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PasswordWallet - A password management app Pick of the Week
Password Wallet icon The macosxhints Rating:
7 of 10
[Score: 7 out of 10]
Note: This is the Pick of the Week for the week of June 13th.

For a long time, I've been looking for an application in which to store the literally hundreds of usernames, passwords, and software serial numbers. I had what I thought was a reasonably simple list of desired features: Sync with my Palm PDA, customizable categories, customizable templates, strong security, and a pleasant and easy-to-use interface. I've tried using Keychain Access, but there's no Palm sync, and I don't find the application particularly easy to use. So I downloaded every app I could find, and spent the last few weeks testing each of them. At the end, I can't say I found a hands-down winner, but I have grown to like PasswordWallet, though there's room for improvement...

My biggest complaint with most of the programs I tested (too many to list here) is that I found the interfaces needlessly complex for what should be a somewhat simple function, or they lacked Palm synchronization. In the end, it came down to a choice between PasswordWallet and DataViz's Passwords Plus. After using both for a while, I chose PasswordWallet for two main reasons. First, it's a true shareware package so you can test it out extensively (including Palm sync) before purchasing. Second, I found the interface easier to use. Passwords Plus has the advantage in the template department; they're customizable, whereas those in PasswordWallet are not -- I just used the Notes field to hold any miscellaneous data I wanted to store.

I found the data entry on PasswordWallet to be relatively straightforward, though for some reason, you can't use the Keyboard to get to the Category field (even with the Keyboard prefs panel set to allow tabbing to all controls). One nice feature is the ability to auto-type a username and password for you. Just highlight the entry, hit Command-Control-T for "auto type," hit Command-U to open the URL, then hold Option until you hear a beep. For sites like my bank, which prevent you from storing the username and password (for a good reason!), this is a nice timesaver. There are also small icons next to each entry for these tasks, if you prefer clicking the mouse. You can set auto-clear options for various things (locking the file, erasing the clipboard, hiding shown passwords, etc.), and each can be set to a different duration. Finally, a "live find" (type a few letters, and entries are highlighted as they match) makes it easy to find the record I'm looking for.

Beyond the annoyance of not being able to use the keyboard only for data input, I wish PasswordWallet would let me customize the categories. I also would like to assign a highlight color per category, but that cannot be done. Finally, though you can sort by Date Modified, you can't see that date in the main list view; you have to edit a record in order to see the modification date.

While not perfect, PasswordWallet is a strong password management application. I'm hoping some of the small annoyances get addressed in a future update, but I'll be paying my shareware fee later this week; having this data on my Palm has already saved me some time and aggravation. Note that if you want to sync with the Palm, you'll need to buy both the Mac and Palm versions of the program -- and you'll save $2.50 if you buy them together from the online store.
  • Currently 1.89 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (9 votes cast)

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PasswordWallet - A password management app
Authored by: dfp on Jun 21, '05 02:55:20PM

I used PW for a few years, and mostly liked the app. Some pros and cons:

+ Syncs well with your Palm
+ Nifty method for presenting credentials when you visit sites: select the login field of a form and hold down the option key to populate login and pw. (I sure wish Keychain would get better at this)

- Doesn't use OSX Keychain, which in the end is why I stopped using it. Keychain is so widely used in OSX apps that the only other option was maintaining credentials in two independent locations. Argh.

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PasswordWallet - A password management app
Authored by: jspivack on Jun 21, '05 03:18:31PM
I've been using SplashID for years now, and I find it to be terrific - Rob, did you check it out? . it is $30...but it's great.

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Authored by: sjk on Jun 23, '05 12:10:53AM

I've used SplashID for years and it's been very reliable but I certainly won't describe it as great. The UI begs for improvements and SplashData has shown no interest in doing it.

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Authored by: Jacques on Jun 21, '05 04:10:31PM

I really do like Pastor, it's a freeware wallet that works well. -JP

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Authored by: Spliff on Jun 21, '05 04:20:10PM

I second Pastor. It's really the best of the bunch . . . for OS X only.

The best password management app of all time, in my opinion, was VSE My Privacy, but it's only for OS 9. The developer has given some lame reason about not porting it to OS X. Sounds like he didn't want to learn Cocoa.

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Pastor does not sync with Palm OS devices either
Authored by: klktrk on Jun 21, '05 05:59:07PM

Rob was looking not for any password storage app (like Keychain can do this well enough). He was looking for one that could also sync his items to a Palm OS based handheld. Pastor does not do this.

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PasswordWallet - A password management app
Authored by: Sanford Selznick on Jun 21, '05 04:39:19PM

Thank you for your excellent feedback on our PasswordWallet product. We take feedback really seriously and we'll do our best to address these issues in upcoming releases.

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indispensable for the Palm OS user
Authored by: klktrk on Jun 21, '05 05:56:40PM

I've used Password Wallet for years now. Yes, I have my small quarrels with it, but it really is the only practical game in town for those who want to carry their passwords with them whereever they go without risking exposing them to the world (several people I know just write them into their smartphones or what not--oblivious to the fact that if someone finds their phone they've got all the info they need to do major league damage to the person's job, credit standing, or bank accounts). Password Wallet keeps all this information safely encrypted on my computer and on my Treo 600. I don't have to remember to encrypt it, it does it automatically, after a preset interval it's safely locked away. The syncing works great. The interface (especially on the Palm OS side) is lacking, as I noted, but overall, this is good app for the money. The developer is a nice guy, too.

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PasswordWallet - A password management app
Authored by: designr on Jun 21, '05 06:02:29PM

I've been using this (Mac) version and Palm version for years (in my Treo 270 and now in my Treo 650). It has worked flawlessly. I highly recommend it.

As to putting its password in the keychain, my distrust of the keychain is why I bought it in the first place. I often leave my laptop sitting around at client's offices. I sometimes loan my laptop to clients' employees in emergencies. The keychain is fine for most things but I don't want somebody walking up to my laptop, clicking a button and seeing my credit card numbers.

I prefer the separate blowfish encryption.

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PasswordWallet - A password management app
Authored by: lapfrog69 on Jun 21, '05 09:30:32PM

Has anybody tried Web Confidential? I have used it satisfactorily for years on Mac and Palm; I don't know how it compares to the apps already mentioned.

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PasswordWallet - A password management app
Authored by: mal0rd on Jun 22, '05 01:00:44AM

Your keychains are just as secure as any other proprietary application. They are strongly encrypted and nobody can read them without a password. It sounds like your problem is that you don't require a password to unlock your keychain, or that you don't have it automatically lock after use.

But I don't actually suggest using keychain. Just recently I lost all my passwords because the Keychain Access program had a bug that corrupted my keychain. There was nothing I could do and since the file format isn't documented I couldn't even try to recover anything myself.

Devin Bayer

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PasswordWallet - A password management app
Authored by: TvE on Jun 22, '05 11:21:11AM

So create a seperat "guest" account for the people you loan the PowerBook to!

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Authored by: iPost on Jun 22, '05 02:48:30AM
I have done this test myself and I had purchased and used Password Retriever for about a year and a half... and then I got restless again. After retesting the updated old apps from before and trying all the new that had joined the fold, I ended up with the $9 Steel. No regrets for over six months. I don't know about Palm Syncing though... but that's not a priority for me.

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Authored by: iPost on Jun 22, '05 02:55:17AM

Yeah, I checked. No Palm.

But here's the link to Steel.

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PasswordWallet - A password management app
Authored by: Hamo on Jun 22, '05 05:32:13AM

Web-Confidential for OS X and Palm is pretty darn good. I've been using it for years.

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PasswordWallet - A password management app
Authored by: TomHopper on Jun 23, '05 07:10:06AM

I, too, use WebConfidential, primarily because there are versions for Mac, Windows and Palm, and you can sync between them. This lets me take my passwords with me wherever I am. WebConfidential also has lots of good default templates and is from the author of the excellent URL Manager Pro.

Unfortunately, WebConfidential doesn't handle syncing across the three platforms very well, and there have been occassions when I've lost records. As a result, I syncronize between Mac and Palm and, on Windows, have the WebConfidential conduit set to overwrite the desktop. This has worked flawlessly.

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FileMaker Pro, Mobile
Authored by: meancode on Jun 22, '05 11:03:11PM

I once got burnt with one of these apps that sync to your Palm, and let you add/edit on your Mac. Never again.

I have since switched to using FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Mobile. I now know exactly where my data is. I can also take my data anywhere I want to now.

I understand that this is an expensive proposition for some, but I use FileMaker Pro almost every day, so it is more then worth it to develop my own passwords database.

There are usually one or two things these nickel-and-dime shareware apps don't have in them. With FMP, you create exactly what you want.

Just my point of view.

ken edwards

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PasswordWallet - A password management app
Authored by: michaatje on Jun 23, '05 03:01:52AM

I have used Pastor for about 4 years now and never had any problems with it. I have placed the Pastor file in my documents folder on my iDisk so I can access it from every mac I have connected to the internet. I have placed an alias of the file in the dock to be able to easily open it.


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PasswordWallet - A password management app
Authored by: tifighter on Jun 23, '05 03:09:01AM

While I tried and like passwordwallet I ultimately wound up purchasing and using on a daily basis Wallet.

Wallet doesn't have the Palm syncing features that are a requirement for some but I find the interface much more pleasing and mac-like. Wallet also has the ability to sync with an iPod and has user definable fields with a few predesigned sets to start you out.

And major props to the developer who gets back very promptly to emails and posts to forums on a regular basis.

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Keyring for Palm OS
Authored by: Nucleus on Jun 23, '05 08:53:43AM

There is a free and Open Source alternative: Keyring for Palm OS

I use it since many years (PalmIII, HandSpring Neo,Treo180, Treo600, Treo650), and I am very happy with it.

An Open Source solution is a must for me, so I don't lose all my data whenever the software editor change format or stop supporting my hardware..

There is a Windows and a OS X viewer available from the SourceForge project page.

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Authored by: kholburn on Jun 23, '05 11:59:36PM

I use Ciphsafe, a freeware password management tool. Don't know about palm synchronisation though.

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