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!

Evernote Review

Well after using evernote as a free user for a couple of months I decided that it was time to upgrade to the premium service for a couple of reasons. Firstly I was so impressed with what it was doing with getting rid of letters, paper documents and other scraps of info in paper form or from the web that I decided that I should support them, and secondly I wanted to try out the premium features such as a bigger upload quota, upload of any file type and the SSL Encryption.
I started using evernote with my camera phone just uploading snaps of information I wanted to look at later, clips from websites to grab rather than adding them to my favourites but its turned out to be so much more useful. Using a flatbed scanner to scan receipts, bills, etc was getting to be a right pain and was actually stopping me doing most of it, that’s until I got a Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 (also reviewed) this sheet fed scanner turns even double sided documents around in seconds and can upload them straight to evernote. Now its just a case of 30 seconds every week rather than 30 minutes every other day to get everything I receive in a paper form as a nice searchable pdf, uploaded and synced to the web service, and my other 3 computers to access anywhere, even on my my phone (a WM6 Touch HD).
All the documents uploaded a searchable which is the killer feature for me. Taking a picture of a sign or a whiteboard from work and within minutes of being uploaded the evernote software has OCR’d everything and everything is searchable, even text within a photo, meaning even if something is misfiled its easy to track down, you can search for transactions within credit card statements and easily find receipts in a massive batch of uploads.
Just as everything was going so well the snag …. evernote for Windows Mobile just isn’t up to the task, iPhone and Android versions look brilliant with the iPhone even having offline storage. However, on WM6 you can view the images of documents brilliantly but you have to be online to do so, and good luck trying to open a pdf, it seems to open a browser window, login to the evernote site and then try to download the pdf, for me it just isn’t up to scratch and seems to be being overtaken by the iPhone and Android apps, presumably because of market share.
Support wise as a Premium user evernote have been fantastic, I’ve only asked them a question once but it was answered within a couple of hours and solved the problem, whilst the support forums are also an excellent source of quick answers.
All in all so far evernote is brilliant for me, its so much more than cloud storage like MS Mesh or Dropbox, and I’ll be happily renewing my Premium subscription in a year.