Two Stage or 2 Step Verification

So I have just spent about the last two hours going through all my accounts such a Google, WordPress, LastPass, Dropbox, Evernote,  Facebook, Twitter – everything applying two Stage or 2 Step Verification where ever possible using Google Authenticator, which for what it does seems excellent especially using QR codes to avoid loads of fiddly numbers! Not that I had any national secrets or anything stored in any of the accounts but I’d be a bit gutted if I lost all my photos or access to services I now rely on pretty heavily. Setting up has been pretty straight forwards, I’d held off setting it up as I use an app called GSyncIt to sync Outlook data between two PCs via Google and I was cautious about it breaking – 20 seconds later and with an App specific password it was back up and syncing away again.

The only trouble I’ve had so far is with my phone, as soon as I applied  2 Step it signed me out of my phone, now when I needed to sign in again I needed to get my phone, get the access code from Authenticator and sprint to login and enter a 12 digit password and the numerical code before the code expired, it took me six attempts before I made it and am hoping I don’t have to do it again for some time!

Some things I’ve learnt:

  • Print out the backup codes
  • Don’t wipe your phone as Authenticator wont use the same data again? Not too sure about this
  • Always have your phone handy – or the print out of codes

It’s not  as painless as it seems it could be but then I am in the first hour or two, I suspect I have some angst ahead as various Apps or Tablets slowly stop working till I figure out what’s wrong with them!

SafeWallet for Android with Dropbox Sync

After using the excellent SPB Wallet for many years under Windows Mobile I was desperate for them to release a version for Android, something they promised to do but after 18 months never had. So the hunt started for a replacement and pretty soon it was obvious it was going to be Keepass or SBSH Safewallet.

I soon came to the conclusion that SafeWallet seemed the more professional option and with its relatively cheap purchase price for both the Android and Desktop versions I purchased. Importing all my wallets from SPB went like a charm and literally within two minutes had it all set up – with the killer feature of wireless Dropbox syncing. They explain it better than me so here’s what they say:


Manage all your private information in one easy-to-use and secure solution. Using the most powerful AES 256bit encryption for the security of your private information. Store credit cards information, online passwords, bank account info and much more. SafeWallet is also available for Windows and Mac PCs, allowing you to keep your passwords securely synchronized via Dropbox or local syncing!

Sync with your PC and other phones

Use SafeWallet both on your PC and phone. Seamless syncing helps you access all of your passwords and sensitive information from your PC and phone wherever you go – securely! SafeWallet is available for Windows, Mac, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod Touch, Symbian S60 and Android. More mobile clients arriving soon!

Sync your wallets through the cloud using Dropbox and access your wallets from any PC or mobile anywhere! Sync with as many PCs/mobile phones as you like! Your information is always encrypted and 100% secure! Unlike other services, SafeWallet is the only one to offer 100% free cloud syncing service! Cloud syncing is optional, so you can still sync your wallets using local syncing if you prefer.

The phone you use today might not be the one you will be using tomorrow. As part of the SafeWallet service we are committed to bring SafeWallet to all the latest and newest devices, giving you the freedom to use the device you like knowing your passwords is always available when switching to a new phone or PC! Furthermore, your wallet data will always be compatible with any version of SafeWallet in the future!


The last bit is the great bit for me after my SPB Wallet experiences. We invest a lot of time getting these wallets setup correctly with all the information in them, its useless if one day you change to a different platform or already use multiple platforms such as an Android and an iPad.

After two weeks its really working well, the desktop app is great to work with and the sync is seamless using Dropbox. A new addition is a wallet backup from the Desktop which again is pretty cool. The only thing that SPB wins on is the display with your customised cards actually overlaid on an image of that card, which was a very cool feature but not a deal breaker!


Images from SBSH website:

safewallet_copy_field_value.png safewallet_have_you_ever_forgotten_a_password.png

HTC Desire

Well finally, after the decisions between the Legend and the Desire and then the postponed release of the Desire while HTC decided they’d send all the shipments to the carriers rather than to shops like Clove and Handtec I’ve had my Desire for four days now so heres a little breakdown of the things I’m loving so far:
  • the screen really is amazing, even after a Touch HD this screen seems to be so much clearer
  • the speed is amazing, my Touch HD lagged a little with some apps, this thing is lightening fast
  • the Marketplace is a god send after Windows Mobile, having so much fun downloading apps just to see what they are like
  • HTC Sync seems to be working for Contacts and Calender events from Outlook
  • Touiteur ~ the twitter app is brilliant
  • NewsRob ~ brings in Google Reader subscriptions and syncs them perfectly
things that are bugging me
  • duplicate contacts and events from my Google Calendar and Contacts and sync’s with Outlook
Now all I need is to get some decent accessories, still missing any nice cases

Phone Choice Time!

It’s my favourite time of the year, and for once everything seems to have fallen into place for me. Yes, you might not have guessed it but its Contract renewal time on the mobile! For the last 5 years I’ve been using Windows Mobile smartphones on a variety of operators from Vodafone (who could barely hold a signal for me at home or work, and at the tim eoffered no sensible data plans) to T-Mobile (who were great on signal and had the innovative Flext tarrif that suited me for 3 years) and now I’m with Orange (again, excellent signal but slightly high call plans)
I’ve been with Orange for the past year really for one reason alone, my excellent HTC Touch HD. It was the only company offering it at the time and was also the only company that still had a sensible 12 month contract. Now I still love the phone but with the recent developments with Android and HTC announcing some fantastic new phones at the MWC it looks like my time with contract phones will have to end.
I’ve been considering four new phones really:
1. The SE Xperia X10 ~ Android
2. The HTC Bravo, now renamed the Desire (and the OEM version of the Nexus One, aka Google Phone) ~ Android
3. The HTC Legend (new version of the Hero) ~ Android
4. The HTC Touch HD2 ~ Windows Mobile, and rumoured to get WM7 Phone edition when released
You may have noticed three of them run Android. After about 7 years using WM devices for work I’ve decided that its time for a brief change. I’m not even considering an iPhone due to the contract lengths and the lock down on software, and tuth be told I’m getting a bit fed up with seeing interesting products being realsed for iPhone and Android with not even a mention of a WM release. So whilst it looks like an amazing phone unfortuntrly  the upgrade to a Touch HD2 won’t be happening. That leaves me with three to choose from, all Android:
Xperia X10
Was the first phone that made me really consider the move, its got a massive screen with loads of intersting widgets and frankly looks the business, especially in white. It has a customised UI, everything you’d expect in features and connectivity. The trouble is the realease date keeps moving and its being realesed with 1.6, although SE have promised to upgrade it as soon as possible. Looks like its also going to be £549 on release, which is a bit steep although could be subsidsed with a contract through T-Mobile who are rumoured to be taking it in the UK.
HTC Desire
Essentially looks like the Touch HD, amazingly fast, gourgeous massive AMOLED screen and riddled with every feature you could ask for. Coupled with the latest version of Android and the customised Sense UI from HTC it looks simply stunning, well actually it doesn’t it looks a bit bland for me and as I said far too much like my current phone! On pre order at £449 at Expansys
HTC Legend
Then comes the legend…. the Hero when it was realeased got me interested in Android phones, now theres not much more I can say about the Legend, its just got the lot for me. Looks sooooo good, got everything I need, latest Android, Sense UI, longer battery life than the Desire (but its got a smaller screen) and its cheaper, I guess mainly due to the slower processor, less storage space and smaller screen! Still for me its a hands down winner. Pre Order at Expansys at £399. The trouble is it looks like Vodafone have an exclusive for a while on it, and theres no way I’m going with Vodafone!. So it looks like a SIM free Legend wll set me back £399, but I’ll go onto a rolling 30 day SIM Only contract with T-Mobile for £20, giving me a massive amount of minutes, texts and unlimitied browing ~ its still a good deal and I can sell it when I want and move contracts as often as I need, and will cost me far less than the Touch HD has done over the year and an upgrade to the Touch HD2 will do.
Both Desire and Legend due out in the UK on the 12th April, so still time to change my mind and go for the Desire, but I doubt it will happen


So I’ve started to have a play around with QR Tags some time ago just for fun as it seemed they were appearing more and more in articles and magazines here, I even got one on a business card given to me. They make saving a contacts details bliss compared with entering all that text on a phone keypad or into Outlook to sync.

Then came along Microsofts more colourful version called Microsoft Tag which looks much more fun and can be customised into virtually any design as long as you have the imagination and keep the basic layout of the dots it produces. These however also come with the added benefit of being able to track the stats of how many hits your tag has generated. Say you place a tag on an article or a sticker, the MS website actually logs each time its scanned giving you instant stats on each tag.

Anyway for both types you’ll need software on your phone to decode

For MS Tag you can grab the software from here

For QR Codes there are a few alternatives, on my WM6 HTC Touch HD I use QuickMark , both are free and so is the creation of tags.

and now you can create MS Tags on your WM phone using LunaTagGEN from Luna Developments, from the couple I’ve tried it worked really well to create instantly distributable contact details.

Here are the two basic versions, the QR Code being in black and white and the MS Tag in colour, use the software above, scan the image and you’ll get instantly sent back to this site!

I’m going to try developing so custom image MS Tags in the next few weeks so I’ll update with some results later

Here’s a little video demonstration