January 18, 2005
Stolen Laptop

Travelling home. Slough to Ealing Broadway - and then a short walk to Route 83 bus stop near Ealing Common. On the way - there is a side-street upon which stands a large and old tree. It’s about 7pm. It’s dark - and as I cross that street I can’t help but notice an A4-sized flyer in a plastic ring-binder sleeve pinned to the tree:

£500 reward for the return of a stolen laptop.

The person who posted the sign is “desperate” for the return of his “rather old” stolen laptop computer. So much so that he is prepared to pay a lot. Probably more that the laptop itself is worth. The data on it is obviously more important to him that the computer itself. Isn’t this always the case these days? I am supposing that it wasn’t backed up - for if it was - he probably wouldn’t be so desperate. I know exactly how he feels - and I feel a little sense of pity.

My advice to all modern-day city dwellers: always assume that your computer is dispensible. Make sure you backup the data regularly. And frequently. And NEVER leave your valuable data in your car unattended. (Apologies for being so patronising.)

In his note - he even appeals to the person who might have stolen the laptop from his car - stating that he is not “interested” in involving the Police. Alas - somehow I doubt this guy will ever get his data back.

Posted by jag at January 18, 2005 11:59 PM
Comments
Wow. He does seem to be really desparate for the laptop, Wonder why that plastic cover around it? Posted by: Jsat on January 19, 2005 05:51 AM
Sat - the plastic cover is to protect the notice from getting damaged/destroyed by the rain. That's because it rains a lot here in UK. Especially in the winter! Posted by: Jag on January 19, 2005 08:11 AM
That plastic cover has inspired me! I just recently posted some ads on street notice boards as I'm looking for a new place...but the rain washed them all away after 2 hours! Yep, it rains in Tel Aviv...off to post some more ads, with fancy plastic accessories... Posted by: ashley on January 19, 2005 08:29 AM
I know exactly how he feels... for I lost my laptop in my workplace more than a year back. :( Posted by: Chakra on January 19, 2005 09:15 AM
it's probably already been sold on by now. Though leaving a laptop in a car, probably in open view, not the wisest of things. Even if i'm just nipping out i take everything out of my car. Maybe thats just the obsessionist in me. Posted by: Jaina on January 19, 2005 03:18 PM
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for him. I once walked into a grocery store with my purse (wallet for Americans), and when I got to pay it was no longer there. I was distraught, and walked up and down talking to each of the cashiers and the packers, telling them that the purse had great sentimental value to me as my late mother had given it to me, and that I just wanted to get it and my cards and ID back - I didn't care about the cash. They told me they would look out for it, and to return the next day. And when I walked back in the next morning, they directed me to the manager's office, where my purse with my ID and cards was handed to me - obviously without the cash. In my case I knew with 90%+ certainty that it had been the employees who had been involved in the theft, and I thought that making them think of me as a victim and not just as a mark would do the trick. There had been no credit cards in the purse, just ATM cards, and those are swallowed after three incorrect attempts at guessing the number, so it wouldn't have paid them to try and keep the cards, and it would have been so much hassle for me to get them all cancelled and re-issued. The purse would most likely have been tossed away after the money had been taken - this way at least I rescued something from the bad situation. Posted by: Sivani on January 19, 2005 07:50 PM
I know this hasn't got anything to do with your latest topic but I can't help but say that I love the dancing girl on your other site Jag. It's so cool it's "nang", as the kids in Hackney and Haringey would say. I want one. Is it a trade secret? Posted by: Spanish Bill on January 19, 2005 09:30 PM
Ashley: Tel Aviv? Just another suburb of London. Glad you got a useful tip re the plastic cover! Chakra: I have sympathy in a similar way: I had a hard-drive crash on my laptop over a year ago - which caused so many problems for me due to no recent backup. Lesson learned! Jaina: I think it's right to be paranoid about security when it comes to things like this. I have heard of many thieves looking out for people going to restuarants in the evening - knowing full well that people will leave their valuables in the parked car - even if hidden away from sight in the boot (trunk). I have had several friends have stuff stolen from the boot of their car when parked in Chelsea - which appears to be a real hotspot for this type of crime. Sivani: Thanks for sharing your story. Glad you got the purse back - even if it was without the cash. Fully understand the reasons why you went to such lengths to point out your reasons. I, too, hope the guy gets his data and paperwork back - but I have to admit that it's highly unlikely due to the effort it would take - i.e. people just simply not bothered to even try. Such is the world we live in these days. Your case was, in my mind, probably exceptional. Spanish Bill: Thanks for your feedback re the dancing girl. No trade secret - just a Flash object - which you can easily rip off the page if you want to! (I ripped it off a public domain Flash object site years ago - can't remember where though.) I, too, think it's "nang" ! (And I'm from Brent! :-)) Posted by: Jag on January 19, 2005 11:37 PM
A couple of jobs ago, I was a bid manager writing pretty big proposals (100m contracts). Sure we had decent back ups at work but this was in the days before remote connectivity, you *always* ended up doing stuff over the weekend which wouldn't be backed up till Monday. I used to sleep with the laptop under my pillow as the submission deadline grew close. Posted by: Not Responding on January 20, 2005 07:00 PM
Hi there Not - you know what - I used to do exactly the same! Like you, I used to work on major bid activity on that sort of scale - and got very familar with how vulnerable data when created away from the office. In many cases I would use dialup connections to email documents/spreadsheets etc to myself just to get them into the "system". Posted by: Jag on January 22, 2005 10:22 AM
If the guy who had his laptop stolen had it in our product this would have not happened he needs to buy our product and so do does anybody travelling with a laptop or leaving it in the office .Check the product out Guys www.secureitsafe.co.uk please send me his details off the poster so i can make him aware of what we do .... Remember it never happens to me .Yeah right!! Posted by: Darren on February 10, 2005 12:23 PM
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