Wired: Happy Segway Owners

Leander Kahney reports on happy Segway owners.

Johnson bought his Segway for his mile-and-a-half commute to work. He was sick of sitting in traffic, isolated in his car, burning up fossil fuels.

“When you’re driving, you’re always calling everyone else on the road an asshole,” Johnson said. “The Segway is not that way. People are smiling and wanting to chat. It’s totally different. It’s nice.”

Australian IT: Iris scans for ATM card security

Caitlin Fitzsimmons reports on the application of iris scan biometric technology to ATM authentication.

VeriSign managing director Gregg Rowley says the security of the personal identification number (PIN) is also questionable. He says banks will move to smart cards over the next few years and biometrics will be the next step after that.

“Biometrics – such as a fingerprint scan or iris or retina scan – will replace the PIN,” Rowley says. “Most insecure is a magnetic stripe with a PIN, more secure is a smart card with a PIN and even more secure is a smart card with biometrics.”

Rowley says the iris scan is the best option because people will not want a laser beamed into their eyes for the retina scan, while a fingerprint reader will wear out and become dirty.

Electronic Business: TI’s RFID Technology makes wireless watch tick

Mark Long reports on TI’s involvement in creating the Timex-built wireless wrist-watches for the ExxonMobil Speedpass Network.

When Speedpass-enabled customers arrive a the McDonald’s drive-thru window, they simply order their food from the menu board, drive on to the payment window and wave their RFID-equipped wristwatches or key chains at the Speedpass reader. The reader/antenna then passes that information onto the appropriate value added network to verify the customer’s profile and credit information. Upon authentication, the Golden Arches light up to indicate that the tag is read. The system then automatically bills purchases to the credit/check card of the customer’s choice, prints a receipt, and the customer is on his way. There are no extra fees when using this method of payment.

El Paso Times: Money transfers to Mexico

Diana Washington Valdez writes about the volume of money transfer from the US to Mexico.

Despite the sluggish U.S. economy, the amount of money Mexican immigrants sent to relatives back home is expected to reach a record $13 billion this year, according to a Pew Hispanic Center and Inter-American Development Bank report. The massive flow of U.S. money to all Latin American countries shows no sign of slowing down and is projected to reach more than $18 billion by the end of 2005.

New York Times: Paris in San Francisco

Amanda Hesser reports on French restaurants in San Francisco.

The new bistros in San Francisco are French at the core, but American in manner. The frisée aux lardons at Chez Spencer, for instance, is smartened with a fan of smoked duck breast resting under the frisée. The lamb chops at Chez Nous are sprinkled with coarse sea salt infused with lavender; two chops are served alone. A watercress salad at Absinthe is brightened with slices of local persimmon and pomegranate seeds.