Archive for Sunday, June 26, 2005

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June 26, 2005

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Hewlett laptops have biometric technology

Biometric technology is taking another leap toward widespread usage as Hewlett-Packard Co. ships new laptops with fingerprint readers.

The nx6125 notebook PC includes a fingerprint sensor made by AuthenTec Inc., which says HP is the biggest computer maker to offer a biometric reader as standard equipment. The computer, aimed at the business market, sells for $1,000 and up.

Fingerprint biometrics are a more secure and convenient alternative to passwords, which are often forgotten or stolen. But only in recent years has the technology's accuracy improved to the point where it could confidently be deployed in a wide range of consumer applications.

Having computers ship with biometric capabilities built-in could prompt more Web sites to adopt two-factor authentication schemes requiring a second ID check beyond the simple password. Such security measures are common in many European countries, though the second verification is still generally provided as another form of password rather than a biometric ID.

Workplace

Too much bureaucracy among top complaints

Complaining about work might almost be considered a national pastime for many Americans, right up there with baseball and beer.

But the majority of us (76 percent) like our jobs - it's the absurdities we see coming from managers that really mar our work lives, according to a survey of 3.5 million U.S. employees.

Among them: excessive bureaucracy, blame-placing, a lack of input about decisions and delays in reaching them.

"Many companies try to place the blame for poor performance on employees or their immediate supervisors," said Jeffrey Saltzman, chief executive of the Sirota Survey Intelligence, from Purchase, N.Y.-based Sirota Consulting.

And while unmotivated workers or incompetent supervisors can be the problem, employees' most widespread frustrations arise from deficiencies in senior and middle management and staff, Saltzman said.

Abundant bureaucracy was cited as the biggest problem by 62 percent, followed by people who focus more effort on assigning blame than on solving problems (59 percent).

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