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Culture

Chatty laptop tries to talk sense into thieves

Front Door Software offers software that makes noise and sends visual warnings that can be activated remotely on stolen laptops.

Front Door Software

Various security systems help you keep your laptop safe from thieves. But a new feature added to Front Door Software's Retriever product lets your machine give audible and visual warnings that can be activated remotely.

For example, if your laptop is stolen, you can activate The Retriever's talk feature to shout something like, "Help! You are not my owner! This laptop is stolen! Please call the police!" and at the same time display related information on the screen instantly. Or you can customize the warning to your liking.

The program also includes a standard start-up preventive warning message. For users with multiple laptops, there's a way of sending customized warnings and messages to more than one laptop at once.

Aside from making noise and creating visual warnings, The Retriever allows for remotely locking down the computer with a secret code to protect private information, or sending a "heartfelt text message" to the thief or getting a Google map of where the laptop is located.

It's unclear, however, how the owner can communicate to the lost laptop. I would assume that's only possible when the laptop is used to connect to the Internet.

This seems an original way to retrieve a notebook as long as the thief is not technologically savvy enough to disable the sound or uninstall the software completely.

The Retriever works with Windows Vista, XP, and Mac OS X. You can get it for $29.95, which includes a three-year license or try it free for 90 days.

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