Stolen laptop? Track it down!

May 31, 2011 by

If you have a laptop you must read this post.

There have been two wonderfully awesome stories recently of people who have had their laptops stolen, but have had them returned to them via the internet.

And its not just the kindness of strangers on the internet, but rather a really cool James Bond-ish type of cyber tracking where the owners of the laptops have tracked down the thieves, found out who they were via the laptops webcam and via screenshots, where they were and then used the power of the internet to reclaim their laptops.

First was the story was from a guy named Sean Power, a Canadian author and tech consultant.  His laptop was stolen and using a program called Prey, he was able to track the thief and his laptop to a bar in New York.  He was able to then watch the thief via webcam and screenshots of his laptop sign into his Skype account, Gmail, bank account etc.  He used this info to relay to the police and thanks to some very friendly folks on twitter the laptop was returned with minor damage.

The second story just ended a few minutes ago with the police retrieving the stolen laptop from the thief who was a cab driver.  The owner of the laptop, Joshua Kaufman, used another program called Hidden, to track the thief, identify who and where he was, and was able to determine that the guy drove a cab.  He even created a website just to post the pics of the guy using his laptop. The police used this to have the thief pick them up in his cab!  They were able to retrieve the laptop and arrest him and thus another happy ending.

Moral of these stories, is that if you own a laptop you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD take a look and install one of these programs on it while you still have it.

A couple of options

Prey: Works on Mac, PC, Linux – Free, but also has Pro account for more options

Hidden: Mac Only – Pricing start at $15 per year

I was telling the first story to my brother in law the other day who then told me that his laptop was just stolen a few days earlier.   doh!

Do yourself a favor and check out those programs and install one on your laptop.  Besides getting your laptop back it is so much fun to be able to watch and track the thief in real time.


P.S. I installed Prey on my Macbook pro right after following that first story on twitter.

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1-A-Week: Week 20: A Bowling Ball?

May 26, 2011 by

20 weeks have gone by in my 1AW project, where I am getting rid of at least 1 thing each week that I do not need, want, or use anymore.

And its just awesome.   I now find things laying around and no longer just pass them by or push them farther into a corner to ignore another time, but I am grabbing them and getting them out of my house…and making some cash in the process.

as a sidenote, Lifehacker had a great guide to de-crapyifying your home I recommend checking it out.

This week I noticed a bowling ball.

I don’t bowl, except for the occasional fun night out with friends.  My wife doesn’t bowl, except when I drag her out on said fun night out with friends.

and yet I have a bowling ball.

I don’t remember where I got the bowling ball from, but we got it so our dogs could play with it.  We used to have 2 very large dogs, and now we have one very large dog and one very small dog.

The small dog does not know what to think of it and the big dog  never did care for it.  So it sat in our backyard for who knows how long and now its getting out of our house/yard.

Not sure where this is going yet.  Guess I’ll just donate it to the Good Will unless anyone wants it.

Want a bowling ball?

It says Mr. C on it, which is awesome and does match my last name, but alas… I am not a bowler.


That reminds me that I should plan a fun night out with friends and go bowling soon.

1AW is a project by which I’m getting rid of at least 1 thing each week that I do not need, want, or use anymore.  Doing at least one thing per week helps me reduce the clutter in my life and make room for what is truly important.

All this talk of bowling reminds me that I need to watch The Big Lebowski again.  So awesome.

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Plant a row

May 26, 2011 by

I was just outside working in the garden.   Removed some old beans and replanted a bunch of veggies in some places where I had room.


My zucchini is taking off and is going to be awesome.  My artichokes are slowing down and no longer have 2 dozen of them.  My tomatoes are slow, but they are coming in.  And I have one lonely carrot.

I love my garden.

I also love this idea I saw the other day.  Plant a row, is a program to get gardeners such as myself to plant an extra row of veggies to help feed the homeless.  Simple and brilliant.

I give away food from the garden to neighbors and friends and family when they come over, but for some reason never think to give it away to the local food bank.  But now I will, and I hope you do too.


If you’ve got some room in your garden or yard, plant some veggies and donate it to your local food bank.  Its a nice simple way to help those in need.



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My dream….garage

May 23, 2011 by

I have a dream.

Part of that dream involves this garage.

Well not THAT garage, per se, but OH MY GOD, how cool is that garage?!  It is so cool, that its now part of my dream.

The dream is for a garage/workshop that is big enough to house all of my projects, and I have A LOT of projects.  I LOVE building stuff.  I LOVE fixing stuff.  I LOVE working with my hands and tools and bringing something back to life that once was broken and almost thrown away.  Or I love turning trash into something useful.  I LOVE projects!

I work on our cars, and have one project car going on now.  I love woodworking and building furniture or garden boxes.  I have A LOT of tools I’ve been lucky enough to receive from parents and grandparents or good finds at swapmeets and I enjoy using each and every one of them.  I only wish i had a space big enough to house them all and give me a comfortable space to work on all my projects.

Now I don’t need a two story airport hanger such as this, but I would like a larger workshop/garage and I really dig the idea of making it not look like a large workshop/garage with this awesome door facade.  I am totally going to do this when my dream is realized and I get a larger workshop/garage space.

Check out this thing in action.  I love it.


via dornob

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1-A-Week: Week 19: Random crap from the garage

May 18, 2011 by

My 1AW project is in full swing and as I was out in the garage cleaning it up a little I found a whole treasure trove of crap I can get rid of.

Here are a few things I found to get rid of this week.

  • A set of mirrors for my truck I no longer own
  • An old snake flashlight
  • And a very old, but cool, Motorola flip phone.

I found this random pile of stuff while cleaning off my workbench.  I haven’t had home phone service in many years and forgot I had that phone still plugged in in the garage.   I’m not sure why I have an extra set of mirrors and the flashlight is forever old and has just been floating around.  So it all goes out of my house this week.  I may try to sell the mirrors as they are brand new, but the rest will probably just be donated.


1AW is a project by which I’m getting rid of at least 1 thing each week that I do not need, want, or use anymore.  Doing at least one thing per week helps me reduce the clutter in my life and make room for what is truly important.


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