I hate passwords - especially in a corporate setting. We've all been there - your password must be between 6-8 characters and must include at least one letter, one number, one symbol, yadda yadda yadda. Oh, and you'll be asked to change it every 60 days. Sigh. OK, I recognize that IT departments do that sort of stuff to keep the network safe. But I also can sympathize with employees who, because of password overload, write their passwords on sticky notes and keep them at their workstations. Yeah, like that's keeping the network secure.
Now, here comes RoboForm, a longtme password-management and form-filling product for consumers, with a new Enterprise version. The company released it a few months back but the release from parent company Siber Systems just recently fell in my inbox. I have to admit I was pretty excited to see it. The product is top-notch and its Robo2Go product, which stores all of your passwords on a removable USB drive for use on any computer, was one of my favorites. ("Was" is the key word there.)
Years ago - at least four, maybe five - I had all of my user names and passwords stored on a USB drive in a Roboform file. Access to my bank, credit card and email accounts was as simple as finding an open USB port... until I became a Mac guy. Apparently, RoboForm was not compatible with the Mac. Oh sure, I complained and even resorted to begging and pleading for a Mac version. Yes, that's how much I liked this product. Instead, I was given the obligatory "We're working on it." reply and was sent back to pen-and-paper to keep track of my passwords. In all honesty, I'd kind of forgotten about RoboForm until I heard from them again this week.
Guess what? Still no Mac version. Five years later. In 2008. Can you believe it?
I have a hard time comprehending that, in five years time, this company has not figured out a work-around to make this happen. They have adapters for Firefox (a good thing) and Netscape 7 (who uses that?). It also supports the AOL browser. (I can't even muster up a sarcastic comment about this.) The underlying message is that it works best with Internet Explorer. (Well, there went that whole security issue.)
Maybe the folks at SiberSystems hasn't heard but real people and real companies - not just the ultra-geeky - are using Macs. This isn't 1998. This is 2008. Mac sales are up. There's even a whole line of Mac computers - desktops, laptops, the whole bit. You might have heard of them. Macs even connect to the Internet now using a number of different browsers and even are compatible with wireless networks. Microsoft even makes a version of Office for the Mac.
Apologies for the sarcasm but I really want to stand on rooftops and shout out the praises of Roboform - but I just can't. Not yet. I've been on this cloud computing kick lately and am a firm believer that the computing work we do - whether for business or pleasure - no longer should be tied to one particular operating system. VPN or not, I can access my corporate email from any machine with a browser and a Web connection. Same goes for my Yahoo mail, my Flickr account, my Facebook page and so on.
So what's the holdup?
I just heard back from Bill Carey, VP of Marketing at SiberSystems, who was a good sport about my whining and even sympathized with my beef. The short answer: it's coming. Maybe as early as next year. He tells me that the company has been wanting to launch a Mac version for a long time (at least five years, right?) but "we've never been able to get out of the starting block. We've always had problems finding Mac developers." (Insert long, awkward, silent pause here.)
The good news is that the company has "recently brought in additional resources" to work on Mac versions of its products. I've waited this long. I guess I can wait a little longer. But if I wait too long, I'll just be using biometrics - fingerprints, eye-scan, whatever - and won't even need a password.