It’s Worth It App Wednesday (#WAW) again, my weekly look at a couple of apps I think are well worth spending your money on. While there are free apps for virtually every imaginable need out there these days, it’s worth checking out the available paid apps, and seeing how much better designed and full-functioned they often are.
Worth It App of The Week (iOS): Downcast
If you’re into the whole resurgent podcast craze, or wondering what all fuss is about, Downcast is a great way to find new podcasts and to download the current podcasts you subscribe to. The $2.99 app is dedicated solely to listening to and/or watching podcasts, and as such, it’s a far more refined user experience than Apple’s comparatively weak Podcast iOS app, or worse, using iTunes on your Mac to download and play your podcasts.
From within Downcast you can search for new podcasts, or subscribe to one directly if you already know the URL. The app will auto-download podcast subscriptions in the background so you’re aways current, and even works with password protected (paid!) podcasts. If downloading isn’t your thing, it’s even possible to stream episodes.
If you prefer to listen to or watch podcasts on your Mac, there’s Downcast for Mac as well. At $9.99 it’s a bit more expensive than the iOS version, but again, if you subscribe to a bunch of podcasts, and you’re aching to escape Apple’s iTunes catchall media manager experience, just click on the link below and kiss iTunes goodbye (at least for podcasts).
Worth It App The Week (Mac): 1 Password
No doubt if you’re a follower of the Tech Haven blog, Facebook page or Twitter feed, you’ve heard us praise 1 Password for simple and efficient password creation, management and use. Suffice it to say that when it comes to wrangling passwords, 1 Password simply has no equal.
As the app’s name suggests, all you need to remember is one password for the 1 Password database itself, and the application will auto-fill the login information into whatever websites you visit (after you install the respective Safari, Chrome or Firefox extension). It couldn’t be easier, and is literally life-altering if you seek to live a life with unique secure passwords.
More than a mere password manager/creator/filler-iner, 1 Password can also be used to store (and auto-fill) credit card information for online shopping and includes templates to store social security numbers, software licenses, server access information, secure notes, bank account info and more. All this vital information is safely stored in a database with military-grade encryption, so you can feel confident that it’s safe from both prying eyes and those set on causing you harm.
Having an unsecured Word file with all your vital information and passwords in it is simply a bad idea – especially if you’re using a laptop that you take out of the house with you every day, where a quick check of Recent Items… could instantly reveal your most sensitive information.
With iCloud or Dropbox syncing capabilities, you can share your 1 Password between your Macs and iOS devices for the ultimate in portable password management. The base 1 Password app for iOS is a free download, with an in-app purchase to unlock the “Pro” features. With iOS 8 extensions, 1 Password can truly shine, allowing you to unlock 1 Password with TouchID (if your phone is capable) and enter usernames and passwords directly into the Safari browser.
The bottom line is you need strong and unique passwords for all the sites and services you access online, and a good rule of thumb is if you can remember a password, it’s not a good password. You know what’s a good password? X2c&$frT![4y*5Vj9) is a great password. Nobody’s cracking that any time soon. Take the burden off yourself, have 1 Password create and manage your passwords, and start living a more secure life online.
At $34.99 (temporarily on sale, down from $49.99) 1 Password might be the most expensive app you’ve purchased in a while, but give yourself a week to learn all the app’s ins and outs, and it’ll be the best app you ever bought.