1. When you’re in a public place, don’t let your laptop out of your sight.
2. When going through airport security, hand your laptop to security personnel rather than let it ride on the luggage conveyor belt. If Security personnel refuse to accommodate your request for a manual inspection (I can’t imagine encountering a surly TSA employee), make sure that your laptop is the last item placed on the conveyor to reduce the time it spends on the ‘other side’ unattended.
3. Use a bag that’s not too obvious as a computer carrier. If you’re using one of those black nylon bags that just about everyone in the world uses, you’re announcing to the general thieving public that you have a laptop.
4. Make your computer carrying case conspicuous. While seemingly at odds with the previous item, you want to be able to quickly pick your bag out in a crowd. Put a company sticker on the side of the bag, securely tie a bright piece of fabric around the handle, or attach a cow bell — anything that will attract attention to the bag is a potential deterrent.
5. Use a bag with a shoulder strap. Straps are handy for putting it over your shoulder if you’re standing in line, or if you’re sitting, you can drape it over your knee or wrap it around your foot or chair leg.
6. Keep your laptop’s serial number it in a safe location. You can usually find the number on the bottom of the computer.
7. Deface the machine. It sounds strange, but some security experts suggest that having the machine’s serial number engraved in large numerals on the outside of your machine is as effective as securing your car by using The Club (www.theclub.com) on your steering wheel: Its large and conspicuous presence may ward off a potential thief because it makes the machine much easier to identify.
8. Use a Lock. Look on the back and sides of your laptop for a small padlock icon next to a small slit in the unit’s cover or shell. If you find this security slot (a standard feature on most laptops today), you can quickly attach a security lock, then wrap the cable around a fixed object. Laptop Locks (www.tryten.com/) can be found online and at most computer and office supply stores.
9. Install an Alarm. Alarms come in many varieties. Some attach directly to your laptop or carrying case, such as the Kensington SonicLock Motion Detector (http://us.kensington.com). Others use cables, and most are motion-sensitive. Several popular laptop alarms are available from eTravelerGear (www.etravelergear.com) and Trust MobileGear (http://tinyurl.com/3y6v9tr), among other retailers.
When alarm shopping, try to get one that sounds off if somebody tampers with the cable on the computer, and one that has lots of flashing lights and shrieking noises to scare the thieves away and attract as much attention as possible. I once accidentally set off my laptop alarm in a hotel room. The noise was deafening, right up until the time I lost consciousness. Caution is advised.
Mr. Modem’s Sites of the Week:
A YouTube-like site featuring more than 35 million hours of video, in case you have some free time. (35 million hours is approximately 4,000 years of nonstop viewing, so get comfortable.) Search for TV news clips and other video snippets from more than two dozen sources, including ABC News, BBC News, Fox News, ESPN and C-Span. Lots of humorous content, as well. New video arrives by the hour, fed by automatic ‘spiders’ that comb the Web looking for video content.
The Life of Charles Darwin
This intriguing site is the online companion to the Darwin exhibit at New York’s American Museum of Natural History. The site provides an intimate look into the life and work of Charles Darwin, the legendary naturalist who authored “The Origin of the Species” (http://tinyurl.com/c8wd), which has been on my nightstand for at least 12 years. I think I’ll wait for the movie.
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