The year 2000 ain't what it used to be. No robot maids. No Hiltons on Mars. But, luckily for small companies, at least one piece of fantastic futuredom has come true. Fingerprint-verification gadgetry--which guards access to PCs and other sensitive equipment--has gotten remarkably cheap and reliable. Compaq Computer's Fingerprint Identification Technology costs $99 per computer and connects via PC parallel port (800 345-1518, compaq.com). DigitalPersona's U.are.U fingerprint reader runs $100 per user and attaches to a PC's USB port (877 378-2738, digitalpersona.com). NEC Technologies' TouchPass costs $300 per user, on top of $1,000 server software (888 234-7632, www.nectech.com/afis).
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