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!


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