Archive for May 2008

PGP 9.8 Sucks

I hate to say it, but it's true. I've been a loyal and avid user of PGP for over 15 years now. I started with command line PGP and moved to all of their Windows and Mac versions of the years. I was using PGP 8.0.2 for a long time and then finally decided to upgrade to 9.5. I'm very disappointed.

I don't know who's doing the programming over there at PGP these days but I'm sorry to say the latest version is terrible. I've had nothing but problems from the beginning. I've installed it on an XP computer and a MacBook Pro and both versions are lame. It's not the encryption that's lame, but the interface. The new PGP Desktop interface is just too confusing.

Since installing 9.8 I keep getting lockups and errors. I create a PGP Disk and then it can't be mounted. Or it's mounted but I can't see it. On the Mac version I go to try to do a whole disk encryption and it can't see any of my drives so I can't encrypt them.

In the new Desktop interface all the commands are so NOT logical. For some commands the only option is to right click to get a menu and then go through a sub-menu. It used to be so easy to double click a pgp file and then enter my passphrase. Not anymore. Now if I double click on an existing encrypted file the PGP Desktop opens up into PGPZip mode. It seems that any file with a .pgp extension is now treated as a PGPZip file instead of just an encrypted file. This adds another couple of steps to the process of unencrypting files. How LAME! And, it makes the whole process slower. It takes too long to open PGP Desktop even though it's residing in memory.

The messaging program is so confusing. It says to let disable SSL in Outlook and PGP handle my SSL connections to the server, but it never tells me if it's successful in getting an SSL connection. The documentation says PGP will "try" to upgrade all of my pop and smtp connections to SSL but how do I know if it's actually doing this? If I set the SSL myself, then I know it's working.

I've been a big fan of this software in the past but as the title of this post reflects, I think it sucks. It seems as though they've tried to dummy it down but in doing so, they've made things more complicated. Most of the people who are using encryption want to do it in the least amount of steps possible.

One thing PGP still does well is encrypt messages on the fly to people who happen to have PGP keys.

If you're looking for a no nonsense encryption package for file encryption, Google TrueCrypt. Awesome program!

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Xobni for Outlook

I usually hate adding plugins to Outlook. I've tried a few that claim to organize my email for me but I'm so organized already that I rarely have to search for things. I usually know where they are. I read about Xobni (Inbox backwards) and thought I'd give it a try. After watching the demo video I installed it and have been playing for it for awhile. It's very nice.

Yes, it does slow down Outlook just a tad, but it does a really nice job of searching and giving you all kinds of information regarding your email. If you are using IMAP with a large account the indexing time will take quite awhile. If you have POP mail, give this thing a try.


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