How To Sync Strip Data Across Multiple Devices

2011-10-09 20:00:00 -0400

A thing that is confusing some new customers of Strip is that replicating your data is not something that iTunes will accomplish when you sync your device. You can’t simply sync two iPhones with Strip to the same copy of iTunes in order to get the data on the two exchanged. Instead you have to avail yourself of sync features we’ve built into the apps, and they can be used in several scenarios, which we’ll discuss below.


When we originally published Strip for iOS in 2008 (then it was iPhoneOS), it was stand-alone software which presented two pressing problems. The only option for backing up your data was to use the iTunes backup feature while keeping your fingers crossed, and there was no way to share or replicate your Strip database with another device (e.g. have your passwords on both your iPhone and your iPod Touch or iPad). We needed to solve these problems before we’d have the chance to build a full desktop port for Mac and Windows, so we created the free utility Strip Sync as our backup and replication solution. In the time that’s passed we’ve finished our ports of Strip for Windows and OS X, and they will eventually replace Strip Sync, which will be discontinued. Strip for Windows and OS X handles data replication in exactly the same way as Strip Sync, so we will only refer to Strip in the rest of this article.

Please note: copies of Strip that you wish to keep in sync must share the same password.

Desktop WiFi

Desktop WiFi sync is controlled by the mobile devices connecting to the desktop. All you should need to do on the desktop side is log in to Strip and leave the app running, it will advertise the sync service on your local WiFi network and await connections. With Strip running on your desktop, you initiate sync by launching Strip on your iOS device, selecting your computer on the sync screen, and tapping a button to start the operation.

These are the basic steps:

  • Launch Strip on your desktop and login, leave it running
  • Launch Strip for iOS on your iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad
  • Tap on the sync tab
  • Make sure Operation is set to Sync (not Overwrite or Restore)
  • Make sure mode is set to Desktop WiFi
  • Tap the Computer setting
  • Select your desktop from the list of computers
  • Tap the Start Sync button

When you sync, you are not simply creating a backup (although the effect with the initial sync is similar to a backup), you are creating and maintaining a replica of your data. All changes on your iPhone are sent to the desktop, and all changes known to the desktop are passed to the iPhone. You can then initiate the same process from another iOS device (e.g. iPad) and the process is repeated—changes from both the desktop and your iPhone are passed to the iPad, and changes from the iPad are sent back to the desktop.

The network connection itself is a simple, unencrypted TCP connection. The encrypted database files are exchanged over this connection after successful completion of HMAC authentication.

It’s important to use the basic, default sync operation, which exchanges all changes on each end of the sync. Overwrite and Restore operations are available, but they should be used rarely, only for restoring lost or corrupted copies of Strip. When a device is over-written, any changes local to that device are lost.

Our sync service is a network-based one, it assumes the user has a WiFi network, and that both the mobile device(s) and the desktop computer are on that same network and can communicate freely. While this works for the large majority of our customers, it is unfortunately not always the case with a lot of home networking setups. There exists such a plethora of networking devices and configurations that it’s impossible for us to recommend settings that will always work. If you end up having trouble, do get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to help you adjust things as necessary. Meanwhile, we’re working on providing new means of sync to do an end-run around home networking, such as the Dropbox Sync covered below.

Dropbox Sync

Starting with Strip for OS X 1.2.0 and Strip for iOS 1.6.0, support for sync via Dropbox is available. On the first sync to Dropbox, Strip creates an encrypted replica of your data and stores it in your Dropbox account. No encrypted data is stored in plain-text or decrypted in your Dropbox account. On every subsequent attempt to sync, Strip downloads a copy of the encrypted replica, exchanges all changes between the replica and your local database, and then replaces the copy out on Dropbox with the updated replica.

These are the basic steps to sync with Dropbox in Strip for iOS:

  • Launch Strip for iOS on your iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad
  • Tap on the sync tab
  • Set the Operation row to “Sync”, Not Overwrite or Restore!
  • Set the Mode row to “Dropbox”
  • Tap on the Account row to sign in to your Dropbox account
  • Tap the Start Sync button

Similar to WiFi sync, the replica on Dropbox serves as an intermediary between your devices, including the desktop. In direct contrast to our WiFi/Network sync above, you don’t need Strip on your desktop to keep your iOS devices in sync. In addition, if you are thwarted by home networking troubles, you’ll find Dropbox sync a breeze. This is because almost all modern routers and firewalls allow your computer to initiate unfettered connections to remote machines on the Internet over HTTPS.

Syncing with Dropbox for Strip for OS X is quite easy:

  • Launch Strip on your Mac and log in
  • Go to the Sync menu and select “Sync with Dropbox” (Shift+Command+D)

Note: Sync with Dropbox requires that your various instances of Strip share the same password. Strip uses HTTPS to communicate with Dropbox over the Dropbox API, it does not make any unencrypted connections to Dropbox.

Codebook 1.5.4 Released

2011-10-09 20:00:00 -0400

Today we are releasing a maintenance update for Codebook, version 1.5.4. There are no feature updates, it provides fixes for crashes related to syncing with Dropbox, particularly after a user resets her password and attempts to sync with the remote replica.

Get Codebook App Store

Note: Version 1.5.4 will be the last version of Codebook to support iOS 3, unless any bad bugs turn up between now and the release of Codebook 1.6.0.

With Codebook for iOS 1.6.0 we will be requiring our customers to have iOS 4.0 or greater installed on their devices. We realize this will be painful for a small number of some of our customers, but it’s important that we prepare Codebook to adopt new technologies in iOS 4 and iOS 5 while shedding the weight of deprecated APIs. Being that iPhone 3G devices and later support iOS 4, and that these all appear to run more efficiently with iOS 4, this new platform requirement shouldn’t keep many from upgrading, and will allow us to add features to Codebook more quickly in the future. We have big changes planned for the future, and we expect we’ll be requiring iOS 5 once we get around to releasing Codebook 2.0.

System Maintenance Wed Sep 21, 10pm EDT

2011-09-19 20:00:00 -0400

This Wednesday night, September 21st at 10pm EDT, Tempo and our other web systems will be temporarily unavailable while we perform critical system updates to ensure the stability of our services. This includes the Tempo API, the purchase site for Strip for Windows, the Connect website, our support site for Codebook, and, hosting this blog.

Down time could last up to an hour, but we do not expect this to be the case. If you need to get in touch with us for any reason, please don’t hesitate.

Passion for the Finer Details

2011-09-11 20:00:00 -0400

Wow, you can’t ask for a better review than this one below by our customer Chris Ostmo in the Mac App Store, reviewing Strip for OS X. We don’t normally highlight reviews, but this one is exceptional, especially the contrast he draws between Strip and our competition. We’re a stubborn shop—we do things at our own pace, we try not to be everything to everyone right out of the gate, and that means we’re not a perfect fit for everyone. Thanks, Chris!

If you care about the security of your information, this [is] THE password manager to get. Period.I was a die-hard user of STRIP for Palm, but had been more or less forced to settle for other options in the transition to Windows mobile, and then iOS. I had not switched back to STRIP until very recently due to the lack of a Mac Desktop application. I probably wouldn't have switched back if it weren't for the fact that the competition -- although prettier to look at -- is riddled with bugs and various annoyances. Besides that, the other companies seem to be very arrogant and give off an attitude that tells me that they view their customers as a nuisance. SplashID and 1Password are the solutions that I gave a serious run at being my password manager of choice -- having purchased and used each on my desktop and iOS devices for many months. If there is any negative in switching to STRIP, it's that it isn't quite as pretty as the others. Putting that aside, Zetetic writes killer software. What they write, it is obvious that they write well, and their passion for the finer details of what it takes to have the ultimate in function is apparent in their writing about the details of the technology that their programs use in their company literature and blogs.Case in point: The "Shake-N-Make" password generator in [STRIP for] iOS uses your device accelerometer to add environmental variables for entropy to the random number generator when passwords are generated. In short, if you want anything that approaches real randomness from a computing device, this is it.If your primary concern is eye candy, this may not be the one for you. If you want great software written by a company that has an expressed passion for having the most secure and functional password manager, look no further -- STRIP is for you.

To the very many of you who’ve taken the time to leave us ratings and reviews for Strip in the iTunes and Mac App Stores, we really appreciate it. It means a lot to us, as the reviews not only help us to see how well (or not) the apps are doing, but they also help to increase the number of people who are willing to give Strip a shot and that helps to further fund development of Strip for Windows, OS X, and iOS.

For those of you who made it this far down the post, a bit of insider info: we’ve begun development of the Android port of Strip in earnest! We’ve no more info about it at this point in time, but we’re working on it.

Asbury Agile

2011-09-06 20:00:00 -0400

Some exciting news! Our colleague Mr. Bret Morgan, a talented developer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Cowerks and has been hard at work trying to foster a vibrant tech and developer community on the New Jersey shore, and is now working on Asbury Agile, a one-day, single-track conference in Asbury Park, NJ “for makers and doers in the web industry.”

Featuring user interface experts, tech investors, start-up captains, experienced web gurus, it’s chock full of people who know how to start a business on the web. The kind of people you want to meet: folks who have real-world experience building software platforms. We’re quite excited to hear what they have to say, so Zetetic will be attending.

We’re sponsoring the event, and we’re offering free copies of Strip for iOS and OS X to attendees, as well as 3 free months use of our time-tracking web app, Tempo. Other sponsors include Forrst and A Book Apart. Rosenfeld Media and A Book Apart will be raffling off books on the day of the conference, and offering a 20% discount on their titles at the conf.

On a personal note, I grew up in suburbs outside of the City of Asbury Park, and back then it was the only place on the shore to go to see some punk rock. My friends and I would get into trouble breaking into the old decaying amusement palaces on the boardwalk to take photographs of the Summer sun streaming through a broken roof onto indoor vegetation. The former beach resort city had been plagued since the seventies by a depressed economy and violence, but has since made a remarkable turn-around. Fifteen years later Asbury Park is in many ways unrecognizable, with a vibrant and safe downtown, a growing community of successful entrepreneurs and artists, and hip spots to grab a beer and some greasy food with good tunes on the Hi-Fi (I highly recommend Bond St. Bar). I’m very excited to see Asbury Agile happening, it would have been unthinkable when I was fifteen playing terrible punk-metal at the Stone Pony.

We hope you’ll join us, and say hello at the conference! We’d love to talk business or tech and make some new friends.