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Monday, January 31, 2011

Goodbye Roboform, Hello LastPass

lastpassGoing back to the early part of this century, I have like to use a password manager to help me keep track of the various passwords and logins I use.  Remembering such information has never been a strong point of mine. I’m sure I would have done better at school and University if I had not had to remember all the various mathematical formulae, and instead just been able to find the right one in a book and apply it. 

One of my favourite quotes is by Homer Simpson’s, “every time I learn something new it pushes something old out of my brain” as it pretty much sums up my ability to memorise things such as formulae and passwords. So when Symantec introduced Norton Password Manager to its range, it became my saviour, allowing me to use a variety of more complex passwords for websites.  As I have previously documented, needing a new PC often means new version of Windows and old software no longer working, sadly the Norton Password Manager was a victim of this but I found a great replacement in Roboform.

Roboform served me well for years, but in the last year I have become a convert to Google’s Chrome browser, and sadly this hasn’t been as well supported by Roboform as it perhaps should be.  About a year ago I tried LastPass, but found that it wasn’t quite what I was looking for, but with recent changes to Roboform that now require me to pay for what were once promised as free updates along with little progress with Roboform's cumbersome Chrome extension, I have again found myself looking for alternative.

So once again I have been giving LastPass a try, and so far it seems the issues I had previously have been sorted such as not filling usernames that were email address’s and not filling any login details for Google.  Compared to Roboform the process for filling forms is far simpler and more automated. Gone is the having to tell the Roboform extension to fill forms through a variety of clicks on the mouse, LastPass just fills them automatically.

The main downside for me is that the data with LastPass is only stored remotely.  Although the Roboform application didn’t work directly with Chrome, the online version that the Chrome extension used similar synced with the application on my PC giving me a local copy of my data along with an online backup.  At least this way should the Roboform service stop I have all my passwords store, while if my PC dies I can get all the data back by re-syncing a new PC with my account.  It is partly this reason that I don’t use Chrome’s built in password feature.  If Google were to add the option to sync password data in Chrome with your Google account, it would likely be the ideal solution.  I get to keep a copy of all my data locally, but if the worst happens with my PC, I can get everything back with a simple re-sync.  Until then, it looks like I’ll be sticking with LastPass.

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