Archive for September 4, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Google Authenticator 2.0

Jordan Merrick:

Lots of people on Twitter and HN reporting that the latest update to Google Authenticator, Google’s app for dealing with two-factor authentication, removes any account you’ve set up.

Google has now pulled the iOS app.


If they had released this two weeks later, iOS 7’s auto-update feature would have bricked everyone’s accounts.

Google Auth 2.0 redefines two-factor auth: something you know + something you DON’T have. Their entire purpose in life is this second part and they completely and absolutely botched it. I can’t believe this passed testing at both Google and Apple.

Do people really think that the App Store reviewers do this sort of testing? The other iOS-related problem is that, even if you still have an old copy of the app, there’s no way to restore the data for it without overwriting your newer data in other apps.


When I add sites to Authenticator, I take a screenshot of the QR code and tuck it away in an encrypted document

I had thought the codes were time-dependent, but apparently not. Perhaps I should be saving them in 1Password.

Update (2013-09-10): Google Authenticator 2.0.1 is now available and fixes the bug.

Uptime Robot

I’ve been using the $20/year Vigil iOS app to monitor my Web sites. It doesn’t offer a lot of options or information, but it’s easy to set up and can notify you via iOS push notifications.

Neil Brewitt told me about Uptime Robot, which is free and seems to offer a lot more: an API, notifications via e-mail, SMS, RSS, etc. To receive iOS push notification, you need the free Boxcar app (or, I guess, one of the unofficial clients). Or, if you follow @uptimerobot on Twitter, it can send direct messages to your Twitter client of choice.

After Patent Loss, Apple Makes FaceTime Worse

Joe Mullin:

Both sides in the litigation admit that if Apple routes its FaceTime calls through relay servers, it will avoid infringing the VirnetX patents. Once Apple was found to be infringing—and realized it could end up paying an ongoing royalty for using FaceTime—the company redesigned the system so that all FaceTime calls would rely on relay servers. Lease believes the switch happened in April.


At trial, Apple engineer Patrick Gates testified about how FaceTime works. He downplayed the impact that changing the system would have on FaceTime quality—presumably to show how unimportant the VirnetX patents were.

But since the switch to relays, call quality has apparently degraded, though the article only cites the number of complaints since April.

27 Pictures That Will Change the Way You Look at the World

Dave Stopera collects some interesting maps (via Christopher Turner).

Update (2013-09-06): Half of the United States Lives in These Counties.

The iOS 7 Icon Grid and the Mac mini

Jesper is back:

But it bugs me that its most likely happenstance coincidence with the Mac mini bottom plate has people whooping and cheering, instead of wondering what’s making them drag rules shaped by necessary physical compromises into something that by Apple’s own ambition should be so unbound by physical compromises as possible.


Gus Mueller:

I’ve put up the classes that Acorn uses to read and write PSD files on GitHub:

How cool is that?

Microsoft and Nokia

Ben Thompson:

I have argued that Stephen Elop made a massive strategic error by choosing Windows Phone over Android; coming from Microsoft, he failed to appreciate that Nokia’s differentiation lay not in software, but in everything else in the value chain. It would have been to Nokia’s benefit to have everyone running Android, including themselves. Everyone would have the same OS, the same apps, may the best industrial design, distribution, and supply chain win.

Elop threw it all away.


Will Elop be CEO? If my original theory is true – that Nokia was on the verge of leaving Windows Phone, either for Android or bankruptcy – then Elop simply can’t be a serious candidate.


The problem for Microsoft in mobile is that Android has completely destroyed the value of a licensed OS; Microsoft’s traditional software model is broken. The only way to make money is to sell hardware to a segment of the market (with lower margins relative to software), or services that sit on top of OSs (with lower prices relative to software).


If you believe that strategy is about making choices, then it’s clear that “Devices and Services” isn’t a strategy at all.


They ought to pursue a strategy – services – that entails just that: being everywhere. Unfortunately, they now have $7 billion more reasons and the distraction that comes with them to pursue a strategy that they themselves see as winning only 15% of the market.