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Business - Written by on Thursday, July 24, 2008 17:04 - 11 Comments

I Lost My Laptop

Last night I left my red knapsack, with my white MacBook inside, in the back of a taxi cab. Needless to say, I’m a little upset. But the thing that is so frustrating about it isn’t the possibility that it might have been stolen (by another passenger, the driver, someone at the taxi cab company), its the possibility that it is, even now, in the hands of some kind soul who wants nothing more than to give it back to me, but has no way of knowing who I am. (I’ve been phoning the cab companies, but I’m not sure what company’s cab I was in.)

Of course, I knew there must be a web 2.0 solution to this problem. So I went surfing around. It turns out that 416-TAXICAB (a company that charges users to connect them to the first available cab company so they don’t have to put up with busy signals) runs the Toronto Taxi Lost-and-Found online notice board. Great idea. But from the looks of it, its only being used by people who have lost things, not those who have found them.

In other areas, however, the internet greatly improving on our traditional methods of lost and found. A few examples:

  • When Matt Preprost found a lost camera, he decided to post the photos on the net. Within days he had not only returned the camera to its rightful owner, people from around the world were sending him photos from lost cameras they had found. IFoundYourCamera.net reunites people with their lost photographs, sometimes decades after they were taken.
  • TheLostPets.com runs databases for lost dogs (FidoFinder.com) and lost cats (TabbyTracker.com). Those who have lost or found missing pets can post information (including a reward), and search through other entries.
  • Pet Harbor allows users to search US and Canadian animal shelters for lost dogs and adoptable dogs, as well as post information about found dogs. This service is used by local governments, including the City of Toronto’s Animal Services Department and Sutter County, California.

Anyone got their own examples (or any info on my laptop!)?


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Ben Letalik
Jul 24, 2008 17:18

Sucks that you lost your laptop Will! I like the spin you’ve put on it though.

If your laptop doesn’t have a password, it shouldn’t be too hard for whoever found it to trace the data back to here.

When Googling Will Dick, you are the 4th hit, and this post comes up at the top of the list.

I’d like to think that the Taxi Drivers of Toronto are an honest bunch, so I have a good feeling that your laptop will be returned to you.

Good luck!

Jul 24, 2008 22:26

Jul 25, 2008 6:46

yup this is bad one to here.but isn’t ur laptop protected.Check for this..

Luis Otavio Ribas
Jul 25, 2008 9:45

I really hope you find it ! I can imagine how you´re feeling… You remembered me about doing a complete backup :-)

Patrick Nelson
Jul 25, 2008 15:30

Hi Will. Nice seeing you the other day.

There are tools and tricks available to help users find their lost laptops, but they are invariably preventative. An easy trick is just to put your phone # in the default username. Put “REWARD: $$$$$ if found” as the password hint. That takes care if you simply lose it.

If you’re worried about theft, there are several tools that give away the location of the device if its turned on and connected. These tools work by relaying the IP address of your computer to a central site. You’d need the ISPs IP->Address information if you wanted to move on that, but at least you’d know whether the perp was a Rogers or Bell subscriber.

Most of these tools, however, have serious privacy issues and cost $$. Adeona (http://adeona.cs.washington.edu/index.html), meanwhile, is both free and privacy-friendly. It should be noted that the tool is easy to uninstall, and it won’t survive a format.

It does have neat feature directly related to Macs that you in particular might find interesting – the ability to do a remote camera capture. If you’re lucky, you can piece together where the guy was and do some detective work. At the very least, you’ll know what the bastard looks like.

Jul 27, 2008 7:38

There are professional services such as:


They offer an ID number register for valuable property items, and a service to make it easy for honest people to return the property. The ID tags numbers also have some deterrent effect on dishonest people and you have something to write into police reports to help identify anything that gets handed in at a police station. Needless to say, their service costs money, but if you are in the habit of losing things, probably you make your money back pretty quickly.

Dec 12, 2008 15:16


I agree with the above. I put Rewarding Return stickers on all my stuff like laptop, cell phone, wallet, camera, etc.

I’ve lost my cell phone a couple times, and they’ve gotten it back to me both times. It’s much better than dealing with insurance companies and replacing it, b/c then you have a new phone/laptop and none of your stuff on it.. Sucks!

They’re labels read “REWARD IF RETURNED” and i set a $100 reward for my laptop. Its a hell of a lot better than buying a new one.

check it out: http://www.RewardingReturn.com

- Charlie

Jan 11, 2009 19:33

Rewarding Return is perfect. Just looked at their site and almost seems too good to be true. Free returns for 2 years just for buying a $7 sticker?? count me in

http://www.rewardingreturn.com seems kinda perfect

Jan 29, 2009 14:54

I use TrackItBack, they are very affordable and return your items for free WORLDWIDE. You only have to pay the purchase fee, and from there have lifetime recoveries. I have been using them for the past 3 years and have been provided with amazing customer service. I lost my laptop while traveling on the other side of the country and they returned it to me in 24hours.

Girish Gunjan
Apr 2, 2009 1:29


OMG, I can understand the agony and the pain you must be going through for a lost laptop. AT my job we deal with something similar. I work for a company named Unistal Systems Private Limited which has recently come out with a proactive solution for such situations. It’s a software package called Protegent 360 (http://www.protegent.in/). This software has a tool called the Laptop Tracker. As the name explains, it tracks the IP addresses of the locations from where your laptop goes online, so in case you loose it, you can find it by logging on to our website with your ID and Password and checking the IP addresses from where it cam online.
I wish you find your laptop soon.
Once you find it, install Protegent 360 on it without delay.


Girish Gunjan

Oct 14, 2010 2:43

This comment for people who have laptops.I found a blog post what describes about “how to avoid loosing your laptop?”


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