Authenticator Annoyance

The Blizzard Authenticator.

Blizzard Authenticator

I have had one now for about six months now.  Works like a charm, I have managed not to lose it, and I got that core hound puppy pet just for having it.

But Blizzard does one things that bugs me, and it has little to do with the physical authenticator itself.

I tend to sit in front of my computer in a dark room.  I have a nice, lit keyboard in the for of a Logitech G15.  And for any other light, my 20″ LCD monitor casts enough of a glow most of the time.

Most of the time.

When I go to log on to World of Warcraft, the main screen has enough ice and snow that my monitor casts more than enough light to see the authenticator display.  However, once you go to connect, WoW puts up the window to enter your authenticator code and turns the whole screen dark.

So at the one moment I need some light to read the authenticator, which is not backlit, my computer screen goes too dark to read the damn thing.  Then I have to tab out to something like the main Google page so I can read the code.

Okay, yes, even on the scale of trivial complaints, this ranks pretty far down at the “extremely trivial” end of things.  But I just thought I’d mention it because I know somewhere, somebody is going to read that and put up a comment along the lines of, “Oh, I hate that too!”

And then we’ll both feel better having had our petty gripes acknowledged.

26 thoughts on “Authenticator Annoyance

  1. Joe

    Got an iPhone or iPod touch? There’s a software version in the app store. I’ve had my physical authenticator since they were first offered and put it in a desk drawer for the software version.


  2. James

    Wow. Hardware authenticators for an MMO? Geez, even US Department of Defense computers (that I’ve seen) don’t require that. Well, unless you count a chip in an ID card, but… *shrug*

    (No, I don’t play WoW. How did you know?)


  3. Jemre

    It doesn’t require it, but it’s a pretty ironclad way of stopping anyone stealing your account. Blizzard is thinking of requiring it, given that it’d cut down on the number of hacked accounts they have to deal with.


  4. Faretheewell

    Hahaha…as long as requiring an extra device- that users must PAY for- to access their account- that the user ALSO pays for- makes it easier for the multi-national corporation taking your money every month, well, I guess that’s fine!


  5. Bstaz

    Okay, I’ll be the one to say it.

    Oh, I hate that too! Luckily I play windowed and my second monitor helps out a bit with this.


  6. Bhagpuss

    I’ve just cancelled my WoW account. There were several reasons, but the possibility of the Authenticator becoming required was one of them.

    I plan to resub for Cataclysm, but if the Authenticator is mandatory by then I probably won’t bother.


  7. LazerFX

    Solution: Get a second monitor. I’ve got a 24″ primary display (Dell 2408WFP), and an old 18″ 1280×1024 as my second display. Always enough light to see by :D

    Otherwise… get it for your iPhone, Mobile Phone, PDA or other java midlet equipped device.


  8. mbp

    “I tend to sit in front of my computer in a dark room.”

    Do you suffer from eye-strain Wilhelm? I find that I get bad eye-strain if my computer monitor is a different brightness level to the background it sits against. I think it is to do with the fact that every time I lift my eyes from the screen my iris has to quickly re-adjust for the difference in brightness. It makes such a difference that I have four preset brightness levels on my screen and I use each of them at a different time of day.


  9. LazerFX

    mbp – That’s actually a sign of poor eye-wear / eye-sight, rather than the environment. A lot of glasses can trigger eye-strain thanks to the way they work (i.e. the centre optics are more in-focus than the surroundings, or there are multiple focussing points, or they’re just not quite matched to the eye), so getting good glasses is crucial for someone who uses a computer a lot.

    As someone who spends a _lot_ of time behind the computer screen, a fair percentage of it in the dark, with no eye-strain issues at all, I can say this from personal experience. My last pair of glasses were a nightmare :D


  10. Renata

    Do what I did: just pick up a small LCD flashlight and keep it next to the computer. It also comes in handy when you have to look at something behind your machine.


  11. Kergguz

    Maybe turn the light on? Just for a second. Then turn it off and sit in the dark again if you like. Trivial indeed!


  12. rulez

    If you have an old school G15 just open it’s LCD and hold the Authenticator as near as possible to it’s screen, that should give enough light, at least for me it works ;).


  13. rulez

    I forgot you have to almost close the LCD lid and cram the authenticator under it, then you should be able to read it, if you lean forward enough to almost press the button with your nose :P.


  14. Skarlarth

    I have realized the same complaint when I play late at night (lights out to prevent from disturbin’ the little ‘uns and She Who Must Be Obeyed).

    So usually I will either:

    A) Once the Authenticator pop up appears, Alt-Tab out to another window (IE, or Excel or some such and read the code after my pupils stop shrieking) and then Alt-Tab back to enter the code.

    B) Get the code at the login screen before I type in my password and then enter it when the Authenticator pop-up appears (99.8% effective except when I transpose or misread a digit)

    A minor gripe, but then again, for the majority of us, aren’t most of them?

    Skarlarth and Company


  15. Llani

    Keep your cellphones nearby! You can always click a button and shine light on the phone, get the code, and type it in.

    Still waiting on mine to arrive =/ Today is day 9!


  16. Daergel

    I second (or third, or whatever) the comments about the iPhone. Downloading it is free from the app store, so mine didn’t cost me anything (well, I paid for the handset, but obviously so that I could get myself a free authenticator!)


  17. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Joe (and others) – No iPhone or Touch. And while the authenticator app is available for my really old cell phone, it isn’t very reliable so I wouldn’t want to depend on it. I will probably own an iPhone/Touch/iSlate some day, it won’t be any day soon.

    @Kerrguz – the light switch is across the room, and I already said that I had a work around that (atl-tab out to Google) that requires less effort. Thanks for the thought, but low points for reading comprehension there.

    @Skarlarth – Option A is how I do things now.

    @WFS – I’m hoping for a Blizzard sold, WoW sanctioned, USB powered LED light to stick into one of the USB ports on the back of my G15 keyboard.

    Anyway, the reason I brought this up is that it just offends my UI design gene to, at the very moment you know when a user needs to be able to read something, to then darken the screen. The screen is well lit enough until the authenticator window comes up, then, and only then, does it dim things so you cannot read your code.


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