How to use Google docs (somewhat) securely

I’ve been keeping more and more information in Google Docs, and it turns out that there is a neat trick to using the service more securely.

As it turns out, Google docs honors https urls, even though it doesn’t force you to use them. I use Firefox for most of my day-to-day browsing, and by doing the following, it was easy for me to always use the https version of the urls.

1) View your browser history and remove all occurances of google docs.
2) Remove any bookmarks you may have that point to google docs.
3) Type “https://docs.google.com” into your URL bar to visit Google Docs securely.
4) Recreate any bookmarks you may have had to point to the https version of the URL.

Everyone uses browsers differently, but the way I get to Google Docs is to type cmd-L to get to the URL bar, and then type “doc” or something like that, at which point I use Firefox’s autocompletion to pick Google Docs. Now that the history has been purged of the non-https versions of the URLs, I always end up visiting the site through a secure protocol.

Why this matters

By going over https, all the data that moves back and forth between the browser and the Google server is encrypted. That means that the content of my documents, spreadsheets, etc., can’t be viewed by someone snooping on the wifi transmission, or anywhere else on the network.

Is this paranoid? Sure. Does this make Google Docs secure enough to store highly sensitive information? Probably not. But this trick only took five minutes to do, and now there is one less way for people to snoop on my sensitive information, so I consider that a win.


Fireworks toolkit for creating iPhone UI mockups

While designing Notespark, we did a lot of UI mockups. As it turns out, I prefer using Fireworks for this kind of work over Photoshop, because it’s easier to manipulate objects on the screen. After doing some Google searching, it appeared there weren’t any good templates for doing iPhone mockups, so we built our own.

The toolkit is fairly complete now, so we’re sharing it with the world. You can use it to create your own mockups of iPhone apps.


All items in the file have been redrawn as vectors for easy editing. You can read more about it and download it at the post on Blogspark.


Notespark v1.1 now available at the iTunes Store

After a lot of hassle with the iTunes Store, we are proud to announce that Notespark v1.1 is now available!

Screenshots and a long, rambling discussion about the design of one of the features can be found at Blog*spark.


iTunes store usability FAIL!

Earlier today, we submitted v1.1 of Notespark to the iTunes store, using iTunes Connect, which is the web UI that application authors use to access the App Store.

Apple is the design expert, right? So this UI has got to be, like, awesome, right?

Now take a look at this screen.

iTunes store UI

What do you think happens when you follow these steps:

* click on “edit information” underneath the 1.1 version of Notespark
* set the “availability date” to 1/29/2009

Possible answers:
A) It sets the availability date of version 1.1 to 1/29/2009
B) It sets the availability date of BOTH version 1.0 and 1.1 to 1/29/2009

If you guessed (B), you are way smarter than I am. And because 1/29/2009 is in the future, it immediately removed version 1.0 from the iTunes App Store. ARRGGHHHH!!!! Setting the date back didn’t seem to help any.

Let’s just hope the app comes back tomorrow.

[Late update] Yes, the app is back. Whew!


Need beta users for Notespark v1.1

Hi folks. We need beta testers for v1.1 of Notespark. This is a quick update with just a few highly requested features (landscape mode, search, and a few more) so the testing period will be short.

Please email us at feedback [at] notespark.com if you are interested.