Category Archives: Computers

Bye, Google Authenticator tokens

Update 2013-09-07: Google released a new version which restores the lost account tokens. If you’ve already re–added your account tokens, please see this caveat.

Before you update to Google Authenticator 2.0.0 for iOS, disable two–step (or wait until 2.0.1). It removed my tokens from the app, and I had to re–add them again. Boo.

To fix this with a Google account, you’ll need to do the following:

1. Go to Account → Security → Edit (under 2–step verification).
2. Under How to receive codes and across from Mobile application, click “Move to a different phone”.

As for the backup codes you printed, if you click the help icon (question mark) next to “Remove Switch to phone”, it says:

When you want to switch to a different phone, select “Move to a different phone” and follow the instructions to configure the Authenticator app on your new phone. This will not invalidate any of your existing application-specific passwords or backup codes.

Or, you can add your Google Authenticator Tokens into Authy. Thanks for the tip, James!

Dropbox: In Account → Security, click the Edit link next to Authenticator app.

Dropbox 2-step verification

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How Things makes me even more awesome

Things 2 screenshotAround nine months ago, Isaac Keyet persuaded me to try Things for Mac by Cultured Code. I usually prefer plain text, but that’s too simple for the stuff I jot down.

With keyboard shortcuts galore, I quickly fell in love with this app. It costs $49.99 for Mac, $9.99 for iPhone, and $19.99 for iPad — and it’s worth every penny. I’ll explain how I manage tasks with Things.

At work

At Automattic, we communicate internally through IRC, private P2–themed sites, and Skype. However, I do receive email notifications regularly because it helps with my workflow.

At the beginning and end of each shift, my routine consists of processing my email (new post or comment notifications), and reviewing IRC or Skype messages I missed when I was offline. I skim messages, open batches of five to ten browser tabs, and delete the corresponding emails.

When I come across a post that requires more digging (i.e. longer than a minute), I press Control–Option–Space bar to use Quick Entry, which automatically inserts a link in the notes. That item gets saved to Things. (Inbox, by default.)

Without moving my hands from the keyboard, I can enter a title and tags for the item. When I’m done, pressing Return saves the item in Things and the Quick Entry window disappears, leaving me where I left off.

If there’s a block of text that’s perfect for the notes, highlighting it before pressing the Quick Entry with Autofill keyboard shortcut adds it to the notes after the link.

I also sort my Inbox items into Next or Scheduled after processing email. (This might be against GTD methodology, but I equate the Scheduled focus to my digital tickler file.)

If I have an idea that isn’t linked to a webpage or email, or if someone pings me and I can’t get to them right away, I can press the Quick Entry keyboard shortcut (Control–Space bar) and jot it down in seconds.

It’s exhilarating to know that I’m not missing anything as long as it’s in Things (or my calendar, of course).

Pro tip: Read through the keyboard shortcuts a few times, or print it as a reminder. I’ve been using my trackpad too much.

Not at “work”

Away from my desk, I can write new items or ideas quickly with Things for iPhone. I add items from the Things home screen, saving to the Inbox by default.

When I get home, I add additional context (tags, notes). If I’m browsing a site or Twitter, and something piques my interest, I’ll take the extra few seconds to copy the URL in my clipboard to paste in the item notes.

I used their mobile app with local sync via Wi-Fi (before cloud sync), and I think it’s superb now that cloud sync works perfectly.

Wading through tasks

I’m infatuated with tags, making sure I assign the correct one for each item. By doing this, my Next screen is super focused, allowing me to ignore stuff I can’t handle at the moment. Here are a few examples:

  • At work, my Automattic tag allows me to ignore errands and tasks I need to do at home. (Tag management side note: computer is a parent tag, while Automattic is a child tag since I’m in front of a computer when working.)
  • My home tag removes items I need to do at home and away from a computer.
  • My errand tag focuses my view to tasks when I’m out and about.

Relevancy

This process allows me to batch tasks. I’m not constantly changing gears between P2s, Trac, updating support pages, helping people using WordPress.com through email/forums, processing photos, or writing posts (like this one).

I’m also not worried about forgetting the context of an item. I add just enough notes to describe what needs to be done.

Conclusion

If you work on a Mac every day, you should check out the 15–day free trial. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.

Thank you, Things, for keeping me sane. :)

An OS X Mountain Lion setting revealed with Option

I work with my MacBook Air connected to a Apple Thunderbolt Display. Sometimes, I’ll find that my Thunderbolt Display shows my screen, but my MacBook Air remains black. Boo.

In OS X Lion (and possibly Snow Leopard), the Display preferences pane had a Detect Displays button which fixed this for me.

That button doesn’t appear in Mountain Lion. Or does it?

If the detect displays option is not available, hold down the Option key while you are in the Display pane.

Oh. Thank you, HT5369.

Link

Shortly after OS X Mountain Lion was released, James — or J–Huff, as I’d like to call him — let me know that I should give Mail another try. (I’m a longtime Mozilla Thunderbird user.) While I don’t have a HiDPI (retina) laptop, he said I would settle into Mail just fine, and will wonder why I ever used Thunderbird.

While getting accustomed to Mail, I tried to figure out a way for a keyboard shortcut to move selected messages to a folder I designate. (Reason: Mail uses a default “Archive” folder that I can’t change like my Drafts, Sent, Trash, or Junk folder. I previously setup an “Archives” folder.)

So, I’m really glad I stumbled onto Matt Gemmell’s post, “Favorite Mailboxes in Lion Mail”. I now have keyboard shortcuts to move one or more messages to any of these folders very quickly:

  • Inbox (Command-Control–1)
  • Archives (Command-Control–2)
  • Automattic (Command-Control–3)
  • @Action (Command-Control–4)

By the way, the reason why I used Thunderbird because it’s open source, and I could switch easily from Eudora. Isn’t that a blast from the past?

If you have any other Mail tips, please leave a link in the comments. Thanks!

Configuring OpenDNS with AirPort Utility 6.1

I finally added OpenDNS servers to my Apple AirPort Express. (My previous router died while under warranty, and waiting for a replacement would take too long, so I bought an AirPort Express at the Apple Store in Pasadena.)

While their “Configuration for AirPort v7.6.1” instructions are almost spot on, a couple screenshots didn’t reflect what I was seeing in AirPort Utility 6.1.

I couldn’t find anything with an updated screenshot, so I sent one to OpenDNS support. Until they update it, it should look like this:

Photo workflow and my iPhone

I’m annoyed with the disorganized amount of photos I’ve accumulated on my iPhone, and I currently synchronize (backup) my iPhone photos to my laptop with iPhoto. My slight frustration was more obvious after my recent trip to Tybee Island, GA to meet up with my coworkers because I had to process photos taken on two different devices.

I never pondered this issue with my Android phone because I didn’t take pride in those photos.

Problem: I don’t use iPhoto for anything else, so why do I keep using it?

Solution: Plug my iPhone into my laptop with the USB cable, then import directly from Lightroom for culling and processing. Then, I believe I can delete the photos from my iPhone with Apple’s Image Capture.

Last night, I processed photos taken from my iPhone with Camera+, but since I was at home, I’ll do this from now on. (If I’m out and about, and I’d like to post a photo here, I’ll process from Camera+ and upload right away.)

Habit Streak

I need to setup appropriate reminders to categorize twenty “Uncategorized” posts a day until they’re all organized again, so I’m reinstalling the free version of Habit Streak on my Android phone.

Habit Streak helps you achieve your goals (or New Year’s Resolutions) in exercise, diet or other areas of your life. Each day you report on whether you succeeded yesterday, building up streaks of habits and ingraining the activities into your life.

Switching to wireless delivery from Instapaper for my Kindle 3G

For months, I’ve been using Wordcycler (Windows, freeware) to manually sync individual items from Instapaper to my Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi via USB cable. Now that I have a smaller number of articles to read, I’m going to try receiving new items via Wi-Fi through Instapaper.

I’ll also start trying Instapaper’s Send to Kindle bookmarklet for immediate delivery (Account > Manage My Kindle Settings).

If this works well, it’ll be fantastic not having to connect my Kindle to my computer every few days. I’d only need to worry about charging it.