Top 5 Ways Your Life Will End If You Lose Your Laptop

Originally appeared on Tometa Software and posted on October 2, 2007. Just adding it to the blog to archive in the Writing Samples section. Also, I think there are still some of the free licenses available for the software for bloggers who want to review it. Info and link at the bottom of the article.

Ever lose your cell phone? Are you familiar with the pit of black, festering panic that settles into your stomach when you realize you don’t have it and the odds you’ll find it again are slim to none? Imagine that feeling multiplied by a million — because that’s how losing your laptop feels.

Think about it — your laptop has your life on it. Work files, email, bookmarks, project notes, projects that are still in development and not ready or suitable for other people’s eyes, and then let’s not forget all of your software and music.

Ponder for a moment all the seriously BAD things that will happen if you lose your laptop.

  1. Lots of spending will be in your immediate future. Spending money to replace the physical hardware, spending money to replace the lost software and music, and spending lots and lots and lots of time rebuilding everything. Let’s face it, back-ups of the entire harddrive are fantastic, but how many people actually do that?
  2. Sensitive or important work files will be lost. You know that presentation you were working on for your boss’s Monday morning executive committee meeting where he has to justify your department’s budget for the year? You know… the budget from which your salary is paid? Yeah. That one. *poof*
  3. You’ve just handed the keys to your company’s kingdom to the guy who stole your laptop. It’s such a pain in the butt to have to remember all those silly VPN passwords, so you’ve just set your browser to “remember” all of those passwords (and associated bookmarks) for you. How handy. Oh, same goes for your office email, too. Let’s just hope the guy who stole your laptop is just nosy, and not like, a wannabe h@x0r or something. You certainly wouldn’t want any of that ill gotten company data to show up on the Internet for just anyone to google up and use toward illicit or immoral ends.
  4. Your online reputation will be ruined and you might end up broke or in jail. Again, because you’re lazy — and don’t deny it — you’ve got all your passwords saved so whoever gets your laptop can now BE YOU… on Facebook, on MySpace, in email to your CEO, at your bank, in email to the President…You get the picture.
  5. All ur imz are belong to us. You know how much you instant message your friends. Imagine some bored kid gets his hot little hands on your laptop and decides that the transcripts of your boss-trashing-bff-backstabbing-and-significant-other-cybersexing IMing sessions are *such* a fascinating read, he’s going to post them so his friends can share the mirth — oh and then someone diggs it. Shortly thereafter random people on the bus are looking at you like they know you and then gleefully yelling out the pet name you gave your girlfriend’s hoohah.

So now that you’re a nice, tightly wound ball of anxiety, what precisely can you do to protect yourself from catastrophe in the event you do lose your laptop? (Well, aside from the obvious which is chaining it to your wrist and not so much as going to the can without it?)

  1. Quit being lazy and REMEMBER your passwords instead of letting the browser “manage” them.
  2. Disable IM logging. (Most people forget to take care of that when they install their chat client — well, people who aren’t serial adulterers anyway, but I digress.)
  3. Back EVERYTHING up.
  4. Consider making an image of your harddrive for a quick restore.
  5. Install Laptop Locate.

Items one and two are fairly common sense; item five, however, is fairly new.

Tometa Software’s LaptopLocate is a laptop tracking software utility that will monitor a computer’s IP address to allow server administrators and general users to locate their computer. Each time a computer that has is turned on, the IP address of the computer is transmitted to a pre-determined location via email and logged for reference. This information is also transmitted to’s servers and logged in the event your computer is ever stolen. is helpful in finding where computers, especially mobile computers, are currently located. If the computer is stolen, Tometa Software coordinates with law enforcement agencies to help track down a registered user’s computer before valuable equipment and data is compromised. The software runs in the background on the computer, so unless the thief knows to look for it, it is invisible. If the thief does know to look for it, the software can be password protected so that it cannot be disabled.

Tometa’s Laptop Locate software sells for $19.95, which considering all you stand to lose, is a “can’t afford not to” kind of expense.

Attention Bloggers: If you’d like to receive a free copy of Tometa Laptop Locate for review, contact David Brown at [email protected]. There are 50 copies of the software available for review purposes, but once those 50 are gone, you’ll just have to buy a copy if you want to try it out.