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Password Managers: Why And How


Password management programs do not merely make users safer. They make you more productive by reducing frustration and time lost through ad hoc password storage and organization techniques. Pretty nice parley, right? It’s sad that only 20% of people use one.

I’ve been using an app that gets high reviews, 1Password, for a while. I have not been completely happy with it. Among other problems, it’s difficult or impossible to change the master password to something easier to type but still strong.

I’m switching to LastPass. It’s the top choice of this guy I’ve known & respected for 25+ years, since he started one what was probably the first good blog on tech for lawyers. I listen to the podcast he does with another respected friend more often than any other podcast (except for CBSRMT).

So far it seems far superior, much easier to use.

Thinking about upgrading yourself? Note that it’s relatively easy to import passwords you already have already stored in another manager.

Selecting A Password

Password length is the most important factor in password security. This makes a long password that is easy to type attractive. The best way to implement this is described as “Tell a story that is unique to you.” Here’s an example:


This example has 20 plus words. It has a digit and a special character but it’s easier to type than something like the suggestions generated by most password managers, usually something along these lines: 25A#fu351el!@322ir82%9

My new personal “master password” is a sentence with 24 characters, summarizing the plot of a favorite inspirational movie & including a digits and a special character. It’s probably more secure than needed, but it’s still relatively easy to type.

Other Pointers

Consumer Reports and Wired.com have some good advice for password manager newbies. It’s more important to have a decent manager than to obsess over trying to be sure you have the very best.

The esteemed Tom Mighell published his three part series on password managers a while back but it remains an excellent source of implementation guidance.


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