When Apple bought the biometric security company Authentec I decided to buy one of their USB fingerprint readers to see what Apple saw in them and maybe learn a little bit about some tech that might be showing up in future Apple products.

In the time I bought it to when it was delivered to me they stopped selling them on the site. Also, the store and developer site were taken down so I wasn’t able to write any of my own software to use it, and even if I could, nobody could buy a device of their own. But I could still install the tools that integrated with OS X’s security system and that was still interesting to me.

IMG 0454

Since I rarely take my laptop out of the house, it’s not too big a deal to have this nub of plastic hanging off the side. Plus I wanted to see what it’d be like to use my fingerprint to unlock and perform administration functions.

Sliding your finger along the scanner takes some time to get right. Even after using it for a few weeks I still only get about a 75% hit rate, but it can still be quicker than typing my ten character password.

In the past month as discussions about password security and authentication crop up, I keep thinking about how great it feels to not even think about a password when using the device.

I use 1Password for 99% of all my passwords and while I still would recommend using it, I can now see a future when 1Password is no longer needed.