At the risk of turning this blog into a forum for my personal grievances I’ve yet another complaint about a recent purchase. Or maybe I’m the problem. You be the judge.
I invested $40 in 1Password by Agile Web Solutions. 1Password is a password management solution for Mac, iPhone, and iPad (also for Windows but, I haven’t tried it out there yet). I’m graduating from info.xhead which was adequate but, doesn’t give one an option to sync across devices nor does it integrate in any way with browsers. My very generous wife bought me an iPad for my birthday so I now have a collection of Apple devices without any sort of password syncing between them. The iPad version of 1Password was an additional $15.
The sync certainly works well. There is an option to sync over a WiFi connection (yes, it has the WiFis) or to a file in your DropBox. I setup the latter option and that all works swimmingly. 1Password also contains a password generator with a nice option of creating a pronounceable password. Clearly these guys are thinking hard about the design of the application and intended uses.
The problem however is that on the iPad and the iPhone there is no integration with Safari. Agile Web Solutions built in their own browser or more likely added some chrome to the WebKit component (I’m guessing here as I’ve not built an app for the iPhone or iPad yet). At any rate, you can go from the 1Password app to a web page associated with an account stored in 1Password. But only in their browser where you don’t have access to the rest of the features of Safari. Does Apple really not allow this level of integration?
The lack of integration basically makes the entire endeavor an elaborate ruse. You have access to your accounts but, not in a place where you want them. Thus I end up not making use of the software and I probably won’t store new accounts there and eventually the list of accounts will grow stale and I’ll stop using it entirely. I only bought the desktop software to be able to manage the accounts easily and to complement the iPad and iPhone apps. It is really on the iPad where I want easy AutoFill of my account information. It would appear however that Safari Extensions are not available to iPad developers which is a shame. I was a hair’s breadth away from a workable solution to the annoyance of 1,000 and 1 passwords.
The fact that I have to buy third party software to accomplish this task at all is a bit irksome. I would have ponied up the cash for MobileMe if it had this functionality. How hard would it be to extend the Keychain to the cloud to manage all of my passwords and not just application access for MobileMe? I’d happily offer up an 128-bit SSH key with passphrase to be able to access the information. I know it is putting all of my eggs in one basket but, I sense I’m not alone in that desire (nor the poor substitute of reusing passwords more often than I should). Calgon, take me away!
UPDATE: Today my Windows Live ID password expired as it does after 72 days for sites that require the highest level of password security that Live ID offers. Unfortunatey, 1Password’s pronounceable password generator didn’t meet the standards of Windows Live ID. The random password did work. But then the tool somehow managed to not update the WLID account with the new password. Luckily there was a fill-in last generated password option that saved my bacon. Otherwise I would have been locked out of the love-in. Kicked out of the hoe down.
I also failed to mention that I was a bit upset at not being offered any sort of a savings for purchasing both the desktop app and the iPhone/iPad app. Seems like an opportunity lost to offer a bit of a discount for a multi-app purchase. If there had been a discount offered I might have also bought the Windows edition. While there are some shortcomings to the app I’m committed now so I might as well extend the solution to all of the machines I interact with.