Two Cloud Updates: LastPass, CloudMagic

LastPassButton230x230.pngLastPass: Over the past few weeks I've chronicled various aspects of a Gmail hacking episode, about which I'll eventually say more in a "real" article. For now, another lesson-of-experience. In addition to the other security measures I mentioned, starting with the "two-factor" verification system that you really should install today if you haven't already, I am glad to have learned about the LastPass password management utility -- logo at right -- that I now use on all my systems.

It's free (though in a spirit of karmic justice I have signed up for the slightly more flexible $1/month version), it's convenient, it's secure. It is also a sign of the kind of self-protective step users will have to get accustomed to taking, in exchange for the many conveniences of the cloud era. Full details on the site, but it's not at all hard to install and become familiar with.

CloudMagic: Last month I mentioned a free utility called CloudMagic, which indexes and then searches/retrieves Gmail items much faster than Google's built-in search utility does. (The key is using a locally stored index, on your own computer, rather than going to the cloud for all results.) A new version has just been released that overcomes the one limit of the system: that you needed to be logged on to Gmail with a live internet connection for the search to work. Yes, even though the index was right there on your hard disk. Now it functions when you're off line too. Both of these are worth checking out. 

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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