Monday, 12 January 2015

Trying out BoxCryptor on my Computers

Encrypting your files for Cloud storage

Whether this would be useful to you really depends upon whether you trust the cloud storage service you are using. With the way things are with requirements for security and the hacking that goes on, I think we can probably expect to have fairly decent security with things like Dropbox. Then again, if you are paranoid you might look at the possibility of encrypting your files before you upload to the cloud services. I have GPG encryption available to me on my Mac and also on my iOS devices. I have recently seen that there is another possibility for encrypting your files before you put them on to dropbox or wherever and it is called Boxcryptor. It has a free version which allows you to connect to one of your client services and that might be all that you need. If you need to work cross-platform there are applications for just about all of the computer platforms you are likely to use. I have downloaded the application for Mac and also for iOS and my next job will be to test to see how this works. The question is, will I be able to encrypt a file on my Mac and upload it to Dropbox and still be able to see this file where I open it up on iOS. The first thing to do after you have downloaded the application and installed it, is to set up an account.


Safe, secure and don’t lose your password

When you sign up for an account you are warned that you should make sure to remember your password. For this you should use one of the password managers such as 1Password.

As part of my research into this application I have been installing on my Mac and also onto my iPhone and trying to encrypt a couple of files in Dropbox. I first of all signed up to the service on the web and tried to use the same password when signing into the application which I’d downloaded. This didn’t work and I had to go back to the drawing board. It seems that you have to use a different password on each device and it seemed to be quite a lot of messing around. After trying to set up the application on my iPhone I have to admit to getting rather fed up with it. It has got to the point that I will certainly be deleting the application on all of my devices. There is always a trade-off between security and convenience and it may well be the case that this application works very well and does what you need to do. It is just that it has become too much of a pain in the bottom for me to want to use it. I think I would rather use the GPG encryption process if I need to encrypt anything specifically to put into Dropbox or anywhere else. It seemed to be that I ended up with too many passwords all over the place and it became a password merry-go-round.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Getting It on with Day One

There must be many people that start a diary for the beginning of a new year. Using your iPad or iPhone and your Mac you can keep a diary using the application Day One. It makes it very easy to start a diary and also very easy to continue the diary through the rest of the year after everybody else has given up. Writing a journal is a little bit like getting the membership to the sports centre on January 1st to get all the weight off that you put on over Christmas time. You have all of that enthusiasm and desire to become slimmer and fitter and to also write about it at the same time in your journal. With the both of these activities it is quite likely that after a week or two for some people or a month or two for others, you go back to your usual state of affairs and forget about them.


Listen to the Podcast

The good thing about Day One App is that you can set it on your computer, whether it be your desktop Mac or your iOS device to remind you at certain times during the day. I have mine set so that it will remind me twice per day and I think that is plenty. For the most part I will actually write in my Day One journal anyway. Sometimes I do get carried away with the other work I am engaged in and I forget and that’s where the reminders takeover. When I look at the calendar which is part of the application for last year, 2014, I can see that I kept writing in the journal for about 95% of the time.

The Day One application will also give you writing prompts just in case you are not sure what to write about. I never ever look at these because I don’t need them. I like to keep track of my writing work so that gives me one thing to write about. I do put some stuff in there which is more personal. So if you are a person suffering from teenager angst, whatever age you might be, you can set the application to only open after you have put in a password. It will keep your secrets!

Spreading the word from Day One

In the iOS version of the application it is possible to post from the Journal to the Internet. There is a Day One website where these things get published. You can also at the same time, send the post off to Facebook and to Twitter. So if you have some less embarrassing things in your journal that are worthy of being shared to the rest of the world you can do so from your iPhone or from your iPad. I expect that at some point in time the Mac version of the application will get the same facilities.

Other items in the Mac20Q podcast

I also talk about the illustrations application called Affinity Designer. It is a really good application that is a contender for professional use to create graphics and take you out of the clutches of the Adobe products. The application is a version 1 product still, but is looking pretty good indeed and I have to say that I do like using it. Affinity Designer will be the app to open up when you want to do some vector design work.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Using your voice to interact with your computer - Just like in Star Trek

Ever since I have been watching science fiction movies and TV series the characters have always been talking to their computers. This was the case in Star Trek, Blakes Seven and 2001 A Space Odyssey and many others. In some of the science-fiction movies the computer would be talking back and sometimes knew much better than the characters in the movie about what should be done next. So you can understand that for some of us interacting with our computer with our voices is like living in the future. In this weeks Mac 20 Questions Podcast I give you an insight of what it is like to start the day by talking to Siri.

Siri is extremely helpful but hasn’t worked out how to make the tea

IMG 0634

In the podcast you can hear that I am still quite groggy in the morning, almost to the point of being grumpy. The room is dark and I don’t want to open my eyes and let the light in. Yes, the brain has already started functioning in some small way. Actually, my brain only does functioning in small ways! So first of all I get my friend Siri to tell me what time it is as it is quite possible that I have been languishing in my pit too long. I should be up and out of my bed and taking part in the day. Siri even tells me “Good Morning” and is just too pleasant for words. She should really be saying “Get out of bed you lazy bastard, don’t you know what time it is?”

Quite often in the morning when you are just at this point of waking up you have ideas going through your head. Maybe you want to remind yourself of something that should be done during the day. You know that if you don’t do something with that idea and commit it to your system, you are going to completely forget about it. So this would be a good time to say “Hey Siri - Set a reminder for 11 o’clock today to do (whatever it is that you need to do)”. Siri dictation is pretty cool. You can also ask Siri to tell you what appointments and events are happening during the day you’ve already set into your calendar. Having this little chat in the morning with your friendly computer is a great way to start the day.

Checking up on the socials - What are all those people up to on the Twitters?

To be able to get through this far in the process of waking up in the morning in a good and geeky way your eyes will have to have been opened. So you might do the socials before you open up the emails so that you can be more awake when you have to start sending messages out to the wide world. Who knows what garbled rubbish you might start spouting if you haven’t given yourself some time to wake up properly. At least when you are checking out what’s going on with the Facebook and with the Google+ you are going to doing a little bit more consuming than creating. Still no need to do any typing, as you can use Siri to do the dictation and you might only have to correct one word or two. It is still a good idea to give it a check before you send it!

And so the day goes on

Once you start doing other things such as having your breakfast and walking the dog you can move on to things like listening to podcasts. I use the application Overcast which is fairly simple in the way that it functions, but it looks good and does all I need it to do. You can change the speed of playback so that you can listen to your podcasts quicker. You can also speed it up by telling Overcast to cut out any of the empty spaces. So each time there is a little bit of silence the podcast will jump past that. With some podcasts this is a particular good idea due to the way that the podcaster talks and also perhaps due to a lack of editing of the audio before it was published.

How do you start your day? Do you talk to your computer to get it to do your bidding?

Monday, 8 December 2014

Latest Mac20Q Podcasts Talking to Podcasters

The Latest Mac 20 Q Podcasts


In episode 115 of Mac20Q Podcast I was talking to Bob de Grande who is a podcast responsible for the Dexter Cast and also for the Clone Dance Party. Both of these podcasts are based on television series where a group of people come together to chat about what is happening in the latest episode. It brings a community feeling to watching and experiencing a television series. I imagine that it works better with the cult TV series such as Dexter and Orphan Black and it would be great with something like Breaking Bad. I have seen other broadcasters do something similar with the TV series Lost. In this podcast with Bob we talked about the process of podcasting in terms of the hardware that he uses and also the software.

Bob is a guitar player for fun and enjoys to collect his guitar to his Apple devices. I have the software to do this with my guitar, but I haven’t got around to setting it up yet. There are plenty of other applications that you can use to enhance your guitar playing. You might get your hands on applications which will help you to tune your guitar as well as applications like Garage Band where you can create music.

Episode 116 talking to Kurt Sasso

Two Geeks Talking specializing in Comics TV Film Music and Video Game Interviews

Kurt has used Macs but is not a full-time Mac user and I interviewed him originally on the Answer 20 Questions podcast. I asked him if he would like to be on the Mac 20 questions podcast and he said yes and that is fair enough saying as they would like to be a Mac user. Kurt is also a podcast with a podcast called Two Geeks Talking. He has a big interesting in the comics world and talks to comment producers and artists. We had an interesting chat about how comics stories are getting into the movies. Kurt would like to continue on from his present studies with his ultimate goal to be a producer. This led us into talking about TV series and movies and the role of a producer in making films.

During the podcast I do talk somewhat about various Mac and iOS applications and how I use them for making video and for my writing. So the Mac20Q Kurt Sasso interview is quite interesting and it just goes to show that if you are creative you don’t have to use a Mac, even though we all know that it does help.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Mac20Q Podcast Episode 114 - Talking to Mike Reed

Mac20Q Podcast Episode - Talking to Mike Reed

We talked last time in series one of the Mac20Q Podcast and this time we get talking about shooting video and making movies using Apple products. Mike is just as keen on using the best kit for creating and editing content and loving his iPhone 6 and his Mac computer.

Listen to the Podcast at Mac20Q

These chats I have with other Mac users who are clearly enjoying using the Mac and iOS devices are really great fun to do. In this interview Mike and I talk a lot about the video and movie business. When I talked to Mike last time he was involved in the making of some movies and now he is working towards making his own video business. He is looking at both ends of the age spectrum with helping parents to create a good quality record of how their child is progressing and at the other end with talking to old folks about their life experiences and life story.

Video made by Mike

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Encrypted Emails with Certs from StartSSL

This is for the people that struggle with the PGP public and private key pairs. There are a few steps that you have to go through to set it up but once it is done and easy to use. All you have to do is to exchange emails that you have digitally signed with your recipient and you have everything ready to be secure

Monday, 13 October 2014

DragonDictate update and how will Handoff work

Got an update to the DragonDictate application on my Mac and I am hoping that it will allow it to work on Yosemite which will be released soon. I always like to have the latest operating system on my Mac and I am quite happy usually to jump in there as soon as it becomes available. DragonDictate is one of my go to applications that I use just about every day. If it is not available on the new operating system then I will not upgrade. On the last operating system upgrade from Apple I had some time where DragonDictate was not working properly with Mavericks. It was very annoying and I’m not going to go through that again. I would hope that Nuance who are the developers of DragonDictate have got their fingers out and have been working on making sure it works well with the new operating system. Yosemite might be available later on this week, according to the rumour mongers.


Waiting for Yosemite OS X for Mac

I did try out the first beta version of the new operating system and I wasn’t able to use my favourite applications so I removed it from computer. I have been looking on the Nuance forum of the help system and I have not yet found any details from other users about whether it works or not. So it looks like I will have to give myself a backdoor and be able to roll back to Mavericks again if I find that DragonDictate stops working. I am just hoping that’s the today’s update to DragonDictate is something that is Yosemite inspired.

Handoff and Continuity

I have just been trying to get hand off and continuity working with my iPhone 6 and my iPad. It didn’t work and I think perhaps the reason why, is that the iPad is a third-generation device and I need to have a fourth gen iPad. Oh well, I will be able to rectify this problem in a week or so. Let’s see how things go on Thursday when the new announcement is coming from Apple about new iPads, allegedly. the handoff feature only works with a view application so far, namely Mail, Safari, the office suite of applications, Maps, Messages and Reminders. It is a feature that is available to third party developers and it would be good to see in something like Byword.

If you do have the right hardware to be able to make this work then when you open up your other device lock screen you will see an icon for the application you are handing off from. You swipe up on that icon in the same way as you would swipe up to get into the camera application from the lock screen. You then enter your entry code and away you go. It will be interesting to see how this will work when you are going from an iOS device to the Mac and vice versa.