Portcullis and drawbridge

What on earth do medieval castle defences have to do with 21Century computing?

Is she finally losing the plot? Or perhaps she has watched too many Robin Hood movies on Netflix during lockdown.

I have been, but that’s not the point here.

I am struggling with my LastPass Chrome extension. It’s simply not automatically filling in usernames and passwords when I’m logging in to sites and apps.

And it’s driving me crazy.

Firstly I use LastPass because I need a password manager. There’s no way that I will ever remember all the strong passwords I need for all the apps that I log into regularly. And I definitely wouldn’t remember them for the ones I use only occasionally.

The beauty of using a password manager app, like LastPass, is that you don’t need to remember anything, LastPass does it all for you. The only thing you need to remember is your password into LastPass.

Which is why it’s so infuriating when it doesn’t want to work for you. And therefore, feels as though it is working against you. And computers are supposed to be helpful tools, not the cause of angst and frustration.

Of course, I have 2 options.

1 I can log in to the LastPass website and sign in using my username and master password. And launch the app I need from there, with the username and password remembered and completed automatically. But I don’t want to do that for a number of reasons. All to do with how safe it feels. Not that I’m taking my laptop anywhere outside my home office any time soon, but it just feels uncomfortable and I don’t want to do it.

2 I can uninstall and re-install the Chrome extension. What ought to happen, if the extension is working properly, is that it recognises the URL, sees an input box and auto-magically fills in the username and password. And it makes logging in to apps frequently used and occasionally used a complete doddle.

I suppose I DO have a 3rd option – which is to write all my passwords in a “little black book” equivalent. OR a 4th option which is to let Chrome save everything for me but I don’t think either of those are safe. At least not as safe as using a password manager.

So here we go. Uninstalling a Chrome extension and reinstalling it.

(The clock ticks round)

Not so very different to uninstalling and reinstalling software, but generally quicker! (Unless you get distracted by all the shiny things on offer in the Chrome extension store.)

And sometimes when the techy stuff just isn’t working right for you, it’s what you have to do. Because for all the hours you spend snarling at it for not working (or is that just me) a 2-3 minute job to uninstall and reinstall generally solves the problem.


But I’ve still not properly defined why portcullis and drawbridge.

For me I tend to explain username as your drawbridge. It allows you access to the first part of the castle. And the portcullis as the password. It is the final magic word, the pass phrase that says you have access to this castle and all it contains.

And your computer security, your online security is important enough for you to take it seriously and sometimes that means using help – for me it’s LastPass. In true BBC style, other password mangers are available.

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