Windows version of 1Password updated

You know PCs better than I do: does this sound good to you? Aside from the odd hiccup, I am very much a fan of 1Password so updates are automatically good. It’s just that I read this list of new features and I’m not exactly arrested:

I don’t get to pull ‘chock’ off the shelf very often, but this is a special occasion. 1Password 4.2 for Windows is here with all sorts of new goodies to help you work and play better.

You can use the View menu to hide the Wallet and Accounts groups from the sidebar
Wi-Fi Sync is now clearer about what it’s up to
The password strength meter is much strength-ier
We added Secure Desktop buttons to the Change Password window
The Auto-Save dialog now allows adding tags
We improved how we log into non-web-browser apps

1Password 4.2 for Windows is chock-full of perks and improvements – David Chartier, AgileBits(3 March 2015)

Read the full blog post for more.

E-cigarettes can be bad for the health – of your computer

It’s fair to say that the first person to stick leaves in their mouth and set fire to it wasn’t really thinking ahead. But who could’ve foreseen this? It is reportedly possible that your e-cigarette is just waiting for you to plug it into your PC or Mac so that it can do some damage. Deliberate, malicious, profitable damage:

Many e-cigarettes can be charged over USB, either with a special cable, or by plugging the cigarette itself directly into a USB port. That might be a USB port plugged into a wall socket or the port on a computer – but, if so, that means that a cheap e-cigarette from an untrustworthy supplier gains physical access to a device.

A report on social news site Reddit suggests that at least one “vaper” has suffered the downside of trusting their cigarette manufacturer. “One particular executive had a malware infection on his computer from which the source could not be determined,” the user writes. “After all traditional means of infection were covered, IT started looking into other possibilities.

“The made in China e-cigarette had malware hardcoded into the charger, and when plugged into a computer’s USB port the malware phoned home and infected the system.”

Health warning: Now e-cigarettes can give you malware | Technology | The Guardian

If this were chocolate, I’d be talking about having some perspective and how this is surely a tiny proportion of all e-chocolate systems. But since it’s just smoking, what the hell? Go crazy, panic, stop smoking, it’s fine. Read the full piece.

Exploit 1Password even more

There are things you do every day that you don’t realise others have no idea about. This week I demonstrated 1Password to two friends and told them that actually, no, we had to stop to discuss this because it was my civic duty. They’d just told me they use the same password everywhere. Yes. I shuddered too.

And I showed them 1Password. But it was a quick race through how I use it on my iPad whereas there is more you can and I do use on the Mac. This article by Melissa Holt popped up just as I was thinking about this and I think she says it better than I do. Except for one thing: I’d point out that while she and I are Mac users, all of this applies to the Windows version of 1Password too.

Here. Have some enthusing and then the start of tips to get more out of it. If you have 1Password, go use all this stuff now. And if you don’t have it, thank you for reading so far through this piece and see? Isn’t it great? Usually?

It’s no secret that AgileBits’ 1Password is pretty much my favorite thing since ever. It’s the one app that I recommend to all Mac users, and I’m passionate about people using the program to generate and fill in unique passwords for all of their online accounts. Let’s face it, if you aren’t using an app like 1Password to manage your digital life, then you either have a notebook full of your login details (not safe!) or you’re using 75 variations of your dog’s name as passwords on the sites you visit (doubly not safe!).

If you already have 1Password, though, there are a few neat tricks to be aware of to get the most out of its awesomeness. My favorite tip is that in Safari, Chrome, or Firefox, the keyboard shortcut Command-\ will either automagically fill in the login for a page you’re on, or if you have multiple logins to pick from for that site, it’ll bring up the dialog box for you to choose between them. That’s much faster than clicking on the toolbar icon to open it!

3 Tips to Make 1Password Even More Powerful – Melissa Holt, The Mac Observer (12 November 2014)

Read the full piece.

How to use OmniFocus when you have to use Windows

I was saying this just last Thursday: if OmniFocus ran on Windows and Android as well as Macs and iOS, I’d just wear an OmniFocus teeshirt and point at my chest when asked how to be more productive. But it doesn’t and, besides, I like talking. So instead I ask you what computer and phone you’re on and if it’s the right answer, I tell you about this gorgeous and transformative software. And if it isn’t, I go um.

Here’s a group that didn’t stop at um. This is Asian Efficiency:

A lot of OmniFocus Premium Posts customers and OmniFocus users have been emailing us with one of their biggest challenges: they love OmniFocus but are forced to use Windows at work. What to do?

Well…you actually have a lot of options. Some workarounds are limited while others can make your workflow seamless. It really depends on the IT restrictions at work (firewall, forbidden web services, policies, etc) and how flexible you are.

None of these solutions are close to ideal (the best solution is to use a Mac at work) but some come pretty close. Some fixes only allow you to send stuff to OmniFocus (which is good enough for some people) whereas others want to use OmniFocus as their preferred task manager.

Just pick and choose the option that works for you. With that said, here are seven options available to you.

How to Integrate OmniFocus When You Have to Use Windows at Work – Thanh Pham, Asian Efficiency (25 October 2014)

Read the full piece. I like very much that they’re upfront with how there is no magic option, I like how this isn’t written as if they’ve found the solution. It’s written baldly and starkly: there is no great answer, there is just this way of coping when you have to.

Do read that full piece and check out Asian Efficiency. The site has various options for OmniFocus users where you can buy some of their help.

The wild and strange world of using Mac Keynote on a PC

20140721-221214-79934747.jpgI knew you could do this or I wouldn’t have even tried, but this afternoon I wrote and presented a talk using my favourite presentation software, Keynote, and I did it on a PC. Keynote is on Macs and iOS only, but if you go to on any computer, you can use it as if it ran on your machine.

Same with Pages the word processor and Numbers, the spreadsheet. They’re all on, along with Apple Mail, Calendar, Contacts.

But it’s one thing knowing this, it’s another doing it. And this ability is just crazy good. If it weren’t that the keyboard was clunky plastic, I could’ve been on a Mac. Now, I’m a Mac user so naturally I prefer this to PCs but it was the flawless ability to do what I would’ve expected to do, what I am used to doing, that made this wild.

Keynote is just a very good presentation application, pretty much infinitely better than PowerPoint. I had the choice of using PowerPoint locally, as in actually on that PC’s hard drive yet I chose to run Keynote over iCloud. This was in all ways stupid: what if the internet connection had failed?

But it was also in all ways sensible. I was twice moved to different lecture rooms and because I was doing this on, I just logged back on to there in each room and carried on exactly where I was.

And though the college I was at had PowerPoint, the first time I ran it, it came up with lots of messages that – read at great speed and in a rush to click my way through – gave me the impression that this was a trial version of PowerPoint. Not the full one. So it would have all the features but it would gripe at you a lot.

I’ve seen Microsoft Griping. I saw a fella us a PC that give a presentation so gorgeous that I was willing change my mind about Macs vs PCs – until he turned to face the audience. The instant his back was to the screen, there was a Windows Genuine Advantage error message. Basically, the internet connection had gone down and even though he wasn’t using the internet, Windows chose that moment to check something online and because it failed, said so in big letters.

Very amusingly, the connection must’ve come back because just as he turned around to change the slide, the error vanished.

I don’t care whether you like or dislike Apple, you know they wouldn’t interrupt your presentation with a system error.

So my choice was between a trial version of PowerPoint that would gripe and anyway was PowerPoint, or Keynote which was online at and so at risk of losing the internet connection.

I chose Keynote.

And I tell you, I always will. Right now I tend to produce my presentations on Keynote for Mac or iOS and at the very end convert them to PowerPoint. I then arrive wherever I’m going with a USB thumb drive containing one Keynote version and two PowerPoints (the old and the new formats). I also have the same files on Dropbox. And I often bring my MacBook with all versions on too.

I think I still will. But I’ll also make sure I’ve got a copy on

Keynote is a pleasure to use on Macs and iOS, I had thought it was a cleverness that you could run it on PCs via but it’s more than that. It’s a pleasure to use it even there. And to be able to present directly from it, that’s huge to me.

Try Keynote on yourself. If you have an iPad or an iPhone – it’s not wonderful on an iPhone but it works – then get the iOS app here. And if you’re on a Mac, it’s waiting for you at the end of this link.

Use the Hemingway word processor in earnest

Hemingway was an online-only app for word processing which would let you type away and then wince at you. Give a sharp intake of breath at you. And mark up your text thisaway:

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 17.53.01

Red highlighting means ouch.

I have never used it and wouldn’t rush to write anything online, said William typing this directly into a WordPress page on Safari. Hmm. That changes my mind. I have actually just changed my own mind.

Still, I’m writing where I know I have a steady wifi connection. And this news story is currently only 92 words long. You could live with me losing these 92 words, I could live with it too. But a novel, say, that would be harder to shrug off after one lost wifi connection.

Now, however, Hemingway brings all its vicious accusations to the desktop: you can buy Hemingway for PC or Mac at $4.99 each from the official site.

The 5 tools you need for writing, definitely

Actually, you could do this with three and those would be:

1) Computer
PCs are cheaper, Macs are better. I vote Mac because I put a big value on the time I no longer have to spend piddling about getting Windows to damn well work. But Macs don’t suit everyone; if you like piddling, save yourself some bucks and get more geeky enjoyment with a PC.


If you’re buying a PC, you have a million options and every one ends up with you having to make a choice between models that have some clear and obvious difference like a 1Mhz speed increase or something. Ignore salespeople, they will – seriously – just read you the spec sheet you were already puzzling over. Instead, ask a friend who has one, get their recommendation and then see if you can find it on the end of this Amazon UK link. That way, if it all works out for you, I get some pennies from your having bought this way and if it doesn’t, it’s your friend who gets your support calls. Everybody wins and it costs me nothing.

If you’re buying a Mac, you’ve fewer options and they always end up with you needing to make a choice between two very similar models. In all cases, save money by buying the cheaper processor speed and spend money on extra RAM and extra storage space. You’ll thank me later, which is nice as I am going to suggest an Amazon link – here it is, do check this out – but I also think you should go into an Apple Store and ask there.

If you’re looking at me like that for the bit about processor speeds and RAM, Apple Store staff will just tell you straight what Macs are good for and not so good for. They’ll ask what you expect to be doing with Mac: be honest. Tell them straight that you should be writing but you’re going to distract yourself with a photography habit that you only do to be social, that you can stop any time.

They will translate processor speeds – actually, no, they won’t bother translating, they’ll just tell you what it means in terms you can use. And Apple Store staff are not on commission so they’ll push this stuff but it’s more from genuine enthusiasm.

Last, if you’re havering between a laptop, desktop or tablet computer, they all work, they all do the job. You will just typically get more done on the desktop, you will be substantially freer with the laptop and the iPad will do everything, everywhere but you need to think about it more as you go.

2) Word processor
Microsoft Word if you have to, if it’s already on your computer or if you know you like it. Google Docs is fine, if a bit clunky looking. If you did buy a Mac, you’ve just got yourself a word processor called Pages and the odds are that you may never need anything else.

3) Email
How else are you going to deliver work? It’s also great for pitches. Just for god’s sake make sure you get a sensible email address.

Get and use these three and you’re away to the races. But I’d recommend two more:

4) Somewhere to track what and where and when your work is
I track invoices in the Numbers spreadsheet and jobs in Evernote. I track tasks in OmniFocus and I keep an eye on my week with Calendar in Mac OS X.

So this would be one of the five tools and I’m saying it’s – wait, counts on fingers – four different applications. Yes. You could do it all in your word processor though. And the time it would take you to pick up and figure out all these applications would probably be better spent at first on learning what your word processor can do. You’re smart, you can use anything but they all have nooks and crannies that are worth exploring for how they may be able to speed up your work.

When you know your word processor well, though, then start branching out into these others.

5) Kettle
Enough said.

This is why I buy Macs

You can tell me that PCs are more customisable and I’ll nod but think you a geek. You can tell me that PCs are more powerful and I will take you at your word because you’ve got that kind of face. You can most definitely certainly tell me that PCs are cheaper, there’s no question about that.

But my question is why you’d put yourself through this:

And so I proceeded to install the updates that were available, all 97 of them! I thought I would click to download and install and just leave it running. It stayed on 0% and would not budge. After some digging around I found out that there is a setting turned off by default that can cause this problem so I swiped from the right of the screen, tapped Settings, chose Change PC Settings, tapped Devices and then turned on ‘Download over metered connections’. How did I not spot that immediately? It’s just so obvious…

Anyway, I started to download the updates again and nothing happened until I was greeted with an error code that meant nothing to me. I went to help and support and found out that it meant that other updates were being installed. Well, they were not and I still have not installed one single update.

UPDATE: some new updates appeared which I managed to download, but I now have to provide administrator access to install them. I am logged in as an administrator, but it won’t let me install them because I need to give administrator access despite the fact I am an administrator and that it will not tell me how to do that. For f*cks sake!!!

If you are using Windows 8, I feel sorry for you – Shaun McGill (10 June 2014)

Via The Loop.

This is what George RR Martin writes on

The Game of Thrones (UK books and films, US books and films) writer this week revealed that he still works on a DOS PC. BBC News quaintly explained that “disk operating systems were popular” but, seriously, DOS? Now?

Here’s where he revealed it, but then hang on for what that really means to do this.

The tech website did a nice job researching this and brought us a screen grab of what that probably looks like:




But it’s one thing seeing an image and thinking, okay, well, not pretty but it works. And it’s another thing seeing WordStar in action. This is a YouTube video of WordStar 3.0, the version before Martin’s favourite, but substantially the same. Now imagine writing thousands of pages in this.

Put – the – PC – down and let’s talk about this


Admit it: Sometimes you just want to punch your PC, or slap your smartphone, or knock your notebook.

We all get riled by technology once in a while, with all those feeble batteries, endless updates and spinning wheels of death.

But what if our devices could see it coming? What if they could pick up the tics and tells of our brewing anger — or, for that matter, any other emotion — and respond accordingly?

It’s not as crazy as it sounds. To hear experts tell it, this is where technology is going. Researchers and companies are already starting to employ sensors that try to read and respond to our feelings.

Devices that Know How We Really Fee – New York Times (May 4, 2014)