The hottest news in the World of the Spoken Word is Apple's new 5S smartphone.
This device was just announced last week, and already folks are tripping over themselves to give it the finger.
The fingerprint, that is.
You see, this doohickey doesn't lock and unlock like a conventional smartphone. Instead, it uses the owner's fingerprint.
Presto! Just program this digital gizmo to recognize the swirls on your personalized digit, and it's off and running.
Far be it from me to laud technological developments of any type. In oh-so-many ways, I fervently cling to yesteryear.
Nonetheless, I like this idea. Looking down the techno pike, it has the potential to rid us of (insert cussword of choice here) passwords.
I've got passwords. You've got passwords. All Gawd's chillen got passwords.
The once-quaint notion of computer protection with simple letters and numbers has mushroomed into so many of the hateful things it's impossible for your average Larry and Laura Laptop to keep track of them.
Not so with fingerprints. Unless you happen to stick your pinkies into a sausage grinder, you're good to go for life.
But why stop there?
Police and the military already use eyeball and voice recognition in certain top-security applications. Apparently there's enough difference in each person's iris and vocal cords to tell us apart.
So why not explore other homegrown, built-in, biological keys? Such as:
Dental patterns. If a 100-year-old corpse can be identified by its choppers, it stands to reason the same concept could be incorporated into computers. Just bite down on a cushioned ID pad, and you're good to go.
Breath. Surely the millions of microbes in each person's mouth are unique enough that they could identify one operator from another.
Hair. Many a criminal case has been decided by a single strand. Why not employ the same ID technology to access a computer?
Yes, of course, certain downsides must be addressed before any of these ideas will work.
For dental patterns, the cushioned ID pad needs to be drool-proof. Also the "code" will change every time a tooth is filled or replaced by dentures.
For breath, sufferers of severe halitosis will need a super-deluxe model, lest it wither in the line of duty. Again, the "code" could change based on intake of garlic, boiled eggs, onions and other foods with a sandpaper edge.
Hair ID could be affected by varying layers of dandruff and styling gel, not to mention steadily advancing baldness.
In the meantime, keep those passwords written down and handy.
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