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April 28, 2005

Be Careful of What You Wish For [8:03 am]

While the frustrations of device theft are certainly a problem, sometimes the wished-for cures are worse than the problem. Consider the discussion in this NYTimes article: Combating Gadget Theft

“The detective told me it’s easier to solve a homicide than a burglary,” he said, adding, “I’d give a nickel to anyone who could invent a LoJack system for computers,” a reference to an automobile security device - a transmitter that can be activated by police to guide them to a stolen car.

It will cost more than a nickel, but such programs do exist. And Mr. Yago is not the only victim of theft who is not aware of them. Called track-and-recover software, the technology assumes that the stolen machine will eventually be hooked up to the Internet, and once online it is programmed to send a signal indicating its Internet Protocol address. That may allow the thief to be traced through an Internet service provider.

“If you have our software on your computer you have over a 90 percent chance of getting it back,” said Mr. Kawles of Brigadoon (www.pcphonehome.com), which makes track-and-recover programs for computers called PC PhoneHome and MacPhoneHome.

Related: Ears Plugged? Keep Eyes Open, Subway's IPod Users Are Told and Some Computer Finders, and Their Fees

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