I've been thinking a lot about passwords. It seems more and more websites require a login (username and password) to use their facilities. Of course as genealogists many of us already belong to subscription websites like Ancestry.com, Footnote.com, Genealogy Today and so on - all of which require a login. Google mail and other mail services need a password. Online banking is also password protected as are E-Bay and other auction sites.
We all learn pretty quickly that it is not a good idea to have one password for all our important or private areas of the internet. Instead we are urged to create separate passwords for every spot we visit. We're also urged to not record these passwords, but at the same time, told to guard them carefully and not forget them!
As my password list began to grow (and being the webmaster of over a dozen sites as well as volunteer list admin of dozens of mailing lists and message boards) just adds to that list!) I realized I had to come up with a method that would allow me quick and easy access to my safe-guarded areas.
My husband uses post-it notes. They are stuck all over his desk shelves. For me that doesn't work as it takes too long to find the one I want. Plus I don't like the clutter and the fact that anyone coming into our computer area has easy access to our "stuff".
I tried writing mine in an address book. Nope, I didn't like it as I couldn't keep the sites in alphabetical order within the letter category. I also ran out of room under one letter and had to expand into a letter that was incorrect. For someone with only a few passwords this might be a viable option but not for me
In desperation I bought Digital Personal Password Manager. It's a cool little device that you hook up to your computer. Then you teach it your fingerprint and your passwords. Whenever you go to a password protected site that you have "entered" on the device, you simply press your finger or thumb on the red pad and bingo your password is entered on the site and you are in.
At first I liked this method but I quickly began having problems. many times the fingerprint reader would not accept my finger! I had to move it, adjusting it ever so slightly, rolling it one way and another until it would take. My husband loves his, it works like a charm every time! But for me it was a dismal failure.
[Photo on left is an invented password and username, it's not the real one!] Finally last year I hit on what for me works beautifully. I use a roladex. The roladex allows me to create one card for each site. I can make changes as needed, I can change my password, record what credit card I used to buy a subscription, etc. I can buy extra roladex cards if I need more. I can insert a card so that the sites are in alphabetical order. When a card gets too full of scribbled notations, I can toss it and start a new one!
I'm the Roladex Queen now and I can't say enough about how much easier my online life is since I started using it.