Pastor: Free, Simple Password Management for Mac

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PastoriconIf you’ve been reading much about security recently, you know that everyone is saying to never reuse any passwords, and to use a password manager to keep track of all of them. 1Password is definitely the most recommended password manager of them all, as it supports categories, cross-platform syncing, and browser extensions.

But it’s $40.

Ladies and gentlemen, enter Pastor. I’m going to say now that Pastor doesn’t have any of the fancy features that 1Password has, but it has the essentials: password storage and encryption.

pastor

The interface is beautifully simple: You can add an entry that contains a title, username, password, URL, and a note. The database is then saved as an encrypted .pastor file using a master password of your choice.

To see your passwords, open the file, type in your password, and you’re there. You can copy a password to the clipboard for use, or hover over the password to see it.

It also has a built-in password generator.

The app is donation-ware, so donations are encouraged. I don’t usually ask people to donate for donation-ware apps, but this app is so simple and useful that I think it’s definitely worth more than nothing. So if you use this app, please donate something!

Enjoy!

Pastor Homepage

Firefox Jumps on the Mobile OS Bandwagon at MWC 2013

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At Mobile World Congress, a bunch of people with ties huddled into a room in Barcelona, Spain to hear what Firefox had to say.

Firefox announced Firefox OS, a new mobile operating system that will inevitably compete against Apple, Android, and the other big names. I’m not going to go into super specific details, but here’s the important stuff:

Firefox OS has secured shipments on many different devices (many of them very cheap) from LG Electronics, Alcatel One Touch, and some other unheard of companies. It won’t be coming to any devices in the US until 2014.

The big headline of Firefox OS is that they’re ditching a typical app store and instead hoping to have an “open market” of HTML5 based apps. In essence, the OS is basically a web browser. “Apps” are actually just links to websites.

Essentially, I think this is a good idea that will succeed in foreign markets but not in the US.

I’ve covered the quality+userbase=userbase++ concept in my post about Google+. In case you didn’t read that, basically, any social networking site’s best feature is more users for people to socialize with. When you have users, other users want to join, and your user base will exponentially grow. This same system can be applied to app stores. For your phone to be successful, you need apps. For developers to make apps for your phone, there need to be users. For there to be users, there need to be apps. The more users you have, the more apps you have, the more users you have, the more apps you have, and so on.

Firefox OS has the edge here because the “apps” are all HTML based (websites). This means that anyone who has ever created a website has the knowledge to create an app for Firefox OS – so there are already 8 million developers for this OS. Removing the learning curve of a new language and new library for a mobile OS will make it much more compelling to developers and, in turn, more compelling to users.

Phones running Firefox OS are going to be released mainly in China and developing cell areas for a fairly cheap price. As a result, I think it will succeed in those markets where iPhones and Androids are often too expensive. I don’t think it’s going to succeed in America as the competition from Microsoft, RIM, Android, and iOS is very hot.

Overall, I think that Firefox OS is a controversial approach to the Mobile OS – websites as apps – and will thrive in less modernized countries, but fail in others.

 

Our Children Will Have No Idea About Computers

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For the past decade, we have undergone a staggering revolution. Suddenly, computers are becoming faster, more powerful, smaller, and most importantly, easier to use.

If you listen to any speech from the CEO of a hi-tech company, there is almost always a reference to usability.

Steve Jobs, Macworld Expo 2007: “There’s no power brick necessary. And they’ll hook up an HDMI cable to their wide-screen TV, and they’ll use wireless networking to get their content. So it’s really, really easy to use.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Surface Event: “We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects of the experience hardware and software are considered in working together.”

Hugo Barra, Google IO 2012: “Android makes your life easier. Simple tasks should never require complex procedures.”

The list goes on and on. Today’s focus is on making it easier to use your devices so they become an integral part of your life. (Now I’m talking like Steve Ballmer after watching all of those keynotes.)

This evolution both gives and takes.

As devices become easier to use, the knowledge needed to use these devices is less. And when we don’t need to know something, we usually don’t.

Basically what I’m saying is that as devices become seamless, anyone will be able to use them, and very few will bother trying to know what’s actually going on inside. To prove my point, I give you an iPad – an extremely intuitive, easy to use tablet – and Iggy the cat – a feline with no technical training whatsoever.

If an illiterate kitty is able to use our devices, it is likely that our children will know as much about the device’s insides as Iggy.

This has another consequence. My generation (the millennials) is extremely involved and educated in computers. As the demand for computer engineers increases, there are more and more millennials coming out of college ready to work. The next generation, however, will be far less knowledgable about computers. This means that as the demand for computer engineers increases over time, the supply of young coders will decline. This will mean that either they will become far more valuable, technology will come to a standstill, or we will decline back into the dark ages.

Okay, that might be going a bit far.

But my general point still stands: As devices are easier to use, our children will know less about them.

Thank Goodness: Evasi0n Brings iOS 6.1 Jailbreak to All iOS Devices

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Finally, the iOS haxing community has come through. Ever since the release of iOS 6, there has been no jailbreak available for any device past an A4 processor. Not any more! The Evad3rs Dev Team has brought us a Jailbreak for any iDevice running any version of iOS 6. This includes

-iPhone 5
-iPhone 4S
-iPhone 4
-iPhone 3Gs
-iPad with A6X chip (4th gen)
-iPad 3
-iPad 2
-iPad mini
-iPod touch 5
-iPod touch 4

The jailbreak is beautifully straight-forward and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux for an always beautiful $0. 

Read more and download here.

Samsung’s CES 2013 Keynote: Powerful, Green Components, Bendy Displays, and Bill Clinton

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SAMSUNGINTRO

Well, once again, here I am at CES. Thanks to *you* (yes, YOU), I had enough traffic to this site to get a press pass – giving me easy access to the CES Keynotes.

This came in handy when I moseyed on past the crowds of “Industry Affiliates,” “Buyers,” and even “Exhibitors” through the security people and into the large door with “Press” above it to attend Samsung’s keynote. I was a little late to the party – I had no idea that press was allowed in an hour early. A fifth row seat isn’t too bad, though.

Samsung’s CEO Stephen Woo ran the show and talked about three main things: Processing, Memory, and Displays.

Processing

EXNOS5OCTA

The main focus of the processing portion was the new Exynos 5 OCTA
processor. This mobile processor has amazing power – enough to accomplish web searches, a restaurant finder, a GPS, and playing an HD video all simultaneously on a tablet. It also has twice as powerful 3D rendering – as demonstrated by Glenn Roland from EA and a scarily realistic Need for Speed game. The most impressive part of this processor, however, is that it uses 70% less energy than it’s predecessor. Thanks to Samsung’s partnership with ARM, the Exynos 5 OCTA features a technology called “Big Little” (how creative). Essentially, the processor has two sets of 4 cores: One set is of smaller Cortex A7s for simple, efficient browsing; The other of large, powerful Cortex A15s for complex 3D rendering and other processor-heavy tasks. This means that when you’re simply browsing the web, you’re not using a multitude of battery power, but when you open up Need for Speed you have a processing powerhouse at your fingertips.

With this new processor, Samsung showed how their Galaxy Camera would be able to support a 13 megapixel sensor. Woo then showed a video that essentially said that there is too much data on the internet, and it’s all a result of cats (and people making videos of them).

Memory

This section of the keynote was relatively boring. All of the data (that is the result of cats) is stored in data centers across the world, and if every single data center switched to Samsung’s solid state drives, enough energy would be saved to power New York City for 6 months.

Displays

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Brian Berkely Bends a Screen (Getty Images)

This is the area where Samsung got some real cheers from the crowd. Woo brought out Brian Berkely from Samsung’s San Jose Display Lab. Berkely started off talking about how displays have been undergoing a “pixel war”: All of the display manufacturers are battling to get the most pixels into the smallest amount of space. Samsung’s 10.1″ display has the best colors and highest pixel density of any tablet display ever made – 300 PPI. That’s the same resolution of a standard printer.

Berkely went on to talk about how OLED technology gives the brightest, most vivid displays. “They’re super thin and lightweight. Because OLEDS produce their own light, they don’t require thick, heavy, power consuming backlight. And now, thanks to Samsung technology, they can also be flexible.” He brought out a screen prototype and bent it around. Woo then showed a video of a phone that flips open to reveal a large tablet surface.

Then someone from microsoft came out and talked about how samsung is amazing blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah. He showed off Windows Phone on another bendy display. Then there was something with xbox. Here’s a link to an article written by someone who actually cares about it.

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton?

Bill Clinton?

Mr. Woo went on talking about how this new technology should be available for all, and transitioned into the “Samsung Hope for Children” program – providing technology-rich education for third world countries. He then showed a video about the Bill Clinton foundation. And lo and behold, Bill Clinton walks out.

“When I became president, the average cell phone weighed five pounds… There were a grand total of fifty sites on the entire internet. Fifty. More than that have been added since I started talking.”

Then he went on talking about how technology has helped him, and he then somehow transitioned into talking about gun control.

My Thoughts

Samsung’s component announcements will mean very little to the consumer – until a product with one comes out.

Samsung’s display announcements will mean very little to the consumer – until a product with one comes out.

Samsung’s memory announcements mean very little to the consumer and only really appeals to manufacturers.

But in the end, showing off the components in the keynote gives consumers a look into the future of what might be possible using those components.

What we can really take away from this is that the technology exists to have extremely powerful devices with long battery life, energy efficient data centers, and crazy displays.

Oh, and I still don’t understand why Bill Clinton was there.

Gizoogle: A Gangsta Google Search

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Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 12.42.34 AMGoogle Search is a wonderful utility: type in what you want, and you’ll probably get it.

 

Well, Gizoogle is a parody on Google searches that really spruces up the search results. It has an alternate dictionary which it switches out various words in the search for. Examples include (but are not limited to) hair=afro; love=ludd; good=phat.

The best part is that the search is still completely accurate. If compared to a Google search for the same thing, the results will be identical (other than Gizoogle’s alternative dialect). This is because Gizoogle still uses the Google Search API, meaning you’ll get Google’s same accurate and reliable search results, just in a different dialect. For example, if you type “good morning geek” into Google Search, the first result will go something like this:

 Here’s how to turn it into an “I’m Feeling Lucky” box, so that if you type Good Morning Geek into the bar, it will take you straight to GMG!

Here’s the result for the same search on Gizoogle:

Here’s how tha fuck ta turn it tha fuck into a “I’m Feelin Lucky” box, so dat if you type Dope Mornin Geek tha fuck into tha bar, it will take you straight ta GMG, muthafucka!

 

When a link is clicked, you’ll get the Gizoogled translation of the page, but it will still be the correct page. One of my favorites for this is the Alpaca article on Wikipedia. Normally it will say:

Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern BoliviaEcuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft) to 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level, throughout the year.[1] Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden, but were bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool.

The Gizoogled translation:

Alpacas is kept up in herdz dat graze on tha level heightz of tha Andes of southern Peru, northern BoliviaEcuador, n’ northern Chile at a altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft) ta 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level, all up in tha year.[1] Alpacas is considerably smalla than llamas, n’ unlike llamas, they was not bred ta be beastz of burden yo, but was bred specifically fo’ they fiber. Alpaca fiber is used fo’ bustin knitted n’ woven items, similar ta wool.

Enjoy! http://gizoogle.net

 

Google Maps for iPhone is Here!

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With the release of iOS 6, the biggest complaint was the new maps app. And I don’t just mean people were whining a bit; I mean that it was such a big deal that many people refrained from updating to iOS 6 just for the bad maps. It was such a big problem that Apple even created a special section on the featured page of the App Store with alternative map apps. And it’s not just the Apple addicts noticing – a slew of memes have popped up mentioning iOS maps as well.

There’s been quite the uproar, but finally Google has fixed our problems. Introducing the official Google Maps for iPhone!

I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t that what we had before iOS6? Well, kind of. Before iOS 6, Apple had created their own maps app that used the Google Maps API. This new Google Maps app is completely built and maintained by Google, no Apple involvement.

The app is just how you’d expect it to be: A nice, clean google interface with sans-serif fonts and light colors. The zooming is very smooth and font sizes change like water. The “3D” effect is less than that of Apple’s maps, but it is still adequate for getting a general idea of the terrain.

The app also comes with Google’s voice navigation, which is a nice addition for many.

Overall, it’s what you’d expect – a good, solid, full-featured maps app that is a free alternative to the laughable iOS maps.

Click here to download it from iTunes. 


Google Kills Free Apps for Business

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Google has announced in a blog post that they are disposing of the free version of Google Apps.

For those of you who don’t know about Google Apps, it is essentially the suite of Google Applications (Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, Docs/Drive, etc.) but tailored to fit a custom domain/business. I personally use Google Apps for maxswisher.com, and I must say – it’s great. I love having the spam filtering, organization, and amazing reliability of Gmail under my own custom domain. It’s a wonderful system which I love dearly.

And thankfully, this update to the pricing plans won’t affect any current users – meaning that I won’t have to say goodbye to my beloved account.

For new Google Apps signups, the cost will be that of Google Apps for Business – $50/year per user. This is fairly pricey for an individual, but the services were created for businesses in the first place.

Although I don’t like it, I believe that this is a very sensible decision for Google. Think about it from Google’s point of view: Here are businesses paying $50/year for a full customizable suite of high-quality business applications, and there’s individuals creating accounts just so they can have gmail at their own domain (I am guilty of this). As quoted from Google’s blog post:

With focus we’ll be able to do even more for our business customers. We’re excited about the opportunity to push Google Apps further so our customers can do what matters most to them…

 

How-to: Turn the Chrome Omnibox into a Feeling Lucky Box

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“I’m Feeling Lucky” is one of the most underused Google Search services in existence. For those who don’t know, I’m Feeling Lucky simply redirects you to the first search result for whatever you enter. For example, if you go to google.com, type in Good Morning Geek, and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky,” it will bring you straight to goodmorninggeek.com. If you type in “Llamas Wikipedia” and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky,” it will bring you straight to the wikipedia page for Llamas. This is convenient because it usually gets you where you want to go without the need to have the search page middleman.

In Google Chrome, the top bar serves as a URL bar and a search bar – referred to as the “OmniBox.” Typically, you can enter any google search into that bar and it will take you to the search page. Here’s how to turn it into an “I’m Feeling Lucky” box, so that if you type Good Morning Geek into the bar, it will take you straight to GMG!

1. Go into Chrome’s Preferences and click “Manage Search Engines.”

2. Scroll to the bottom and click “Add New.” In the first field, type “lucky”, in the second field type “lucky”, and in the third field copy and paste (without the quotes) “http://www.google.com/search?q=%s&btnI”, then hit okay.

3. Open “Manage Search Engines…” again and find the lucky search engine that you just made. Hover over it and click the box on the right that says “Make default.”

4. Hit Ok at the bottom, and enjoy! Try it out: type “ostrich wikipedia” in the search bar and hit enter, and marvel at how it magically redirects you!

If there isn’t a result with enough in common to be sure, Google will just redirect you to the search page.

If you want to do just a normal google search, just type in “google” then press tab, and enter your search.

Enjoy!

Instagram Announces Web Profiles

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Instagram, the mobile photo sharing network that was recently bought by facebook for a large sum, has now announced a web-based interface.

In the past, to view someone’s instagram profile, you needed a mobile device with the Instagram app installed. There were many online profile alternatives that were based off of Instagram’s API, but none of them were worth writing home about.

With this update, you’ll be able to find a facebook-like profile of someone’s instagram account by simply visiting instagram.com/username.

Source: Instagram

Even more importantly, Web Profiles also brings instagram to the web. It will now be possible to like and comment on photos as well as follow other users with the new web interface, and will eliminate the mobile-exclusivity aspect.

Just like the web profile, this has been done in the past with the Instagram API – in fact, quite well in one case. However, the Instagram-made site is bound to be impressive and a nice addition to the Instagram portfolio.

One thing worth mentioning is that the updated site will still not support photo uploads from a computer as “Instagram is focused on the production of photos from mobile devices” (Press Release). I don’t believe that the functionality will ever exist for this reason, however there are ways to upload a photo not taken with a mobile device to Instagram (such as dropbox).

All of these features will be rolled out to different accounts over the course of the next week.

My account has not gotten the update yet, but feel free to check by going to http://instagram.com/maxswisher.

Also, follow me on instagram! @maxswisher

 

Apple’s Announcement in 330 Words

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Today, Apple announced things. Here’s a basic outline:

  • 13″ Retina MacBook Pro
  • Mac Mini Upgrade
  • New iMacs
  • 4th Generation iPad
  • iPad Mini

13″ Retina MacBook Pro

Apple took their best-selling notebook and took out the optical drive and made it thinner and lighter. It has flash memory and a processor upgrade and will start at $1699.

 

 

Mac Mini

Apple added some ports (HDMI, Thunderbolts, USB3) and an option to have flash storage. Upgraded i5 or i7 Ivy Bridge Processors, and it will start at $599.

iMac

The new iMac has a nicer (though non-retina) display and they removed the optical drivemaking it only 5mm thick at the edges. It still has an SD card reader in the back though, and has i5 or i7 Ivy Bridge processors. They added USB3 and more thunderbolt ports. Apple also showed us their “Apple Fusion” Drive, which is basically a RAID of a 128GB SSD and a 1-2TB HDD which intelligently moves around files depending on use, meaning you get a lot of storage capacity for things you don’t use much and a bit of high performance storage for things used quite often. This drive is also available in the Mac Mini. The iMac will start at $1299.

iPad

Apple took their current iPad and upgraded the chip to an A6X and made the front camera “FaceTime HD” (720p resolution). They also added more LTE carriers and a lightning port. The new iPad will have the same pricing as the old one (starting at $499).

iPad Mini

A new Apple invention that is as thin as a pencil, as light as a pad of paper, has a 7.9″ screen, and the same screen resolution as a non-retina iPad. This means that all apps will run on it (although they will be non-retina). It also has a lightning connector, front (720p) and back (5MP) cameras, a battery life of 10 hours, and will start at $329 – which is a bit pricey to compete with a Nexus 7 which you can get for $199.