Ever been sitting in a library with your laptop, wanted to go grab a book, but you were worried about your laptop getting stolen? Did you go through the trouble of shutting down and packing it all up to take with you before you got up? That scenario has happened to me several times. My solution? A sort of car alarm for your laptop.
Laptop Theft Prevention is a small application that uses your IBM / Lenovo ThinkPad accelerometer chip (the one used to park the hard drive heads when you drop your computer) to detect motion while your computer is locked. When movement is sensed, an alarm immediately goes off, hopefully detering the thief from stealing your machine. The program can also be configured to send a text message to your cell phone, so you can get an immediate (well, as immediate as your cell phone provider's e-mail gateway) alert. Webcam support (to take photos using the camera in the LCD panels) is in the works.
You must have a ThinkPad with the APS feature. The following laptops should have this:
ThinkPad R50, R50p, R51, R52, R60, R61
ThinkPad T41, T41p, T42, T42p, T43, T43p, T60, T60p, T61
ThinkPad X40, X41, X41 Tablet, X60, X60s, X60 Tablet, X61, X61s, X61 Tablet
ThinkPad Z60m, Z60t, Z61m, Z61t, Z61e
This software has been tested on a ThinkPad T60. Please e-mail me with reports on its success/failure for your particular machine. Support for other machine types is in the works. (If anyone has a Vaio or a Mac that they aren't using, I would like the opportunity to test with it, if possible.)
You also need the Microsoft .NET 2.0 Framework. If you do not already have it installed, it will automatically be downloaded when you install Laptop Theft Prevention.
LTPSetup.exe v1.6 (351KB) (Released August 18, 2008)
When enabled, the app will call a script on a web server that sends an alert via e-mail. Most cell phone providers provide e-mail gateways for sending SMS servers. Using a script on a web server aids in compatibility at public networks were services such as SMTP may be blocked. If you have trouble receiving the alerts, please check your spam filter. E-mail to SMS gateways often have very tough spam filters. You may need to call your provider and have them whitelist firstname.lastname@example.org, as this is the address they will be sent from. Please do not send e-mail to that address, as it is not checked.
If you plan on sending many alerts, or which to have more control over the alerting process, I recommend hosting your own alerting script. To do this, create a new string value in the registry at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Musatcha.com\LaptopTheftPrevention called SMSUrl. Set the value to the URL of the script to do the processing. The e-mail address will be sent as a GET parameter named 'addr'. I recommend that you check the address being sent to in your web script to avoid creating a spam gateway.
WQAD recently did a story on this. You can find it here: