Chapter 7. Create a Master Directory

When it came to creating passwords for logging on to various sites on the Internet, my default password was always pretty simple: the name of my dear yellow Labrador, now an old lady, plus the street number of my husband's and my first house. With the exception of the occasional stumble (case-sensitivity!), that system worked pretty well.

At least it did for a while. At some point, though, we got a second dog and moved to a different house. Some passwords expired, or I was issued temporary ones like XJLZ3677 that I never got around to customizing. And I also began managing more of my business online, from making my 401(k) elections to putting my newspapers on vacation hold. My user names and passwords multiplied exponentially, seemingly overnight. In short order, my once-straightforward system for managing my user names and passwords became a convoluted muddle of multiple house numbers, two different dogs' names, and temporary passwords.

One day when I had a few extra minutes to spare, I decided that it was time to mop up my self-made mess. I created a simple Microsoft Word document that I store on my laptop at home as well as my PC at work; I also password-protected it to ensure its safety. On it, I put the URLs of all the web sites I visit, as well as my user names and passwords. If I need to create or change any of the information, I simply crack open the file and resave it. I can't claim that the system is perfect—I occasionally update my at-work ...

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