I'm not talking about diamonds and greenbacks and mink stoles (e-mink stoles?) or even corporately valuable documents and business silos of data and such, but about the ever burgeoning amount of web addresses, login/usernames, passwords, PINs, codes, and on and on that are necessary to support our modern online life.
I'd bargain that an increasingly annoying eater of wasted time (there should be some kind of metric for this) involves sitting in front of a typical login screen (take your pick, from online banking to shopping to social networking to blogging to gaming and back around again) while one's face becomes redder and angrier and steamier as a message is returned again and again that says something to the effect of: Sorry, your username and/or password is forgotten and/or lost to the e-winds.
One of my geekier obsessions is content and information aggregation. There should (and likely is) a great solution out there, a simple web-based interface that simply and elegantly gathers all the maelstrom of usernames, passwords, and, well… crap that's needed to get things accomplished online nowadays.
I'll walk through my own personal journey and current (so so) solution with the hope that some cutting edge folk out there know about something better. A perfect comment to this piece, therefore, would be: Haven't you been using flibberjibber.info (or some such), it saved my life back in the day (read = Christmas, 2006), n00b!
Phase One: I tried to remember stuff
This didn't work out so well, as you might imagine.
Phase Two: I tried to write stuff down
This yielded marginally better results, though I ran into the age old problem of having to remember where I wrote stuff down. Since I'm typically online in one of several locations throughout the day, the problem became having to remember where my stuff was written down at any given time.
Phase Three: I got (sort of) organized
Finding 37 Signals was a great help. I used Backpack for a spell as a way to organize lists and information. It worked fairly well, but at the time the interface was a little bit clunky and glitchy (this was back in the spring of '05, so I imagine it's much improved by now), so I abandoned it and slipped back to Phase Two befuddlement for a spell.