Let’s face it, this digital age in which we live has some drawbacks that we have to think about and solve.
It’s tough to remember everything we need to remember, even to the point of remembering where we keep our software serial numbers, and licenses, not to mention login ID’s and passwords.
More than half of all Macs sold these days are notebooks, which means whatever you store could belong to someone else if your notebook is lost or stolen. Is that a thought that makes you sleep better at night?
Fortunately, Mac users have many choices when it comes to handy utilities to manage sensitive data that you don’t want to see fall into the wrong hands. It isn’t just about security, though. There’s an ease-of-use element that needs consideration.
For a few years I kept most of my login ID’s, passwords, and software serial numbers on Stickies. Shriek! How secure is that? As my software purchases grew, as updates became more frequent, and as serial numbers proliferated, I moved to an Excel spreadsheet.
Yes, that works, but not very well. I ended up with different versions floating between my Macs. No wonder the past couple of years have seen a proliferation of Mac utilities to manage important information, keeping it both secure and accessible at the same time.
Most of us at Mac360 have used the more popular and attractive utilities to manage serial numbers, login IDs and passwords. Ron and I have settled on Steel, but both agree that there are shortcomings for average Mac users.
Steel lets you customize categories and information by category, making it a little more complex for some users new to the Mac.
We came across LicenseKeeper and found it to be an attractive utility for new Mac users who’ve been prone to using Stickies or Word documents or Excel spreadsheets to track software license and serial number information, though it comes with some drawbacks.
LicenseKeeper stores Mac software serial numbers, license files, even receipts, and manages a purchase history which includes registration information (I store my numbers but don’t always bother to register my software with the publisher) in an odd way and without any security.
Most of the software I buy these days has serial numbers, many of which show up in an email receipt. LicenseKeeper scans your email, finds serial numbers, and makes it easy to keep in the data library (it imports and scans email from Mail, Entourage, and PowerMail).
LicenseKeeper even prints out lists of your software information in detail, lets you use Spotlight to search for it, and tracks the software purchases in different currencies. I’ve purchased some in Euros, some in Pounds, some in something else I wasn’t sure of, so this can be a handy feature for some.
Unfortunately, LicenseKeeper keeps copies of your emails with embedded license details in a proprietary library of information that is not encrypted. The publisher suggests that users who need that level of security use OS X’s FileVault to protect the contents of LicenseKeeper.
While LicenseKeeper is an attractive utility and simple enough to use, especially for users new to the Mac, it doesn’t go far enough and doesn’t compete well with other utilities we like.
Granted, having a license keeping utility scan your software may make it easier than cut and paste, but, in our opinion, not enough to justify the higher price and lower number of features, and no security.