WWDC 2014

WWDC 2014 is here again.

WWDC 2014 - Opportunity to buy will be offered by random selection.

Finally it won’t be on a first come first serve basis. Otherwise this year’s tickets will be sold out in 10 seconds.

Ready, get set, go!

2009 – 30 day

2010 – 8 days

2011 – 10 hours

2012 – 2 hours

2013 – 2 min

New Microsoft Office 2014 for Mac

Microsoft is planning its new version of the Office 2014 for Mac to be released in 2014.

It had been years since I used Microsoft Office for my money-making work. The last time that I used Microsoft Word to make money was writing a revision book for A-level curriculum in 2009. The reason I used it was because I have to send my draft copy to the editor for amendments, and I want my format to be exactly the same as what the editor would see. For best compatibility, I chose the Windows version of the Office suite and I have to run it in VM mode.

I am still using a 2008 version of the Office for Mac for my current work. What I mean work is that I use it only if there are some documents that must be done with Office, and there are very little work that requires it. As the Head of Technology for my group of schools, I am sometimes required to prepare data for import to a database system. Since the database only allows Excel worksheet or CSV, I use Microsoft Excel for this purpose. It also allows me to share my work with my support staff. I also use Microsoft Word for writing staff report, as the template came in Word format.

Beyond those two uses, I just use Apple’s current Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps. I use Pages to make my lesson notes and assignments. If I need to make calculations, I use Numbers. I use Keynote to make presentation files. Using these Apple apps are more productive because they run faster and stick more to the Apple user interface guidelines.

It is enlightening to see that more people are not using Microsoft Office anymore, at least on the Mac platform. It shows that we do not really need Microsoft Office for productivity work. What we need are document producing apps, of which Office is just a particular flavour. Unless your company requires collaboration works among colleagues, I would not recommend using Office as my experience showed that using Office would actually slows down your productivity. Try the Apple apps if your are using Mac. It opens up a new world for you.

ADE Review: 1Password 4

I have used 1Password 3 suite for about 2 years. The suite includes the Mac app together with it iPhone and iPad counterparts. I only use 1Password occasionally. I mainly use this app to store my hosting passwords. When 1Password 4 came out, I hesitated upgrading my software. To upgrade, I need to purchase the iOS app together with the Mac app. I also wonder whether there are new features that will increase my productivity that are absent in the old version.

When I found out that AgileBits offered discount to both the iOS app and the Mac app, I decided to make the plunge. This post describes my short experience with using 1Password 4. My Mac version was purchased from AgileBits Web Store because I felt that this app is very useful for me and I want them to earn all the revenue instead of Apple getting 30%. In all, I spent a total of $34.99 for the Mac app and $9.99 for the iOS universal apps.

Upgrading

Upgrading from the old version on the Mac is easy. After installing, you would have to select the database from your folder.

On iOS, I was skeptical that the new version would be able to import the database from the old version. Of course I could sync directly with Dropbox after setting it up on the Mac. I was pleasantly surprised that when I run it the first time on my iPhone, the app prompted me whether I have an older version or not. Selecting Yes brings up the old version, which will prompt you to export the data and then the new version will import the data. All this are done seamlessly and the passwords are all restored in the new version.

User Interface

Needless to say, the new interface in the Mac app is much more nicer than the default shelf style of the old version. The new version looks cleaner and easier to use. I especially like the tags as they allow me to sort my items according to personal and work related passwords.

New look of 1Password 4

The Security Audit seems like a useful feature too. Whether I will use it or not remains to be seen.

The iOS version also looks cleaner. Function wise, it does not add more than the old version. The tagging feature of the Mac app does not appear in the iOS version. This is a disappointment.

Syncing

In the new version, you have three ways to sync your 1Password: iCloud, Dropbox and WiFi. Dropbox syncing used to be available in the old version until Dropbox changes its API, breaking this mode of syncing. Luckily, this syncing mode comes back in the new version.

There are discussions on AgileBits forum about differences between the app purchased from the Mac App Store and from AgileBits Web Store. AgileBits are saying only the MAS version have iCloud syncing, though some people are saying that can do iCloud sync on Web Store version. In my test, I saw that iCloud syncing was available in the preferences for both the Mac app and the iOS app. When activated on both my Mac and my iPhone, however, I found that there was no syncing done even though Syncing was completed successfully. This isn’t quite right. Could AgileBits disable this mode of syncing if the app was purchased from its Web Store?

Syncing options on 1Password 4

Since I could not use iCloud, I changed back to Dropbox to sync my passwords.

Browser Extensions

One of the most useful functions offered by 1Password 3 are the browser extensions. With the different browser extensions installed, you will be able to save login passwords on web pages and also automatically filled in the username and passwords of different web sites.

This feature is carried forward to the new version.

Summary

Overall, I found that the new version may looks nicer, but it does not offer much more functions than the old version. However, since the old version does not allow Dropbox syncing, you are left with either manually using WiFi or upgrade to the new version. If you are someone who wants seamless operation, then upgrading is the only way.

The iOS app would need to add the tagging feature as this is a really useful feature.

If you are deciding whether to buy the app from MAS or Web Store, I would suggest buying from the MAS since this version would offer iCloud syncing.