KeePass2Android password manager


At $WORK, I use a commercial password management tool that seems to fit my needs as well as the company’s. For my home use, however, I prefer open source.

My password manager of choice has been KeePass. I like it’s open nature and wide variety of supported platforms. As I began to use it regularly, though, I realized that keeping all these password databases in sync is a huge challenge. Earlier this week I went searching to see if another open source password manager might do the trick and thanks to this post on the excellent Linuxious blog I discovered KeePass2Android.

KeePass2Android is a fork of KeePass and uses KeePass’s same libraries to manipulate its databases. The big win for KeePass2Android, though, is its extensive support for remote files. It supports databases hosted on popular file-sharing tools such as Google Drive, DropBox,, as well as SFTP-and-WebDAV-hosted files. It’s also been rewritten from Java to Mono for Android, which seems to be snappier than the Java version.

Now I have KeePass2Android installed on all of my devices and pointed to the same database! That’s one big feature now no longer solely the domain of commercial password managers. Score one for open source!

The Bishop’s Boys

Just finished the excellent biography by Tom D. Crouch of the Wright Brothers called The Bishop’s Boys. A few things I came away with after reading this book:

  • The Wrights may not have been the first to take to the air, but they were indeed the first to do so in a controlled, purposeful manner. That’s the difference between a glider and an airplane.
  • They stood on the shoulders of giants. The Wrights gathered up all the research they could find on the efforts to build an airplane and added their own to it. Granted it was pretty important stuff, stability and all, but they didn’t start exactly from the ground-up as I always imagined they did.
  • Though they shared many of the same unique qualities that aided their invention, the airplane started as Wilbur’s project and Orville joined in later. Wilbur primarily worked out the engineering problems and Orville’s mechanical skills transformed them into a working machine. They worked jointly on both but these were the strengths of each.
  • The brothers considered themselves to be failures, lacking ambition in life, before they were inspired to build the airplane.
  • Science said an airplane couldn’t be built. Engineering proved it could. According to the book, science couldn’t even explain how an airplane worked until a quarter-century after the first one took to the skies.
  • The Wrights were top-notch engineers. Smart, knowledgeable, intensely curious, and exceedingly careful. They really wanted to know everything that went into making an airplane fly. They didn’t take anyone’s word for anything. This is partially why they succeeded without killing themselves in the process, unlike so many of their contemporaries.
  • Once their airplane flew the Wrights became essentially arms dealers, selling it to the highest bidders among various governments. There isn’t much discussion about the moral repercussions of having their invention become a weapon of war. The Wrights seemed never to have a second thought about this, nor was there any apparent push to have it used primarily for peaceful purposes. The Wrights were too eager to cash in, in my view.
  • Orville Wright nearly died from typhoid fever in 1896, seven years before the first flight.
  • The Wright Brothers take to the air for the first time, Dec 17, 1903.

    The Wright Brothers take to the air for the first time, Dec 17, 1903.

  • Both brothers were high school dropouts.
  • Both were thoroughly unfazed by the rich and powerful. They were called on by kings and presidents and treated them the same as anyone else.
  • The Wrights never would’ve gotten off the ground if it were not for the selfless assistance of their unsung sister, Katherine. I suppose “The Wright Brothers and Sister” didn’t have the same ring to it.
  • For several years after their first flight, the world considered them frauds and liars. It was only several years later that the Wrights’ airplane was publicly demonstrated.
  • As Orville mused later in his life, he and Wilbur might never have created the airplane if so many circumstances hadn’t lined up precisely the way they did. The book is an entertaining account of how fate did line up.

    News and Observer and I part ways

    Over the summer the bank canceled the credit card used by thieves on their New Jersey shopping spree. This was the same card used to pay for our News and Observer subscription, and on 12 July our subscription officially expired. The N&O continued to deliver papers and supplemented that with several letters in the mail asking us to call them. After repeatedly leaving messages for Miriam Widger, the newspaper’s “Audience Retention and Collection Agent,” she finally called me back.

    Miriam told me we could continue to subscribe for the incredibly low price of $351 for 52 weeks.

    “Gosh,” I responded, “I see on your website that we can get a new subscription for only $109.20 for 52 weeks. Why would you charge your long-time customers three times as much as a new subscriber?”
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    Scanning 3D objects with the Structure sensor

    This is a 3D rendering of me

    This is a 3D rendering of me

    As an employee of a company located on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus, I have access to the tech lending program of the N.C. State libraries. One of the more interesting devices I found there two weeks ago was a 3D scanner kit consisting of an iPad Air and an Occipital Structure 3D Sensor device. Not knowing much about it I thought I would take it home for a week and see what it could do.

    The sensor integrates with the iPad by using the iPad’s built-in camera in conjunction with the Structure sensor. The sensor paints the scene in front of it with infrared grid points. The sensor then detects how this grid is bent by the object in the field and, together with the iPad’s sensitive accelerometers, computes the dimensions of the object. All of this happens in seconds and it’s quite amazing to watch!
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    The Psychedelic Furs

    The Psychedelic Furs play Raleigh's Lincoln Theatre.

    The Psychedelic Furs play Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre.

    Months ago, Kelly and I bought tickets when The Psychedelic Furs announced they’d be playing at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre. Last night was that night and I was on Cloud Nine. Kelly was initially ambivalent about going but once the Furs took the stage she really got into it.

    I made jokes on Twitter about being in an older crowd and, truly, it was a more mature crowd. Richard Butler and his bandmates didn’t slow down, though, as the Furs played the many hits they’ve racked up over the years. What a show! The faces may be older and there might be some new bandmates, but other than that it could’ve been a Furs show in their heyday.
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    N&O changes

    Gary Pearce weighed in on the News and Observer’s recent print changes so I figured I should do the same.

    During our fair visit Friday, I stopped by the N&O booth and chatted with one of the reps there. I volunteered that I liked the new changes to the paper (the local section and front section have been merged) and was told that I’m “one out of a million.” Apparently the feedback from subscribers has been mostly negative.

    I pay more attention to the local stories since that’s something the N&O can cover better than anyone else. I like that the local coverage is getting more prominent.

    On the other hand, though, I do have to fight with my daughter (mainly) for a section of paper to read in the mornings. Not having a front and local section makes it difficult to share.

    I certainly don’t blame the N&O for experimenting, though. I think any newspaper that doesn’t try to change and adapt in these times is at risk of extinction in these fast-moving times for journalism.

    Dueling phones: iPhone vs. Android

    As luck would have it, I have been issued a company cellphone, an iPhone. Company policy is that all mobile phones accessing corporate resources have to have a self-destruct app installed. Thus, if I don’t want to expose my personal smartphone to potential destruction (does it say “this message will self destruct…” before smoke pours out?) I must carry two. While this is inconvenient, having both an iPhone and an Android has given me insight on the two that I wouldn’t ordinarily have.

    My thoughts? What, did you expect to come to MT.Net and not get my thoughts? Here’s what I think about the two platforms:

    Speed – advantage iPhone. My new 5s runs rings around my Samsung Galaxy Epic 4G Touch. That’s not surprising since my Samsung is positively ancient.
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    Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC has great customer service!

    After losing my job in December, I signed up for an Affordable Care Act health care plan, a.k.a. Obamacare to cover the family. It could have been cheaper, of course, had our short-sighted state leaders implemented a healthcare marketplace (you know, free market competition and such) but the rate I got was significantly cheaper than a COBRA plan.

    Anyhow, I recently submitted paperwork for an automatic bank draft for the policy but the paperwork apparently hasn’t gone through. This necessitated two phone calls to Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Customer Service this past week. These calls uncovered a technical snafu that’s still being solved but still I have to say that the customer service representatives I spoke with are two of the finest who have ever assisted me with anything. They love their jobs, they love talking to people, and seemed to be willing to spend whatever time it took to get my issue sorted out.
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    Careerbuilder ignoring location preferences

    This is a case of “too much of a good thing.” A few weeks ago, tired of the few job opportunities coming my way from LinkedIn, I posted my resume on The job opportunity floodgates opened and I was soon inundated with job opportunities.

    One would think that would be a Good Thing, but instead the opportunities left something to be desired. Out of state recruiters, some who could barely speak English, were calling me about jobs that were nowhere near Raleigh, which is the only place I want to work.

    I want to somehow add “NOT interested in relocating” to my Careerbuilder profile but Careerbuilder doesn’t have any such option. Now, Careerbuilder does offer the ability to specify what location its job seekers are interested in. I’ve taken advantage of that option as seen below: Continue reading

    N&O spreads flawed password advice

    Courtesy Davide Restivo

    Courtesy Davide Restivo

    In today’s Connect section of the News and Observer, reporter John Bordsen asked a panel of technology experts about how to protect oneself from online hackers. I have a few beefs with this article which I’ll describe here.

    The first is from Dr. Magdy Attia, dean of the College of STEM at Charlotte’s Johnson C. Smith University:

    Change your passwords and make them long. “Your password should be changed every month or every two months – and make it hard to guess,” Attia said. “Some people use kids’ names, birthdates or whatever. But there are software packages that can scan a large number of passwords to find out what can work. A hacker can use these tools to scan for possibilities.”

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