How to reset OmniFocus WebDAV logins

December 26, 2014

A few months ago I wrote about using Box’s WebDAV to sync OmniFocus across devices, and have since decided to move my OmniFocus database from my corporate Box account to my personal one. This wasn’t as easy as it should have been, and frankly, I was starting to think that the only solution was to delete and reinstall OmniFocus on OS X and iOS.

The gist of the problem is that, bizarrely, neither version of OmniFocus lets you reset the login credentials for a WebDAV account, and the WebDAV URL for Box accounts is the same no matter the login/pass. (I found just one mention of this issue on the official support forum, but there’s been no response.) In fact, even if you change the URL to something nonsensical and let the app fail when trying to sync, it will still use the old credentials when you revert back to the correct URL (i.e., it never prompts you to re-enter your credentials).

Before I started digging into system and support files to look for where the credentials might be stored (so I could delete them), I wondered if, because WebDAV was just an extension of HTTPS, I could simply inject my new credentials into the URL, like so: https://login:pass@domain. Turns out you can…sometimes, but with OmniFocus that didn’t work. In various combinations, the scheme either broke completely, or was just flat-out ignored, and the sync progressed as usual, with the old credentials.

As I was flailing around I tried using just https://:@domain (i.e., no credentials at all), and on OS X this forced the user/pass prompt! I plugged in my new credentials and it started syncing to the new account. Whew.

Unfortunately, this didn’t work on iOS. :@ is simply ignored like every other combination. Short of deleting and reinstalling the app, I was at a loss as to how to resolve this on iOS. The only solution I could come up with was resetting the database (SettingsDatabaseReset). Once you do that, you’ll finally be prompted for a login/pass when you go to the WebDAV settings. It’s not a perfect solution, but gets around you having to delete/reinstall the app and rejigger all of your settings.

Working: A Podcast#

David Plotz:

I interviewed 17 Americans about their jobs. My mission was slightly different than Terkel’s (or Scarry’s). Terkel dug into how people feel about their jobs. But I wanted to know exactly how they do their jobs. What’s the first thing she does when she gets to work in the morning? What tools does she use? How does she talk to her boss? What are the peculiar customs or lingo in her profession?

This may be my favorite new podcast of the past year (apart from Serial, of course). I’ve listened to most of the episodes and especially enjoyed the one about being a waiter.

State of the species#

Charles Mann:

Why and how did humankind become “unusually successful”? And what, to an evolutionary biologist, does “success” mean, if self-destruction is part of the definition? Does that self-destruction include the rest of the biosphere? What are human beings in the grand scheme of things anyway, and where are we headed? […]

If we follow [Georgii] Gause’s pattern, growth will continue at a delirious speed until we hit the second inflection point. At that time we will have exhausted the resources of the global petri dish, or effectively made the atmosphere toxic with our carbon-dioxide waste, or both. After that, human life will be, briefly, a Hobbesian nightmare, the living overwhelmed by the dead. When the king falls, so do his minions; it is possible that our fall might also take down most mammals and many plants. Possibly sooner, quite likely later, in this scenario, the earth will again be a choir of bacteria, fungi, and insects, as it has been through most of its history.

It would be foolish to expect anything else, [Lynn] Margulis thought. More than that, it would be unnatural.

Drone racing in the woods evokes more than a few Star Wars memories#

France’s Airgonay club recently raced flying drones through a forest using a combination of cameras and wearable displays to immerse pilots in the action. As you’ll see in the highlight video below, it’s both thrilling and more than a little challenging – racers have to both dodge around trees and other drones that could come from virtually any direction.

Getting to system-level app settings in iOS 8

November 09, 2014

One thing I don’t think I’ve seen anyone mention regarding iOS 8 is how easy it now is to get to the various system-level settings for each app. In earlier versions of iOS, when you wanted to, for example, change the notification settings for a particular app, you had to jump into Settings > Notifications and then scroll, scroll, scroll until you found the app whose settings you wanted to modify. The incredibly frustrating thing was that this list wasn’t (and still isn’t) sorted alphabetically, and so if you had a ton of apps installed it could take you forever to find the one you wanted.

With iOS 8, all of an app's system-level settings and permissions (e.g., Location, Photos, Notifications, etc.) are bundled together in an alpha-sorted list of apps that begins at the bottom of the main Settings screen. For someone like me, who changes these settings fairly often, this is a huge improvement.

NIGHT Cable from Native Union#

None of us enjoy fumbling around for dropped cables or straining to use our devices when they’re recharging. NIGHT Cable gives you a 3 metre range to comfortably charge anywhere. Its weighted knot can be anchored to any flat surface, so it’s there when you need it next.

Ordered × 2.

Omnifocus syncing with Box

October 25, 2014

A couple of years ago I outlined my frustration regarding the dearth of secure syncing options for Omnifocus, and offered a solution in the way of a company called CloudSafe, which provides WebDAV syncing that encrypts the data both in transit and at rest.

Lately my syncs have been timing out, or returning malformed data that Omnifocus couldn’t read. This seemed to happen more often at work than at home, but it was always incredibly frustrating—sometimes a full day would go by without a successful sync while at the office.

Fast-forward to earlier this week when I had just about had it with the timeouts, and started looking for another solution. I knew from my previous research into this that very few companies offered a fully-secure WebDAV service, but I was hoping at least one more had popped up in the interim.

The company I work for uses Box a fair amount (which encrypts everywhere) and on a whim I started digging into their documentation to see if they offered a WebDAV service, and, well, they do! Not only that, but I’m pretty sure it's available to users of the “Personal” (read: free) plan. (I can’t confirm this because I’m using my corporate plan, but I’ve seen nothing that makes me think otherwise. Worst case, I suspect WebDAV is available with the $5/month plan.)

I set it up a few days ago and my syncs have been smooth sailing—fast and error-free.

(And yes, this was just a very long-winded way of saying that Box has a secure WebDAV option. You’re right, I probably should have just tweeted it.)

Cloak VPN for OS X and iOS#

One of the coolest features of this VPN service is that it will auto-secure networks that aren’t in a whitelist you create. For example, let’s say you try to get on a WiFi network that’s not the one at your house or office (which you would have previously whitelisted); Cloak will automatically pop into action and secure your data. Additionally, these settings are sync’d across your Mac and iOS devices.

Cloak is the best kind of service–one that just works, and that you don’t have to think about at all. Set it and forget it.

For my money and peace of mind, their $99/year unlimited data plan is a steal.

Climendo iOS app#

It’s been a long time since I wrote about a weather app, and for good reason—Dark Sky came out, and it’s great. That said, and as with any weather app, you have to have a little faith in its forecasts; you kind of have to make a deal with yourself that this service’s data is going to be your canonical data. If you don’t make that deal, then you’re constantly going to be questioning the app’s data.

The problem for me is that I question the data no matter what, and I’ve said for a long time that I’d like an app that “averages” the data from all of the competing providers, which is exactly what Climendo does.

The presentation isn’t great (and in fact, it’s a little confusing), but the sentiment is there, and I think with a little polish this app could become a daily driver. The name is hideous and the icon is even worse, but the idea is a great one and I hope to see them iterate on it (though I’m not too confident on that front as it hasn’t been updated since July).

Wikipedia iOS app#

Did you guys even know this existed? It was news to me, and they’re on v4.0.3 (which includes iPhone 6 (Plus) support). Anyway, it’s a pretty good app, and in fact, I’ve deleted Wikipanion+ and Articles from my iOS devices. The only thing that’s really missing for me is in-page search, the lack of which I think is a bit embarrassing given the whole point of the app/service.

JUMP Cable from Native Union#

I’ve been meaning to write about this since the day I got it a couple of months ago. The packaging and build quality are incredible, and one could easily see this gracing the shelves of an Apple store. (To be fair, Native Union has been an operating company for a long time, and so it’s not so surprising to receive such a highly-polished product from them, despite it being Kickstarter’d.)

Because I backed the Kickstarter campaign, I had the option to get the “smoke grey” version, which of course I did, because the body is translucent, allowing you to see some of its innards. It’s a beautiful piece of kit, and light enough that if you need to dangle it while plugged into your phone, it’s really not a big deal.

My only real complaint is that it can be a little difficult to “unsnap” the USB and Lightning connectors from their closed positions. I don’t like having to put fingernail notches in the rubberized coating to release the connectors.

While on the topic of portable power, I have my eye on uNu’s Ultrapak Go, which apparently can— after just 15 minutes of charging—provide a full battery’s worth of power to an iPhone 5s. I asked the company whether additional wall chargers could be bought (because I’d like to charge the Ultrapak at work and home), and they told me that spares should be available for purchase near the end of August.

Ultimate Ears BOOM Bluetooth speaker#

I’ve owned quite a few Bluetooth speakers and this one is by far my favorite. Apropos of nothing, a few weeks ago I decided to buy the black/red model, and have come to absolutely adore it.

The design, the packaging, the incredibly solid build quality, the battery life, the flat and flexible micro-USB power cable, the sound quality, and the rubberized body are all excellent. But, what makes it really stand apart for me, and makes it almost a non-device, is the way it connects and disconnects to my iOS devices.

It stays connected to my devices until there’s been no activity from any of them for some predetermined timeout period. At this point, it powers down and stays off until I touch the power button. Upon powering up, and assuming one of my devices has Bluetooth turned on, it reconnects within seconds…and if I’m already playing audio on that device, it immediately gets piped through the UE Boom. I realize this sounds obvious—and how it should work—but in my experience, it’s just never been this easy (or consistent).

I can’t recommend this speaker enough.

Rapid Reader#

As far as I know, this is the first Spritz-powered (iOS) app with Pocket integration (+Instapaper and Readability). Unfortunately though, it has a pretty big flaw (that will be fixed in the next release): “archive” and “delete” actions executed within the app don’t cascade down to your read-it-later service, and so you have to keep track of which articles you’ve read and archive/delete them twice.

Update: The issue above has been resolved in the latest version, v1.0.2.