From the beginning one of the main selling points of computers was the promise of efficiency — one device that does everything.
Then things got complicated; I currently have five separate e-mail addresses, a Facebook account, a MySpace page (just so I can see other pages), and probably more than 10,000 photos, documents and other files divided between hundreds of folders, divided between two computers and my Gmail Documents account. I have two calendars (Gmail and iCal), three address books, and four web browsers (Safari and Firefox) on the go with all my bookmarks divided between them. I have an eBay account, an Amazon account, a Futureshop account, an MEC account, and much, much more — all pretty much useless because I got a new credit card about a year ago, and my information changed. I’m also a registered user with Digg, Alternet, and Reddit. I’m registered with half a dozen newspapers so I can read the subscriber-only articles. I bank online at two institutions. I have different versions of the same software at home and at work, with different shortcuts and capabilities.
I frequently forget my user name and password to the sites I visit. Most websites will send me that information by sending them an e-mail, but I can never remember what e-mail account I used to register in the first place.
It’s safe to say that computers have added a degree of complexity to my life that I didn’t have before and would never have imagined possible.
It’s time to simplify.
The password issue
Mozilla Firefox has the ability to remember all your user names and passwords for you, providing you trust all your information to your browser. However, since nine out of 10 websites I’m registered to use are news websites I’m not really that worried that someone will hack my account. The banking websites are a little more serious, but they usually have secondary passwords that you set yourself.
To get Firefox to help, download the browser at Mozilla.com, then go into the Preferences and select the Security tab. There’s an option to remember passwords for sites, as well as the option of using a master password for all the sites you visit.
To make things even simpler, I could get another free e-mail account to go along with the master password option. That way my e-mail address and password will always be the same.
Of course that means re-registering for the websites I use, or changing my personal information, but it will save time and stress in the long run. The added benefit is that those websites will send all their flyers and promotional material (read: spam) to that new e-mail address, allowing me to quickly empty the Inbox without worrying about deleting important personal or work-related e-mails.