Parallel Desktops

1Password makes it easy to remember

Just the other day I wrote about the importance of using different passwords with different systems to protect yourself against someone effectively stealing your identity. Several folks recommended that I take a look at 1Password, a utility for managing passwords to different web sites.

I’ve never been a big fan of password utilities. The main reason behind this is that I have a pretty large number of machines I use on a frequent basis and knowing my passwords is just something I want to keep stored in my aging grey matter. The problem with "just knowing" your passwords is that it’s quite easy to become lazy and not change your passwords very often because they can be a pain in the ass if you forget them.
Writing them down is always a big no-no too so you need some place to record them. What that justification out of the way I figured I’d try out 1Password. Nice, simple install. You access 1Password from your browser menu – it places a little button labeled 1p directly to the left of the address box in your browsers. I have both Safari and Firefox installed and it installed into them without any problems.
I won’t go too much into the basics of 1Password because they have an excellent video that walks you through the basic usage. Here it is if you are interested:
1Password does a lot more than just save passwords. In playing around with it I noticed that I could store identities in it. I plugged in my name, mailing address, birthdate, etc. When I come across a form on the web that I want to fill out I simply click the 1P button and select Fill in with Identity and then select my name. Most, though not all, of the fields will quickly populate. Some, like the pull downs for dates, don’t work – but I understand why that would be tough from a programatic standpoint.
You can also store other data inside the secure wallet that is 1Password. It has places for things like your credit cards, which I find useful because I hate going on a 1am buying spree and having to run upstairs to grab my wallet to get my credit card number. Now it’s right here in 1Password.
Reportedly 1Password will also allow you to synchronize your information on several machines using a .Mac account. I’m about to become a multi-Mac owner so I purchased the 3 seat license for 1Password; I don’t have a .Mac account and don’t plan on getting one so it will be interesting to see how I will be synchronizing the data between two different machines. If someone has a tip on that please let me know!
Overall it seems like a really great little application and one that I’m glad people recommended it to me. Paul – thanks for recommending it several times :-)

By David Alison

I bought my first Mac almost 24 years ago when DOS ruled the world. I didn't keep it too long though. I was just kicking off my career as a software engineer and needed to go with PCs. I bought my 2nd Mac in February of 2008. I didn't expect that I would find myself using the machine as much as I have. It's not that I hate Windows (well, I pretty much hate Vista but XP is a fine OS), it's just that I find myself constantly playing with this machine.

I'll share with you here my experiences of making the move from Windows to Macintosh. I still have a foot in both worlds, hence the name of my section.