Tyke – The simplest note taker for your Mac

Tyke has been around for a year now and I’ve been using it for much of that time.  No updates to this little free utility yet, and even the original download location has been co-opted by a Twitter user.  Still, it’s worth finding and downloading.

So what is Tyke?  It’s a menu bar application for your Macintosh that holds a plain text note until you quit the app or restart.  Need to remove styles and formatting from text before you cut and paste something?  Drop it in Tyke. Want to do a quick edit of text without opening an app? Tyke to the rescue.  Simply want a scratch pad for some notes that you may or may not keep?  Tyke.

It’s simple, free, and likely something you need but didn’t know that you did.

The author is Andre Torrez from Slack — here’s his blog, which is also a good resource and fun to read:  http://torrez.org/

The download site for Tyke has moved to https://tyke.app/

LastPass – Better than KeePass?

LastPassI’ve been giving LastPass a try for about a month now as a replacement for KeePass, and so far it’s a keeper.  It does more of what I need it to do, and does it better.  For those of you that may not know what either tool does, these are password safes that keep an encrypted version of all of your passwords.  You just need your master password to gain access to a file that holds all of your important passwords.  Keeping complex passwords that are unique to each site or usage is a vital way of protecting your finances and identity.  These tools make that difficult task manageable and simpler.

lastpassSo what does LastPass do that KeePass does not?  Let’s start by talking about that.  LastPass works as a browser plugin that interacts with an encrypted file that is stored on your computer, and syncs the encrypted file with the LastPass servers for use on all of your devices.  Only encrypted data is shared via the Internet.  In a sense, LastPass does what I do with KeePass using DropBox natively.

LastPass does more though.  With LastPass, you can save a profile for auto completion of forms, monitor your credit, hold secure notes, and share safely your data with other LastPass users (like your spouse or family).  Both tools will generate complex passwords for you, but LastPass does it within your browser and in a simpler fashion.

Using LastPass is easier for me.  With the credit monitoring feature, and with the very reasonable annual fee, I can also have an app on my iPhone and iPad that syncs all of my passwords, too.  But perhaps the most important thing that LastPass does that KeePass does not, is multi factor authentication.  With even the free version of LastPass, you can use Google’s free application for multi-factor authentication with your phone.  This vastly improves your security and it’s easy to use.

The bottom line, I’m sold on LastPass.  So much so, I bought  a three year subscription even though the free version really does all I need it to do.

iBank – Great Macintosh QuickBooks Replacement Software

I finally upgraded to Lion — I got Snow Leopard just to make the upgrade, having not even bothered with that update either — and spent a fair amount of time researching and analyzing replacement software for programs I either didn’t want to pay to upgrade (Photoshop) or ones that simply won’t work any longer on this modern OS that is tuned to run on the Core Duo 2 chip set. This post is for one of the programs that falls into that latter grouping – a replacement for QuickBooks.


My copy of QuickBooks for Macintosh was actually not supposed to be run on Leopard but I had determined several work arounds to keep it alive, but it was a pain. I really wasn’t a fan of QuickBooks either and wanted something that would not only replace this so-called “business standard” but be better to use, too. Simply put, I never even liked QuickBooks. It was clunky, had reports I didn’t want or need, and was difficult to use. I got it because it was what seemed to be the “standard” in business. It was time to think differently about that.

For about a week, I researched and when possible tried out different Lion capable accounting software packages. Some were good, and several were better than QuickBooks, but it was iBank that really fit all of my needs.

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