Aside from the occasional digital camera, I rarely lose stuff. Granted, I have a pile or two of gadgets that have misplaced power adapters (why is it so out of line for companies to label AC transformers? it doesn’t really cost much more, and it’s such a nice touch), but for the most part, I have a controlled mess. But when I read an article today on how to place a “warning” on a USB drive, I thought it was a brilliant idea. It’s got a little “geek-speak” but the directions are straightforward enough.
Although if I were doing it, I’d probably try to find a way to get a picture of my face in the warning dialog. I think the personal touch is more likely to evoke a response from people.
I think it’d be a nice idea for someone (Google) to use some of their (Google) ridiculous amounts of online storage (Google) to create a virtual “lost and found data” service. Ideally, it would let people post a “lost USB drive, really need the spreadsheets” or “stolen laptop, please upload pictures” message, and others could anonymously post the data. After my friend Brad’s laptop was recently stolen (not to mention my digital camera!), I firmly believe the bits and bytes are worth more than the components themselves. The site could even have bounties (via Paypal or other) to really incent people to use it (since good will seems harder and harder to come by).
Anyone know of such a service? Think these guys would be up for it? If not, anyone want to start one?
I doubt an alert like that on the USB would generate much response. Especially if I plugged it into a Mac or Linux computer. If someone wants to look for their stolen goods, ebay is their best bet.
Assuming a laptop hard drive isn’t immediately wiped, LoJack – the car alarm people – has a software solution for you…
This time, I don’t agree with ya. Yes, your point on Mac/Linux is fair, but its also the minority of computer users. I think there are two reasons people would do it:
1) I believe (maybe naively) that most people choose to be honest when given the option
2) adding a personal touch increases the likelihood of honesty (see #1 above)
Considering all the wheels on your car and your buddies laptop were stolen this year, you’re surprisingly optimistic. I do agree that most people would be considerate/helpful (if not always honest) when given the chance… as long as it doesn’t require too much effort/inconvenience on their part.
But a lost-then-found device is different than a stolen device – I don’t think we should lump these together… and if we do, we create an extortion market. For example, the person stealing a laptop can now sell your data back to you AND sell the hardware – making the crime even more profitable.
I recall a few years ago the Washington Post dropped a few wallets throughout the subway system and a majority of them were ‘returned.’
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