CodeWallet Pro 2005 for Pocket PC

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, May 2005
Published by: Developer One Software
Requires: Windows Mobile 2003 and 2003 Second Edition Pocket PC and Phone Edition and later, also optimized Windows Mobile 5 operating system, Windows 98 or later
MSRP: US$29.95

CodeWallet is a powerful utility for securely managing all sorts of confidential personal and business data. The program is designed to store and protect user IDs, passwords, banking information, logons, credit card numbers and account information, PINs of all descriptions and anything else you can think of. Password protection and strong encryption keeps all of your information safe, and a search feature lets you find data when you need it. CodeWallet is available for Pocket PC, Smartphone and Windows XP.

I tested CodeWallet Pro 2005 by using it exclusively for about six weeks. The experience was almost completely uneventful mainly because CodeWallet is very easy to use. My preferred data security program for the PDA for the past few years has been a product called TurboPassword (formerly Cloak) for Palm OS, so I switched over to a Compaq iPaq 3950 for the duration of the review period. The review also gave me the opportunity to compare CodeWallet to the simple and straightforward TurboPassword. I also installed CodeWallet Pro 2005 Desktop Companion for Windows. The Desktop Companion is a program for Windows which is essentially identical to the PDA version. Because the two related programs can be synchronized by ActiveSync, it's possible to easily maintain secure, identical data on your PC and your PDA.

The first thing that happens when you give up something you've been using for a long time is usually a bit of frustration. So I was prepared to be a bit stalled from time to time as I got used to CodeWallet. But I was surprised that any real frustration was nowhere to be found. Entering data into CodeWallet is simply a matter of tapping to select a category then tapping to select a form which is appropriate for the data being stored.

The first thing I did was transfer all of my personal data from TurboPassword. Unfortunately, TurboPassword exports a really strange looking CSV which Microsoft Excel then mangles even more in the process of exporting the tab delimited text file which CodeWallet prefers. Needless to say, export/import did not work properly so I had to enter most of the data manually. Once that was done, CodeWallet simply faded into the background. Using a short password always helps when you're employing utilities of this kind mainly because it eases the minor pain of having to tap or write the access password every time you start the program.

I have a lot of use for this kind of utility. The main reason is the frequency with which I change passwords. The other reason is the sheer volume of user names, logons, accounts, serial numbers, registration codes, etc., that I have to maintain. Without this kind of utility I'd be scrambling around for secure data at some point almost every day. Between Kickstartnews, research, and general management, it's impossible to remember all of data required for logins, PINs, accounts, registration codes, serial numbers and on and on for staff, family and me.

Cons: I question the usefulness of the "Do Not Autoclose" setting in the CodeWallet security options dialog. The setting prevents CodeWallet from closing itself after a preset time period or when the PDA shuts off automatically. I think the setting might be used too often, increasing the likelihood of data theft. I also think the setting seriously defeats the fundamental purpose of the utility, so don't be tempted—select a 1, 3 or 5 minute autoclose instead. The default installation of Code Wallet 2005 Desktop Companion for Windows does not automatically detect the location of the wallet file sent by the PDA for synchronization—you have to hunt for it. Once it's been located, everything works fine from then on. I am not happy with TurboPassword's data export and I'm not happy with CodeWallet's data import. Neither program produces a file which the other can use directly. We did not try importing information from SpashData's SplashID utility.

Pros: CodeWallet Pro 2005 shines at categorizing and securing important data. Forms can be edited on-the-fly using the built-in Forms Editor which provides an easy way to quickly and easily customize any of the category forms to better fit your needs. A nice selection of default forms is provided which should suit most people. Synchronizes automatically with the CodeWallet Desktop Edition for Windows which means passwords and other confidential information will remain up-to-date as long as you remember to sync your PDA. I think that any good quality PDA or Smartphone can be a terrific tool and support for personal, work and business life. But there are thieves, busybodies, the dangerously curious, and just plain nosy people wandering around out there, so I also think that every PDA and Smartphone is made better with addition of a secure storage utility like CodeWallet. My wife is notorious for writing passwords, PINs and user names on little scraps of paper, Post-It notes and other completely non-secure storage media such as plain text files and so on. She also periodically engages is house-wide searches for lost passwords. I hope to introduce her to CodeWallet in the very near future. Like tomorrow. Highly recommended.

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