Can’t take the credit for this idea, Lifehacker and many others got there long before me. I’m just chiming in to share my experience and endorse the process to others.

The first part is is KeePass, a great open-source password management program for Windows with ports to Linux, OS X, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and iPhone.  Out of the box, KeePass is simple and efficient, offering solid encryption, sorting and organization of passwords and optional secure password generator. For those that want a little more, there are goodies like global hotkeys and drag/drop support, as well as a robust plugin development community if your needs really run far afield.

The second part is the well-known cloud storage and synchronization app/service, DropBox.  Free accounts come with 2GB of storage with the ability to purchase or earn more (a bit more on that later). Once installed, DropBox efficiently monitors a special folder on your computer for changes.  As files in this folder (or subfolders) are modified or added, DropBoz seamless updates the same files and folders on all other computers you have installed your copy of DropBox on. So changes from work, laptop, home or mobile device all stay harmoniously coordinated.

Now to bring them both together.

After installing DropBox on all the machines I wanted to coordinate, I fired up KeePass, set a master password and started entering a few logins/passwords.  I then saved my entries to my DropBox folder.  Instead of launching the general KeePass app, I created  a shortcut the database file (which is associated with the KeePass app so it fires up by default). As I entered more and more entries, each time I save my work, DropBox detected the change and updated the KeePass database file on all other machines.  DropBox even keeps a “lock file” to avoid conflicts and overwriting. Once finished, I closed KeePass and my information is safely secured from prying eyes.

DropBox has many other tricks up its sleeves besides the obvious “thumb drive in the cloud”. Some I’ve seen include:

  • iTunes database sync
  • Share folder/files with specific DropBox users
  • Create a publish folder along with a simple URL for sharing with anyone
  • Use to save automated webcam stills or video for coordinated access.
  • Auto-launch torrents on home machine, from torrent files dropped in DropBox from any location.

A couple I’d like to try to integrate with my DropBox:

  • Portable, standalone personal wiki
  • Screenshot grabber; take periodic or event-triggered screenshots of my workstations
  • Web page form uploader; allow visitors to a site to upload files to a DropBox (caution)
  • Bookmark sync (though modern Browsers seem to be all over that now)
  • Synchronized Pidgin chat client log files
  • Track changing (non-static) IP addresses of my various machines.

Got any uses you’d like to recommend (theoretical or that you already use)? I’d love to hear about them.

And now for the pitch… if you don’t have a DropBox account and would like a free one to experiment with, please consider using me as your DropBox referral. It costs you nothing and earns me 250mb per referral (Daddy’s got a data habit! ). Once you’re up and running, complete DropBox quests and get your own referrals to earn your own bonus storage space.

Did I mention that the referee (you) ALSO gets the bonus space as well? I believe the term is “win-win”, so help a brother out. :-)