02BD9: Paid Technology

Wednesday Sinigang

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 977

After my phone panic the other week, I spent some time re-evaluating my personal security setup. My main password manager is still LastPass, but I'm only using the free version of the app. The main limitation of not paying for premium means that I can only access my passwords on one type of device - either desktop or mobile. And naturally, I chose desktop since most apps keep you logged in. And that entire setup got tested when I lost access to my phone.

The individual premium plan is $3 a month and the family plan is $4 a month, but it's not like going pro ads a significant number of features that I actually need. And I don't think Tobie is ready to get on board with a third-party password manager just yet. I'm still not sold on the idea and I may consider a different password manager if the value proposition makes more sense. But we'll see how things go.

Situations like this remind me of when I committed to paying for services that I felt were important since free ones tend to disappear. This was a hard lesson I learned after Google killed Google Reader and I spent some time using a paid service called Newsblur until I eventually outgrew the need for RSS readers at all. It's why I already pay for Google One to add more cloud storage to my Google account to accommodate all my photos and videos. And it's why I pay for a number of streaming services.

So I'm still on the fence about paying for a password manager at the moment. There's a lot of talk of Google trying to move away from passwords entirely and try some mobile device-based credential method, but again my recent phone situation makes me nervous about this. And the native Google Password Manager product is not the best in the market. I've also toyed with getting a VPN service for additional security, but maybe that point is moot with things like Disney+ finally coming to the Philippines this week. 

I paid for Grammarly for a year and then realized the free product is good enough for my needs. I'm still on the free version of Notion because again I don't think I need the additional features at the moment. And yet I'm still paying for Office 365, since it benefits both me and Tobie at the very least, even if the main benefit is making it easier to open MS Office files sent by clients instead of uploading them to Google Drive to process them there. 

And of course, I gifted Tobie with a family plan for YouTube Premium last year as part of an effort to get him to stream music versus playing music videos on YouTube despite the ads.

It all boils downs to priorities, perceived value, and what we have the budget for. Naturally, it feels right to pay for services that are of value to you in order to support their creators and such. But then again, sometimes our financial situations don't fully allow us to be so "moral" in choosing which apps and services to actually pay for.