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Passwords and Private File Syncing

Got a great formula to make your passwords seem more random or tricky? Password hackers love formulas and most any formula you have learned somewhere is included in password cracking software that is easily available. Take seriously the advice of using truly random passwords, with letters, numbers, and punctuation marks, or random words strung together if you are willing to go long without making a sentence. If you have more passwords than will fit on the back of a business card, consider a password manager to keep track of your ever-growing list.

On a related privacy topic, you can create throwaway email addresses for all those obnoxious sites requiring an email address to use their service. Burnermail.io has an extension for both Firefox and Chrome web browsers that lets you create “burner” email addresses that forward to your real email address. If you start getting spammed from one of those sign-up sites, you can easily drop those spammers into a black hole. You can also see and protect against companies that resell your email address by using a burner email address.

As part of estate planning, or even just putting together your simple will, you want to include your “digital assets.” These include writing down the more obvious logins and passwords for banks, credit cards, and other online financial management services, including an always-up-to-date copy with your will. Most password managers have a way to add an additional emergency access user. If you use two-factor authentication, check how that will work if the second device used, like a cell phone or other authenticator, is no longer available. Plan for, or at least understand, how digital purchases can be shared to family, even if they cannot be transferred. And definitely note your social media and email logins and passwords to make it easier for your executor to notify contacts, friends, and followers.

Toby (gettoby.com) provides a graphical way to organize your bookmarks and tabs opened in the background that you promise you will get back to. It allows you to create topics or categories for your open tabs/bookmarks, lets you reorder and reprioritize them, and if you actually sign up for a gettoby account you can save and sync all those between different computers.

If you have wanted a personal alternative to file syncing services like Dropbox, Google Drive or the many others, you might want to look at Syncthing (syncthing.net). It requires some reading for the setup but you don’t have to share your files with any third party at all.