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Comment Get ready: this WILL happen to you. (Score 1) 514

It is important to recognize, I now believe, that this /will/ happen to you.

I work in biomedicine/biotechnology, take my laptop everywhere, and am incredibly paranoid. I have often drawn the ire of my wife and friends because I insist on having my laptop under my arm at all times, even when going into a store for a few minutes with the car visible outside.

Nevertheless, my laptop was stolen on Friday morning. I live on a cul-de-sac in a rather "ritzy" area, at the top of a steep hill. There is *nobody* there at 8:00 in the morning. I put my laptop in the car at 7:55, leaving the car unlocked, and went inside to get my 2-year-old son. I became a bit distracted, had a bowl of cereal, etc., and when I returned at 8:10 the laptop was gone. I could NOT believe it. I've been staking out the neighborhood every morning since then, and there simply isn't anybody on the street. I truly can't understand how it could have happened.

So...get ready for this to happen to you eventually. Here's what I recommend:

1. Full-disk encryption is an absolute necessity. I would appreciate some education from Slashdotters on this question, though: does FDE prevent software like Prey from working? Same question goes for Find My Mac. I think, as a practical matter, that FDE will prevent this software from working--because the thief will end up leaving the laptop off most of the time, until he wipes it.

2. If your employer will pay for it, get a GPS device and put it in the laptop bag. In my case, we were able to track the bag for a while with cell phone triangulation, but it wasn't precise enough to locate the bag.

3. Buy security devices and use them. In my case, a few minutes' delay is all that would have been required to prevent the theft. For my next laptop, I'm going to try a PacSafe bag with attached lock. I'm also going to get a Kensington MicroSaver lock.

4. Write down your serial numbers. The police will want them, and they may lead to eventual return of your laptop. Furthermore, there is the ghost of a chance that having serial numbers could allow your law enforcement officer to get useful information from the Apple security team.

Comment Fon might be easiest (Score 1) 520

What say we try to answer the question for this person? I'd suggest that Fon is the simplest way to share your network, though I believe that only Foneras will then be able to use it. However, for somebody who is not a sysadmin, Fon provides a simple way for the "average consumer" to set up separate public and private SSIDs and to throttle traffic.

Comment Very surprised at the consensus! (Score 1) 686

I'm amazed that the consensus here seems to be...keep the networks locked up! I've long benefited from open networks and have always kept my own network open as a result. I am tech-savvy enough to monitor how many others are using my network (generally few or none) and to just kick them off whenever I need my bandwith (e.g., for streaming or downloads). Over the years, many neighbors have used my network after first moving in and have gradually transitioned to their own networks after getting booted once or twice. The police haven't kicked in my door, and I don't expect that they will. I've also been horrified to watch the progressive loss of open networks across San Francisco. It really is amazing...ten years ago I think that about 60% of networks were open; now it is more like 2%. Surely the police haven't kicked in that many doors? When non-geeks ask my opinion, I generally suggest that they protect their networks, because I figure that they don't have the knowledge needed to occasionally monitor and throttle outside use. But I figured that here, on Slashdot, most people would recognize that open networks are generally very *useful*, and, if you have one, quite easy to police. Is this wrong? My reading of many of the negative comments about open networks is that they reflect a lot of anxiety and defensiveness. Where's your generosity of spirit?

Comment Why do people agree to use real names on FB? (Score 1) 191

I think that part of the reason FB appears relatively frequently in such stories is the ease of associating FB information with real names. I am fascinated and amazed by the success FB has had in getting people to use their real names. I don't know if it is a generational or personal thing--but I just wouldn't put my real name out there like that. The fact that 500,000,000 people have apparently done that is mystifying to me. I'm not saying that I need to be totally anonymous, but I much prefer the quasi-obscurity of an online handle.

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