Roam - The Road Warrior's Survival Guide

Roam - The Road Warrior's Survival Guide

 

 

Lock It Down

 

The $40 Kensington ComboSaver Notebook Lock Ultra is one of the easiest ways to protect your $2,500 MacBook Pro.

 

Unless you somehow still live in the 1950s, you wouldn’t think of leaving a bicycle unattended on a street corner or asking a stranger to watch it “just for a minute” while you run into a store. Yet every day you see otherwise intelligent people leave their laptops sitting unattended on café tables while they refill their lattes. In urban centers, laptop theft has reached pandemic proportions as savvy system snatchers have caught on to the easy money of a quick grab-and-run.

 

To keep your MacBook from running away, you can’t be too cool for school—or for locks. Simple cable locks, such as the Kensington ComboSaver Combination Notebook Lock Ultra ($39.99, www.kensington.com), attach to your MacBook’s Kensington cable-lock slot in seconds, so you can secure your ’Book to a table leg, a chair, or any other nearby object. If a thief is trying to make off with your computer and a table’s attached to it, someone will probably notice. (Note: If you’re securing your MacBook to a table leg, be sure to run the cable through a closed opening, like a support between the table top and the leg. Otherwise the thief can simply slip the cable out from under the leg and go.)

 

Getting It Back: LoJack

 

LoJack for Laptops places hidden software on your Mac’s hard drive so you can track it down if it’s stolen.

 

There’s a not-so-fine line between sensibly safe and paranoid, and you can’t keep your MacBook locked down all the time—when it’s in the trunk of your car that’s just been stolen, for example. But even when your laptop isn’t strapped to an immovable object, you can still protect it from theft. Computrace LoJack for Laptops ($49.99 per year, www.lojackforlaptops.com) is a simple but sneaky little program that hides in a low-level area of your Mac’s hard drive just in case someone steals your computer. Each day, when you’re connected to the Internet, the software secretly contacts Computrace’s server and checks in.

 

If your Mac goes missing, all you have to do is file a police report with your local precinct, then fill out a simple form on the LoJack for Laptops website. The next time the thief goes online—even if he or she has deleted and reinstalled OS X—the hidden software will reveal the location through the IP address, and Computrace will contact the police to nab the thief and recover your machine. While a mere 7 percent of all stolen laptops are ever recovered, Computrace claims a 75 percent recovery rate for its customers. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

 

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