Towards the end of last year, my friend Iris mentioned that she wanted to get her online passwords under control. I was very interested because I know that mine have also gotten a bit unruly.

Today, once I saw the emails from 6pm and Zappos about the hacking and personal data breach, I decided to run through the four major email accounts that I use and see just how many user accounts and websites I could come up with having without having to do a huge archaeological dig on myself.  I’m not entirely sure the website I used as an undergrad that had something to do with kiwi is still active but then, that hotmail account has been dormant since 2005 or so.

The present count, which I’m sure will increase in the next few days/weeks as I think of more, log on to other computers, etc, is 201*.  My completely uninformed guess says that puts me probably somewhere about normal or on the low end for people of my demographic.

There are things that I need to do with this information

  • I do need to get my passwords sorted and I keep hearing good things about LastPass.
  • I need to create a list of these accounts that’s part of the documentation that goes to various people if I should die. (I’m fine, truly, just planning ahead. Same reason I had a lawyer draw up powers of attorney and a will for me, it’ll mean there are a lot fewer questions should the unexpected occur. It also prompted a lot of conversations that I’d rather we have now than later.)
  • I’d like to make a second/third/fourth pass through that list and see where I can nuke the accounts. I don’t anticipate that it will be easy to delete an account, most of the websites I visit don’t even seem to have that option anywhere. All the more reason to have a comprehensive list floating about.
What would I like to get rid of?
  • Sites that stopped updating three years ago
  • Sites where I only purchased one thing but had to register to do so
  • Prescription management sites from three jobs ago
  • Any website I no longer remember why I signed up
Things that aren’t immediately clear.
  • Should I hold onto the health insurance websites from three jobs ago? Try and log in and see if I still have access? Download that info and then see if they’ll kill the account? (I know, that last one is doubtful.)
  • What should I do if the website appears to be dead and gone? (Other than keep it in an archival spreadsheet)
  • What do you use to sign into websites without creating yet another sign in? I know there was a service that would let you do that. What have experiences been?
Other than Goodreads or strictly related to things I’m doing on Twitter (e.g. Twitterfeed), I don’ t like using my Twitter log in elsewhere.  Same goes for Facebook. I find it a little creepy that I see the “Log in with your facebook account” everywhere.  My Google accounts are tied into a wide variety of sites that I use, mostly acquisitions over time (e.g. YouTube).
I also think I need to start doing more “purchase without logging in” and I wish websites more often gave you that option.  Obviously I don’t need to add further to my list.

*It was 130 when I started this blog post a  couple hours ago.