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RoboForm 6.06 with RF Palm 0.9.98
Posted Oct. 2004 by Tanker Bob

Tired of typing in usernames and passwords for the host of web sites and forums that you visit? Weary of typing in your address, credit card information, etc., when feeding the web economy? Rather than wearing your precious typing fingers to a frazzle, you might try a program that does the grunt work for you. Better yet if you could carry your login data with you to be able to stay in touch with the web while you’re on the road. Well, your wait is over. Siber Systems has RoboForm ready at your beck and call.

 

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We concentrate on mobile technology, so I'll just hit the highlights of the desktop portion although it provides the meat in the package. To get the most out of the program, you must initially input your basic data. Siber provides a nicely designed interface in which to accomplish all this. RoboForm secures your data with DES or 3DES encryption if you password protect your identity or individual entries, and keeps it in a set location where you can actually find the data files. The tabbed interface takes seconds to master, and even provides visual feedback as to what is encrypted or passworded.

RoboForm monitors your browser for form fields. When you type in a web form, RoboForm will offer to save the information and provide a dialog box for you to assign a name to the entry if you don’t like the default it offers. When you return to the site, you can use the saved information to fill the form either automatically or manually. RoboForm will generate a strong password for you if you so desire, and has a global search option for your senior moments.

 

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Previous versions of RoboForm used automatic form filling by default. Because so many variation exist in webform land (everybody wants to sell you something), previous versions became annoying by offering to fill everything with any form remnant on any page. Version 6.x fixes this by changing strategies. It will still autofill, but Siber now recommends against that. RoboForm 6.x implements an Internet browser toolbar scheme. Now when a recognized page comes up, a button with its name appears on their toolbar. Clicking on that button will bring up a small dialog box which defaults to filling the form, or you can set the program to fill and send/execute the form with just one click on the toolbar button. This scheme works extremely well.

 

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The options window offers a plethora of customization capability. The most critical setting controls how RoboForm fills web forms as discussed above. You can also control the menus and buttons that come up on the fill dialog, and set the default Internet search engine. Overall a very nice operation. I set it up to fill and submit form with one click, which provided a fast and convenient operation with no false alarms in my testing. This provided an excellent web experience.

What does this all have to do with PDAs? Well…Siber now offers apps for Palm OS and PPC devices with which RoboForm will synchronize its data files. RoboForm Palm comes with a conduit that HotSyncs the desktop data to the handheld. This is incredibly convenient for travelers or even those who hit the cyber cafes at lunch. I tested this feature and it works as advertised.

 

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The Palm app sports an attractive interface. It even uses the same icon as the desktop app. It will hold the entire desktop data set including identities, passcards, and safe notes (secure memos), all encrypted on the handheld if encrypted on the desktop. And it’s all readable on the road. Data can be exported to memos or the clipboard. It will even generate strong passwords for you. The conduit is two-way, so you can freely sync with multiple computers to keep your login data consistent across all.

Now for the downside—the data is only a read-only viewer on your handheld. While that simplifies the conduit’s required design, it prevents the user from adding to or changing the database. If you change a password or find a new site on the road, this won’t help unless you use and can sync RoboForm on that computer. While the Palm OS version supports the Tungsten|T3 nicely in full-screen portrait and landscape mode, the screen flickers every couple of minutes or so as if refreshing.

Tanker Bob feels strongly both ways on this PDA application. While it saves the user the trouble of inputting new and existing Internet passwords into another program by hand, that is offset by the inability to enter new data or change existing data. It’s also limited to Internet site login data and safe notes. I found that in order to maintain security in this version, the user must back out to the Identities screen. Exiting from the passcards or safe notes screen leaves a state that doesn't require a password to reenter those same screens. If individual entries are passworded, then they will remain protected. Users should be diligent about exiting to the Identities screen to assure the security of their passwords and personal information on the PDA.

RoboForm 6.x stands as an excellent, well-thought-out upgrade to a popular web form filler. The new toolbar approach in the browser answers the shortcomings of previous versions. RoboForm 6.x has a 15-day free trial period, after which it has a 10 passcard and 2 ID limit. The unlimited Pro edition sells for a reasonable $29.99. RoboForm Palm comes as a separate download with a $9.99 license fee, for a $39.98 total for the combination. There is also a version of RoboForm that provides full and portable Roboform functionality from removable drives, including USB removable storage devices. RoboForm 6.x must be installed on the desktop for the removable storage software to work. The removable storage software also sells for $9.99 above and beyond the base price of Roboform 6.x itself.

Desktop Program Pros:

100% page recognitions in testing
Zero false alarms in testing
Excellent user interface
Highly configurable
3 DES encryption
Secure access to passwords in the database

Cons:

Didn't find any

PDA Application Pros:

Palm OS and PPC versions available
Set and forget functionality
3DES encryption
Reliable Hotsync conduit, even across multiple desktops
Secure access to your passwords

Cons:

Read-only viewer on the PDA

 
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