Regular readers know of my undying love for password managers, which make your online life considerably easier -- to say nothing of way more secure.
If you're already using one, great -- feel free to skip ahead to the bonus deals below. If not, get ready for a seriously sweet offer: AppSumo is offering a free one-year subscription to LastPass Premium. Regular price: $12.
Update: As often happens, free stuff broke the Internet. AppSumo's site appears to be down, no doubt due to heavy traffic. My advice: keep trying. And stay tuned for updates. I'll let you know when I get a response from the company.
Update No. 2: As of about 8 a.m. PT, the site appears to be working properly, and the giveaway is up and running. Go get it!
Granted, that's literally saving you just a buck per month, but I'm hoping it's enough to encourage people who otherwise balk at the idea of a password manager. Because once you start using this, you'll wonder how (and why) you ever got along without it. (Yep, I'm looking at you, certain family members.)
LastPass works along the same lines as tools like Dashlane, KeePass, PasswordBox, and RoboForm. It not only stores your passwords and generates new, difficult-to-crack ones, but also auto-fills passwords as needed when you visit various sites.
It not only integrates with all the major browsers, but also works with just about every mobile device known to man: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows RT, and so on. And that mobile support is one of the main benefits of having the premium version, because all your passwords and other important data (credit card numbers, for instance) get synced to your phone or tablet.
I can't begin to tell you how handy that is. I'm a paid-up Dashlane user for exactly that reason, and you know I don't like to pay for anything. (I'm not saying Dashlane is the better program of the two, merely that it's what I use.) There's a free version of LastPass for those who want it, but given that you can try Premium free for a year, why not try Premium for a year?
CNET awarded LastPass four stars out of five, and PCMag handed the Premium edition an Editors' Choice award last September. If you're already a user yourself, hit the comments and let your fellow cheeps know what you think. If you're not, hit up CNET's handy "How to protect your passwords with LastPass" tutorial.
In the meantime, anyone still using a spreadsheet, a notes app, or, horrors, scraps of paper to keep track of passwords -- for shame! Now's your chance to score one of the top-rated password managers for the price of your e-mail address.
Bonus deal: The original Surface RT is a pretty good value if you can find one for under $200 (not uncommon these days), but consider spending a little extra on the Surface 2. It's still a Windows RT tablet, but with a faster processor, much higher screen resolution, better cameras, and an improved kickstand. And for a limited time, Manufacturer Certified (via Ebay) has the refurbished Surface 2 tablet (32GB) for $279, shipped -- one of the lowest prices I've seen. Or get the 64GB model for $329. And a refurbished Type Cover can be yours for $49.99. Reasonable!
Bonus deal No. 2: I'm a big fan of Zvox's self-contained TV speaker systems, pricey though they may be. Here's a rare deal on one of the top models: Best Buy has the Zvox ZBase 555 home-theater speaker for $199.98, shipped (plus tax). That's $100 off the regular price and $50 off Zvox's own current sale price. The 555 sits underneath your HDTV (anything up to 55 inches) and pumps out seriously big sound. My favorite feature: Dialogue Emphasis.