AdBlock for iOS

 

This may be the best tip since using iCloud on Snow Leopard.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands of apps in the iTunes app store, those apps specifically for iOS devices – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch – that are great, but… they have ads all over the place. Very annoying and distracting. Many of those apps allow one to turn the ads off by paying a fee – typically somewhere from 99₵ to $2.99. Some apps, I’m thinking TVGuide in particular, have ads and don’t allow one to turn those off at all. So what I think may be the best TV listings app for iOS is either deal with the ads or find another app. For me, for years, it was the latter. No more.

AdBlockFor 99₵ one can purchase AdBlock for iOSThis turn the ads off for nearly every app having them. With tax, I can say, so far this has been the best $1.07 I’ve spent. Now, TV Guide – NO MORE ADS! Songza, same. Friendlya nice replacement for Facebook, same. In fact, it was Friendly giving me the idea to search for such an app. It’s called Friendly with AdBlock and the author wants $2.99 to turn off the ads. Enter AdBlock for iOSa third the price with the same results.

The way the app works is to setup a fake VPN. Then, when the ads go to connect they can’t, so no more ads. Other internet options work just fine. I think, depending on how the app is written determines whether you’ll see a blank bar where the ad should be or nothing at all. For TV Guide, there’s nothing. For Songza, there’s a bar, which for me is still better than the ads.

Caution: There’s a free app called AdBl0ck. It however, sets up a real VPN and connects back to Baby Blue Wireless. It sends some information back to them. It might not be any worse than say, Facebook, but doesn’t the web have enough info on you already? Here’s the Baby Blue Wireless Privacy Policy. Also, because it’s a real VPN, when I was out for my normal morning walk, I was disconnected from the AdBl0ck servers. Result? Nothing worked. Ditched immediately. Save yourself the headache and the privacy invasion. Spend the 99₵.

1Password

Occasionally, I’ll write about great apps here. 1Password by Agilebits is one of them.

With so many websites, programs, apps et. al requiring accounts with passwords, many persons will choose to use the same password over and over. THIS IS DANGEROUS! Why? Because if a bad guy ever gets ahold of that password, you could be ruined – financially, and otherwise. But, you say, it’s hard to remember different passwords for all these various entities, let alone make them secure as 12 or more characters with mixed cases and other characters. I agree, it is difficult. So here’s my question: How about just remembering ONE password? If you can do that, you’re life is about to become more secure and hopefully, your peace of mind will be increased as well.

Here’s just a few things I use 1Password for every day: When I need to create an account on a website, say Amazon, I simply go to the site (my browser of choice is Google Chrome, but 1Password will also work with Safari and Firefox) and get to the form page to start my registration. Having already populated my Identity in 1Password, all my info, my name, address, etc. can be filled in automatically. Next, and here’s the best part, when I need to create a password for my new account, I just have 1Password generate a 12 character password like 6pbzDjXjqGB8. There is no way on heaven’s green earth I will ever remember that password. But, 1Password will! In order to use that password later, all I have to know is my ONE password to unlock 1Password. Sound good? We’re only just getting started.

How about when I’m out and about and all I have is my iPhone or Android device? There are separate programs for Mac and those other devices. For iOS 8 and above, 1Password is now free for basic use and costs under $10 if you want the premium version. If I keep my encrypted, 1Password file on Dropbox or iCloud, all my devices will sync seamlessly so if I’ve just created a new password on my Mac, and go out, my iPhone now has that same secure password on it!

What about all the times you go to purchase something online and you have to hunt for your credit card to enter that information? Well, 1Password will store that information securely as well. Then, when you go to make a purchase, you just engage 1Password and it fills in all the necessary information – including your three or four digit secure code!

1Password can keep track of your software licenses, email configurations, wifi configurations if you need to store something securely, 1Password is the program to do that for you. I was talking today with some computer friends. We began the conversation talking about software we use on a daily basis and couldn’t live without. For me, 1Password is one of those programs.

Here’s to safer computing.

Typinator: How to re-type frequently used snippets easier

One of the other apps I use every single day is Typinator from Ergonis Software. According to my own use of Typinator, my stats look like this:

285 corrections, 5004 expansions
average saving: 49.6 keystrokes/expansion
saved time: 22.27 hours
(at 196 keystrokes per minute)

I’ve been using Typinator since 2007. I have perhaps a couple of dozen shortcuts defined, and realistically use maybe ½ that, but those I tend to use I use a lot. Many of them are multi-line items such as my signature. Some are just mail account names or such but it is so much easier to use Typinator for these.

The idea behind programs such as Typinator is there are things you type every day or at often can help to type these for you while you type just a few letters, usually called a ‘snippet.’

For instance, for special persons, and for fun on their birthday, I might post on their Facebook page:

♪♫♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♫
Hippo birdie two ewes!
Hippo birdie two ewes!
Hippo birdie deer Greg!
Hippo birdie two ewes!
And many boar!
♪♫♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♫

That was accomplished by just typing “fhbd” (without the quotes).

Or, something simple, but for ‘challenged’ typists like me it’s easier to type ‘shg’ to get: <sheepish grin>.

You get the idea. I use Typinator for all sorts of snippets. Give it a try.

Some other programs similar to Typinator include: TextExpander and TypeIt4Me. An advantage these two hold over Typinator is they have iOS versions, although they don’t function on those devices like they do on a Mac. And, if you use Windows, I’d recommend Jitbit Autotext. It works in Windows the way these others do for Mac. It will even import TextExpander snippets, a real plus. Read more at: http://www.jitbit.com/autotext/free-autotext/ © Jitbit

Keyboard Maestro

I’ve been using Keyboard Maestro since at least 10.1 (Cougar).

Why do I like it? Primarily one reason: I can switch from open application to open application while hiding all the other open apps. Apple added Spaces to Leopard, which created virtual desktops for open apps. This was continued in Snow Leopard and changed to Mission Control in Lion. Spaces and Mission Control are welcome additions to OS X, but for someone who just doesn’t want the clutter of a million open windows, Keyboard Maestro is so much simpler and so much more elegant. Using Option-Tab,  just a variation of CMD-Tab built-in, you can switch apps and never have to deal with the open windows of everything else running.

But, Keyboard Maestro is so much more. Did you use Quick Keys back in the OS 9 and earlier days? It’s still around and is $59.95. For $36, or less if you are upgrading, Keyboard Maestro lets you create macros to your hearts content. And, there’s also a place for saving clipboard items you use regularly.

Keyboard Maestro is one of the invaluable tools for my everyday use on my Mac. Wouldn’t live without it! You can find Keyboard Maestro here: http://bit.ly/Jqv6q0 or on the Mac App store.