Jappler Recommends: 1Password

After spending too much time and effort trying to remember passwords, save them securely, share them between computers and devices, I decided to ask a few people what they had used and tried some of their suggestions. In the end I started using 1Password. The application is available for Macs, PCs, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

What do I like best?

  • One click simplicity. After putting your credentials, you can have 1Password open your browser, take you to a site, fill in your username and password, and log you in – all in one click.
  • Great interface. The application looks great on all my devices and makes working with it a great experience.
  • Sharing made easy. If you need to share a password – you can do so securely via iMessage, email, and even shared vaults.
  • Easy organization. Group, favorite, tag, search all your credentials.
  • Data Sync. 1Password syncs your data across all my devices automatically.
  • There are a number of other great features that makes 1Password easily one of the best apps I have used this year. If you are still keeping your credentials, bank information, etc on random sticky notes, in a document, etc – stop the insanity, increase security and check out 1Password.

Have a Humidifier? Make Sure You Clean It!

Holy cow. Last night we decided to put the humidifier on for the boys since it is getting to be that time of year when the air is dry and the colds/sinus problems begin. A few years back I purchased a really cute Winnie the Pooh humidifier for Evan and we ran it most winter nights. When I went to turn it on last night – we noticed there was not any visible cool air coming out. I decided I would take it into the kitchen and take a look. I was horrified to see the grossness in the base. Calcium, junk, and general grossness. I cleaned it out as best as I could with some toothpicks and hot water, then let it soak with some Vinegar in it.

While Evan did not enjoy the vinegar smell – 30 minutes later that humidifier was pumping out the cool air and was actually clean.

Vinegar might just be my new best friend!

Jappler Recommends: Google Drive

I back up all my files locally and then on to Amazon S3. I am not sure what made me give Google Drive a test but I did and I have been very happy with it ever since. What is it that I like better than everything else I have tried?

  1. Since I am always logged in to Google for email, calendar, reader, etc – it is right there.
  2. I can access my files from a great web interface and even view over 30 file types (even if I do not have the application needed to open them locally)
  3. I can manage my files either locally or by using the web interfaces – making the whole management of files really easy regardless of where I am or what I am using to view them.
  4. I can easily send a link to a file to someone or share it with other people I work with who generally always have a Google account (no additional account creation needed)
  5. Searching through my documents is quick and easy.
  6. There is even a Google Drive WordPress plugin that you can use to backup your database and files back in to your Google Drive.
  7. Your first 5 gigs of space is free and the pricing for anything above that is completely reasonable.

I can go on. If you have not checked it out – take a tour: https://www.google.com/intl/en/drive/start/features.html

Nike Support For Fuel Band is Fantastic

I have to say – I have had my Nike Fuel Band for just short of 100 days and have had to call sport two times. Both times I called the 1-800 number and with one menu selection and one single ring – I spoke to someone friendly from their US support center. Not only is is refreshing to talk to someone from the US within 10-15 seconds of dialing the phone, but both people I have talked to were eager to talk to me about my Fuel Band, how I liked it, what they liked about theirs, and we were able to have a completely un-forced and enjoyable conversation.

Thanks Nike for making the support experience something positive!

Nike Fuelband: The Perfect Gift?

After watching Joe Paterno’s memorial (late January 2012) and seeing how Phil Knight (Nike chairman) supported Joe – I decided to take a look at the Nike web site and buy some new Nike shoes. (this is the perfect usage of the iPad in my opinion) When I went to the site – to my delight I saw something I had not heard of: the Nike Fuelband. I decided I had to have one and that this would also make the perfect gift for Amy’s upcoming birthday. Well because of the high demand I missed the birthday – but I finally was able to order 2 yesterday. Even though it is a little late – I think it is the perfect gift. It is cool, helps you stay active, and has an app for the iPhone. Not sure what this is? Watch the video.

Keeping Track of Fitness Activities with RunKeeper

A friend of mine recommended an iPhone app for me as we were recently talking about running/walking/keeping track of our exercise. I remember one of my friends a few years ago told me she kept track of her totals on the refrigerator helped motivate her everyday. I started doing the same and it is true. Another great motivator is to share your details with friends/family. RunKeeper does just that. The iPhone app uses GPS to track your run/bike/walk and then calculates your time/speed per mile, and even plots your route. You can also track your weight, (even sleep), set goals, and see your progress over the last few days or months. If you are looking for a motivator to exercise or simply want to track your progress – give RunKeeper a shot. Note – you do not need an iPhone to use this. You can keep track of everything by just using their web site as well.

Making the Most of Your Backups

Having a backup of your data is crucial. Being able to successfully restore your data is even more crucial.

For the last three weeks, I have been spending two hours a week on organizing/reorganizing all my data. One of my goals for 2012 is to be 100% sure I am backing up what I need and ONLY what I need. I have two backup drives here in my office that I use with Apple’s Time Machine. I also then backup remotely once a week to Amazon S3 using JungleDisk. I also have data on a remote server for all my web sites (including this one) that gets backed up on/off site. A few weeks ago I decided to centralize all my remote data on Amazon S3. All media/uploads/theme files/etc get served up from Amazon S3 which not only helps with my centralization of data – but it also speeds things up a bit too.

Now that I have everything flowing into one place – I realized I am backing up a lot of stuff. Stuff that does not need to be backed up and will only cause frustration and increased storage cost. So – when thinking (or re-thinking) about backups, make sure you also consider what you are backing up. I found I was backing up backup archives, photos I would never use/look at, etc that were completely a waste of space. By going through all of my content I was able to save significantly in space/cost in my backup solution.

So – if you have a backup plan – make sure you know how to restore from it (and actually test it). If you do not have a backup plan – take a few minutes to look into doing something ASAP. You will lose data at some time – that is a guarantee. You can either take a few minutes now and get something in place or you can spend hours/potentially thousands to restore “that data you really need”. Your choice. This has been your annual reminder.

Moving Everything to Amazon S3

Over the weekend I decided to move all my media to Amazon S3 for the majority of my personal sites. I have been using Amazon S3 now for a few years with my backups and have made the transition from local media > Amazon S3 for multiple clients. Everyone has been happy and the load times/cost has proven itself.

I run WordPress Multisite so things were a little more complicated when migrating the content – but I finally have everything in place. Plugins I used:

  • Amazon S3 – Gives you the ability to upload all new media to Amazon.
  • CDN Sync Tool – Synced all of my media files from my local install to Amazon
  • WP Super Cache – Makes sure all my theme/media files are served using the CDN

If you are looking for some speed improvements as well as a better backup/file strategy – consider doing the same!