SoftAva’s PicturePassword

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SETUP

   Setup hums along like any other Pocket PC install.
I suggest installing PicturePassword to main memory on the device as
opposed to a storage card. One unusual note about the install is that
PicturePassword is accessed through the Settings Group and not the Program
Group.

PROGRAM
FEATURES

   The first nice feature of PicturePassword is that
it actually shows some useful information on the protection screen.
Owner Name, Date, Time and to the far right, and battery meter. SoftAVA
includes two backgrounds/skins for PicturePassword, many more skins
are available on the site
free of charge, which is good. At the moment all of them seem to be
cars for some reason, which is bad. The Palm version includes flags
and cars. SoftAva provides a picture
conversion service
for registered users, where you can send in a
picture and they’ll convert it for you. The pictures must be 160×135,
so it could pose a problem to someone not familiar with resizing photos.
They do plan on releasing stand-alone conversion software soon.

   
PicturePassword supports from 1 to 5 tappable areas on the skin to grant
access to the Pocket PC. You don’t have to be accurate down to the pixel,
there’s some margin for error when tapping in the locations, so there’s
really no fear of locking yourself out of your PDA. Look at the options
below, you can set a 4 digit numerical code for access, in case you
tap incorrectly or can’t remember the location you setup. PicturePassword
automatically brings up the Code Window if you tap the picture incorrectly.

  
You can also use an alphanumeric code if you choose. Last of all, it’s
possible to set a combination of buttons to gain access to your PDA.
It can be set from 1 button to a combination 5 button presses. So again
there’s never any fear of totally locking yourself out of your PDA,
not with 3 different methods for logging in. Now accessing PicturePassword’s
settings is a totally different story.

   
Like any good security program you need a good warning! To access PicturePasswords
settings you will need to enter the System Code. The System Code, is
the only way to get into the settings, there’s no secondary or tertiary
method, so make sure it’s something you will remember.

   
PicturePassword works perfectly with the password protection already
built-in to the desktop version of Activesync. You don’t have to log
in everytime you sync, there’s an option to remember the password so
that you can sync like normal. I wish I could’ve tried multiple PDA’s
to see if I could trick my computer into letting my sync another Pocket
PC.

HELP
SUPPORT

    Help and support are excellent. A FAQ is
available on the website along with documentation for adding your own
pictures and such. There’s also a helpfile available on the Pocket PC
that covers the same information the online manual does.

SYSTEM
REQUIREMENTS

    Picture Password supports all Xscale devices
running the Pocket PC OS, except for the Ipaq 5000 series. I assume
it has something to do with the biometric device those devices use for
security.

BUGS
AND WISHES

    The program performed like a champ and I
didn’t notice my Pocket PC taking any longer than normal to reset, which
is good for the notoriously slow to reset Ipaq 2210. I do wish there
was an option to disable the laser sounds when tapping the login. I
know it’s small, but imagine me in our weekly staff meeting sounding
like I’m blasting Cylons trying to get into my PDA! It’s one of the
worst kept secrets among my co-workers that I like to brush up on my
chess game in staff meetings, I don’t need sound effects! It also would’ve
been nice to have another security measure instead of just the System
Code for accessing the PicturePasswords settings. Maybe have the Button
Code as a secondary method. I also couldn’t find a way to lock the screen
manually.

PURCHASING

    PicturePassword can only be purchased directly
from SoftAva here
for $14.95. There’s also a volume licensing link on the sales page.

PROS


  • Easiest
    method by far for password protecting your PDA


  • Skins
    are high quality


  • Desktop
    Activesync security

  • Very
    responsive, never any lag while tapping the password

CONS


  • Only
    one method to access settings


  • No
    volume for stylus tap

  • Limited
    types of skins, only cars for Pocket PC
  • Now
    way to manually lock the screen

OVERALL
IMPRESSION

   I was a bit skeptical of the whole idea of tapping
on a skin for password protection, until I had a chance to use PicturePassword
for a week. I’m not too paranoid about what’s stored on my PDA, however,
this solution is so unobtrusive and easy to use, it might find a permanent
home on my PDA. I would definitely recommend this to other Pocket PC
users.

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