Theft Detection for Mac Laptops

Are you ever scared that your fancy MacBook might get stolen? I am. I don’t actually own mine, so at least I wouldn’t have to front the cost of a new one if it got stolen. The worst part is really the data loss though.

There is a new theft detection software called Undercover which actually looks very nice. Basically you install it on your system and forget about. It does it’s own thing in the background and won’t bother you. If your laptop ever gets stolen, you file a report with Undercover online to declare that it has been stolen. The next time a user goes online using your laptop, Undercover will track the network information, take screenshots and even use the built-in iSight to take pictures of the thief.

If your Mac has a built-in or external iSight, Undercover will transmit pictures of the thief and his surroundings every 6 minutes, making it even easier to identify the current user. It’s like having a private detective working for you.

Undercover will then work with law enforcement agencies and ISPs to recover the laptop.

If the first method is unsuccessful, Undercover will basically render the laptop unusable, with a full-screen message reporting that the laptop has been stolen.

One of the first things that I wondered about was how a theif would log into your account (provided you’ve actaully enabled a firmware password and turned off auto-login). Their answer to this was actually quite surprising:

What if the thief can’t login into an account? Will Undercover still phone home?
Even when no one is logged in, Undercover will still phone home because it’s a root process that’s always active. However, we do recommend to create a dummy account that will enable the thief to play around on your Mac. This account should have a blank password and no admin privileges.

I’d really like to try this software out. It sounds really cool and I’m curious to know how well it actually works. Unfortunately…I think you’d actually have to get your laptop stolen to find that out.

Audio of Chimney Catastrophe

Last week I posted about how the chimney on my roof fell off. I suppose weird stuff does happen like that more often than you would think. As it turns out, my roommate was actually at home when it happened and in the middle of leaving a voicemail to her boss. Here is the voicemail:

My favorite part of this is how as the message goes on she talks faster and faster and her voice gets higher and higher.

Excellent Web Typography

I meant to post a link to the I Love Typography post, 15 Excellent Examples of Web Typography, back when it first came out, but better late than never. The list is a pretty good representation of websites using fantastic typography. One notable missing site though was Subtraction, it really should have been on the list. I wrote about how much I liked the site over a year ago.

To followup on part one of the series, the second part takes a close-up look at the A List Apart website. The article is a little on the short side, but it does highlight some nice details of the website.

Best Headline of the Week

This is definitely the best headline of the week. I’m sure the article is interesting too.

Interactive Look at Tennis Court Surfaces

There is a very cool article over on the New York Times website about the differences in clay, grass and hard courts in tennis. The site makes great use of animation and info-graphics.

I know that the newspaper industry is supposedly really struggling right now and all, but if any of them need a hint about how to make an effective online presence (read: worth going to), they should take a good long look at the New York Times website. The design is fantastic and they often really take advantage of the interactive side of the web.

I really wish The Boston Globe would take the hint.

Via Kottke.



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