Over the past few months, GRS readers been recommending two applications that I haven’t found time to mention — until today. These two utilities perform simple but important tasks. One is a password manager, and the other allows you to share your documents — including financial documents — across multiple computers.

KeePass
Here, for example, is an e-mail I received from a reader who asked to remain anonymous. He’s one of the many to sing the praises of KeePass.

This tool might be part of your paperless personal finance system:

I set up all of my online passwords in a program called KeePass on a memory stick; it has some clever functions that let you avoid typing in URLs, login names, and passwords on public computers and thus defeat keystroke-capture fraud agents. I’ve found it very useful — it’s much faster and easier than using the old password log in my PDA.

KeePass is a free open source password manager that runs on all major operating systems: Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. According to the website:

[KeePass lets you] put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known.

Update: Macintosh and Linux users should check out KeePassX.

Dropbox
Several GRS users have also sung the praises of Dropbox, an app that allows you to synchronize files across multiple computers and access them from the web. (This reminds me of .Mac/MobileMe for Macintosh — only better.) Dropbox also allows users to share files and folders with others.

This screencast describing the featuers of Dropbox pretty much sold me on the product. Dropbox is free for low-volume use (under 2gb of space) and premium accounts are available.

In February, Oliver wrote that he uses KeePass and DropBox together:

KeePass is really great for encrypting passwords but as well as keeping the username and password for each account, I also keep all the account numbers, other passwords, security questions/answers, phone numbers in the notes field.

KeePass allows me to keep all this info (and my other passwords) behind one password and with Dropbox I can back it up for free and have the file available anywhere.

I want to live in “the cloud”, but Apple’s MobileMe just isn’t robust enough. As a result, I’ve recently I’ve recently begun to embrace Google’s suite of online tools. But Google doesn’t offer file storage. Dropbox looks like the perfect compliment to Google Docs and its siblings.

Postcript: After I finished writing this article yesterday morning, I went to lunch with my friend Will. As we were eating, the subject turned to cloud computing. “Oh, J.D.,” said Will, pulling out his iPhone. “Have you seen Dropbox? It’s amazing.” He gave me a guided tour on his iPhone. I laughed and told him I’d just finished writing a post about it just an hour before.

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