Technology Review: Microsoft Fingerprint Reader
When I first heard about the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader, I thought it was a pretty neat way to manage your passwords, but definitely something I would never need or could never afford. Then, I found it on sale, and, on a lark, ordered it. When it was delivered, I eagerly opened it and installed it, and it’s been one of the best buys for my computer yet.
The Fingerprint Reader itself is a fairly simple device, consisting of nothing more than a tiny plastic rectangle that houses an optical fingerprint reader. The reader connects to the computer via a USB cable, and installing the device is very easy; simply slip the included CD into your computer, follow the onscreen instructions, plug in the device, and you’re ready to go.
The Microsoft Fingerprint Reader has many practical uses in terms of password management. First, you can set it up so you can log on to Windows simply by pressing your finger against the reader – no need to type in your password. This can make start-up much faster, and it can also make locking the computer if you step away for a moment much more practical; instead of having to type in your password to unlock the computer, simply use your finger.
The other main use of the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader is for internet passwords. Using the reader, you can set up various login/password configurations for different website, and instead of having to type in your information every time you want to log in, you can simply use the fingerprint reader. An example would be Yahoo; you can set the reader up so when you access the mail login screen, you just have to put your finger on the reader, and your account name and password will be entered, and you will be taken to your mail page.
This feature will work for just about any internet screen where you are required to provide a login name and password, and the included software allows users to indicate which fields to put the information in, and which button to activate once that information is entered.
One great feature of the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader is the fact that you can register any (up to 10) of your fingers with it, so you can place the reader wherever is most comfortable on your desk.
Unfortunately, since the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader is a product of Microsoft, it currently only works with Internet Explorer, and is not compatible with web browsers such as Mozilla and Opera. The convenience that the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader provides, however, easily outweighs this small problem.
Overall, the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader is a great little gadget, and makes quick access to your most visited websites a breeze. The Reader isn’t intended for airtight security, and it’s important that you continue to remember your actual passwords even if you use the Reader regularly; you never know what may happen. The Reader itself is currently fairly inexpensive, and a quick web search shows prices ranging from $21-$40. This is definitely a must-have for any technology freaks, and a nice little gadget of convenience for those of us who have trouble remembering our passwords, or want quick access to websites.