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Blink and you'll miss it

Freeware Blink adds an extra level of security to your computer through your Webcam, associating your face with your username and password so you can start using your computer after a few seconds of looking at your Webcam.

Blink and you'll miss it. This free program adds an extra level of security to your computer through your Webcam, associating your face with your username and password so you can start using your computer after a few seconds of looking at your Webcam.

When you install the program, it will offer to run a wizard to help you set it up. The wizard will autodetect your Webcam, and give you a choice if you have more than one. After giving you a screen to click through, which serves to give you more of a chance to compose yourself for the scan, the program takes about 10 seconds to add your image to its database. The publisher Luxand, known for its facial-recognition algorithms, claims that the program is powerful enough to see through minor adjustments to your visage, including eyeglasses, facial hair changes, and even sunglasses. During tests with printed color photos of the reviewer's face, the program wasn't fooled. Blink was, however, able to see through sunglasses in less than 3 seconds, the same amount of time it took to log in an unaltered version of a registered face.

Blink is not the only program that adds an extra level of security to your computer through your Webcam, but it is one of the only free ones. It supports multiple users, creates a log of those who try to access the computer, offers a "learning" convenience setting and a high security setting, and the run at start-up option can be toggled off.

It has one major drawback: it only works on 32-bit computers. Considering that more and more new computers are coming out with Windows 7 x64, the lack of 64-bit support could be fatal sooner rather than later. However, for right now that's a problem that most Windows users probably won't notice. The program also doesn't allow your face to replace Web site log-ins, a logical extension of what it does. Simple in function, Blink is a must-try for its novelty, but you might just wind up keeping it for its effectiveness.

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