PS Vita (guest writer)

Ken Ellis is a talented IT guy with similar interests as me…and he picked up the Vita before me. I did just get mine this week so I’ll have a follow-up, but here is his review. Thanks Ken!

He’s on Google+ here –


PS Vita WiFi – first impressions by Ken Ellis

(picked up a 3G as well but have not used the 3G)

Love it, very nice piece of hardware. Bigger than I anticipated but then again my kids have/had PSPs.

The Vita feels very comfortable in hand. Though mostly plastic the build is solid. Controls are well laid
out. The OLED screen is outstanding, bright sharp and fluid. The few minutes I spent in my car with
Uncharted the screen was difficult in the sun. The firmware and GUI is fast which one would expect
from a quad core. The GUI is customizable but not much. You can arrange the bubbles and change
the background but no sub grouping etc. at least not yet. The dual analog sticks have the same type of
grippy head as a Sixaxis. The small sticks respond well but take some getting used to when compared
to a Sixaxis or Dualshock. The directional and action buttons have a nice responsive feel as well. The
translucent L and R shoulder buttons work nicely. The front multi-touch screen reacts smoothly and
accurately. I have only used the rear touch briefly on Little Deviants but it appears to have similar
responsiveness and accuracy. I can’t speak much about the motion sensors since I only checked that
out briefly in Super StarDust but my input was immediately reflected on the screen. Having a built in
GPS is cool and the Vita pulled up my location accurately (as well as others) via Maps fairly quickly.
Maps also includes satellite view and traffic which is nice. The front and back low res cameras are a
disappointment. In addition to low res the cameras need adequate light otherwise the preview and pics
are grainy. Unfortunate since Sony puts out some nice optics otherwise (Alpha, Nex, Cybershot etc).
Will be nice though to have the camera(s) once Skype is released. That being said my daughter really
enjoys the AR Cliff Diving game (1 of 3 free AR downloads). Little gimmicky but I can see many liking
AR. Sound, asking the wrong person, I am half deaf. I’ll have to put on headphones to check the DSP/
codec but the speakers are adequate from my first impressions. Microphone, I have not used but my
kids are digging it since you can make your own “mouth” music which I found quite annoying the other
night. Video playback is exceptional on both movies I loaded onto the card as well as Netflix. The kids
really enjoy having Netflix steaming on the Vitas. They were both too engrossed with Netflix last night
to answer me when I asked if that was their favorite feature.

The Content Manager works well on the Vita. Using the Content Manager you perform all actions from
the Vita itself instead of from the PS3 or PC. One caveat though when installing a game or app Content
Manager removes it from the PS3 so you either have to copy it back (haven’t tried) or re-download to
re-install or load on a second Vita. So far no option to disable that “feature”. I do miss the convenience
of working on my PC though with Media Manager for the PSP.

Bluetooth no experience as of yet. WiFi works very well, very quick setup and in my tests consistently
receiving strong signals and no drops. Too bad there’s no hardware switch to disable WiFi, Bluetooth or
3G. You have to go into settings to get to any network options. Future update will hopefully enable this
from PS button or something.

Accessing PSN from Vita is a breeze and is cleaner and quicker than from PS3. The big thorn in my
side (as well as many others I see on blogs) is that many or almost all previous purchased PSP and
Mini games are not allowed to be installed onto Vita including LBP (perhaps since the touch version is

coming), Killzone Liberation, SOCOM, Ratchet & Clank and SW BattleFront to name a few. I was able
to install Lego Pirates OTC, Lego Batman and No Heroes Allowed. Hopefully firmware, account policy
or something will change this. I am torn between that and the fact that now you can only register
two portable devices under your PSN account as my biggest gripes. To register the Vitas I have had to
virtually brick the kids PSPs. The PSPs are now only good for music, pictures and videos (not purchased
through PSN).

It’s bad enough that Sony created a new expensive memory format but to not include even a 4GB card
in any package is unreasonable. It also would have been nice if the memory slot and game slot could be
used interchangeably so perhaps you could stick two memory cards in the device.

Remote Play though touted as a major feature does not currently add much value. Vita can barely play
any game. The only one I have come across is Feeding Frenzy. So for now Remote Play is only good for
viewing media etc. I read that Sony was demoing Killzone via Remote Play but have not heard of anyone
getting that working. I have not tried.

Bottom line, I’d give the Vita 5 stars. It is an exceptional unit with minor flaws considering just launched.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Google 2-step verification

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Large companies typically have a Single Sign-on (SSO) solution so their employees can leverage one web login (or even their PC login) and not need to remember all their application passwords.   Most browsers today offer this service and many third party plugins have taken over this space.  You can also leverage oauth based logins via Facebook, Twitter and other social sites.  I’ve chosen to do this write up on Google because of the added security through 2-step verification.

Google 2 Step Setup
This setup is quite a process. The easy part is turning on 2 step auth. Afterwards, either use SMS messages to get your PIN or download the Google Authenticator app from the Android Market or Apple App Store. This app syncs to your account and generates a PIN on demand.

Follow the steps outlined by Google here for Setup –

Follow these steps for the Google Authenticator App –

Application-Specific Passwords
The next step is to setup Application-specific passwords for all those client side apps (Outlook, Chrome, Android, iOS, etc) you have connected to Google as they don’t support two step auth. Google will generate a random key which you will use for specific client apps.   Some apps will prompt you to first login to Google, then use the Application-specific password, watch for this during login.  Once you’ve used the Application-specific password you can no longer see it, only revoke it.  If revoked you’ll need to go through that applications setup again.

Follow these steps for Application-specific passwords  –

Chrome Setup
Chrome needs an Application-specific password so grab that first.  Open up Chrome, click the “Settings” wrench and hit the Sign in menu item and your good to go. You can have Chrome store your passwords and form fill information. Using Chrome Sync you can encrypt your data via your Google password.  This allows it to be stored in your Google account and synced to other Chrome installs and Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).

ICS Sync
When it works this is awesome. You can sync your bookmarks as an option once you add your Google account to the smartphone.  This will keep your ICS Browser in sync with your Chrome Sync data.
Bookmark have been a headache a couple times with the sync breaking. This results in having to turn off sync on ICS, all Chrome browsers, and delete content from the Google dashboard. Overall this can take 45 minutes due to the delay in deletion and re sync.

  1. On ICS under Accounts, edit your Google account and uncheck Sync Browser
  2. Sign out of all your Chrome instances
  3. In the Google Dashboard under Chrome Sync, click “Stop sync and delete data from Google”.  You’ll need to wait about 15 minutes here
  4. Enable the Sync Browser option on Android first (this has worked best in my experience) and give that a chance to sync
  5. Log in to your Chrome browser again (you’ll need to get a new Application-specific password for 2-step verification)

Chrome Beta on Android
This is new so I’m still trying to discern the difference between the ICS browser integration and Chrome Beta. I suspect they are the same and Chrome Beta is for non ICS devices.

Categories: Google

Advanced security made easy – Google and LastPass

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve always been interested in technology security and how it can improve the protection of our apps and devices.   Security comes in many forms; in software forms as passwords, anti-virus/malware apps, and in hardware forms as safes,  laptop locks, two factor tokens, and smartcards.  There are plenty of other more advanced solutions but they become too complex for home use.  Passwords are the simplest form of security and are also the most common target, either through social engineering or cracking.

Personally I’ve always kept a password database for myself, first starting with just a password protected spreadsheet (not recommended!) years ago and moving to more advanced solutions using KeePass  on my PC and smartphone.  For some of my accounts I’ve used two factor authentication with a pinpad, software certificate or token of some form.

I just started looking at LastPass as my next password storage solution and they announced a new feature in November that was an  Aha! moment for me.   LastPass now supports Google Authenticator, a PIN generator app for Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry.

I’m on Android ICS (4.0) with a Verizon Galaxy Nexus so don’t have the Carrier IQ worries, but even if you do have CarrierIQ (LastPass validated that it does not log your master password)…or any other key logger , the 2 factor auth negates that risk.

I’m working out my setup now will post later on the benefits.  There is some additional setup required for client applications like Chrome or Outlook that may access your Google account that I’ll detail as well.


LastPass Features ( I am working with LastPass premium for the mobile features)

Google 2-Step verification –

Google Authenticator

LastPass Google Authenticator support

LastPass Carrier IQ analysis

Categories: Mobile, Security