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Author Topic: Newbie totally lost - confused about usage  (Read 9564 times)

Offline se7en

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Newbie totally lost - confused about usage
« on: June 14, 2005, 02:39:04 AM »
To the Author:

Hi,

Thanks for writing a wonderful utility - one which is truly needed to manage the nightmare of passwords. That said, I have to confess that I am totally lost as to how to use this tool.

I've installed this extension under FF 1.04 and it runs but have no idea how to use it. Yes, I've read the docs and FAQ but I'm still at a loss as to what to do along the lines of Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 etc.

Some of my confusion:

1. When confronted with a "Enter password" field on a new site, what do I do? Choose "Passwordmaker" from the RMB Context Menu or hit Ctrl-`? What is the difference? When do I use which method?

2. When I hit Ctrl-`, I get to the Passwordmaker screen which has many options. I notice that even if I do not supply a Master Password, a password is already generated. What does this mean? Can I use this password? Does Passwordmaker generate passwords even without any user-supplied Master Password?

3. The large window on the left side of the Passwordmaker screen which shows "Accounts, New Folder" etc. From the FAQ, I understand I can create/remove/edit new accounts. I don't understand what this is all about. What exactly is the purpose of accounts? I thought the user just needs to supplied a Master Password and choose his algorithm and that's all. How and when should one use "Accounts"?

Sorry if I appear really dense but I still can't figure out how to use your wonderful utility even after a few days of playing around with it. You help would be most appreciated.

Thanks.

Offline Eric H. Jung

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Newbie totally lost - confused about usage
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2005, 04:23:02 PM »
Hi se7en,
Thanks for writing. I'm aware there that documentation is lacking for the current release. The help file hasn't been updated since 0.5.1 -- before the concept of accounts ever existed. I'm working on improved documentation.

So I imagine you're not alone in your confusion. Here are the answers to your questions:

1. There is no difference between the generated passwords using the right-mouse button context menu or cntrl-`. The difference is only user convenience: right-mouse button context menu requires two clicks to populate a password field, while the other method requires three or four (cntrl-`, copy generated password to clipboard, then paste clipboard into password field).

The cntrl-` option is also there:
  • So you can preview the generated password visually (without ****)
  • So you can populate non-password fields if necessary
2. PasswordMaker is generating a password using an empty master password. You can use this if you're lazy, but I wouldn't recommend it.

3. The only time you ever need to create an account is if you want to override the Default Options. If you don't create any accounts, the options you choose for Default Options is applied to every site. However,  some people want to vary settings by site.

For example, you might want to use a 12-character password on gmail.com but an 8-character password everywhere else. But the Default Options only lets you select one value for Length of Generated Password. So the way to achieve this is:

1. Set Length of Generated Password for Default Options to 8
2. Create a new account.
3. In the When URL Contains field, enter gmail.com. In the Use This URL field, enter gmail.com.
4. In the Length of Generated Password field, enter 12.

That's it! Now you've overridden the default options for a specific site (actually, any site that contains "gmail.com" like gmail.com, www.gmail.com, foobar.gmail.com, etc.)

I hope this answers your questions. Please feel free to post a follow-up or start a new topic with new questions.

Thanks for using PasswordMaker.

Sincerely,
Eric Jung (author)

Offline se7en

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Newbie totally lost - confused about usage
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2005, 12:34:11 PM »
Hi grimholtz,

Quote
Hi se7en,
Thanks for writing. I'm aware there that documentation is lacking for the current release. The help file hasn't been updated since 0.5.1 -- before the concept of accounts ever existed. I'm working on improved documentation.

Thanks for replying! I wish all authors can be as prompt and helpful as you are. Let me know if there's anything I can help out with in your efforts to improve the docs. I know it's a hard battle when it's a one-man job.

Quote
1. There is no difference between the generated passwords using the right-mouse button context menu or cntrl-`. The difference is only user convenience: right-mouse button context menu requires two clicks to populate a password field, while the other method requires three or four (cntrl-`, copy generated password to clipboard, then paste clipboard into password field).

So when I use the RMB, does the Passwordmaker use the "Default" options or the "Last used" (say if I had been using another account right before this) options?

Quote
2. PasswordMaker is generating a password using an empty master password. You can use this if you're lazy, but I wouldn't recommend it.

I see.

Quote
3. The only time you ever need to create an account is if you want to override the Default Options. If you don't create any accounts, the options you choose for Default Options is applied to every site. However, some people want to vary settings by site.

Perhaps you would like to think about using another word for "Folder"? It somehow conveys the wrong impression to me. I think "Profile" would fit better and under it, "Account" as it now stands. Just IMO though.

Quote
For example, you might want to use a 12-character password on gmail.com but an 8-character password everywhere else. But the Default Options only lets you select one value for Length of Generated Password. So the way to achieve this is:

1. Set Length of Generated Password for Default Options to 8
2. Create a new account.
3. In the When URL Contains field, enter gmail.com. In the Use This URL field, enter gmail.com.
4. In the Length of Generated Password field, enter 12.

That's it! Now you've overridden the default options for a specific site (actually, any site that contains "gmail.com" like gmail.com, www.gmail.com, foobar.gmail.com, etc.)

Great example. Can I create the new account first before setting the Length to 12? That means I'm skipping Step 1. Actually I'm not sure why I need to go through Step 1 since I'll have to tweak the password length again for this account in Step 4.

Quote
I hope this answers your questions. Please feel free to post a follow-up or start a new topic with new questions.

Thanks for using PasswordMaker.

I sure will. Thanks for writing such a useful extension. Judging from several other standalone "1 master password" type of password managers/generators out there, I'm guessing there're people who do want this sort of utilities. I know there's a javascript version - do you think there's any way to make this more broad-based as in cross-platform / cross-browser is concerned? I myself currently use both Linux and Windows in my daily computing.

Regards

P.S. Those eyebrows make me feel really twitchy. ;)

Offline Eric H. Jung

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Newbie totally lost - confused about usage
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2005, 07:42:34 PM »
Hi se7en,

Quote
Let me know if there's anything I can help out with in your efforts to improve the docs.
If you're serious about that, I'll send you the help.xhtml file which needs updating. Just describe all the fields/options as best you can (I've done a lot of them already). I'll definitely credit you in the extension if you're able to help.

Quote
So when I use the RMB, does the Passwordmaker use the "Default" options or the "Last used" (say if I had been using another account right before this) options?
Since you're asking this question (and the below re: "Actually I'm not sure why I need to go through Step 1 since I'll have to tweak the password length again for this account in Step 4."), it's clear to me that I still haven't conveyed the notion of an account correctly.

As an aside, Macs don't have a right-mouse button but they can still access this menu, so it's more OS-agnostic for me to call it a context-sensitive menu item :)).

There is no concept of Last Used settings in PasswordMaker. When you use the CSMI, PasswordMaker searches all the accounts you've defined, comparing the current URL to each account's When URL Contains field. There are three possible outcomes of this search:
  • If only one account matches the current URL, PasswordMaker generates the password and populates the password field automatically.
  • If more than one account matches (for example, you've created 4 accounts each with When URL Contains field equal to gmail.com and the current URL is google.gmail.com), PasswordMaker displays a list of matching accounts to you. You must choose one for PasswordMaker to populate the password field. I'd show you a screen-shot of this, but I don't have PasswordMaker working at the moment in this Firefox Profile (my development profile)
  • If no accounts match the current URL, PasswordMaker generates the password using the Default Settings "account" (it's not really an account; it's a catch-all)
Does that explain it any better?

Quote
Perhaps you would like to think about using another word for "Folder"? It somehow conveys the wrong impression to me. I think "Profile" would fit better and under it, "Account" as it now stands. Just IMO though.
I'm definitely open to terminology changes. At first I liked your suggestion of "Profile", but now I'm wondering if (1) it might confuse some people with Mozilla/Firefox/Thunderbird Profiles and (2) it seems less obvious that a profile "contains" accounts: all I'm looking for here is a word which means "to contain things".

Quote
Great example. Can I create the new account first before setting the Length to 12? That means I'm skipping Step 1. Actually I'm not sure why I need to go through Step 1 since I'll have to tweak the password length again for this account in Step 4.
You've got me totally confused :)  Can you explain further, or maybe my previous explanation of accounts clears this up now? Hmmmm...

Quote
I know there's a javascript version - do you think there's any way to make this more broad-based as in cross-platform / cross-browser is concerned? I myself currently use both Linux and Windows in my daily computing.
The html/javascript version has been tested successfully with Firefox 1.0.x, Internet Explorer 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, Mozilla 1.7.5, Opera 7.54u2, Netscape 7.2, 8.0, and Konqueror 3.3 (the last of which was KDE on Suse 9.2), so I'm not sure what you mean by "any way to make this more broad-based as in cross-platform / cross-browser". Many of those browsers work on Linux and Windows, not just Windows. I also know we have a number of Mac OS/X users -- one of them has volunteered to re-write the main PasswordMaker website so it looks good and pretty. So, how much more broad-based can I get?  :)  Can you please elaborate on your request?

For what it's worth, some PasswordMaker development is done on Suse 9.2 and some is done on Windows XP SP2. IOW, I use both Linux and Windows, too  :) Someday if I ever get the major feature requests out of the way, I'll write a J2ME version for Java-enabled mobile phones. Someone also requested a command-line version, which I could write in a week or two.

Looking forward to your reply,
Eric

Offline se7en

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Newbie totally lost - confused about usage
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2005, 02:11:57 AM »
Hi grimholtz,

Quote
Quote
Let me know if there's anything I can help out with in your efforts to improve the docs.
If you're serious about that, I'll send you the help.xhtml file which needs updating. Just describe all the fields/options as best you can (I've done a lot of them already). I'll definitely credit you in the extension if you're able to help.

I'm sorry for suddenly dropping out in the middle of our exchange. There was a very unfortunate and untimely hard disk failure... Yes, I'm serious about helping so if you still need a hand, I'll try my best.

Quote
Quote
So when I use the RMB, does the Passwordmaker use the "Default" options or the "Last used" (say if I had been using another account right before this) options?
Since you're asking this question (and the below re: "Actually I'm not sure why I need to go through Step 1 since I'll have to tweak the password length again for this account in Step 4."), it's clear to me that I still haven't conveyed the notion of an account correctly.

As an aside, Macs don't have a right-mouse button but they can still access this menu, so it's more OS-agnostic for me to call it a context-sensitive menu item :)).

Let's not get too PC here (pun intended). ;-)

Quote
There is no concept of Last Used settings in PasswordMaker. When you use the CSMI, PasswordMaker searches all the accounts you've defined, comparing the current URL to each account's When URL Contains field. There are three possible outcomes of this search:
  • If only one account matches the current URL, PasswordMaker generates the password and populates the password field automatically.

  • If more than one account matches (for example, you've created 4 accounts each with When URL Contains field equal to gmail.com and the current URL is google.gmail.com), PasswordMaker displays a list of matching accounts to you. You must choose one for PasswordMaker to populate the password field. I'd show you a screen-shot of this, but I don't have PasswordMaker working at the moment in this Firefox Profile (my development profile)

  • If no accounts match the current URL, PasswordMaker generates the password using the Default Settings "account" (it's not really an account; it's a catch-all)
Does that explain it any better?

I've just been playing with Passwordmaker and have found a certain level of awkardness in the interface. The awkwardness may just stem from my misunderstanding or ineptness but perhaps it may be of some interest to you. The details as follow:

1. Consider placing "Default Options" as a Menu Item rather than having it as the first entry in the table. Putting it as the first item in the table may be confusing as IMO, the table should strictly list accounts.

2. I find it more intuitive if the account-specific information/fields are placed together under/within each account entry *in* the table rather than on the lower right quadrant of the Passwordmaker window. I find this to be more in keeping with traditional "table data format" and thus easier to get the hang of. Of course, this would probably entail a major rewrite so is probably not feasible. I'm just making a note that having to "jump over" from the left side of the window with dissimilar font to the right side and back again is somewhat jarring to me. Again, this may very well be personal, FWIW.



Quote
Quote
Perhaps you would like to think about using another word for "Folder"? It somehow conveys the wrong impression to me. I think "Profile" would fit better and under it, "Account" as it now stands. Just IMO though.
I'm definitely open to terminology changes. At first I liked your suggestion of "Profile", but now I'm wondering if (1) it might confuse some people with Mozilla/Firefox/Thunderbird Profiles and (2) it seems less obvious that a profile "contains" accounts: all I'm looking for here is a word which means "to contain things".

You do have a point, but I think in the more general view of computer terminology, "profile" has been commonly taken to mean, among other things, a "pre-set group of options". This, I feel, is widespread enough to be acceptable. I've another suggestion: how about using "Profile" for "Folder" and "Identity" for "Account"?

Quote
Quote
Great example. Can I create the new account first before setting the Length to 12? That means I'm skipping Step 1. Actually I'm not sure why I need to go through Step 1 since I'll have to tweak the password length again for this account in Step 4.
You've got me totally confused :)  Can you explain further, or maybe my previous explanation of accounts clears this up now? Hmmmm...

Never mind, I'm lost myself as it has been more than a week and I've lost track of this particular bit. I'll bring it up should it come back to me. :-)

Quote
Quote
I know there's a javascript version - do you think there's any way to make this more broad-based as in cross-platform / cross-browser is concerned? I myself currently use both Linux and Windows in my daily computing.
The html/javascript version has been tested successfully with Firefox 1.0.x, Internet Explorer 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, Mozilla 1.7.5, Opera 7.54u2, Netscape 7.2, 8.0, and Konqueror 3.3 (the last of which was KDE on Suse 9.2), so I'm not sure what you mean by "any way to make this more broad-based as in cross-platform / cross-browser". Many of those browsers work on Linux and Windows, not just Windows. I also know we have a number of Mac OS/X users -- one of them has volunteered to re-write the main PasswordMaker website so it looks good and pretty. So, how much more broad-based can I get?  :)  Can you please elaborate on your request?

For what it's worth, some PasswordMaker development is done on Suse 9.2 and some is done on Windows XP SP2. IOW, I use both Linux and Windows, too  :) Someday if I ever get the major feature requests out of the way, I'll write a J2ME version for Java-enabled mobile phones. Someone also requested a command-line version, which I could write in a week or two.

Very cool! I like your development plans. Sorry I was unclear in my request above. I was thinking about a standalone program. Of course, this would not provide the luxury of auto-generating a password based on the URL etc.

Sorry for the excessive quoting. I felt I should err on the side of more since the thread has been idle for some days now.

Regards.

Offline Eric H. Jung

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Newbie totally lost - confused about usage
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2005, 12:13:15 AM »
Hi se7en,

Quote
I'm sorry for suddenly dropping out in the middle of our exchange. There was a very unfortunate and untimely hard disk failure... Yes, I'm serious about helping so if you still need a hand, I'll try my best.
No worries, man. I'll send you the help file shortly, if you're email address is correct in your profile.

Quote
1. Consider placing "Default Options" as a Menu Item rather than having it as the first entry in the table. Putting it as the first item in the table may be confusing as IMO, the table should strictly list accounts.
Yeah, something about Defaults needs to change...maybe this is a good solution. Anyone else have opinions?

Quote
I find it more intuitive if the account-specific information/fields are placed together under/within each account entry *in* the table rather than on the lower right quadrant of the Passwordmaker window. I
You're in luck. This is already built into PasswordMaker. You need to click on the "treepicker", as it's called. It looks like this (click thumbnail for large image).



Just check/uncheck the columns you'd like to see.

Quote
I was thinking about a standalone program. Of course, this would not provide the luxury of auto-generating a password based on the URL etc.
True, but you still can manually enter them once for your primary sites. Then, subsequent times you run the program, you just have to enter your master password and click on an account to get your password. No extra steps except in the initial setup.

Quote
Sorry for the excessive quoting. I felt I should err on the side of more since the thread has been idle for some days now.
Appreciate it.

Thanks,
Eric
« Last Edit: July 08, 2005, 12:13:50 AM by grimholtz »

Offline glowworm

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Newbie totally lost - confused about usage
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2005, 04:58:52 AM »
Quote
do you think there's any way to make this more broad-based as in cross-platform / cross-browser is concerned? I myself currently use both Linux and Windows in my daily computing.

I use PM on both Gentoo and WinXP/2000/2003 platforms (All 4 using Firefox) without any problems. And there is an online version for those poor IE/Safari/Opera/Lynx ;) users. I think they are planning to work on an IE plugin too.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2005, 04:59:56 AM by glowworm »

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Newbie totally lost - confused about usage
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2005, 04:58:52 AM »