Aun Heng Wong chose an interesting time of year to send us a copy of BlueKey for review, adding yet another toy to play with to my Christmas booty. Unlike most of my plunder, however, this one is actually very practical.
BlueKey is a small program for the Palm that adds authentication via a Bluetooth device. Instead of locking your device and entering a password to activate it, all you need is to have your mobile phone (or other BT device) in the same locality (e.g. your pocket) when you turn it on. BlueKey searches for one of up to three specified devices and, if found, unlocks your Palm. If none are found you have the chance to enter a fallback password or try again.
It sounds intriguing and a relatively painless way to secure your Palm. What’s more, it works exactly as advertised. Upon starting the program you select a Bluetooth pairing, enter a fallback password and the program will default to activating whenever the device is turned off. You can also save battery by turning off Bluetooth on the Palm – BlueKey will happily ask you to turn it back on before authenticating. And with this minimal setup you’re ready to go.
To add to its usefulness there is also the concept of profiles. Each profile links your chosen device(s) with an activation method. The activation method can be power-button based (the default), delay or time based or perhaps most usefully, apply to a subset of applications. Further, each profile is given a period of the day when it is active, thus giving you the ability to lock access to the Palmasutra between 8:00 and 17:00.
Profiles: defining security
I did find the default time-out of 7s was sometimes to slow for my Sony Ericsson T630, especially on the first authentication of the day. This can be adjusted in the profile however, or a click of retry would always solve the problem. The only other drawback I found was the password used is a custom password – it doesn’t use the system password. Also the password field uses a box shape to hide the input – this makes the field somewhat crowded and it would be nice to see either the standard * used, or to use a field similar to that in PalmOne’s AddIt where the last entered character is visible.
Authentication failed: fallback to a password
So if you’re looking for an easy way to secure your Palm and to show off Bluetooth at the same time this may be the application for you. It’s stable, works exactly as you’d expect, offers reasonably powerful configuration options and I’d have no qualms about recommending it to those with a need to lock down Bejeweled 2.