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Berkeley Professor threatens thief of his laptop

Professor Jasper Rine is a professor at UC Berkely and had his laptop stolen. After a class at the university he addressed the thief to hand back the laptop. (Transcript, video) He seems to be quite angry at the thief and threatens to track him down (with the help of Microsoft, the FBI, Federal Marshals, the SEC an the FTC). Apparently there was very important data on that laptop,although the thief was most probably only looking for exam data. The first thing we should ask here is why all of this so important and secret data was stored on a laptop unencrypted, why there is no backup and why anybody would let someone even come near such important data? To me this rant sounds very much like a rather pathetic attempt to cover up for his own goof-ups and scare. Secondly, let's analyse the claims a little bit more:

"he was not smart enough to immediately remove Windows. I installed the same version of Windows on another computer - within fifteen minutes the people in Redmond Washington were very interested to know why it was that the same version of Windows was being signalled to them from two different computers." Well, apparently our professor installed the same copy of Windows on two computers - now while this might be licensed today, it is not allowed to use both machines at the same time. To me the professor is in violation of the license agreement. Additionally, Windows does not "call home" and the people in Redmond have other things to do than track the laptops of professors.

"The thief also did not inactivate either the wireless card or the transponder that's in that computer. Within about an hour, there was a signal from various places on campus that's allowed us to track exactly where that computer went every time that it was turned on." I'm wondering what types of transponders are installed in this laptop - if it were any good, the professor should be able to just walk up to the thief and take the laptop back. Now Wifi could potentially be used to track location of certain client, this is not as easy as claimed (I sure hope not, that the university does this will all computers) and not very accurate (especially in a larger, open campus).

After all, it seems to me that the professor has no clue who stole his laptop, did not protect the confidential and important data stored on it and now tries to get that data back by threatening with his older brother. Be sure to check out the comic strip and especially the hilarious comments.

Via BoingBoing.


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LOL; that is a very nice idea; wouldn't it be great if the boxes were recycled ones? I don't really like my pizzas come in boxes, because they always taste like the box...

Dark Twonky writes "Human Beans is selling the perfect gift for the geek who has everything. It's the PowerPizza, a pizza box for transporting your precious laptop in. From the web site: Desirable laptops are desirable to thieves too. Disguise your laptop with a PowerPizza and reduce the risk of getting it nicked." [Slashdot]