Brad Frost on Development Being Design

As the Web landscape grows increasingly complex, it’s increasingly important to demonstrate the myriad ways a Web experience can be interacted with. It’s impossible for designers working in static environments to realistically articulate every device, user setting, and variable that effects how a design is realized. Because of this, front-end developers need to work closely with other designers to ensure what’s being created is realistic and feasible. This requires rolling front-end development into the design workflow, rethinking our deliverables, and working together in order to create experiences that look and function beautifully on a whole host of screen sizes, form factors, and environments.

Well said. Brad excellently explains why I think the web is so exciting right now. Sure, there will always be people who don’t get it. But, the line between design and front-end development is being blurred, and I love that.

Starting with Sass

Chris Bowler:

I’ve looked at several tutorials over the years, but many were written with a certain assumption for the level of knowledge on the other end. Many can be a struggle for the beginner because you may not even have the tools to be able to use Sass. Because of this, I wanted to write a handful of tips on what helped me get on board.

If you’ve been on the fence about trying Sass, this is a really good place to start. I promise you, I promise you, you’ll never go back to normal CSS.

Yale Professor Calls ‘Bing It On’ Claims Bogus

This week, a Yale law professor took aim at Microsoft’s “Bing It On” campaign…

And Ayres’ results differed sharply from Microsoft’s: “We found that, to the contrary of Microsoft’s claim, 53 percent of subjects preferred Google and 41 percent Bing (6 percent of results were “ties”). This is not even close to the advertised claim that people prefer Bing ‘nearly two-to-one.’”

This is fascinating. Microsoft responded to this professor, but in my opinion, gave a statement that were just words and didn’t explain why this test was so different from the one Microsoft conducted.

This is what happens when you make commercials that call out other brands. Making fun of other people is the low thing to do, and quite honestly, the easy thing to do. Tell us how Bing is actually better Microsoft, or shut up.

TV Commercial - Microsoft Surface Tablet: Less Talking. More Doing

Review: 1Password 4 for Mac

1Password is one of my favorite apps. The amount of time it has saved me is unmeasurable, and it’s made my password strategy secure and delightful.

For those of you who don’t know about 1Password, it’s a great utility app to store and generate passwords. For years, I was the person who had the same password for everything. With 1Password, I don’t do that anymore, I’m able to search through weak passwords and generate stronger ones, making it less likely to get hacked. Even if that does happen, none of my passwords are the same, so I only need to reset the one that’s been compromised.

First Impressions

  • The new interface is beautiful, and obviously influenced by the iOS version.

  • The Chrome extension got a facelift, and generated passwords are not only filled in forms, they’re also copied to your clipboard.1

  • 1Password Mini brings most of the power of the main app to the menubar. This is great for entering passwords into apps that aren’t the browser. I disliked having to open the main app to do this in previous versions.

Design

The first thing you’ll notice when you open the new 1Password is the beautiful interface. If you’ve already purchased the latest iOS app, you’ll notice that the new design is very similar, which delights me greatly. This redesign is years overdue, and the AgileBits team has delivered.

1Password 4 for Mac Main View

I love that this redesign in a lot of ways is a re-align. The interface remains in the three column layout, yet with an easy-on-the-eyes, light background. The type has greatly improved, and the middle column no longer has the “shelf” look. The new layout, allows you to see more logins in the window without having to scroll and sports better looking icons.

Thankfully, the last column has been redone too. It used to be confusing to look at, and honestly, I didn’t know what was going on. It’s now a lot more simplified and only displays necessary information.

That being said, my favorite part of the main view, is the new “Security Audit” that appears in the far left column. It gives you easy access to weak passwords, duplicate passwords, and passwords that are old and might need to be changed. To be clear, this type of filtering has always been present in 1Password, but the fact that it’s now front and center, is very valuable to me.

Multiple Vaults

One feature that I can see becoming very popular is the new feature of multiple vaults. I haven’t actually been using this feature, but it’s one of those things that I think could help me organize the different sets of passwords.

This is especially true when I worked for a company. Having a separate vault exclusively for company logins, would’ve been a great way to get organized. This makes managing items easier, and makes cleaning out items you no longer need, a breeze.

With 1Password 4 you can now create new vaults. Organizing your passwords based on their use is simple.

1Password Mini

I love that they made a menubar app. I’m definitely one of those people that has way too many of them.[^2] Interestingly, the menubar app is what comes up now when you press ⌘CMD + \. It seems that the 1Password browser extension is now only needed to run the code necessary for the autofill. You’ll never actually need to press the button anymore, which is nice, because it’s one less button in the extensions.

1Password Mini makes using 1Password easier and faster than ever.

It’s too early for me to say, but I think 1Password Mini could completely replace the main app for me. So far, I haven’t needed to open the main app for day-to-day responsibilities. To be honest, I only looked at the main app the day I downloaded it, and today when writing this review.

Other Features You Should Know About

  • Shared Items
    Till now, I haven’t needed to ever share login items, but I can definitely see the practicality of this. You can share items with email or iMessage, and if the person makes changes, the item automatically updates when shared back.

  • 256-bit Authenticated Encryption
    I have no idea what this means, except that 1Password is constantly being updated to be more and more secure. From what I’m told, this prevents attacks that don’t even exist yet.

  • Wifi Sync
    This feature is back from previous versions. Personally, I use Dropbox to sync my Vault between my Mac, iPad and iPhone, but whatever floats your boat. They have iCloud sync too.

Final Thoughts

The AgileBits team have definitely outdone themselves. Not only is this update to 1Password beautiful, the new features and menubar app, make the upgrade very worth it.

If you’ve never used 1Password, this is a perfect time to purchase. In this day and age, it’s crucial to have secure passwords. This is an app you’ll later wonder how you did without.

It seems you can’t currently purchase the new 1Password from the AgileBits store, but that is where it’ll be very soon.[^3] You can also purchase from the Mac App Store.

Update: You can now purchase and/or upgrade on the AgileBits store. Seems my speculation was wrong.

Further Reading

How long should my passwords be? - If you’re interested in making generated passwords from 1Password very secure, I definitely recommend this article by the AgileBits team.

  1. This might seem like a small thing, but it’s one of my favorite additions to 1Password. I used to copy the password then press the fill button, and now those two actions are done with one press. [^2]: By the way, you can use Bartender to clean that menubar up. [^3]: This is only speculation, but I wonder if they’re required to give the App Store preference for a set amount of time. ime. 

Contentment and Being Grateful

We all have our moments when we feel down. In my case, the past two years have been full of personal mistakes and bad decisions. Failure is difficult to accept. Yet, these things considered, it’s not the end; the book has not yet been finished, even when at times, it certainly feels like it.

Although, anyone would’ve considered me an optimist a year ago, it’s not so easy in practice. Yet, something I’ve forced myself to do, is always remember I have reasons to be grateful. I think it’s a good idea to do this whether you’re going through a tough time or not.

I live in a very privileged part of the world, and I often get wrapped up in my own problems, client frustrations, and whining about stupidities, that I forget how much worse it could really be. My alarm in the morning could be a bomb, instead of my cute cat, and I could be in a perpetual state of worry. There are people going through much worse than I’ve ever gone through, and that empathy allows me to step back and look at my life objectively.

My life isn’t perfect. I don’t make nearly as much money as I’d like, I’ve been a disappointment to people who care about me, I have debt that is far away from being paid off, I’m overweight, and I’ve hurt a girl I was in love with, twice… twice.

Yet, I have parents, family and friends that love me, and add meaning to my life. I’m healthy. I haven’t gone hungry. I work in an amazing industry, where I can say I love my job. And I live in a beautiful place that enjoys the four amazing seasons.

Happiness and contentment are a choice, and I choose to be happy, I choose to be grateful for what I have, I choose to make lemonade out of lemons.

Should I pour you a glass?


This post was originally written for The Pastry Box. They have so many people wanting to contribute, that they weren’t able to accept my submission.

An Argument for App.net

Chris Enns:

The peo­ple who scoff at App​.net and won­der “why do we need another Twit­ter?” are missing the point. Actu­ally, they’re miss­ing the point of the inter­net. There’s plenty of room for another social net­work. You don’t have to use it but that doesn’t make it invalid. For every per­son that makes fun of Google+, there’s another 5 peo­ple get­ting a lot of com­mu­nity and fun out of it.

Interestingly, this article is talking about Favd, yet almost accidentally, he describes what I think is a very convincing argument for App.net’s relevance. Chris goes on to say:

And while Favd might look like “yet another Insta­gram clone”, it’s tak­ing the parts of Insta­gram that peo­ple enjoy — tak­ing and shar­ing pho­tos with friends online — and leav­ing behind the cor­po­rate shadi­ness that comes with being asso­ci­ated with Facebook.

Chris effectively points out, that just when we think a market has been saturated beyond belief, there’s always someone who can approach a problem a bit smarter.

Apple Becomes ‘Most Valuable Brand’ of 2013

Apple has taken the top spot as 2013′s Most Valuable Brand, ending Coca-Cola’s 13 year streak as number one in the annual Best Global Brands report compiled by Interbrand. Coca-Cola ended up third, surpassed by both Apple and Google this year.

I think this is pretty big news. A company’s brand is based a lot on public perception, and for Apple and Google to surpass Coca-Cola, which in my opinion is the one of the best brands ever created,1 is quite the compliment on how they’re doing.

  1. You know you agree with that. Whether you’re a Coke lover, or Pepsi lover (Oh god, can I footnote the footnote?), Coca-Cola has been advertising it’s drink with bears… bears. If you can advertise your product without taking cheap shots at your competitor, you’re doing well. 

Google Web Designer

Interestingly, I see a tool like this from Google, and my whole opinion changes. I had some pretty harsh things to say about Macaw.1

Google—in many ways—is the reason I do my job the way I do it. They’re advocates for building the web well, and fast. It’s hard for me to believe they’ll make a tool that does the opposite.

  1. I don’t know what happened to the tweet. But, I basically said that Macaw holds designers back from doing what they should do: learn to code.