Jonathan Weinberg writes…
So you’re buying a new laptop. Large hard disk, check! Fast processor, check! Windows Vista, well if I must! Face-recognition to stop unauthorised people from logging into it, blimey – what is this, Star Trek?
Well, that could be the newest addition to your techno-arsenal if you snap up one of
Toshiba’s latest notebooks, the Satellite U300, A300 or P300.
Not only are they full spec’d up to the nines, the most interesting bit of gadgetry inside
has to be the camera that matches your face to the one stored in the memory, before it’ll let you into the desktop.
And it’s also the most useless bit of gadgetry I’ve seen in a while.
When I was first demonstrated this, the PR guy trying to show us how it worked totally
failed to get access to his files.
Basically, it is meant to go thus. Take a snap of your face, and that image is stored on the laptop like a digital password. Lock the laptop up and when you next want to use it, instead of typing a memorable word, or pushing your finger onto a fingerprint reader, you take another shot of yourself that’s scanned against the one in the memory.
If it matches, you’re in! If it doesn’t, you’re buggered and have to type a password in to
gain entry. So tell me, what’s the point? At first glance it sounds a really cool idea. The kind us geeky peeps love to hear about and would love to boast to our friends that we have on our tech kit.
But in practice, it’s utterly useless. If it has a password as a back-up, I’d be quicker
typing that in than messing around taking images. And if it is meant to prevent people trying to hack the password, then it’s not going to if you must have one in case of emergencies.
The one cool thing it does do is take a picture of anyone trying to log in without the proper authorisation. So you can check which of your colleagues or friends/family has been trying to snoop on your stuff. But again that’s redundant if the laptop is stolen. You’ll never know who’s been trying to hack in, will you!
Besides, just imagine trying to match your face to it first thing in the morning when you
are all bleary-eyed and suffering from a big night out. I hardly have the capacity to see the screen let alone look pretty on it.
The laptops themselves are actually great, boasting neat designs, Harman Kardon speakers for top quality sound and a choice of three screen sizes and three processors.
As for the security, let’s face it, someone obviously didn’t look at the bigger picture when they designed it, did they?!
Jonathan Weinberg is a technology and gaming journalist who writes for The Sun, Tech Digest, and assorted other publications