options would make Writer Pro a bit more versatile. Though I somehow doubt that’s what they are aiming for.
  3. The structure of the workflow may be a bit rigid for some. Note, Write, Edit, Read is fine for my needs but it may not work at all for others. Want to edit it or add another stage to the process? You’re out of luck.
  4. It’s definitely (and admittedly) a work in progress. The good news is that iA is definitely listening to its user-base. So if you need anything, go on and ask for it. If enough do, they’ll listen.
  5. Not many options to tweak the writing experience. By design, just like iA Writer before it, Writer Pro is a very stark and flat experience. What you see is what you get. Want a different font or just change the font size? Too bad. If this tact isn’t your cup of tea, then chances are you should keep looking elsewhere.
  6. Cost. Getting the iOS and Mac versions will set you back just shy of forty dollars. In a five dollar app world, this may be a tough sell. To me it was worth it though.

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Editorial.

Editorial made major waves when it dropped and it’s been years since I saw such a rabid fan-base grow around an iOS text editor. Having used it a good bit now I definitely see what all of the fuss is about. I also see that I have only just barely scratched the surface of what this incredibly powerful editor can do! If you are looking for a humongous deep-dive on everything Editorial click this link right now,  and read Federico Viticci’s review on macstories.net. It’s so long he created a damn e-book out of it. Don’t let that deter you though, it’s brilliant and well worth your time.

If it sounds like Editorial is a sledgehammer to use against a tack nail, well, it can be. In truth, it’s the biggest reason why I didn’t download it initially. I just couldn’t bring myself to use an editor that necessitated another learning curve. Turns out I was absolutely wrong on that count and developer, Ole Zorn, created a text editor that is yours to use however you’d like. Everything you can do (and there’s a lot that you can do) waits patiently, out-of-the-way, allowing you to just get in there and write.

That all said, like Writer Pro it has its strengths and weaknesses too. Here they are.

Strengths:

  1. Super clean layout. The first thing you’ll notice is just how inviting Editorial is when you open it. It’s even more incredible once you start discovering what it’s capable of.
  2. Inline preview support for .md and .mmd. Writer Pro does this as well but I like Editorial’s presentation better. It’s not as stark and it is more readable.
  3. Full markdown HTML preview. A quick swipe left immediately displays how your markdown will render on the web.
  4. Dropbox support front and center. Out of the box, you can assign to a folder in your Dropbox account. I plan to link this to a synced Scrivener project folder at some point, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.
  5. Utilizes Dropbox versioning. Need something from a previous version? Deleted something you need back? No worries. Editorial has you covered. Super easy to use and some nice piece of mind.
  6. In-app browser for research. This seemed a little kitschy at first until I used it. Now I dearly wish all of my editors had a fully functional browser built-in. Not having to leave my editor in iOS to look up a link or research a topic gets addictive fast.
  7. A huge amount of options to tweak your writing experience. Head on into the settings after you get comfortable. If there is anything you’d like to change about writing in Editorial? Chances are it’s in there. Fonts, sizes, line-height, font-spacing, whew… the list goes on.
  8. Support for text snippets baked in. Got chunks of text or maybe a markdown page layout that you reuse over and over again? Create a text snippet and watch it immediately fill your document with a few taps. Very handy.
  9. Contains a custom workflow framework that allows you to perform a myriad of automated tasks. With these tasks you can do just about anything – like post your text into your blog on WordPress for instance – I’ve only just begun to play with these, but it’s mind-blowing what you can accomplish. Don’t have an interest in creating workflows? No problem. You don’t have to.
  10. Export Options. Because of the workflows above, export options in Editorial are almost limitless.
  11. Has full console-based Python support. Not a Python developer at all but if you are? You’re in for a big treat!
  12. Has a night mode theme. Like Writer Pro, if you write at night, your eyes will thank you.
  13. Custom top keyboard row in iOS. A beautiful custom keyboard row at the top awaits you! Streamlining workflows, snippets, as well as a very novel approach to moving your cursor around your document with swipes – it’s all about one thing, empowering your writing in iOS and saving you time.
  14. Has very talented developer behind it. Like iA, only with one guy behind the curtain. It’s incredible to me what he accomplished in Editorial. The app been called a “game-changer” by many a seasoned iOS veteran and it’s absolutely deserved.
  15. Cost. At $4.99, this app is a steal for all that it does.

That all said, it does have a few weaknesses. Some of them big ones. Here they are.

Weaknesses:

  1. Editorial can do so much that it is truly overwhelming at times. If you are curious like I am, you can easily (and often involuntarily) start geeking out on creating workflows when you originally came there to write. Luckily, as I mentioned above, most of it stays out of the way. But it is there. All those possibilities…
  2. On the flip-side, using it to its fullest potential does necessitate a learning curve. That may turn people off.
  3. iPad only. No Mac or iPhone version. This is a huge point to be aware of. If you don’t write in iOS on an iPad, Editorial is useless to you. On the one hand this is infuriating. On the other, I can’t imagine this app working well on an iPhone. On the Mac though? Definitely. Until then, you’ll have to snag your flat text files from Dropbox and open them in whatever OS X editor you love.

The choice is yours.

So that’s how I filled the recent gap in my workflow. It is not perfect, but I have confidence that it will get close to that quickly. Writer Pro will continue to be my bridge for when I need to sync my words across platforms and Editorial will more than fill my writing needs for when I am just carrying around my iPad. Two apps, loaded with functionality, fully mobile, facilitating my writing from wherever I may be, at any time.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Helpful Links:

Writer Pro: OS X download | iOS (universal) download
Editorial: iOS download (iPad only)

Software: iOS “Do Not Disturb” Mode

So, half of the holiday season has come and gone (I hope it all went well for everyone!) and, with the constant barrage of digital ways to stay in touch with everyone, it reminded me of an iOS feature that’s become my favorite in iOS6.

It’s called “Do Not Disturb” and it is wonderful. :)

Full disclosure: I absolutely adore the people in my life. I really do.

But, there are some times when we all need a break from those little popups that beep and blip, begging for our attention.

And sometimes it’s not even people! I also have a few weather apps that send along severe weather notifications that, while interesting, aren’t exactly worth being woken up at 3AM for.

So with all of these helpful notifications, how do we block them out when we don’t want them interupting our lives? Well, luckily with the advent of iOS6, we have the ability baked right into our devices.

Cool! So where do I find it?

DND Settings screenshot

Head into “Settings” and, fourth from the top, you will see “Do Not Disturb”. To turn it on, just toggle the switch from “Off” to “On”. A little crescent moon icon will show up to the left of the clock up at the top of your iOS device screen, signifying that it’s activated!

So, how does this work exactly?

When “Do Not Disturb” is switched on, absolutly no notifications will come through. This includes emails, texts, Twitter updates, Game Center updates, anything in notification center, even phone calls.

This sounds great and all, but what if someone needs to get in touch in an emergency and I forgot to turn it off?

DND Settings screenshot

Really great question! If you go into “Settings” and then “Notifications”, you’ll find another “Do Not Disturb” section (which is really un-Apple-like, but I digress). In here, dwells the secret sauce that makes “Do Not Disturb” (I am just going to refer to it as “DND” for the rest of this post) so great. In this settings menu, you can schedule when you want DND automatically turned on and off! For me, this is great because I hate getting disturbed by my phone while I sleep, so I set it for 10PM and 5AM every day. Once scheduled, the DND mode is enabled everyday during that span of time until you opt to turn it off.

DND Settings screenshot

The emergency phone call dilemma is handled with the “Allow Calls From” option. I personally set it for “Favorites” so the folks I have listed as favorites in my “Phone” app come straight through whenever they call. You can also set this to “Everyone”, “No One” (if you really mean business), or you can even set it for a specific group you have setup in your Contacts app. Again, this only pertains to phone calls, all other notifcations from apps still will not come in when DND is scheduled/enabled.

DND Settings screenshot

The last setting is for “Repeated Calls”. When this is turned on, a person will have the ability get through your DND setup if they call twice in the span of 3 minutes. Personally, I LOVE this setting, as I often tell people if there is ever a true emergency, please call us twice repeatedly if we don’t answer the first time. It’s a small thing, but the fact that Apple threw this option in, is just genius in my humble opinion! This way, if for whatever reason, someone important to you is calling from a phone that isn’t theirs, they’ll get through.

Oh yeah! One thing to remember…

When scheduled/enabled, DND mode blocks ALL ALERTS, including third party alarm clock apps! So if you are using one (unsurprisingly, Apple’s “Clock” app doesn’t get blocked) make sure you schedule DND mode to turn off before your alarm goes off. Otherwise you may be late for work and we can’t have that can we? ;)

So that’s it! Go enjoy some quiet time!

We all love being connected (maybe we love it too much), but sometimes the act of unplugging can be a nuisance. With the new DND option, it’s a lot easier. So, turn on DND and take that mid-day nap you’ve been promising yourself! You totally deserve it!


UPDATED: Jan 1, 2013 – Ever have one of those days when you think you are being watched?  Just two days after this post Apple released this advertisement into the world:

http://youtu.be/eLJN_d2sVjk

They also, unfortunately, had reports of this (which I actually fell victim to) so watch out for it.  I fixed mine by turning DND on an off.

Software: All About Digital Memory

I’m constantly amazed by how much my brain is bombarded by information (let alone raw stimuli) every second of everyday. If I’m honest, most of it is completely useless fluff; entertainment at best, advertisement at worst. But a good amount of it is still worth looking at and remembering. In it’s current state, my life doesn’t always allow the time to look at everything when it presents itself. I mean, how could it? Because of this fact, I’ve come up with a few app systems that allow me to curate most, if not all of it. I figured I can’t be the only one with this kind of life, so I thought I’d do a post about the different apps I use to remember things and how I specifically use them. Most of the apps I am about to talk about are free and are available on many different platforms. So this isn’t yet another Mac-based software post. I know I tend to focus on those.

Also, please note that these aren’t reviews of these apps. Some of them I use to their fullest extent, but most them, I use for that one function that they do extremely well. The good news is that most of these apps have been around for a good amount of time and have been reviewed extensively. So feel free to Google them afterwards if you want to know more about them. As always, I’ll also have links at the bottom of this post to their downloads and dev sites.

Ok. So, here we go. Without a doubt the following instances come up several times a day for me:

  1. I come across an article, review, link to an event, video, etc. that I either want read later or share with another person. There’s one caveat though: I have no intention of keeping it. I’ll read/view it later and then I’ll delete it.
  2. I come across web content that is more of a resource. Something that I will need and continue to reference in the near and very distant future. It’s that tidbit or object that you know you’d absolutely regret losing or forgetting.
  3. Lists. We all have them! Grocery lists, to-do lists, gift lists, travel prep check lists… they’re those lists of important things that you check off immediately after you do them. When the list is done? You happily delete it feeling that warm sense of accomplishment.
  4. Tiny notes. Particularly ones that you need to share across devices. Like a Post-it note but more permanent. I won’t need it all of the time, but if I am flaking out and just can’t remember, it’s in it’s separate app waiting.
  5. Password and Account info. Between my wife and I alone we have, sickeningly, close to a hundred different logins to a host of websites that vary from yoga studios, to credit card accounts. We could use the same user ID and password for all of them, but shouldn’t and we don’t (nor should you). For this, I need an app that wrangles all of these accounts and passwords, so that they are easily found and encrypted to the hilt.

Those are the scenarios! Now I’ll go through each app that I use to combat them.

Situation One: Disposable, yet still worthy of consumption…

Instapaper Logo

For these situations I rely on “Instapaper“. Marco Arment’s Instapaper is worthy of an entire post alone on this site, but when it comes to shelving a movie review that I really want to read but don’t have the time to? Instapaper is perfect and is my go-to app. Through it’s applets and API I can send anything on just about any app on any platform (computer, phone, tablet) to my Instapaper account to read later in it’s now extremely popular stripped down format. No distractions, stripped of ads, viewable offline, lots of choices to suit my reading aesthetic, all wrapped up in a solid, dependable platform.

I use Instapaper to save so much of what I find in my daily travels on the internet crazy that the service is free. And when I’m done with the content, I delete it! I don’t have to, there are plenty of options to archive things in Instapaper, but it’s not how I happen to use it. Browser-based, it’s available anywhere there’s an internet connection. There are also native apps on iOS and Android platforms as well, and though I don’t own an Android device, the iOS apps work flawlessly.

Situation Two: Non-disposable Resources. In other words, that stuff you want to keep.

Evernote Logo

In these cases, I rely almost exclusively on “Evernote“. Evernote is one of those software solutions that is completely adaptable. There are just so many ways to use it! Their approach is simple: offer any and every way that you could think of to upload anything digital, permanently to the cloud. Oh, and make it super easy too!

Me? 95% of the time that I use it, I utilize their very handy web-clipper browser add-on to send snapshots of web sites onto Evernote’s cloud storage. I do tend to tag my additions and add them to folders, but that isn’t really necessary. Once clipped into Evernote, your entry is saved, completely searchable and, at the very least, auto-organized by date. Just a couple weeks ago I saved a dozen different web sites on shower heads. Tagged “shower”, it was simple to bring up everything I’d found weeks later when I was ready to pull the trigger and buy one. Easy!

But you can also use it in other handy ways. A perfect use case of this is when I used it the other day when we bought and enjoyed a bottle of wine while out for dinner. After we drank the wine I took a picture of the label on the bottle, tagged the variety (“red” “malbec”) and, because I took it with my phone, Evernote used the GPS coordinates to log where the photo was taken, so we could remember where we drank it. Months later, we wanted to have the same wine out for some friends who were coming over for dinner. When I was at the wine shop, I opened up Evernote on my iPhone and knew precisely what I was looking for. It also helps A TON when someone asks to help you.

This exact same approach is also incredibly handy when you park you car in an airport parking lot before leaving on three week trip to India. Take pic of the lot and space number. Save it. Get on with life and focus on other things. Simple.

In the end, Evernote’s service is definitely one of those “what you make of it” situations. But don’t let that deter or overwhelm you. Trust me, I don’t even use it tonearly the degree that others do. My workflow is simple by design and, because of that, it’s been pretty damn invaluable over the years.

Situation Three: Lists

Grocery IQ Screenshot

There are three types of lists that I typically keep.

  • Lists before an event, like a vacation, making sure we have everything we need.
  • Grocery Store lists.
  • Any trip to a hardware store inevitably should have a list.

In this case, simple is always better for me. I don’t want any crazy or feature-rich todo app. I just want something with text, check boxes and something that syncs across devices. The syncing option is only optimal to me for when my wife and I head out to the dreaded grocery store. With a list that syncs between our phones, we can divide and conquer. She knows I grabbed the eggs because she sees that I checked it off when I went down the milk aisle. If this situation sounds bad ass, that’s because it is. ;)

My apps of choice are “Grocery IQ” for grocery stores and Apple’s own “Reminders” app on the Mac and on iOS for everything else. Both sync across multiple devices. Grocery IQ gets a leg up over Apple’s own “Reminders” app because it offers up coupons as well as the ability organize your list by aisle if you already have your favorite grocery store layout memorized. It’s super simple to use and always handy when someone is home and remembers something while you are on the way to the store.

Apple's Reminders App Screenshot

The “Reminders” app is baked into iOS (so it’s free), syncs with iCloud and is backed by Apple, so you can’t go wrong with it. It’s quite simplistic (just multiple lists of check boxes and text) but it does what it does very well.

Situation Four: Tiny Notes

Apple'ss Notes App Screenshot

What’s a “tiny note”? Tiny notes are those incomplete sentences of info that you need handy at any given moment in time. An example of this is an address to a party or a security code into someone’s place that you occasionally visit. It’s not worth permanently archiving, but it’s also not really disposable either.

A perfect use case for this is my sister recently moved into a new flat that has a security code at the front door. She told it to me and I instantly jotted it down on my phone. I don’t want to memorize it right away and I certainly don’t want to keep badgering her for it whenever I visit. For all of these scraps of important andconvenient info, I use the “Notes” app in iOS. It’s super basic, baked into iOS (again, it’s hard to beat free) and because I don’t use it for anything else, it’s not terribly crowded with other bits of info. As of today, I still only have one note in the app with a small list of things that I need occasionally and because it’s synced through iCloud, I don’t need to read it out loud or send it in an email or text to my wife. I simply tell her it’s in “Notes” and she knows exactly what I am talking about.

Situation Five: Accounts and Passwords

Alt text

If there is only one thing you take away from this post, I hope it’s this: take the protection of your ID and password info seriously.

There are a lot of password generators out there and just as many apps that work well at encrypting and storing your personal info remotely and securely. I personally love, and use Agile Bits app “1Password“. They work on the simple premise that the safest password you could ever have, is one that you do not know. Basically it works like this. You have one password to memorize, and that is the password to the 1password app itself (see what they did there?). Inside this app is a highly encrypted database of all of your user ID’s and passwords (which can be created in-app with their password generator), support for full credit card info, personal documents, personal info, you name it. It’ll accept just about anything you want protected, yet accessible.

For all it is under the hood, it’s quite incredible how easy it is to incorporate it into your life! One way it really saves time, is in it’s ability to auto populate web fields with the click of a button when using their feature-rich (yet easy to use) browser plugin. Go to a site, click the 1Password button in your browser’s toolbar, type in the one password for the app, click the link that corresponds to the site, and you are on. It takes it from there, auto-populating the fields and even logging you in with an incredibly hard-to-crack password that you have no chance in hell of remembering. In addition to logins, the auto-population is borderline magic when you face situations where you have to fill out forms for anything online. Not having type in your mailing address or credit card info instantly becomes addictive.

It’s not all roses, there’s a good bit of manual setup involved, but once you get your info into 1Password, you are set and life becomes way more convenient (not to mention way more safe).

1Password also isn’t free, but in my opinion it’s worth every penny you spend and then some. I think you’ll find that you’ll use it mostly on your home PC, but it’s also available on iOS and Android devices as well.

Forget about forgetting…

So that’s it! With the above apps, I’ve streamlined a ton of useless crap out of my day to day. I no longer sweat nearly as much about remembering non-critical moments or things. In all cases I have access to everything on every device I own with a screen and an internet connection. Errands are cut short, time is gained, your important info is protected…. Even if you were to try just one of these above situations out, I promise you, you’ll see the benefits.

Give it a shot! Let me know what you think on Twitter.

App Links:

The fine Developers of these apps:

  • Marco Arment – Instapaper
  • Evernote.com – Evernote
  • coupons.com – Grocery IQ
  • Agile Bits – 1password
  • Apple – Notes and Reminders iOS Apps

    All pictures in this post are linked to either the app store or the developer’s own sites/presskits with the exception of the 1Password app logo which I’d be happy to swap out if they have an official presskit that I link to. Thanks! :)

Hardware: Thoughts on the iPad Mini….

iPad Mini

As I’m sure many of you noticed today, Apple released the much anticipated and, as it turns out, thoroughly leaked, iPad Mini. And there was much rejoicing right? Right?!

Well, for me, the answer is “yes and no”.

Now it was only just announced, so obviously I haven’t touched or used the device, but the first question I had when the initial rumors started dropping (months ago) waswhat would I have to give up to fit this into my current tech eco-system? If I did get it, what would I change? I’d definitely relinquish my old iPad to Gazelle, as there truly would be no need for two tablets. I figured it would be at least as powerful as my iPhone5 or the 3rd gen iPad and it’d also presumably be thinner and lighter, also two huge bonuses!

In fact, about the only thing that would stop me from buying one honestly was the screen. And by this don’t mean the issue of compromised screen real estate, which has never been an issue for me (I’ve actually written happily on my iPhone on numerous occasions). But the resolution? Screen resolution would definitely be a deal-breaker for me. Put simply, Apple’s “Retina” display technology that was released with the iPhone4 has completely and utterly spoiled me. So much so, that it’s a genuine distraction to use other devices of lesser quality.

So naturally, when the rumor mill started churning out tidbits of how the new iPad Mini was was going to have the same screen as the trusty old iPad2, I had my concerns. This rumor of course turned out to be true, as well as the hardware being less robust than the third gen iPad 3. Take away the finish and the new iPad Mini is basically a smaller iPad 2.

Which, to this unabashed Apple enthusiast, was a completely missed opportunity.

While it’s always amazing to me how Apple continues shrink it devices into smaller and thinner form factors making them more and more beautiful, aesthetics can only go so far. Eventually people notice when they can spend a little more to get a little more.

So when they dropped the price during the presentation (50 bucks less than the iPad 2), the deal was sealed for me. I’d crossed that line between “interested” to, “I just don’t want it”. Which is a shame really, because I could definitely see the use of a smaller, lighter, retina display equipped, same-internals-as-the-iPhone5, based iPad in my life. For travel it’d be a dream. The screen would still be an excellent size for everything I do on my iPad now and I absolutely wouldn’t have seen it as compromise on any level.

But I’m clearly not the demographic they are trying to sell this to and that is absolutely, positively fair. I’ll continue to wait it out until they have what I’m hoping for. I’m sure it’s in the works. I can be patient. In fact, I predict that at this time next year? The iPad2 will be gone, the iPad mini will take it’s place and it will stand proud next to the full-sized iPad, retina display and all! You heard it here first people (trust me, I am not the first to make that prediction)! :)

In closing, I guess what I find the most interesting about today’s announcement is that, for me anyways, Apple actually shot for the lowest common denominator, which isn’t typical for them. No one can drum up prelim excitement like Apple can and this incoming announcement had the community at a fever pitch. Which leaves me wondering how everyone will feel after the dust settles and the “new product announcement” high wears off.

My guess is that, while they’ll think it’s a beautiful product (and it is), they’ll be waiting to pull the trigger just like me.

Now that new iMac and retina 13in Macbook Pro? Those are pretty damn enticing…

Pics linked from apple.com