The good, the bad, the ugly

Each week News editor Sandra Rossi filters the incoming comments and awards an exclusive GBU mug for each published item.

Good

Here's another exclusive offer for GBU readers: one ticket, valued at $3146, to the Nielsen Norman Group User Experience conference to be held in Sydney from June 17-21. The ticket will go to the person who e-mails, in 20 words or less, the best reason for attending the conference. E-mails must be received by 5pm EST June 13, 2002 at GBU@idg.com.au. There are 20 runner-up prizes of Jakob Nielsen's new book, Designing Web Usability. Jakob is a well-known user advocate, Web guru and former Sun Microsystems engineer.

Bad

A problem with unauthorised after-hours use of PCs forces a company to turn on hardware passwords on all machines. But a follow-up audit shows up an interesting point, according to the system administrator: "The user who complained loudest about someone using his PC at night leaves his PC on every night and a Post-it note with his password on his keyboard!" Tsk Tsk...

An IT manager at a large Australian company told GBU it's not always easy pitching technology solutions to the CEO but the IT shop has a saying that rings eerily true: "If its in an airline in-flight magazine it gets implemented."

Ugly

Technology is forcing criminals to keep a dead pan expression during robberies. Robbers are well advised to wipe the smirks off their faces when grabbing the cash as new studies show face recognition systems are much better at matching mugshots of smiling suspects than straight expressions. Experts have found that the bigger identification databases become, the more difficult it is for computers to pick out a face in the crowd. But researchers found smiling faces can help the software tell people apart. Even people who look very similar reveal different features when they smile and uncover more details of their bone and muscle structure.

* News tips that make it into print earn the sender a GBU mug. Send tips to GBU@idg.com.au

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