1Password 5.2 for iOS & 5.1 for Mac

Speaking of app updates, today we at AgileBits released a couple awesome updates for iOS and Mac today.

1Password 5.2 for iOS brought home the awesomesauce by adding a nifty Login Creator to help build Login items properly. It also added a Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) feature for Pro owners helping strengthen up security for sites that offer. Two-step verification is a great thing and 1Password is aiming to make it easy to use and understand.

1Password 5.1 for Mac focuses on sync — both behind the scenes and on stage. A lot of code was optimized to make sync the best it has ever been (iOS benefitted from this in shared code, as well) and the Sync interface in Preferences has been completely re-done to make setting up sync as easy as selecting a vault and choosing a service from a drop down list.

Both updates are free to existing owners of 1Password 5 on the respective platforms. Everyone on the team poured a lot of effort into these releases, so if you see any of us on Twitter, be sure to send an emoji high-five.

Twitterrific 5.9 — The Photography Update

Twitterrific is an app that is near and dear to my heart, as I have been using since day one of being on Twitter (nearly 7 years!). Over the years I have developed a wonderful friendship with some of the folks at The Iconfactory. As such, I've been a beta tester for a good long while, and the 5.9 update has been particularly difficult to keep quiet as I've just wanted to scream about its awesomeness from the mountains.

Yeah yeah, there aren't mountains in the Great Plains, so maybe just a small hill. I digress.

I love photos. Twitterrific 5.9 is all about photos. You can now add mutliple photos (up to 4) using Twitter's photo service, and you can view photos (even multiple photos) from just about any service you can link to. Best of all, Instagram photos now load in Twitterrific's photo viewer without having to load the mobile site.

Videos also get a nice treatment with an improved viewer with playback controls, as well as animated GIFs. My colleagues at work and I basically live off GIFs, so this is extremely welcome.

Twitterrific 5.9 is a free update in the App Store, and it really is the most delightful Twitter app out there. If you love simplicity without sacrificing features, you need to get acquainted with Twitterrific.

Be sure to check out The Iconfactory's feature overview video for Twitterrific 5.9, and either leave or update a review on the App Store.

Apple's Lost Functional High Ground

Marco Arment:

Apple’s hardware today is amazing — it has never been better. But the software quality has taken such a nosedive in the last few years that I’m deeply concerned for its future.

[…]

The problem seems to be quite simple: they’re doing too much, with unrealistic deadlines.

We don’t need major OS releases every year. We don’t need each OS release to have a huge list of new features. We need our computers, phones, and tablets to work well first so we can enjoy new features released at a healthy, gradual, sustainable pace.

Apple's (lack of) software quality has been a consistent topic with my team at work, with my techie friends in town, and even with many friends who are not what I would call technology focused. That latter group should scare the crap out of Apple.

Those are the folks where the phrase “it just works” sounded like magic. And they believed the magic because save for a few things, it was magic. But now everyone sees the reality behind the tricks. The mystery is gone.

We're carrying around a drowned magician in the world's most exquisite glass case.

Why NORAD Tracks Santa

NPR:

This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.

[…]

The red phone rang one day in December 1955, and Shoup answered it, Pam says. "And then there was a small voice that just asked, 'Is this Santa Claus?' "

His children remember Shoup as straight-laced and disciplined, and he was annoyed and upset by the call and thought it was a joke — but then, Terri says, the little voice started crying.

"And Dad realized that it wasn't a joke," her sister says. "So he talked to him, ho-ho-ho'd and asked if he had been a good boy and, 'May I talk to your mother?' And the mother got on and said, 'You haven't seen the paper yet? There's a phone number to call Santa. It's in the Sears ad.' Dad looked it up, and there it was, his ;red phone number. And they had children calling one after another, so he put a couple of airmen on the phones to act like Santa Claus."

This story brought a flood of memories back from my childhood. I remember my parents and I calling the hotline, and trying again and again after getting busy signals until we finally spoke to an airman to get Santa's location.

These days there's an app for that (and a site), but the past years I have tried to call in with my son because there are still men & women of the armed forces answering these phones on Christmas Eve, talking to countless boys & girls.

Thank you to those who serve in our military daily, but especially to those providing an evening of fun and whimsy to the small voices on the other end of the telephone.

This Christmas Eve, dial up 1-877 HI-NORAD with your children and thank a service man or woman for their efforts in keeping tabs on Santa.

¶ Regularly $19.99

Cultured Code makes a fantastic Getting Things Done (GTD) app aptly named Things. I used it myself for a while though I did eventually find OmniFocus to be a better fit for me. That's a story for another time.

Things is a premium app. It runs $9.99 for iPhone, $19.99 for iPad, and $49.99 for Mac.

The prices until Thanksgiving day are free, free, and $34.99, respectively. Why? Because the two iOS apps are Apple's Pick of the Week, and the Mac app is on sale from Cultured Code to celebrate it.

I don't think I have ever seen a $20 app be the Pick of the Week. Seriously, Things is a stellar premium app with a premium price and it is going for free right now. And Apple wants to show off how great of a deal it is by plastering the value on the App Store.

Regularly $19.99.

As someone whose livelihood is sustained by sales of a premium app with a premium price, I am both delighted to see Things receiving this attention and terrified what dropping it to free means for public perception of the value of the app.

It is good that a premium app is being thrust in front of millions of people, letting them know there are high quality apps out there. It is also good for people learn that high quality apps cost a more than a buck.

What gives me hesitance is the app being reduced to the cost of nothing — even temporarily. I worry that people will look at it and think Things should be free. That even though it exudes polish and talent and quality people will come to expect those characteristics in exchange for nothing.

I worry that giving away a premium app reinforces the entitlement many people display towards apps. I worry someday the App Store will be void of fantastic apps because no one was willing to pay for them.

I am left wondering what kind of star ratings will appear for Things once the price returns to being regularly $19.99.

The 1Password Emergency Kit 3.0

Mike Vardy posted a really great update to his 1Password Emergency Kit today.

The 1Password Emergency Kit V3.0 is now a fillable PDF that looks and functions a lot better, and includes even more information that will come in handy if any sort of emergency arises.

Naturally, I keep a lot of my life's essential data in 1Password. Should I ever be incapacitated or pass away unexpectedly, my family can get ahold of my copy of this (which I now need to update, so don't let me forget) in order to access the things they may need.

Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and fill out your kit, too.

Deliveries for Mac

Junecloud's Deliveries is a fantastic little app to aid in tracking shipments that you are expecting or sending. It got its start on OS X's Dashboard feature ages ago, a feature which is being phased out in OS X Yosemite.

When the App Store came out for iOS devices, Deliveries was there. I've been using Deliveries in Dashboard on my Mac and on my iPhone and iPad for years. It is simply an indispensible and delightful little tool.

With OS X Yosemite eschewing Dashboard by default in favor of adding widgets to Notification Center's Today view, I was hoping to see Deliveries make the transition. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. Deliveries is now a full-fledged Mac app with Notification Center integration, and it also allows me to say farewell to Dashboard, which has been stagnant for years on the Mac.

If you happen to receive shipments frequently and want to keep tabs on them, you need Deliveries.

Deliveries for Mac is available on the Mac App Store for $4.99.