On episode 371 of Geekiest Show Ever, Elisa and Melissa share their favorite Mac utilities with the most beautiful interfaces. Melissa attended an outdoor festival and shares what she learned about high-tech wristbands. We’ll have links to the apps and resources we discussed in our full show notes which you can check out here: https://www.geekiestshowever.com/gse371-useful-utilities/ Episode Artwork Credit: Melissa Davis
MacPaw, a developer founded in Kyiv, Ukraine, makes *amazing* software. We want to show our support, so please read the MacPaw blog for more information on how you can also #StandWithUkraine https://macpaw.com/blog
Disclosure: Elisa and Melissa have been provided with review licenses for some of the software discussed in this episode. They have not been paid to positively review these apps. They just really love the software and think it’s both useful and beautiful! Melissa may earn an affiliate commission on MacPaw apps for pointing you to their site.
On episode 352 of Geekiest Show Ever, we discuss some of the troubleshooting experiences we’ve had over the past several weeks to keep our technology mostly working for us and not so much the other way around. We discuss the methods we use with our password manager to create new accounts more efficiently, how to deal with Keychain or web browser password saving conflicts, and more. Melissa files a bug report with Apple! Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShowhttps://twitter.com/geekiestshow
Use a password manager to pre-populate the fields on a web form
Instead of just filling out the fields on a website form then trying to take notes later, why not START by PRE-populating the fields in your password manager? This way, as you’re filling out the fields you can copy and paste and it will cut down on errors in data entry.
Elisa recommends using a clipboard manager for storing information to copy and paste. This makes data entry easier and more efficient, too. She also recommends using the password generator tool to help you come up with goofy answers to password reset or security questions. Remember, it doesn’t have to be the CORRECT answer, but “Aluminum-Foil ™” is already taken. 🙂
Here is a screenshot that shows the website form fields you need to fill out when creating a new “mySocial Security” account online. We’ll use this as an example because it’s one of the websites that has created a lot of friction for people when they try to sign up. It has a lot of parts to it. You need to pick: a username, password, three password reset questions, and three answers to those questions. That’s eight pieces of unique information in one go! On top of it, the password you pick must meet a specific criteria which they list in the instructions, but if you’re filling out the form and you make a mistake, you might have to start over in an area or you might forget what questions and answers you chose. It can be frustrating if you do not document everything in a safe and accessible place right away.
You could use this method for pre-populating the login entry in your password manager ahead of time. Here is a screenshot of what it might look like in 1Password:
Foam ear tip replacements for AirPods Pro are really helping to reduce ear fatigue. I forget I have them in my ears when I have the foam tips on. Phone calls are soooo much better now. I don’t dread making phone calls nearly as much as I used to. Now, if only I could get better battery life! Since I forget I’m wearing them, the battery drains more quickly. I have gotten better about putting them back into the case to charge, but it’s a habit one has to learn.
Elisa’s Internet Connectivity Experience
Internet speed and consistency is a problem we all deal with from time to time. After rebooting your computer and trying some troubleshooting techniques like booting into Safe Mode, if the problem still persists, it might be worth taking a look at your modem or router. If it’s more than a few years old, it might be time to replace it. If your ISP supplies the hardware, get the speeds you pay for by keeping your equipment up to date.
Melissa’s AirPods Pro Replacement Experience
My beloved AirPods Pro ended up being a lemon, sadly. The good news is that it was really easy to get them replaced by Apple under warranty with their DIY exchange program. I purchased them back in November of 2020. First there was a case ID support ticket generated where we triaged the issue over the phone. It was determined that a replacement was in order. They put a hold on my Apple Card and sent me the two replacement parts. I put the defective parts into the boxes and shipped them back and they released the hold on my Apple Card. The whole process took only a few days from start to finish. One of the troubleshooting suggestions was to see if I could locate another set of AirPods Pro to test, but that proved futile. After a doctor appointment, since I was already out of the house, I stopped by our local Authorized Apple Repair place as well as a Best Buy, but neither had a spare AirPods Pro set they could use to help me rule out whether it was the case or just the AirPod for the left ear. When I called Apple back and told them, they initiated a replacement by mail. I could have skipped this part altogether, but I was really curious about what a test might reveal. All told, I was only without my AirPods Pro for about a week and I’m happy to have them working again. I really, really missed them while I couldn’t use them. If this happens to you, it might help to know what options you have.
Troubleshooting Siri with Reminders app issue on Apple Watch Experience
It used to be that whenever I’d raise my wrist then speak the phrase, “Remind me to check the washer in 15 minutes,” Siri would tell me she’d gotten it and the reminder would go automatically to my “Reminders” list because that’s the list I have set as my default list. I used that feature all the time until one day, when I glanced at my watch, I noticed that the reminder I’d just set was being put onto a “Finance” list that I share with my husband. I thought, “This is wrong, I don’t want him getting MY reminders showing up on his Apple Watch or iPhone while he’s trying to conduct classes. How annoying!” (I use Reminders a lot.) So, down the rabbit hole I went trying to document the issue and discovered it somehow became a bug since the last watchOS update. I was able to get the issue escalated to Apple’s Engineering department. It was actually fun talking to one of the Engineers and to see the diagnostic process that’s involved in logging the issue with them. Still no solution, but I’m happy to know it wasn’t something I was neglecting to do. I’ll report back if the problem gets fixed in a future update.
Do you have questions about what you heard in this episode? Please send us your feedback. We’d like to hear from you. Let us know about a tech topic that interests you.
Hacking and scamming incidents are on the rise. It’s a sad fact of pandemic life now, but on episode 351 of Geekiest Show Ever, we’re here to tell you that you can take back some control if you know what to look out for and how to implement best practices. We believe that online security should be a regular part of our overall well-being. It’s why we so frequently discuss security issues and using password managers. Tune in to hear us share our field experience for ways to help your loved ones become safer in our digitally connected world. Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShowhttps://twitter.com/geekiestshow
Miele-LXIV is a free DICOM viewer for looking at images like MRI or Xray on your computer. Your doctor will either give you a disc or a way to get the images onto your computer, but if the program they provide is not compatible, this is a good alternative.
Check in with your loved one and have a conversation about their computer use and habits. Ask them to look at the programs installed on their devices and then ask if any of them look unfamiliar. Another good question to ask is if they have ever gotten “assistance” over the computer remotely by someone they didn’t know well who told them they could help them get money back. It’s an important conversation to have because sometimes the person feels embarrassed and won’t mention it. There are so many remote conferencing apps we use now for managing life in a pandemic. While these apps are really helpful and do serve a legitimate purpose, they can be used to exploit us during our most vulnerable times.
Think about the patterns that most phishing scams follow: a claim is made that convinces you to act because your money is in jeopardy or there is some information about you that has been revealed and you’re urged to check it out. They are targeting us in areas where we feel the most vulnerable: financial security and reputation. Many times those go hand in hand. The hacker will claim that you’ve been hacked and they are there to rescue you when they are actually the hacker!
1Password Families Review
Both Elisa and I have now converted our 1Password single licenses to the 1Password Families subscription service. We discuss how we got set up and how we’re using it with our families.
If you’re using 1Password for Families with young children or older loved ones who are not yet digitally literate, consider setting up a shared vault with their name on it for them and then make that their default vault in the 1Password app Preferences. To set it up this way, click the Vaults tab in 1Password Preferences then look for the setting that says “Always open to” and change it from Private to their [Name] vault. Where it says “Show in All Vaults” uncheck the Private vault and be sure their [Name] vault is checked. This is where you can also check (enable) the vault that is shared by default with all the members of your family for passwords you want everyone to have access to. If you share your Netflix login, for example, that would be saved and synced in the default Shared vault. Then where it says “Vault for Saving” change that from Private to their [Name] vault. Now, each time your child or family member saves a new password, it will be saved in their [Name] vault and you will also have access to it. If they need help populating the fields, you can make those changes or corrections and it will be synced to their device from yours. Many times in the beginning, people forget to change the signup URL to the login URL and then wonder why they keep ending up on a page that asks them to create a new account. It’s understandably confusing! Because you’ll have access to their vault, you could locate the correct URL and then enter it for them from your own device. Sharing vaults like this is helpful for those of us who are tasked with being the family’s Digital Executor.
Be sure to print out your 1Password Emergency kits, but before you do, consider annotating the PDF to include the Master Password. Use a monospace font like Courier (which is available on most systems) that will make the letters and numbers a bit easier to read. Make the text super large so that there’s no mistake reading what needs to be entered when it’s required.
Whenever you’re enrolling into an online account for the first time and they ask you to pick security questions, make up silly answers to store in your password manager! They do NOT need to be correct and it’s even safer if they are harder to guess because your mother’s maiden name is not a hard fact to find out.
Do you have questions about what you heard in this episode? Please send us your feedback. We’d like to hear from you. Let us know about a tech topic that interests you.
It’s Melissa’s birthday (by the time you hear this) AND it’s the LAST GSE of 2020! What a long year it’s been — good riddance! We’ve had to do a lot of adapting and it feels like there’s still sooo much more to overcome. In episode 347 of Geekiest Show Ever, we’ll discuss some of the ways we’ve used technology throughout the year to adapt and attempt to overcome some of the challenges this pandemic has thrown at us so far. Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShowhttps://twitter.com/geekiestshow
My grandparents’ candlestick telephone was a very special gift I received for Christmas from my mother. There is a photo of it for our episode artwork. I played with this as a small child and it has a lot of special memories attached to it. I think these are the best kinds of gifts. Now it sets on my dining room hutch and I love to hear the sound of the rotary dial when the kids play with it. I think it’s what makes technology magical yet.
Reminders List Exports
I found out that in macOS Catalina, you can no longer export Reminders lists. If this has changed in Big Sur, I’ll be wanting to know, but as of yet, this script from Gary Rosenzweig of MacMost.com is the closest I’ve come to getting something I can work with. It involves some programming and use of the Automator app, but Gary is really good about explaining it in good detail. I was able to implement it and utilize it. My next goal will be to create an iOS Shortcut to try and work with the text it generates. My son likes creating shortcuts, so that’s always a little fun project for him and I to do together.
Creating space and a little order among the chaos is our theme for Geekiest Show Ever episode 346. We talk about the devices and services we use to organize our data and enjoy our media. We’ll also discuss our initial impressions and how to troubleshoot some of the issues we encountered when we upgraded to the subscription service for 1Password. Follow us for additional tips and conversation on Twitter @GeekiestShow
In an email to customers, 1Password announced a Thanksgiving sale for standalone license users and we finally decided to dig in. (See what I did there?) At the time of this post, you may still be able to get the great deal they offer on 1Password for Families. If you can find that email message, it provides a promotional link and explains how you can trade in the standalone license and pay nothing until September of next year. That’s a long enough time to evaluate whether or not you want to afford the $60 annual fee or cancel the trial and go back to using the standalone version. At any time, you can try it out free for 30 days: https://1password.com/sign-up/
One way to practice self care and carve out some space for yourself is by listening to podcasts, audiobooks, or music. Do you have “books on tape” (on CDs) that you forgot about? Now would be a good time to get them off the discs and into your music library. From there you can sync them to your Apple Watch or other wearable device and pair it with bluetooth headphones to give your phone some alone time.
We break stuff then try to fix it so you don’t have to because we’re just nice that way. Thinking about syncing is our focus for episode 342 of Geekiest Show Ever. Data loss can become a real problem in the pandemic era of working and learning from home. Melissa shares some concerns and strategies for preventing data loss before it occurs by keeping track of syncing services and testing them out periodically. Elisa wants to learn how to create an additional shared vault in 1Password.
“You can restore your calendars and events together with your reminders and reminder lists from an earlier version that was automatically archived in iCloud. If you have shared calendars or shared reminder lists, all sharing information is removed when you restore calendars and reminders. You have to share your calendars and reminder lists again and ask other people to re-invite you to share their calendars and reminder lists. Note: If you’re using upgraded reminders, you can’t restore reminders.”
To prevent data loss, export your Reminders first, then make sure syncing is disabled in third-party apps like Calendars 5, for example. Then you can upgrade and try to re-import them later.
Shared Vaults in 1Password
Sharing a digital footprint between two or more people such as podcasting co-hosts or teachers can be managed much easier with a password manager. It’s also a useful tool for digital estate management.
We are curious about how we might share a vault using 1Password with the individual user subscription model compared to the family user service. If you have any suggestions, please email us or get in touch with us on our social graphs. https://support.1password.com/guests/
Syncing vaults via a 1Password.com account, though incredibly efficient and increasingly necessary, comes at a significant cost year over year. How do you decide when it’s time to pay for convenience compared to putting up with inconvenience in order to save money? We lay out our expectations of how we want it to work in order to justify the cost of switching from our “homegrown” way of doing things. The Family plan costs around $60 a year. So far, Melissa has been willing to sync her own multiple vaults via Dropbox, but she is curious how switching to the subscription model will impact her family’s workflow and budget. Elisa is still on the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” plan. Tip: check your local user groups to see if they offer a discount with membership.