Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Nomination for Most Frustrating Error Message for 2013

Most annoying error messages come out of nowhere, kick you in the shin, and then just stand there coldly watching your reaction hoping that they'll see a tiny shimmering tear form in the corner of your eye.

The error message I'm nominating tonight is not one, but two error messages that together deliver a more powerful combination attack.  The first one assaults you, but then gives you a glimmer of hope, and then the second one.... well I'm getting ahead of myself.

I have used KeePass to safely manage my passwords for years and it has never given me a single problem until today. Well there was that one time I forgot my "master password" but KeePass can't do everything for me.

Tonight I was trying to pay a bill (you're welcome anonymous power company) and I noticed that KeePass had been updated.  I giddily clapped my hands and thought about all the new features I might encounter (version control perhaps?).  The clapping was short lived though.  Upon opening my "old" password database with my new KeePass program, I was greeted with this:

"Ah!", I said, "I will now follow the friendly and helpful instructions.  Okay, File... Import...   Choose file..."   Bam!

Like you, dear reader, I rubbed my eyes a few times, but the message remained the same.  I've been running KeePass on my Linux machine for years, and now, when it's time to transition to the newest version, I'm told I need Windows.  I like Windows but my import process just got several times more complicated.

So, anonymous power company, you will have to wait a bit longer before receiving your well deserved funds.  And you, tiny little Windows Netbook, that has been abandoned on my bookshelf, I'll be by later to install 238 security patches before actually exporting my password database.


Didier Fort said...

I seem to remember dealing with that issue recently.
You may want to use Keepass 1.x (reinstall if necessary) and export the database in a different format XML for example (I know it's not secure, but it's just for the sake of the migration).
Then Keepass 2, supports importing XML file from Keepass 1.
Don't forget to remove your XML file once you are done.

Tim Stewart said...

Thank you! That sounds promising!

Tim Stewart said...

Thank you! That sounds promising!

Tim Stewart said...

I took Didier's advice and it really should have worked better than it actually did. I exported everything to an XML file, and then imported the XML file into the new version of KeePass. Nothing showed up. Not a single password.

Upgrade Path Dead End.

So as I was _hand_ importing all my passwords I realized that the new version of KeePass had some serious usability bugs in it.

I'm not sure if it's because it's the Linux version of the product, but the kerning on the text fields is so bad it's scary. Kerning is supposed to make the letters in your words nestle in together nicely. KeePass' kerning code resembled a teleporter malfunction (yes, I'm using KeePass default fonts).

It had problems with focus too. I'd have a particular entry highlighted, Alt+Tab to my browser, and then Alt+Tab back and the focus was gone.

It also had problems with keyboard shortcuts not working. The right-click context menu stated that Ctrl+I would initiate the "New Entry..." operation, but clicking that key combination didn't do anything.

I'm sure there are cool features in KeePass 2 but I'm so tired from battling the usability features that I'm not that keen on trying to find them.

I'm not quite ready to coin the phrase KeeFail but it's close.

Does anyone have any Linux alternatives to KeePass?