With my job and a passion for tech, I have a home computer, work laptop, iPhone, iPad, and am often at a variety of other computers throughout the week. With so much bouncing around, I realized that I needed two things readily accessible on any device that I was on, that being my Internet passwords and bookmarks.
The beauty of the web is that I can access it from just about any computer. In the case of this post I am mainly focusing on bookmarks, usernames, and passwords. I use the web so much each and every day that I need a quick and easy way to access vital information regardless of the computer that I am on. Because of this, I turn to Xmarks for my bookmarks and LastPass for remembering my usernames and passwords. If you have never heard of these two web gems, you are going to want to read further to see how these two web apps can help you easily access what you need, when you need it.
What are Xmarks and LastPass?
Think of it this way, Xmarks is for bookmarks and LastPass is for usernames and passwords. They function very similarly in that they sync your data through the cloud so that you can access it on any computer that has an Internet connection. They both have extensions for the major browsers that are out there (Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) that you should install onto the computers that you are using frequently. Basically, you install the extensions into any browser that you are using and then Xmarks syncs your bookmarks across all browsers and LastPass syncs your usernames and passwords to websites.
As far as setup, there really isn’t much to it. Once your extensions are downloaded and installed the only thing you need to do know is to create a profile for both services. The reason for this is so that you can access your information on any computer.
How I Use Xmarks and LastPass
Like I mentioned before, with the way my life works, I want everything to be in sync as much as possible, so I tend to be a little over zealous when it comes to using these apps. Let me share with you what I do.
First, I use Chrome, Safari, and Firefox both at home and on my work laptop for various reasons. So, the first thing that I do is to install the Xmarks and LastPass extensions for those browsers on both computers. Once this happens, you really just let the magic happen in the background for the most part. Let me explain this a little further. With Xmarks, once you are logged into your account, you are good to go. You can start bookmarking sites and they will now show up on any other browser that I have installed Xmarks onto. The only difference with LastPass is that when I enter in a username and password on a site, I get asked if I want to save the info to LastPass or not. If I choose to do so, my username and password for that site is now saved.
But what if I am not on my home or work computer and I still want to access my bookmarks and passwords? Again, here is where the beauty of the Internet comes into play. Let’s say, I am on a different computer at work, or say my iPad or iPhone and I don’t have Xmarks or LastPass installed on these devices. I can easily go to xmarks.com or lastpass.com, log into my account and see my bookmarks, usernames, and passwords for the sites that I saved.
What Is The Value In This?
Of course you don’t want to do something if there is no value or purpose to it, right? Well, with Xmarks and LastPass, for me, there is a ton of value in doing this. Let me share with you my top 3 reasons why I choose to go this route.
My number one reason for doing this, as I have already eluded to, is the fact that my bookmarks and passwords are always kept in sync, no matter what browser or what computer that I use. I know that I can bookmark a page or log in to a website anywhere and it is practically seamless for me. I don’t have to remember usernames and passwords or if I had bookmarked something from earlier in the week. Everything stays in sync and that is huge for me.
Secondly, these two web apps saved me big time a few months ago when my home computer crashed on me. Because everything is saved in the cloud, I didn’t have to worry about losing vital web information that I needed. All I had to do when I got my new computer was to log into both services and both my bookmarks and log-ins were right there for me. This saved me a ton of time, especially with LastPass, being that I didn’t have to write down my usernames and passwords for every site that I visit.
Finally, and although this may seem not that big of a deal to some, it is for me, I like to keep my bookmarks in sync on my iPad with my computers as well. Xmarks lets me do this since I have the Safari extension on my home computer; it syncs my bookmarks whenever I make changes on other browsers. Then, I have my iPad sync with iTunes the bookmarks of Safari on my computer; so now my bookmarks get synced with my iPad as well. And with the introduction of iCloud, bookmark syncing now happens over the air.
When I tell most people about this strategy that I use, I always preface it with saying, “This is what works for me.” I say that because it isn’t a solution that will work for everyone. It works for my needs and it can also work for you, depending on what you are trying to do.
If you are juggling between a couple of computers and are looking to keep things in sync or need to a way to remember usernames and passwords, then give this a shot and see how it works for you. There are many other apps out there that do what Xmarks and LastPass do and some even do it better. But, for me, this works great. It does exactly what I need it to do and best of all it is free. For my money, that is pretty hard to beat.