Adventures with Dropbox and KeePass…


Thanks to Eddie Awad, I’ve been using 2-step verification on my Google account for a while. Now Jake from The Appslab has scared me into using a password manager and revamping all my passwords…

We use KeePass (on Windows) at work to hold all our passwords, so I figured I’d go with that and see how I get on. Unlike work, I want to use a single store for all my devices, so I finally found a use for my Dropbox account.

Dropbox Installations

If you don’t already have it, you need to install Dropbox on your device(s). For mobiles, that means their respective app stores. For computers (Linux, Mac and Windows), you can get it from the Dropbox website.

Shared KeePass Installation

Rather than install KeePass on each Windows/Mac/Linux machine separately, I downloaded the Portable KeePass 2.19 (ZIP Package) version of KeePass and unziped it into a “KeePass” directory inside my “Dropbox” directory. That same installation can be used on all Dropbox-enabled desktops and laptops.

KeePass Installations on Linux

  • To run KeePass under Linux, you need to install Mono. On Fedora 17 you can do this with the following command.
    # yum install mono-core mono-tools
  • Once Mono is installed, you can run KeePass with the following command.
    $ mono ~/Dropbox/KeePass/KeePass.exe
  • I created a new KeePass database and saved the “.kdbx” file in my “~/Dropbox/KeePass” directory, so it was available on all my devices..

KeePass works really well on Fedora 17 using Mono.

KeePass Installations on Android

For Android devices, I used the KeePassDroid app.

  • Install the Dropbox app if you don’t already have it. Connect to your Dropbox account and check you can see the “.kdbx” file in the “KeePass” directory.
  • Install the KeePassDroid app.
  • Open Dropbox, locate the “.kdbx” file and tap it.
  • Once the KeePassDroid app opens, check the “Use this as my default database” option, enter the password and click the “OK” key.

The KeePassDroid app works fine on my Nexus 7 and my old HTC Wildfire.

Update: Swapped my phone for a Nexus 4. Not surprisingly, the app works fine on this too. :)

KeePass Installations on iPad/iPhone

For my iPad I used the MiniKeePass app.

  • Install the MiniKeePass app and open it.
  • Hit the “i” in the bottom-middle of the screen.
  • Click the “Dropbox Import/Export” option and follow the instructions.

It’s not a thrilling app, but it does the job.

KeePass Installations on OS X

The KeePass app does not work well (see update below) under the OS X version of Mono. It’s slow and the interface is quite jerky, but you can use it.

  • Download the Mono SDK for Mac. I used the “2.10.9” stable version. When I tried to use the Mono Runtime, KeePass failed to open the database file, so definitely use the SDK. Install the Mono SDK like any other Mac package.
  • Once Mono is installed, run KeePass with the following command.
    $ mono ~/Dropbox/KeePass/KeePass.exe

If you plan to use OS X as your main platform, I would probably use a different password store until Mono on OS X becomes a little more reliable (see update below).

Update: The latest version of KeePass and Mono work pretty well, so my previous warning is not really necessary now. Remember, if you are planning to use KeePass on Mac, make sure you have the latest version of X11 and Mono (3.2.3 or later).

Update 2: I now use KeePassX2 on Mac. It’s in Beta at the moment, but I’ve been using it since the Alpha and it works fine.

So that’s it. I only have to remember my DropBox password and my KeePass password and I can now use ridiculous passwords for all my other logins…



Thank heavens for Time Machine…


I was running through my demos for the OTN Tour of Central America and my laptop completely died!

<assorted expletives removed for fear of offending readers>

I ran through the disk repair utility and it found (and fixed) a number of problems, but still the laptop wouldn’t boot. Time for drastic measures!

Next I started a full restore of the hard disk from Time Machine. I left it running over night and woke up this morning to find a fully functioning laptop. :)

I’m going to record all my live demos so if something bad happens during the tour I can present from a memory stick.

Not exactly what you want the week before you go away…



VirtualBox 4.1.18 Released…


VirtualBox 4.1.18 has been released. It’s a maintenance release and the downloads and changelogs are in the normal places.

It’s been about 2 years since I switched across to VirtualBox (when the shared virtual disks feature was introduced). In that time there have been loads of updates to the product. In the same time frame, VMware Server has had zero releases. I still get a lot of people writing to me about issues with VMware Server installations. I immediately tell them to ditch it. :)



PS. I’ve got nothing against VMware’s paid-for offerings, which do get updates. I just don’t see the point in using them when VirtualBox is free and works great for me.

UltraEdit 3.1 for Mac and Linux…


I’ve been using the beta versions of UltraEdit 3.1 for Mac and Linux for a while, but I only noticed today the production version has been released. I normally get email  updates, so I figure this one must have got directed to spam by accident. :(

Anyway, I’m now rockin’ the latest version on both platforms. Happy days…



AntiVirus Software and Apple Macs…


After a number of recent press stories, especially this one, I finally decided to install antivirus software on my MacBook Pro. I went for the Mac version of Sophos, which is free for home use.

My MacBook Pro is a couple of years old, has traveled the world and been on countless networks during that time. With that in mind, a virus scan revealed a grant total of zero viruses. I doubt I would be able to say that for a Windows laptop with no AV used in similar circumstances.

Although Macs are still a small percentage of the total PC market, I guess the rise in iDevices and the lack of people running AV software on Macs makes them an attractive target. Time will tell if they become the attack vectors everyone is predicting.



iOS 5 on my iPad1…


I’ve just put iOS 5 on my iPad, who wants to touch me?

It took about 30 minutes in total, but I’ve heard some on Twitter saying it took them 3 hours. The update does a full backup and restore, so I guess the more stuff you have on your iPad or iPhone, the longer it takes.

What has changed? Still hasn’t turned it into a white iPad 2… :)

For the casual user like me it seems pretty much the same. I only use the browser and play the odd little game, so I guess I’m not the person to ask about the life-changing nature of iOS 5. :)



UltraEdit for Mac/Linux v2.1.0.3…


Followers of the blog will know I’m a big fan of UltraEdit. I have a multi-platform unlimited upgrades license, so I run it on Linux, Mac and occasionally on a Windows VM.

I noticed today that version was released for Mac and Linux about a month ago. Not sure how I missed that on the update notices. :) The changes for Mac are not that big because it was already at version 2.x, but the Linux version had been hanging around the 1.x for some time now and was missing a lot of functionality compared to the Mac version. This latest release is a pretty big catch-up for the Linux version and it now contains pretty much all of the functionality I use on a regular basis.

Both the Mac and Linux versions are still lagging behind the Windows version in terms of total functionality, but who cares about Windows… :)



My Secret iPad App Addictions…


When using my iPad, I spend the vast majority of my time in a browser. I don’t have many apps and most of the ones I have I don’t use regularly, but I have a couple that have become a secret addiction…

We City – I love this app. Like all these “earn money and build stuff” apps, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on each visit, but you tend to come back several times a day. I guess I check in about 10 times a day, each time for about 1 minute. I’ve found myself taking my iPad round to friends houses so I can check in a couple of times when I’m there, under the guise of checking my emails. Truly pathetic I know, but that’s addictions for you. :)

GarageBand – I’ve been hearing people rave about GarageBand for ages, but I always assumed it was some sort of Guitar Hero game so I ignored it. It was all a bit random, but the other day I installed it to see what all the fuss was about and it is totally awesome. I was in bands at University, but it’s been years since I’ve done anything musical. I pick up a guitar form time to time, but I can barely play anymore. Anyway, a few minutes with this app and you can start building up pretty cool sounding tunes. You can play the instruments themselves, throw in some autoplay stuff for the instruments you don’t play and even use some of the predefined loops. If you get the right connectors, you can even plug in real guitars, keyboards and mics. I don’t think you’ll be hearing me on the radio any time soon, but it’s great fun and well worth the £2.99 I paid for it. I hadn’t realized I already have GarageBand installed on my MacBook Pro. I guess I should take a look and see what that can do that the iPad app can’t, but to be honest, it’s more fun messing with the iPad than sitting at a keyboard.