Maintaining Passwords. What do I do?

It comes with no surprise to me that online database of passwords are being hacked. Last week Gawker Media got compromised and their password database stolen. Passwords were stored in an encrypted format but are still prone to dictionary attacks.

So how do I do it?

I use a different password for every account I create online. I combine uppercase, lowercase, numbers and non-alphabetical characters when possible.

How do I keep up with different passwords?

Well with so many passwords it is almost impossible for me to remember them. I use an excellent software: KeePass.

Do I create my own Passwords?

I do mostly. But lately I have let KeePass generate them for me.

How do I access my own password database from different places?

The easy way? Storing the password database on a USB thumb drive. Just make sure that the database has a strong password for accessing it.

The convenient way? Synchronizing to the cloud. I use DropBox for that matter. I can download from the website, or if feasible, install the DropBox and KeePass application on the local machine where I am working on.

KeePass Password Safe

KeePass Password Safe

What If I need to access the site using my SmartPhone?

No problem. I installed DropBox and KeePass for Android. Both Applications are available for pretty much all mobile platforms.

Is my smartphone saving passwords for websites?

Yes, for convenience, although it is a security concern.

What if my phone gets lost/stolen?

I installed Android Protector and the most sensitive applications require a PIN to access it. I have also installed Lookout for Android which allows me to backup sensitive data to the cloud, remote lock, remote locate and the best option, remote wipe.

Do I change my passwords?

Yes. Every 3 months at the most.

This is what I do for my passwords. How do you do it?

Wi-Fi Hotspot [HTC G2]

After sending the OTA upgrades, TMobile enabled 3 nice features: WiFi Calling, USB Tethering and WiFi HotSpot. The HTC G2 can be used as a wireless router and be able to accept connections from any device that connects to Open and WPA2-PSK Wi-Fi networks.

Portable WiFi Hotspot

Portable WiFi Hotspot

Portable WiFi Hotspot Configuration

Portable WiFi Hotspot Configuration

Just follow the steps:

  1. On the Android phone, press Home, press Menu, and touch Settings to open the Settings application.
  2. Touch Wireless & networks > Tethering & portable hotspot.
  3. Check Portable Wi-Fi hotspot.
  4. Check Portable Wi-Fi hotspot Settings
  5. Configure the Netword SSID, Security and Save
  6. Your phone is now a Wireless Router using the Available HSPA+ network.

It seems that T-Mobile isn’t charging extra for this feature yet, but will throttle if bandwidth usage goes over 5 GB within a month.

USB Tethering [HTC G2]

After ensuring that WiFi calling worked properly I went ahead and researched about USB tethering for my G2. I have tried PDA Net before, but I wanted to use a “native” solution provided by T-Mobile. It is really easy.

USB Tethering

  1. You are likely to need drivers, so download it from here and decompress into a folder.
  2. Use the USB cable that came with your phone to connect your phone to your computer.
  3. On the Android phone, press Home, press Menu, and touch Settings to open the Settings application.
  4. Touch Wireless & networks > Tethering & portable hotspot.
  5. Check USB tethering.
  6. When asked for drivers, point the the one you just downloaded.
  7. You should be able to connect to the internet at this point.

If your phone is connected to the Internet through WiFi, the tethered computer will use your phone as a gateway, using wireless internet instead of the available HSPA+ network. This is good for computers that do not have a wireless connection and not able to connect to the internet.

Speed Tests:

Tethering using 3G Network (No HSPA+ available)

Tethering using 3G Network (No HSPA+ available)

Tethering using Wi-Fi and local Internet Service Provider

Tethering using Wi-Fi and local Internet Service Provider

WiFi Calling Feature Does Not Work Properly With Bluetooth Enabled And No Headset [HTC G2]

T-Mobile started to roll out OTA radio upgrades and Wifi Calling in the past couple of days. Mine was updated yesterday and I was really exited to try it. At first it did not work and left for work. Then came back to try it again and it did;  I even got a couple of calls at night with no issues. Today calls dropped to the point that was almost unusable. I researched online and found out two cases of users having the same exact issue and pointing Bluetooth as the culprit. They were right. As soon as I disabled Bluetooth, WiFi calling just worked beautifully. It is a bug that T-Mobile will need to patch quickly.

Now, what does WiFi calling means for your plan and phone:

  1. It will use the alloted minutes for your current plan, for the bucket you are currently on: Peak, Nights, Weekends or MyFavs. I double checked today and ensured that all calls made were recorded as “Weekend”.
  2. You might be able to use it overseas and avoid ridiculous roaming charges. You just need a decent WiFi connection.
  3. Your phone is likely to use more battery as WiFi will be on all the time. So keep a spare charger or MiscroUSB cable handy.

I have also read that tethering was going to be part of this OTA update. I have not found the option yet, but will comment about it as soon as I do. Right now I am focused on ensuring that WiFi is flawless while in my house which has really bad reception spots, including my home office.

Enjoy your G2.

SD Card unexpectedly removed [Android]

Today while I was trying to take a picture of my son wearing his costume with my new HTC G2, got the error message “SD Card unexpectedly removed”. I asked myself: how is that possible if the card is inside and even behind the battery.

Before I continued trying, decided to turn off the phone, extract the card, clean the contacts and try again. Everything went well until 20 minutes later; I got the same error again.

I performed the process again, this time thoroughly cleaning the pins on both the G2 and the SD card. I was able to record my son’s parade and even upload to YouTube, but yet again the error message came up once more.

Searched on Google, called a friend and even called T-Mobile to see if there was any known issue. Didn’t get too much help so I went ahead and performed a CheckDisk with repairs (while plugged in to the USB port of my PC). I thought it was fixed after it, but minutes later, again the issue reoccurred.

I decided to use a MicroSD adapter, plugged into my computer, tried to save whatever I could from the latest pictures and videos I took (luckily it was just 2 weeks worth) and formatted it like 3 times. I did not choose a quick format option just to ensure that all blocks get touched.

All good? No. Seems that the card is bad. Called T-Mobile, called, HTC, there are no replacement cards for the HTC G2 yet. What? It is a universal card! But no, HTC says that I need to call when they get stock parts for the HTC G2.

I guess I am out of luck on this one. I will need to buy another card.

Luckily, all the previous contents were safely backed up to the cloud.