Thursday, January 21 2010

Software, good and bad

Good: Sony’s SPUDownloadManager. Lost the install CD for a Sony product, or is it old enough that Microsoft has released two new operating systems since you bought it? Plug the device into your computer, run this tool, and it installs the latest versions of all the relevant software and drivers.

Bad: Lenovo’s VeriFace. This is a biometric authentication system that uses your laptop’s built-in camera to scan your face as your password, and record the faces of people who fail to login. It includes an optional check to make sure that it isn’t being fooled by a photo, but it’s still useless, because it only works under excellent lighting conditions. You can spend upwards of a minute finding good light and staring at the screen until it recognizes you, or you can just type your password.