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Finger Print Reader December 29, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in computers.

I finally got a new portable to replace my old one – a nice shiny new Lenovo X61 tablet. It comes with a fingerprint reader. Of all the features, this is one I thought would be least useful. Boy was I wrong.

In order to make it convenient to use my current Toshiba M200 tablet I’ve disabled almost all the passwords. The only one I have to type in is when I initially log in. Since the computer gets rebooted about once a month this isn’t very often. It also means that if anyone picks up the computer they have immediate access to everything on it – including some personal information. But I left it in this state because when the PC is in tablet mode typing in a password is a bit painful & slow – as in this configuration the keyboard is completely hidden by the screen.

I didn’t occur to me that the finger print reader would address this problem – but the fingerprint reader solves this problem! I don’t have leave my computer unlocked all the time just to make it easy to use. One quick swipe and about 10 seconds later I can start writing on the tablet surface. I wonder how secure it is compared to a good password?

Every tablet should come with one of these things!



1. carlbrannen - December 29, 2007

I guess the fact that you’re not complaining about the finger sensor is evidence that it’s type 1 error rate is acceptable. So did you try your other fingers to see if it is secure at around the 10% level against type 2 errors?

2. gordonwatts - December 29, 2007

Carl — I’ve not been able to make it work on any of my other fingers, despite repeated tries. I have wondered if the false-positive rate would go up if I registered all 10 fingers, say… (and then tried my toes? :-)).

The false-negative rate seems to be about one in 20 for this finger print sensor; but I’ve only had it for about 2 days… so perhaps best to ask again in two weeks.

3. Kevin - December 30, 2007

you know Gordon they will have retina scans to get into ATLAS and CMS. I thought this was a joke when they told me this. But its not! I just hope they don’t come to my office asking me to take either the red or the blue pill some day…

4. Anonymous - January 2, 2008

wait until it gets a scratch on its surface (i.e. about 2 months). Then you’ll need to remember the password that you probably forgot in order to get around it.

might as well just remember the password in the first place. there’s no win.

5. Gordon Watts - January 2, 2008

That will suck! Thanks for the warning; I’ll try to be careful to and make it last 3 months!

6. Wolflin - April 6, 2008

I have it on my new laptop, Ive been trying to hack it…..

NO LUCK yet, but if you press down and slide your finger real fast about 20 times it sometimes opens…..A Hole in the machine or bumb luck ???????

7. gordonwatts - April 7, 2008

Huh. I’ve never had trouble like that with the default install of the drivers…

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