Password Safe, an upgrade with glitches

I am in the process of upgrading Password Safe on all my computers from versions 3.42 and 3.43 to the latest 3.46.

I feel somewhat forced to do this since having the most recent version of the store for your sensitive passwords feels mandatory, though I really don’t like the new version for two main reasons. And while these may seem minor, they annoy me to the point of considering changing to competitor Keepass, at least to see how it works.

The main problems are first of all the new version has removed support for system tray icon color, and it’s now red (brown?) when Password Safe is minimized without any open database. And while I don’t have a color problem with seeing differences between red and green, I really liked having this white.

The second and more interesting issue is that the new version has a setting for autostart, just like the previous versions have. But the new version also seems to preload opening of the database in some way. While the old installed version would autostart the software, opening the actual database would require choosing File… Open…, the new has already selected the last used database and as soon as the icon in the system tray is clicked the password prompt appears.

Now this may seem handy, but what I’m not sure is how this works, is the database opened or not? And if opened, how does this affect file locks on the file in Dropbox. and furthermore, how does it affect login to multiple computers at the same time? I’d really prefer if autostart only actually autostarted the program itself.

Oddly enough, the database cannot be closed from the system tray before having been first unlocked, and a mouse-over shows no filename, indicating the database is actually not really open. But in that case the icon color ought to be red (brown?) instead of the green it is now.

I would have given Keepass another try again much sooner had it not been for the difficulties in finding a reliable and trustworthy iOS counterpart for the Windows version.

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Messages in iCloud

This morning it finally arrived, iOS 11.4 and Messages in iCloud. Finally I was going to be able to sync up all my devices where messages had been scattered over time. Partly because purchasing a new phone and not restoring backups, and partly due to some glitch for a short while causing all replies to SMS:es sent from my phone to end up on my iPad only.

And it worked. Right out of the box.

Now I haven’t counted every single SMS since they’re from 4-5 years at least, but it looks like most messages got over from the old, otherwise unusable, phone to the new one, and the messages from the iPad as well. Oddly though, messages does not seem to have synced to the iPad. But I can live with that.

For this one feature, this was the best iOS upgrade in a very long time.

Upgrading Plex to version 1.12.1.4885

I needed to upgrade Plex on my QNAP NAS again, and I felt quite hesitant considering the last few botched attempts. It began with the new iOS app update change notes that Plex would in the near future start to require a minimum server version.

I was running, mostly happy, on version 1.3.4.3285, which was released almost precisely a year ago, and had it not been for the iOS requirements I would probably not have risked upgrading. I seem to have forgotten to write down the pains and rollback of the attempts to upgrade to versions 1.4, 1.5.5 and 1.5.6, but the bugs were plenty and rollback was required since I don’t really want to rebuild my entire library, that takes far too much time I do not have.

But it’s been a year and the current version is 1.12, and I hoped most bugs would have been fixed, though I initially feared I would also need to upgrade QNAP firmware at the same time which I hoped to avoid since it’ll replace my current 32-bit firmware with 64-bit, which is nice if everything works of course. But there’s so much pain if it doesn’t.

Anyway, there was a 32-bit version available and I just did an in-place upgrade, and surprisingly everything worked. (This wasn’t always the case). And the initial feeling is that the new design looks fair enough. Not as good as the old one but I guess it’ll have to do. Though I still haven’t tested all my devices if they actually still work, my first impression is ok.

But what would a Plex upgrade be without its glitches, and so far here’s what:

  • The Plex server is a bit slower at starting after NAS reboot, than the previous versions. Not a big deal since I don’t reboot more than a few times per year.
  • The Plex server settings now require login with an account, so I needed to create one. Somewhat annoying since I don’t feel I need it, but I won’t rollback due to this.
  • The new dashboard came with some youtubeian newsfeed, mainly US sources, but even with local sources I wouldn’t have wanted it. Luckily after some searching Plex support site there was an option to disable the newsfeed. Gone!
  • The new dashboard also comes with an ugly scrollbar if the number of libraries are too many to fit on one screen, that really could have been fixed I think. But it’s still only on the annoying level on the scale.
  • Lastly background images are gone in the web player, only the covers remain and some dizzy thing indicating there might be a blurred version of the background image somewhere. Now this is more annoying, but I haven’t yet had time to see how this looks in the iOS apps, so I’ll not do a rollback for this either. At least just not yet.

At least mostly positive experiences from the upgrade so far (i.e. Plex actually works, the upgrade didn’t break any libraries, and I didn’t have to upgrade firmware at the same time). One has to be grateful for the little things nowadays.

Upgrading to WordPress 4.9.4

When I initially started keeping track of my upgrades, of both WordPress but also mostly all other software updates as well, it was since there had been several bugs caused by updates, in turn causing me to spend a lot of time troubleshooting and resolving these. And I wanted to keep a log on when I upgraded, what I upgraded to easier find and resolve issues and how much time I spent on these rather meaningless tasks.

Over the last few years the updates on all platforms I use have both become so frequent it’s become quite impossible to write them all down, the steady trickle of updates have become a huge flood, but on the other hand updates have overall, with some quite notable exceptions, become much better in quality and have required less and less time and intervention from me.

Such as with WordPress, which has been silently and robustly updating itself across all my sites. With an exception today, where the 4.9.4 update just sat there waiting for my approval, for some reason. Maybe I was too fast, or just logged in precisely at the time it became available and the auto-update had not yet had time to react, I don’t know, but there it was, the surprise of having to manually initiate an update. But it worked flawlessly.

The danger of all these successful auto-updates is that I’ve been negligent with doing backups. Since they usually work. And usually update themselves overnight. And doing backups “just in case” is a really great example of wasting time which I don’t have.

Anyway, if only MediaWiki could advance to a state where updates could be performed with the same ease as WordPress. Since at the moment leaving MediaWiki is not an option.

And the cumulative updates of Windows 10 and Windows server are still a pain in size and time taken to install, even if they auto-update fairly well most of the time…

AppleTV doesn’t support 2-factor authentication

In my attempts to secure my account from the oddness that happened a few weeks ago where my devices in short order became untrusted, several times in a row even after being re-authenticated by me, I’ve activated the new 2-factor-authentication from Apple (the previous one is now called 2-step-authentication).

It seems to work great, I get approval requests for most login attempts, but so far I’ve seen two occasions where 2FA-login is not working or not respected.

The first and most annoying is that Apple TV does not seem to support 2FA-login. So I’m unable to login to my Apple TV for now. But so far it’s not a big problem since I can stream everything through my iPad or iPhone. But it’s still a glitch.

The second is maybe intentional, but when upgrading to iOS 11 I noticed that after the phone restarts and you’re asked to login, even if it’s not on the primary phone used for approving authentication, but a secondary phone, the 2FA approval request is not required, only username and password and then you’re logged in. Luckily I can see logged in devices through the account page, but I consider this a glitch as well.

Upgraded to iOS 11

I’ve upgraded my things to iOS 11, and so far I can only see positive news in this.

It’s really incredibly faster on an iPhone 5S, and the new graphical design on the iPad is actually useful, even if not absolutely necessary.

I do miss updates on a few apps like Facebook and YouTube to allow them to run in the new multitasking, Side by Side or SlideOver modes, but hopefully that will come at some later point.

All in all so far the upgrade is great. It almost make me forget how nice the old iOS design looked like, before all this flatness happened.