TUCOWS ARTICLE

How to Use Fingerprint Readers

Memory is a funny thing. Some people seem to have great memories, and others don't. I've always had an exceptional memory so it's hard for me to totally identify with not being able to remember passwords. I first got interested in fingerprint readers because of my wife.She doesn't have a good memory for things like passwords. So, she was keeping her passwords for different sites in a file. I figured that the fingerprint reader would be an improvement, and I was right.
Published: Oct 27, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan

This question submitted by Simon Landers, Nick Folger, Ann Sessions,Janet Gravani, Bill Westman and numerous others

The Internet continues to grow and more and more people use it. And, as more people use it, more companies use it as well. It seems like you can't find a local business that doesn't have a Web site. Companies give out their Web site URL (Universal Resource Locator) as frequently as they give out their phone number or street address. As part of doing business with you on the Internet, many companies want you to create an account on their Web site. That means a username and password for nearly all the businesses you use while you're online. For many people that can get complicated. Why? Too many things to remember.

Memory is a funny thing. Some people seem to have great memories, and others don't. I've always had an exceptional memory so it's hard for me to totally identify with not being able to remember passwords. I first got interested in fingerprint readers because of my wife.She doesn't have a good memory for things like passwords. So, she was keeping her passwords for different sites in a file. I figured that the fingerprint reader would be an improvement, and I was right.

The Microsoft Fingerprint Reader is the one I bought because it's what they had at my local Office Depot. Another one is the ThinkPlusUSB Fingerprint Reader made by IBM. The first thing you need to do is install the DigitalPersona software that comes with the device. You reboot after installation and you're prompted to plug in the USB fingerprint reader. The first thing you have to do is registersome fingerprints.

Registering fingerprints is very easy. You press the fingertip of the finger you want to register onto the device. The software will indicate when your print has been accepted. You do this four (4) times for each fingerprint you want to register. For testing, I registered my index and middle fingers of my right hand along with my thumb. I then exited the registration software and I was ready to roll.

To get a site ready to login to, you simply go to the login page of that site. So, for example, I went to the Federal Express login page. Then I put my index finger on the fingerprint reader. This brings up a dialog so you can create a fingerprint logon. In this dialog you type in your user name, your password and a title for the login. You can also indicate what else needs to be clicked in order to logon. For example, sites will use different terms like Sign-in, Log On, Login and others. You can also elect to add the site to your Quick Link menu in the software. That's it, all done. From that point on, using this example, every time I go to the Federal Express site I can log in by just using my fingerprint on the reader. Pretty slick. You go and do this for all the sites you access and you never have to enter a password again.

One thing I found was that the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader does not work with Mozilla Firefox, Opera or Netscape. That's a problem for me because I use all of those. It did work with NetCaptor. So,if you use one of these alternative Web browsers you won't be able touse the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader. With Internet Explorer, however,it works like a charm and is a fast, efficient way to log in.

It should be remembered that you shouldn't protect sensitive information, like financial data, with the fingerprint reader. It's a great convenience and especially handy for people who have problems remembering passwords. For most practical applications it is very safe, and it is much safer than storing your passwords in a document.

I'd like to thank Simon Landers, Nick Folger, Ann Sessions, Janet Gravani, Bill Westman and numerous others for asking this question.

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About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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