Staying Connected: Basecamp

When you work with people who live across the country and around the world, you need a special set of tools to collaborate and keep in touch. AgileBits has been a remote company since its inception almost 10 years ago, and we’ve tried a lot of solutions to help keep us on the same page. Today, I want to tell you about Basecamp, a powerful, collaborative to-do app that helps us stay on top of all of our projects.

Basecamp is a web-based project management solution that can be as simple or as complex as we need. At its most basic level, Basecamp allows us to create to-do lists and share them with our various teams, wherever they are. Basecamp’s power is in its ease of collaboration though. We can assign tasks to our teammates, track due dates on the built-in calendar, and discuss items easily. This all happens within the context of various projects, enabling me to stay on top of my things, and remain blissfully unaware of the projects outside my purview.

Basecamp: Favourite Projects

Release, Rinse and Repeat!

Basecamp’s project templates are a feature I only recently discovered, but it’s already one of my favourites. With 1Password being developed across five platforms, we have a fair few releases and app updates that we want to tell our users about. From a social marketing standpoint, each of those releases looks roughly the same: we need to write release notes, update screenshots in our User Guide and press kit, write a blog post, and plan which features we’ll highlight in our various channels over the coming days. Now I’ve got a handy template for releases that includes all the tasks that we know we’ll need to complete, and all the necessary people are pre-assigned; it’s such a time saver!

Basecamp Template: 1Password Update

My world at a glance

Basecamp sends daily, optional emails letting me know what has changed in all the projects I follow, so that I can stay up to date without having to manually look into each project. I can also enable email notifications for tasks to which I’m assigned, so that I know when a deadline is approaching.

Team database

As our team grows, it’s getting harder and harder to know all the things, and we’re working to find ways to keep everyone in the loop. Weekly calls are scheduled with developers and support team members to discuss the top feedback from our customers, and to review progress on open bugs and feature requests. Because not everyone can participate in these calls, we store the notes in a Basecamp project so that we can get a CliffsNotes version of what’s happening on each platform.

We use Basecamp for social media style guides and for collecting relevant internal information. Its integration with Google Docs makes it a convenient place to organize our blog posts: each proposed post is assigned to an author and a Google Doc containing the draft is attached. This means I never have to go hunting through the piles of docs in my Google Drive to find a particular post.

There’s a lot more that’s awesome in Basecamp, but this is how it has made my life easier. See how Basecamp can organize your chaos on their site and let me know what features you love in the comments.


Staying connected: Slack

Did you know that most of us work remotely? We’ve got an office in Toronto and some of us pop in throughout the week to work alongside our amazing co-workers. However, the vast majority of our team work from around the world, in six countries and on two continents (so far).

A photo posted by Nik (@bleepnik) on

We get to see each other about once a year, when we convene for our annual(ish) retreat. The rest of the time, we use a variety of apps and services to collaborate and keep in touch. These tools are so invaluable to us that we thought it was high time we shared them with you and gave them a shout-out on our blog. Today, I’d like to talk about a chat app we started using about a year ago. It’s called Slack, and it helps us do everything but that.

Slack’s no slacker

When we first started using Slack, we had just a few different channels: the “water cooler” channel for chit-chat, one for announcements, one for developers, and one for our CS team. Over time, our team grew and projects diversified. Where we used to be able to have one conversation, now there are a multitude of discussions going on at once. We needed more channels.

Slack has accommodated our needs beautifully. Not only does it handle a large number of channels with speed and aplomb, but it offers us channel-specific settings that help us keep our attention and our conversations organised. For example, everyone gets notified of posts in our #announcements channel; for this reason, there is no chatter allowed there. (Most announcements have a string of emoji reactions, since they don’t generate notifications.)

You can add your avatar as an emoji, and it's rad.

You can add your avatar as an emoji, and it’s rad.

When a team-wide channel isn’t quite what’s needed, we can easily send each other direct messages or create private groups. These are just a few clicks or a keyboard shortcut away.

Speaking of which…

Do :allthethings:

Slack has a number of really useful features that aren’t immediately apparent. For example, it has excellent support for keyboard shortcuts and several built-in / (slash) commands. One of my favourites is /feedback. This special command causes my message to be sent to the Slack team as feedback, instead of appearing in the chat window once I press Return; it’s really slick! /mute is also great, handy for temporarily silencing a busy channel.

Another fantastic feature is integrations. We can easily configure any Slack channel to listen to a particular web service. We have a few channels that listen to a few different services so that we don’t miss anything important. We can see App Store reviews, server alerts, and even tweets that mention 1Password.

Slack encourages customization. It’s so easy to add our own emoji that we now have a rather large library. Slack uses aliases in addition to a visual browser, so instead of searching for that icon I added for “all the things,” I can simply type :allthethings: to make the icon appear in my message. It’s so clever and convenient that I often find myself typing the aliases in other apps; I wish they worked everywhere!


Slack on, Slack off

Whether it’s discussing a new 1Password feature, sharing a funny GIF, or celebrating personal accomplishments, Slack helps us forge real relationships in a virtual workplace. Available on every major platform (including an Apple Watch app) and offering integration of the 1Password app extension in iOS, it’s easy to use Slack wherever and whenever we need it. We are really glad Slack exists, and are grateful for their support of 1Password. You can even catch @SlackHQ and @1Password occasionally bantering on Twitter. =P

Here’s to you, Mr. Sheridan!

One of the challenges we face as a tech company is making our software accessible to everyone. It’s sometimes hard to gauge, because we’re so close to it. Doing research to answer customers’ questions makes it even more difficult to take a step back and make sure we’re not getting tooooo nerdy.


That’s why I was so excited when I heard from my friend Allison Sheridan this morning. Allison hosts the fantastic NosillaCast, a technology podcast with an ever so slight (ahem) Macintosh bias. She’s previously documented her own experience of switching to 1Password, but yesterday she spoke to Ken Sheridan, her octogenarian father-in-law.

1Password for Mac logo

In this lovely interview, we learn how Mr. Sheridan was managing his passwords before Steve (his son and Allison’s husband) helped him set up 1Password. My favourite part is that we also learn how 1Password has made his digital life so much easier and more secure. This enables him to more frequently do things like check his financial accounts, which he used to do only occasionally because it was such a hassle.

We want everyone to have a great experience with our software, and Mr. Sheridan makes me feel like we’re on the right track. Have you shared 1Password with friends, kids, or parents, possibly less geeky than you? We’d love to hear your experience. Leave a comment below or stop by our discussion forums.

Thanks for introducing your family to ours, Allison. Mr. Sheridan, we’re so happy to welcome you.

The wonder women of AgileBits

The wonder women of AgileBits

In continuing our celebration of Women’s Equality Day, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to some of the awesome women that I get to work with on the AgileBits team. Here’s a little bit about us and how we all get our start in the tech industry, and some of our future plans.



Aleen is the official writer for 1Password for iOS. She hails from Phoenix, Arizona, where she lives with her husband and two cats. She’s a diversity advocate, budding developer, wordsmith, and podcaster. If you’ve seen her at all on the Internets, you’ll also know that she’s in contention for the team’s coveted coolest hair award.

Aleen has always been interested in tech (she spent her 16th birthday reformatting her computer’s hard drive!) and has a degree in technical writing. She’s currently writing an app of her own to learn Swift 2.0, and she looks forward to helping out on the development team in the future.

You can read more about Aleen in her Behind the Mug feature.



Eva is a crafty geek who came to the tech industry reluctantly after attempting to avoid following in her programmer-parents’ footsteps. She loves tackling difficult problems, knitting, and all things Whedon. Eva works on our customer support and social media teams, and dreams of enhancing her PHP coding skills in her spare time. She and her husband are working on adopting a daughter and aspire to raise her to embrace her own geekiness, whatever form that may take.



Born in England, Laura has become a California girl by choice. She’s been working in tech since leaving school, first as a computer programmer and then as a teacher of programming, system design and database design for Tandem Computers. After raising two children, she pursued her tech passion and finally joined our team to wow our customers every day.



I guess I should tell you a little bit about myself, as well.

I’m an artist and a big sci-fi/fantasy geek (on the dressing-up-at-conventions level on the scale), and I’m responsible for leading the social media team here at AgileBits. When I’m not helping users in the forums or crafting content for 1Password on Facebook, you’re likely to find me exploring some new place with my camera or getting my hands messy in one sort of project or another.

AgileBits is my first foray into the tech world, and honestly, I couldn’t be enjoying it more. I love the challenge of solving problems for our customers and sharing the secure word about 1Password in a fun and creative way. (It’s also pretty great to be able to work from my choice of hammock or beanbag chair at the office!)



Michelle comes from an arts and sciences background and is responsible for keeping the AgileBits Toronto office organized and running smoothly. One of her favourite parts of her job is being able to send birthday treats to the AgileBits team members around the world. I have to say, it’s one of our favorite parts of her job, too!

Michelle is just about finished with her first big project at AgileBits: designing and coordinating our move into a shiny new office. You’ll soon get a good look at all her hard work, right here on the blog!



Peri is a musician who loves hiking, camping, and river excursions. She works on our customer support team, focussing her attention on 1Password for Android. After being the person in her family who always fixes the problems with everyone’s computers, an internship at Mozilla (the Ascend Project) introduced Peri to a few other AgileBits team members in her hometown of Portland. She just couldn’t resist joining us!



Sara is our Minister of Magic, responsible for making sure everything at AgileBits keeps running. Her favourite part of the job is working with awesome people. As one of the founders, she has often preferred a behind-the-scenes role, but is always ready to dive in and make sure our users know they are being heard and helping people feel the love. : )



Virginia is another Portlander who joined our team after attending Mozilla’s Ascend Project. When our official “Day Brightener” is not making users smile in the forums or via email, you’ll likely find her hosting a pub trivia night; singing karaoke; or off on some other pursuit of happiness, fun and adventure!

With a background in customer service and admin support, Virginia got her start in tech by talking to friends in the industry, attending conferences and meetups, and completing online coding tutorials. She’s been dreaming about development, but she’s enjoying customer support so much that she’s not sure she wants to give it up!



Winnie is a German expat living in Montreal. She’s an iOS developer with a passion for photography, travelling, and her two crazy cats. A teacher sparked Winnie’s love of programming, and she hasn’t looked back since! She loves being able to add new features and fix bugs in an app on which so many people depend.

Winnie is active in her local programming scene and is spending her spare time building an app that automates some of the processes in her home.

Want to be a part of this amazing team?

We’re always looking to add unique voices to our team. If you’re interested in talking to us about employment opportunities, please write to

Workflow icon

Community Goodie: Workflow + Chrome for iOS + 1Password

Have you discovered Workflow for iOS yet? It joins Launch Center Pro and others in the category of Super Useful Apps that can save you a ton of time doing repetitive tasks or complicated things that span multiple apps. They can also just blow your mind with tasks you didn’t know iOS could pull off.

One of Workflow’s tricks is that it can make your workflows available inside other apps via its own App Extension. Harnessing the true power of this knowledge, 1Password user and Redditor papa-lozarou created a Workflow that searches 1Password for the domain of the current tab right within Chrome for iOS.


Picture this: you’re groovin’ along in Chrome for iOS, and you have to log into a thing to do a thing. Instead of switching to 1Password to unlock, manually search, copy, switch back over, and paste your password, you can now simply trigger Workflow right inside of Chrome. From there you can invoke 1Password’s in-app extension, which then automatically searches for the URL of your current tab.

You’ll still have to tap into the item to copy your password, but you’re still in Chrome where you can easily paste it and get on with your bad self.

Let’s give a shout out to Redditor papa-lozarou and Workflow for being just great. On an iOS device, you can download the Chrome workflow here.

Homescreen icon

Check out the other apps on 1Password user #Homescreens!

Homescreen iconA little while ago, the fine folks at Betaworks released a clever app called #Homescreen. With a tap, you can share a screenshot and list of apps on your homescreen with your Twitter pals, then check out everyone’s apps at

But #Homescreen’s cleverness runs much deeper. Not only can you click each app and check it out in the App Store, you can see some really cool stats (like 1Password is on 23 percent of homescreens!) and even all the other apps used by, say, the 1Password community.

Turns out 1Password is in some great company! Of course, Facebook and Twitter are there, and so are great apps (and favorites among AgileBits staff) like Fantastical, Day One, and Reeder. There’s also Slack (which we love for office chat), Launch Center Pro, Workflow, and Mailbox, and the list goes on. It’s also dynamically generated as more people share their homescreens, so it might even change over time.

Check out the full list of apps your 1Password comrades use, there are plenty of gems to discover! Give #Homescreen a try too—it’s a smart, simple way to learn more about your fellow homescreens.

1P Emergency Kit v3

Incredible 1Password users release 1Password Emergency Kit 3.0

The 1Password Emergency Kit is a clever PDF created by some of our brilliant users to help families and friends during unfortunate times. Invented by Mike Vardy at Productivityist a couple years ago, it recently reached version 3 and looks even more useful.

The idea behind this user-created Emergency Kit is simple: we create a will and place sensitive items in safe deposit boxes in case something happens to us. But with so much of our lives these days depending on the internet, many of us want a way to make 1Password part of these plans.

Thanks to Productivityist reader and 1Password user Charles Hamons, the 1Password Emergency Kit v3 is now a fillable PDF and includes space for even more useful information, such as locations of multiple vaults (and their Master Passwords) and even instructions for what to do with one’s social media accounts.

Admittedly, this isn’t quite a fun or exciting feature to boast about. But we are absolutely thankful for the work of Mike Vardy, Charles Hamons, and others in the community for building a useful 1Password tool that can help immensely during one of the most painful times in our lives.

ice bucket challenge

Getting chilly for charity

I’m not sure if you’ve been on the Internet lately, but there’s this “ice bucket challenge” thing going around. Sure enough, some members of the AgileBits crew were challenged, and in good form … we challenged all of our co-workers.

We’ve made a donation to ALS (as well as several other causes near and dear to our hearts) and thoroughly enjoyed helping our teammates take the plunge.

Now that we’ve done our good deed for the week, we challenge YOU. Make the world a better place. Donate to a worthy cause and dump a bucket of ice water on a friend.

Help 1Password support Adults with Learning Disabilities

FSsite01We like to help people here at AgileBits, whether or not it involves keeping your passwords and other things safe. When we discovered we will soon have an opportunity to do a little of both, we couldn’t resist, and we wanted to see if you could lend a hand.

Frederick Sarran likes to ride bikes. He also happens to work near Greig Allen, one of our Customer Support Happiness Engineers, for Balnagask Court in Torry, Aberdeen, a complex for Adults with Learning Disabilities (ALD) and Mental Health issues. Balnagask Court helps these adults with activities like outings, arts and crafts, and music. On August 8, Frederick is going to start riding 450 miles all over Scotland, UK to raise money so Balnagask Court can do more. This is where we all come in.

You can donate to Balnagask Court at Frederick’s website and help spread the word with his Facebook Page. Every little bit helps, and his biking trip is fully funded which means 100% of your donations will help Balnagask Court provide better communal rooms, new chairs and equipment, and more activities that do wonders to enrich the lives of adults with learning disabilities.

To say thanks for your donation, Frederick will promote you, your company, or simply your personal Twitter account on his website and on the ride. AgileBits made a donation to sponsor the ride so Frederick will wear a couple of our t-shirts for parts of the trip. We hope you can chip in too.