Interview: Dave Teare on 1Passwd and the iPhone

1Passwd IconI recently got the chance to chat with Dave Teare, the co-author of 1Passwd. 1Passwd is considered to be the best password manager on the Mac, by a wide margin. It has an automated form filler, encrypts passwords and integrates nicely with the OS X keychain.

I started by asking him about the company and how they developed 1Passwd. We then moved on to some juicy iPhone news and beta invites that you’ll certainly want to know. We won’t spoil anything, you’ll have to read on and find out.

MarvinHi Dave, thank you so much for chatting with us.
Dave: Sure thing. Thank you for inviting me.

MarvinI’d like to start by talking about Agile Web Solutions. Tell us more about your company, and the developers behind 1Passwd.
Dave: Agile is a young company that my best friend and I started back in the summer of 2005 in Toronto. Roustem and I were both doing the “Enterprise Java” thing since 2000 and had effectively rode that dead horse as far as it could take us. One day the stress of the aimless corporate life finally caused me to snap and venture out on my own.

Thank God Roustem had reached his limit too and followed me, otherwise Agile would never be where it is today. Entering our 3rd year, we have started to grow the company and just hired two very talented blokes – Carl from Tennessee and Chad from Colorado. With their help we plan on taking Agile to the next level.

Agile Web SolutionsMarvinWhat was your inspiration to create 1Passwd?
Dave: Two words: Password Fatigue. This is what the UN has coined as the proliferation of passwords. I know I needed strong and unique passwords for each site, but because of the limitations in each browser’s password manager, I defaulted to using 2 passwords; one for important sites, and one for not-so-important sites.

I hated this feeling of guilt all the time; I was always afraid of phishing attacks because the thief would have the one password I used on all my important sites. In fact, before we had 1Passwd, Roustem was so afraid that he wouldn’t tell me the company’s Paypal password. I needed a tool that would simplify the way passwords were managed, without being tricked by scam artists. That’s how the idea of 1Passwd was born.

Marvin: How did it go from concept to reality?
Dave: Interestingly enough, in our original plan for 1Passwd, we planned to have a quick one month project just to “scratch our own itch”, and then return to our web site ideas we were working on. To our surprise we found the response to be fantastic, so we decided to spend another month on 1Passwd.

After the second month, we realized that the demand for 1Passwd was real, so we spent a full year on active development, with no end in sight. Thankfully I love working on 1Passwd, so I’m not upset over the web sites we planned to create. Best of all, Mac users are a lot cooler to deal with compared to other groups of people we’ve had experience with.

1Passwd Window

MarvinWalk us through the applications in your Dock right now.
Dave: *Chuckles*, this is not going to go over very well. I just reinstalled Tiger after downgrading from Leopard, so my Dock is slowly being rebuilt. The only things I’ve currently added are XCode, 1Passwd, Adium, and Filechute. I have DEVONthink, VMWare Fusion, and TextMate installed but not visible on the Dock yet. They’ll be there soon.

I guess what would probably be more interesting is installed apps that don’t have a Dock icon. Quicksilver is definitely in that list. I can’t live without it. Sometimes Quicksilver would crash on me and I would feel paralyzed. How can you open QuickSilver when your app launcher crashes? As far as I know all you can do is reboot. *Chuckles*.

Dock Icons

MarvinDo you use any apps specially for customer support?
Dave: Yep, we use both MousePose and Snapz. Whenever someone has a question, I highlight the important details with MousePose, snap a pic with Snapz, and drag the image onto FileChute’s Dock icon to upload it. FileChute copies it to my Clipboard automatically, so I can quickly paste it in an email. Jay Teo from YellowMug has done a great job understanding how his apps fit into peoples’ workflow. I really respect that.

MarvinWhat kind of Mac hardware do you use?
Dave: I am a technology fanatic and buy a new MacBook Pro at every opportunity I have. My wife says I am always the first lemming off the cliff *chuckles*.

I switched way back in 2004 when I bought my first Mac, a PowerBook. Then I bought a MacBook Pro immediately after the transition to Intel, and bought another new MacBook Pro a few weeks ago. It is an insatiable appetite to try something new. I’m already dreaming of the Intel Penryn chipset when the die shrinks to 45nm.

MacBook Pro

MarvinI’m interested to know what Apple-themed sites you browse on a daily basis.
Dave: For the most part I try not to venture out on the web without a clear mission. I had to cut back my web surfing drastically now that I don’t have the corporate regime to keep me focused. I do sneak out sometimes, however, and invariably the first place I go is to the Apple news and rumor sites, like MacNN and MacRumors.

MarvinWhat are your future plans for 1Passwd and beyond?
Dave: We love 1Passwd and are proud of the great reviews it has received. With that said, however, we truly believe 1Passwd is no where near its true potential. We have some amazing ideas that are brewing in development right now; these should start popping up over the upcoming months. We’ve also received a lot of great ideas from our users – their feedback is what keeps us motivated.

I don’t want to tip my hand too much on the specifics as we are in a competitive field, but I can give you a hint on one of the new features. 1Passwd will soon run on a sexy new device that was mercilessly *blended* by BlendTec in a previous post on MacApper. That’s all I can say at the moment.

iPhone Fish

MarvinOooh, now wait just a minute! I can’t let you end on that note. It’s clear you mean the iPhone. Will it be a native app or a web 2.0 app?
Dave: OK, I can at least answer that. Our customers have made it clear that supporting the iPhone is not an option, it’s a requirement. We’ve been researching the hacks that people have done to add additional functionality to the iPhone; they’ve done some really cool things. We might someday use one of these methods to add a “native” 1Passwd app to the iPhone.

However, we currently feel that the technology is just too new and untested to use. Once the dust settles and we see Apple’s reactions to these extensions, we’ll revisit this decision. For now the best route would be to follow Apple’s guidelines and create a Web 2.0 application that provides access to all your information, directly on the iPhone.

Of course security and confidentiality are of the utmost concern here, so we’ve developed a solution that will satisfy even the most stringent security requirements. But that’s all I can say now. I’ve already said too much :)

MarvinDavid, thank you once again. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you.
Dave: Thank you! I hope to be back soon when I can unveil some of the cool new features we have in development.

There ya go. 1Passwd could someday run natively on your iPhone, elegantly storing your passwords. This would be the best solution because transmitting any kind of personal information wirelessly always poses security risks, even with high levels of encryption. C’mon Apple, open the iPhone for “real” applications.

In the meantime, MacApper has managed to secure early access to the 1Passwd web app for 5 lucky readers. To be in the draw, just name a feature you’d like to see on the 1Passwd web app. Competition closes August 2nd 9PM EST.

You can purchase the Mac version of 1Passwd at just $29.99 from Agile Web Solutions.