Imagine your beloved Mac — your Macbook that you lovingly take care of, the Macbook that you spent lots of moolah on for expensive bags, cases and protectors just so it won’t have ugly scratches, and which you are careful not to drop whenever you bring it out — gets stolen.
If my MacBook Pro, or even my Macbook white, ever gets stolen, I want to have a way to get it back. I want the police to catch the thief, and I want the satisfaction of smacking the jerk square on his nose. How dare he touch my baby without my permission! It’s a violation!
Good thing some apps were developed just for that reason.
I found this story today about a guy, Joshua Kaufman, whose Macbook was stolen and, with the use of a hidden app, was able to track his missing laptop. He remotely used the device’s webcam to gather photos of the alleged thief. He shared the “mugshots” on a Tumblr blog called “This Guy Has My MacBook.”
His laptop was stolen on March 21, 2011 and reported it to the police. Luckily, Kaufman had installed in his laptop the app Hidden, which pinpoints the device’s location, stealthily snaps photos of the user and collects screen grabs of activity taking place on the device.
On June 1, 11:32 AM PST, he updated his blog:
The Oakland Police acquired my MacBook last night, and I picked it up this morning!
Ah, happy ending!
Hidden’s basic plan is at $15.00/year. I bet Kaufman says that it’s the best 15 bucks he ever spent.
Kaufman’s story is similar to that of Sean Power’s which I stumbled upon last month on Storify. But unlike Kaufman, Power used Prey, a free tracking program, and Twitter, but with the same result in the end — reunited with his beloved laptop.
Sean Power, using Prey, tracked down his laptop to a bar in Brooklyn, where he saw that a man, Skype alias “Paolo Votano”, was using his computer to browse the web, call friends, and even logged on to his Chase account.
Power, however, was in Canada at that time.
Enter the power of social media.
Soon enough, the Twitter world jumped in to help. One woman even went down to the bar herself to check out the situation. Brave gal!
Paolo tweeted that he’s going to call Paolo. A long silence followed, and finally Power tweeted:
“So .. Paolo freely gave it up. I’m not about to accuse anyone of anything. I’d rather forget that that place exists and just move on.”
“But yes, Internet – I’m about 800km away, and I got my stolen laptop back.”
Yes, another happy ending. And it amazes me no end on the power of technology, and social media. If we can just use all these tools available to us in good ways, it would make our world a better place. And yes, I still believe in the goodness of people.
Keeping that in mind, go ahead and download Hidden or Prey. You’ll never know, it might be the most valuable software you’ll need in the future. I got mine already, but I am hoping I will never, ever get to use it.