I started this wanting to talk about a very specific thing I finally took the time to do over break but I looked at the date and it seemed like I should talk about something more monumental or general or interesting… Instead I’ll just keep going.
One of the things I wanted to get done over break was switching my default browser from Chome to Firefox:
- Bye, Chrome: Why I’m switching to Firefox and you should too https://www.fastcompany.com/90174010/bye-chrome-why-im-switching-to-firefox-and-you-should-too
- Google denies altering YouTube code to break Microsoft Edge https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/19/18148736/google-youtube-microsoft-edge-intern-claims
- And also Google just owns too much of me already, so why not switch at least this one thing
Anyway, the main reason this was going to be such a chore is a bad habit of mine - storing passwords in Chrome. So basically until I got my passwords out, getting over to Firefox was going to be a pain. A second thing I’ve been hoping to get done is starting to use LastPass, and, of course these two things worked together (mostly) well.
Cornell has enterprise LastPass for all faculty and staff so I signed up and activated that. This was easy since we’ve all long since been forced into two-factor authentication, which was the only prerequisite.
I already had Firefox but only used it for Facebook because of their Facebook Container add-on. In celebration of 2019 I’ve deactivated my Facebook account (again) so I can stop using Firefox just to quarantine Facebook.
I set up LastPass with my institutional ID and I linked it to my old personal LastPass account that I had once had good intentions of using but never really did. This added about 70 sites to my vault. Up to this point, everything was pretty simple. LastPass offered an installer that would put the LastPass extension on all my browsers and also cleanup passwords lying around my computer. I downloaded the Mac version because I was going through this on my work Mac.
The installer worked as intended for Safari and it did clean up passwords on my computer and put them into my vault. For whatever reason (permissions, I assume), it did not get the extension installed for Firefox.
To begin with though, I mostly needed the extension installed for Chrome so I could get my passwords out of Google and into LastPass. After installing it, I was informed the Chrome extension for Mac does not let you export passwords out of Chrome and into LastPass.
So after about a half dozen multi factor authentications on my Mac to get this going, I had to switch to my Windows laptop.
This went smoothly at least and after repeatedly authenticating into Cornell and LastPass and Google and everything else, I got my passwords out of Chrome and into my vault, bringing my vault up to 300+ sites, although many of them were junk like local dev desktop Drupal sites. Then I went back to the Mac, got the Firefox extension installed and authenticated everything again.
I logged into LastPass, and with the Firefox addon, I now had access to all my passwords that were formerly trapped in Chrome. I can log into my GMail account- even though I have no idea what new password I gave it in the middle of all this. (And, yes, still using GMail - one thing at a time.)
Last, I removed Chrome from my dock and told Firefox to startup on login, hopefully cementing a new habit.
I added LastPass to my phone and that went smoothly, I just had to remember to tell it to use LastPass as a source of passwords.
Overall this was a moderately high level of annoyance if only because having to two-factor over and over for Google and LastPass was irritating. My path was a little more winding and higher in auths than it needed to be because I didn’t quite know what I was doing.
At any rate, I’m off Chrome (for now) and into LastPass (for now). Better passwords and (maybe) more privacy in 2019!