Security in the Technological Era

You’ve probably have heard of biometric systems, but you might not be sure how they work and what they have to offer someone like you. Whether or not you’re ready to make the transition from locks that need a key to locks that need the right human eyeball to open, airports, hospitals, hotels, grocery stores and even Disney theme parks are beginning to employ this technology. Let’s take a closer look.

Biometric systems use your physical or behavioral traits to identify you. That means your hand writing, finger print, voice prints, iris structure and even vein structure can be scanned by a computer for recognition. With a biometric security system, you don’t use something you have or know to open a lock; you can open it simply by being who you are. Many people believe that biometric locks are more secure because unlike a key or a password, personal appearances and mannerisms are extremely difficult to forget, and to illegally replicate.

Biometric systems function with three basic steps. The process begins with enrollment, meaning the owner of the biometric system must program into the system basic information about the user. This means your name or ID number. Then the user must record some specific trait of theirs, like a finger print, signature, or vocal password.

The second step involves storage of the information. The data is generally stored graphically or through a code.

The final step involves comparison; the next time you attempt to use or open the system, it will ask you for a new version of whatever you created and then compare what you offer to stored version.. It either accepts the two as coming from the same source (accepts that you’re you), or doesn’t.

Accordingly, a biometric system must make use of three different components: a sensor for detecting the identifying characteristic, a computer for reading and storing information, and software that enables the computer to analyze the characteristic and compare it to newer versions of the same input.

handwritingThe most widespread biometric security system is the fingerprint scanner available on smartphones and laptops. However, handwriting is also becoming a common form of biometrics. Your first reaction might be to think that handwriting would be one of the most easily copied forms of a security code, but in fact the recording process is much more complicated than that. When someone offers their signature, for example, the sensor of the biometric system not only takes note of the shapes of the letters, but the pressure used to press against the screen, the speed and rhythm at which the signature is written, and the sequence of events that is how you add dots and crosses to words.

voiceprint2Another common use? Vocal passwords. People’s vocal qualities are unique and stem from both the shape of their vocal cavities and the habitual way they move their mouth and throat when they speak. The computer records vocal inputs into a voiceprint using a sound spectrogram. Different speech sounds create different shapes on the graph.


Meet Your Monitor

Most people are familiar with using a monitor, be it for the personal computer, a gaming module, or whatever else is relevant. However, very few understand exactly how monitors are made, how they work, and how their manufacturers talk about them. This article will be a little intro to the world of monitors.

A monitor is the display of a computer. It’s the most-used output device for computers and provides feedback by showing you the text and image graphics that relate to your work or play.

resolutionYou’ve probably heard of an LCD screen. LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. There are also CRT screens, and CRT stands for Cathode Ray Tube. Most laptops use LCD technology because LCD screens are so much smaller and use so much less energy. LCD is also what’s referred to when you hear of “plat panel” or “flat screens.”

You’ve also probably heard people talk about a screen’s resolution. The resolution is the amount of pixels contained on a display. The resolution usually looks like a multiplication equation (i.e. 800X600) where the numbers in the equation represent┬áthe amount of pixels on the horizontal axis and the number of pixels on the vertical axis.

As years go by, technology advances and allows for larger screens to be created. Also, the same sized screens can now hold more pixels, meaning they have a higher resolution.

To discuss these aspects of a screen, people utilize something called the aspect ratio and the screen size. The aspect ratio refers to the shape of the screen. If the ratio is 4:3, the ratio of the screen’s width to the screen’s height is 4 to 3. That means widescreen monitors have aspect ratios like 16:9 or 16:10.

measuring_sizeWhen measuring a screen’s size, one number is generally used that represents the length from one corner of the screen to the corner diagonally across from it. This method was apparently adopted by TV manufacturers in an attempt to make the TV seem a little larger than it actually was (because people assume the measurement is the horizontal). With the aspect ratio and the value of the diagonal, the width and height can be mathematically deduced, but generally the numbers are provided.

It’s important to keep in mind that the measuring system for CRT monitors differs from that used for LCD monitors. CRT monitors have screen size measured from the outside edges of the display casing, while LCD monitors have their screen sizes measured diagonally from the actual beveled edges of the projection surface (screen). This is a much more accurate way of measuring screen size.

Keeping in mind resolution and screen size, it now makes sense to assert that an image on a 19-inch monitor with an 800X600 pixel resolution will look less sharp than the same image on a 13-inch screen with an 800X600 pixel resolution. Put simply, the pixels themselves are smaller on a smaller screen with the same resolution as a larger screen.