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Mac Security Alarm System

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the get-kicked-out-of-the-office dept.

243

RogueAce writes "A program named iAlertU sounds a screeching siren when someone attempts to steal your Macbook. Thanks to the sudden motion drop sensors that Macs use to park the hard drive, iAlertU can detect when your Macbook is being picked up, moved or closed. Also, by using the handy remote that comes with the Macbook, you can turn the alarm on and off like you would a car, which the Macbook responds to by making the all too familiar chirping sound and a flash and flicker of the screen. The code behind it is from a guy named Christian Kleins."

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But... (5, Funny)

Crasoum (618885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089482)

Will people ignore it just like a car alarm?

Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089502)

switcher \'swi`ch &r\, n.
A person who thinks that they are a Mac user but are really just trying to be. The mistake they make is to try to become a Mac user, when real Mac users are all about not trying to be anything and following your own rules. There is no fashion code to being a Mac user. There are no rules as to what applications you have to run.

Recent converts like you are ruining the old school Mac community because you are posers. Apple releases one OS that popularizes Fitts' law and the Genie effect, and suddenly people assume being a Mac user is all about owning a Mac. But a real Mac user is born, not made. You "switchers" are misrepresenting yourselves and the Mac platform. You're giving people the wrong idea of what Macintosh is.

switcher: shops at hot topic, thinks Firefox is a good Mac app, waiting for OS X port of PayrollPro 2000, follows any hint of a fashion trend (instead of setting them!), wouldn't know Clarus from Carl Sagan.

real Mac user: someone true to who they are, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world.

Re:Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (3, Insightful)

lordmoose (696738) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089522)

You seem pretty insecure about your Mac status. Also, I doubt that a "real Mac user" would take the time to categorize the actions of others and then type up a post about it.

Re:Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (0, Flamebait)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089525)

Ummm.... no... I think you're mistaken. Real Mac users simply have enough money to afford the Mac tax and still get a decent computer. These are the people who think that Firefox is scary, and that Safari is a cool Mac app (it isn't). These "switchers" simply emulate a Mac on their Linux box.

Re:Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089606)

No, Firefox is a piece of shit compared to Safari or even Opera. To claim otherwise only reveals how proud you must be of your own ignorance, and the lengths to which you'll go in order to convince yourself of the superiority of whatever cobbled-together applications you're running on your homebuilt shitbox.

Even the guy who designed the Firefox logo, Jon Hicks, switched to Safari. He now maintains this site [pimpmysafari.com] . It's hard to argue with that.

Firefox only meets the needs of those with poor taste in software, or who simply aren't perceptive enough to notice its many egregious flaws and crimes against aesthetic elegance. Those of us unwilling to settle for mediocrity--which includes all real Mac users--will continue to use Safari.

Re:Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089660)

Firefox on the Mac is a UI monstrosity that can best be described as a "XUL interface dressed up to imitate Aqua."

Safari, meanwhile, has such poor JavaScript support that most "Web 2.0" applications have to specifically cater to it with reduced-functionality scripts. Safari is to JavaScript as Internet Explorer is to CSS.

Camino is nice in that it's a Cocoa app and it renders with Gecko, but it does not render exactly identically to Firefox and Camino supports none of the extensions that Firefox does out of the box.

In conclusion, every web browser (on the Mac) sucks.

Re:Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089770)

But at worst, on the Mac, you'll just have to put up with Firefox. Meanwhile, Firefox is the best browser available to PC-type people, whether of the Linux or of the Windows persuasion. In other words, a PC-type person must settle for horrors in a circle of hell which no real Mac user would see in his or her worst nightmares.

It's really quite pathetic how you PC types jump for joy at being granted the privilege of lapping up the tiny little turds that we Mac users rightfully snub. I suppose you'll never know what you're missing; it's a matter of taste, after all.

Re:Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089788)

All a matter of perspective, I suppose.

I guess you can say that Mac users are like teenage girls. They are willing to spend $80 on a pair of jeans while the rest of us are happy with a $14 pair from Wal-mart that does the job just as well and will last twice as long.

Re:Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (1)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089785)

The fact that a graphic designer switched to a more asthetically pleasing browser doesn't convince me of its technical merit.

Sorry. Please try again.

Re:Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089822)

I don't care how many laws of aethestic elegance Firefox breaks. It works. It doesn't have to look good.

What is the difference between a rusted Chevy El-camino and a Jaguar? The Chevy, despite its appearance, is still probably running while you're taking the Jaguar in every thousand miles for a tune-up and an oil change.

Re:Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089886)

Like all PC users, you have misconstrued aesthetics as concerned with looks only, when in the Mac universe the concept is much broader. The truth is that Firefox fails at once either to please the eye or to integrate into OS X the way a true Mac user has every right to expect. It doesn't store passwords in the Keychain, for example. The lack of Cocoa services and niceties such as spellchecking can only be described as perverse. In the same vein, the behavior (not just the appearance!) of Aqua widgets in the interface is downright ghastly. Preference items are arranged in a manner only a PC user could love. Moreover, text rendering leaves much to be desired (unless you're willing to settle for the typographic butchery performed as a matter of course on Windows and Linux systems). Antialiasing, particularly with italics and bolds, turns to shit at small font sizes that ATSUI handles with grace. In general, Firefox exposes all the wrong elements to user control and keeps the best bits under wraps, a truly PC-type act of hostility towards a Mac-using audience.

No, my friend, you have misunderstood the meaning of elegance, and in so doing exposed your immutable PC stripes. For your own good, and for the good of the Mac community, I implore you never to come near a Mac again.

Re:Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089928)

Why do you have to riddle your post with digs at PC users? I never have understood why people feel the need to do this. To anyone with a bit of sense about them, you just make yourself look like an asshole (which myabe you aren't, I don't know you so I can't say) and an insecure person ("") -- because I've found that you only put down others when you yourself are insecure.

Why not simply stay on point, stay objective and try to contribute meaningfully to the discussion? Which, I might add, your post has the tremendous potential to do, because your take on overall asthetics is quite interesting. But it's terribly emasculated by what I described above.

Re:Heartfelt note to recent "switchers" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089539)

real Mac user: gay

Re:But... (4, Insightful)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089512)

Probably not until you've heard it for the thousandth time. So the one guy in your office who keeps coming back from lunch and forgetting to turn it off the alarm, will as usual, ruin it for everyone.

Re:But... (1)

Crasoum (618885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089523)

The irony was that I was being serious :).

I know better, because if someone's laptop alarm goes off they'll PROBABLY be right by it. It'd get REALLY annoying though, when someone loses their remote and the thing goes off ALL THE TIME!

Re:But... (5, Insightful)

fastgood (714723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089588)

the one guy in your office who keeps coming back from lunch and forgetting to turn it off

Make an audible alarm that only goes off when the patented magnetic power cord [apple.com] is detached (accidental or otherwise).

* or remotely trigger a second magnet -- hidden in a backpack -- to pull your new $25/ounce toy out of the wrong hands.

Re:But... (2, Funny)

binkzz (779594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089795)

For colleagues we offer the optional iHammer, which offers a revolutionary batteryless alarm disabling system.

Just another fucking Slashvert... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089527)

Just another fucking Slashvert...

Re:But... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089567)

What would be cool is if there was a bluetooth device that you kept on your person and when you were out of range the alarm would automatically activate.

Re:But... (2, Interesting)

onebecoming (965642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089629)

Salling Clicker [salling.com] can do this if you have a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone. I'm not sure if there's a built-in proximity alarm, but you can set AppleScripts to run when you go out of range or return.

Hmm, looks like there's finally a Windows version, too. It's always nice when the best software comes out for Macs first.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089669)

Who cares about how it actually functions, or the fact that the proximity method with bluetooth is better as you suggest. The thing emulates a damn car alarm. That's so cool!

Re:But... (1)

onebecoming (965642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089691)

Actually, I totally agree. I think it's a testimonial to the creativity of Mac developers. I don't know if you'd ever see anything like this written for Windows. :-)

Re:But... (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089711)

Windows hardware is much too diverse for anything like this to ever happen.

Re:But... (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089664)

Yeah, I'm sure that this could be done pretty easily with any bluetooth phone. That Salling Clicker program can apparently do loads of stuff, like muting the computer audio, or pausing iTunes when you walk away from your computer or even when you answer your bluetooth phone, among the other things it does... If your phone is supported.

I'd guess that it should be pretty easy to do with any phone that iSync supports. It would be really simple if iSync could run scripts on certian events, though I have no idea if it does.

This is way worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089585)

The bleeping car is out in the parking lot where I can't hear it. The bleeping Mac is in the cubicle next to mine. I'm not going to be able to get any work done. I'm not going to ignore it. The result for the poor Mac might be quite unfortunate. The bottom line is that it won't still be screaming after about thirty seconds.

I have a Mac (-1, Redundant)

moosehooey (953907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089483)

It'd suck if someone stole the thing...

Re:I have a Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089498)

O RLY?!

Re:I have a Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089902)

It would be nice if someone wrote a program like a car alarm to try to deter theft.

But... (2, Funny)

artificialj (873081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089485)

Can you get flashy rims on your macbook?

Re:But... (1)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089507)

They come standard... it's a Mac.

Re:But... (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089519)

I was wondering where the "spinner" got its name from..

One Tiny Loophole: (5, Insightful)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089488)

What happens if say.... the computer isn't turned on? It's a neat idea, but it has a severe shortcoming. People don't steal computers (usually) while they're still on. They make off with them when you leave the bag unattended.

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (1)

Crazyscottie (947072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089556)

I imagine it wouldn't be too difficult to somehow trigger it from the BIOS, similar to how you can boot some computers via LAN using a "wake-up" packet.

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (1, Redundant)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089592)

the drop sensor won't be operating while shut down, neither will any programs.

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (1)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089647)

Macs would probably need to get a BIOS before you could do that.....

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089754)

From what I can tell from playing with it, "Wake on LAN" is just that, it brings the computer out of sleep mode. It won't boot the system if it's shutdown.

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (5, Informative)

tonydiesel (658999) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089604)

Aah, but see here's a difference for Mac users. Most of us never turn our computers off, we just put them to sleep...

So, the real question is... what happens when the computer is asleep?? Does it still work?

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (1, Informative)

havardi (122062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089620)

Nope. I think everything shuts down except the memory is kept alive. That's why they can sleep forever, unlike PC laptops that may or may not sleep for very long at all (or wake up for that matter). I've seen a mac sleep for more than a week and still have plenty of juice

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (2, Informative)

friedmud (512466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089656)

Not too deviate too far from the conversation... but all _real_ PC laptops (ie those with mobile chips, not those "desktop replacements") can do this as well...

My tabletPC _never_ gets turned off... and can sleep for well over a week and still have plenty of juice after a full charge.

Friedmud

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (3, Interesting)

netsharc (195805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089789)

There are 2 different sleep modes: Suspend To RAM, where the computer is off except for the RAM, which is constantly recharged so it doesn't lose its contents, and Suspend to Disk (the so-called Hibernation in Windows), where the data from RAM is saved to disk, and the computer is really powered off. Both resume where you left off (all applications open, etc), but Suspend to RAM is quicker because it doesn't need to read the data from disk, but STR also eats up the juice because, as I said, the RAM chips need to be constantly supplied with electricity.

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089931)

Aah, but see here's a difference for Mac users. Most of us never turn our computers off, we just put them to sleep...

- But Mummy, why do we have to put MacBook to sleep?

- I'm sorry Timmy, but it's just his time. He's been getting sick ever since Steve switched his food to Intel.

- [sob, sob, sniff] Will MacBook go to heaven with all the other BSD-based systems?

- No Timmy, we've had this discussion before, heaven only has room for OpenBSD/sparc64.

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (1)

5plicer (886415) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089611)

Ya, all the thief has to do is take out the battery without jostling the computer in the process of doing so.

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089699)

Most laptops are stolen when they are left unattended for a couple minutes, for example, if you are at the library in college and leave your computer on the desk. I know that my laptops alarm (many Toshiba laptops have had an alarm coming with it for over a year already, the one I bought in 2004 had it, all the innovative features come to PCs first, not Macs) has saved my ass in the library while I was going to find a book on the shelf.

Re:One Tiny Loophole: (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089700)

don't leave your bag laying around..

anyway, on campus it would be really nice if i could click a remote and go take a shit without fear that someone would jack my other shit.

i? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089489)

iOyVey

This is going to be obnoxious (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089491)

Car alarms are useless enough. Do any of you run to see if a theft is in progress when you hear one? Neither do I, because we've all heard too many of them.

And people can't even remember to turn off their cell phone ringers. What makes you think they're going to remember to turn off their laptop theft alarms?

Re:This is going to be obnoxious (3, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089618)

"Car alarms are useless enough. Do any of you run to see if a theft is in progress when you hear one? Neither do I, because we've all heard too many of them."

That's a bit of a simplistic view. If my car alarm goes off, I go check on it and make sure somebody hasn't broken a window or something. I've seen others around the complex do this, too. Even if somebody did break into my car and I didn't hear it, they still wouldn't easily be able to start it. When the alarm goes off, it kills the ignition.

All that said, I can't imagine a would-be car thief trying to steal a car while the alarm's going off. Besides being annoying, I'd be afraid of Mr. Owner showing up with a baseball bat.

"And people can't even remember to turn off their cell phone ringers. What makes you think they're going to remember to turn off their laptop theft alarms?"

Heh. Not a great comparison. Everywhere I've worked, especially in cubicle environments, you learn pretty quickly to not be obnoxious with your phone. Maybe people are too polite to raise a fuss when a cell phone goes off in a restaraunt, but coworkers won't tolerate being annoyed on a daily basis. I've seen this happen. The chairman of the board at one place I worked actually had a group of people approach him and say "turn that damn thing down." Why would a laptop alarm be any different?

Just to be clear, though, I'm picking on your analogies, not on your point. I agree that this is probably a pretty useless technology, at least for wide-spread use. The stupid thing about it is that it probably has no real way of knowing who the rightful owner is. I suppose it could be password protected, that's a start I guess. I actually think that a remote (not unlike the ones used with a car alarm) would be a little bit more useful. It's a specific device that, at least in theory, only the owner would have. If it's 'armed', the computer won't do jack shit until the remote deactivates the security system. A system like that could POTENTIALLY work if it's developed correctly, but ... well if you're shaking your head I can't say I'd blame you. Personal computers are a little too easy to rearrange for this sort of system to work well. Okay, you win, I don't have a great solution to the problem either.

Obstrusive? (4, Insightful)

immakiku (777365) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089494)

How many people are going to want to lock and unlock the laptop everytime they walk away? I know a lot of people barely want to do the WinXP windows+L everytime, much less lock and unlock with a remote control.

Re:Obstrusive? (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089513)

I really don't have a problem with Windows+L, but having to carry around a remote (and remembering to carry it) to lock/unlock the computer would be a pain.

Re:Obstrusive? (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089528)

Is it a pain to carry around the same remote for your car? why can't you just put the remote on a keychain just like your car remote?

Re:Obstrusive? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089545)

For one, I'm guessing the remote doesn't have a loop for the keychain.

Re:Obstrusive? (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089715)

Ducttape can fix that!

Re:Obstrusive? (1)

syzler (748241) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089900)

I have not read the article, but I am assuming that the remote used is the apple remote that comes with the laptop for use with iTunes, DVD, etc. If this is the case, wouldn't I be able to unlock your laptop with my apple remote?
 
Although the idea of having a laptop alarm might be cool, wouldn't it be better if the arming and disarming was triggered by the screensaver (with the option checked to require password when waking or returning from screensaver) instead of a commonly available remote?

Re:Obstrusive? (1)

iamseparated (962921) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089577)

How many people are going to want to lock and unlock the laptop everytime they walk away?


I would. I have an alarm on my car and I've learned to turn it off everytime I'm walking towards it, and to arm it whenever I walk away from it. It's not a hassle at all. And for the added peice of mind of having some kind of security system I'm sure I'd feel the same way toward an alarm for my laptop. I for one think this is a great idea.

Re:Obstrusive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089738)

holy carp, i never knew there was a shortcut for that- finally a use for the blasted windows key!! domo arigato goziamsuuuuuu

Re:Windows key (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089914)

There are a few decent shortkuts that use the Windowsw key (although Win-L is my fav). Here [seoconsultants.com] is a list.

What if (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089496)

you're Mac is off?

Re:What if (3, Insightful)

jimijon (608416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089771)

Don't you know that Mac users rarely turn the computer off? Only after a system upgrade of course.

Re:What if (1)

Igmuth (146229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089847)

Don't you know that Mac users rarely turn the computer off? Only after a system
upgrade of course.


Mac users are some mighty strange people. I prefer to turn my computer off BEFORE system upgrades...

Thinkpad Active Protection System (2, Interesting)

Devil's BSD (562630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089497)

Anyone know if this can be adapted for the Thinkpad's active protection system? It's pretty much the same thing, as far as I know...

Re:Thinkpad Active Protection System (1)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089501)

I don't think it could be adapted- the hardware is (99% chance) completely different. First, you'd have to figure out if the Active Protection System can even be "seen" by $OS. If it can, you probably have to figure out how to interface with it. THEN, you get to play the "let's write a low-level driver game."

Re:Thinkpad Active Protection System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089690)

Re:Thinkpad Active Protection System (1)

hile (110782) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089695)

Yes, at least in linux this would be quite trivial. Since 2.6.1x (was it 14 or 15), the hdaps driver is part of standard kernel and will generate normal joystick events from the sensor (google for 'neverball hdaps' - you can play with the sensor).

Actually, I think macbook uses exactly same hdaps driver, this should work in linux on macbook as well. Not sure if it's so.

IMO this would be much more useful when combined with your mobile phone - i.e. when the bluetooth ID of your mobile is not in range, set the alarm on, and switch it off again when the ID is back. Of course, security aware persons do not actually keep bluetooth enabled all the time...

Re:Thinkpad Active Protection System (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089720)

Can do in linux, there's a nice howto for gentoo, but it is trivial to do the same with any other distro

wiki link [gentoo-wiki.com]

Good idea, but you CAN wreck a computer... (5, Insightful)

Parallax Blue (836836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089506)

...unlike a car. When someone tries to steal a car and a car alarm goes off, the car itself isn't going anywhere (although you may have a broken window or two.) Unfortunately, when someone tries to steal a Macbook and the iAlertU alarm goes off, I don't think the Macbook will fare too well as a result. Most likely it would be dropped out of sheer surprise, or dropped/thrown in the process of trying to escape the irate Mac owner and the local security guards.

Still, I suppose even an inoperable Macbook with the hard drive intact is better than having all your corporate and personal data stolen.

Re:Good idea, but you CAN wreck a computer... (2, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089530)

There is a video linked on the page that shows it to be enormously sensitive, basically sounding the moment the laptop senses the slightest movement. Of course the actual program doesn't appear to be released (strange that unreleased vapour is given a Slashdot story, but whatever), however it seems legitimate given that it's using a library someone else created, already demonstrated to provide this sort of functionality (e.g. using a Mac laptop as a level).

Odd that the values from a hard drive protection mechanism are even available to the software. I would have thought that it would simply be a boolean toggle that the BIOS immediately reacts to instantly, not relying upon the operating system in any way.

Re:Good idea, but you CAN wreck a computer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089534)

As long as all my porn is intact, I for one don't care.

Re:Good idea, but you CAN wreck a computer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089558)

I wouldn't worry about my data being stolen (os x has builtin support for encrypted filesystems... once the screen is locked the data is safe) However suppose someone tries to steal my laptop while my back is turned for a second... given two scenarios:

1. I'm left with nothing; thief makes hundreds of dollars selling my laptop
2. I'm left with a badly busted laptop; thief gets nothing (and potentially even caught)

I'll gladly take option #2!

iAlertU Trapper Keeper 2000 edition (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089777)

Yeah? Well just wait for the Trapper Keeper 2000 edition!
Bill: [reaches over Cartman's shoulder] May I hold your Trapper Keeper?

Cartman: Uh, n-no, I'm afraid not, Bill Cosby, because it is coded to the prints on my fingers. [wiggles them outstretched] If anybody but me tries to hold it, big metal spikes come out and pierce through their hands.

Kyle: Oh, you are so full of crap, Cartman! Metal spikes will not come out!

Cartman: Oh really? [hands the folder over to Kyle] Then, why don't you hold it? [Kyle looks at it in Cartman's outstretched hand.] Well, go on, Kyle. If it doesn't have metal spikes, then hold it. [inches closer and whispers] Hold it.

Kyle: I'm gonna!

Cartman: [inches closer and whispers] Hold it.

Kyle: I will!

;-)

No Thanks (0, Troll)

nuclearpenguins (907128) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089508)

If I'm going to steal something I'm going to steal something useful first.

Re:No Thanks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089555)

gee i hope its a gun to shoot yourself with you worthless fuck

Good to know... (4, Interesting)

irving47 (73147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089517)

I'll remember to plug my headphones in the next time I need a new MacBook.

Re:Good to know... (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089550)

Heh... that's almost as good a hack as disabling copy protection by holding the shift key.

Cut the plug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089568)

Cut the plug from a dead pair of phones.

Re:Good to know... (4, Informative)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089887)

When you plug headphones into a Mac, the audio is rerouted away from the speakers in software, not hardware. This allows things like USB speakers to work, so when you plug headphones in, it mutes the USB speakers. So, in theory, this software should be able to override that and always use the built-in speakers even if headphones are plugged in. (I doubt the current feature has this feature, and it probably wouldn't be easy to implement, but it should be possible.)

nice feature (2, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089533)

That's a nice novel use for an otherwise unrelated technology. I'm sure the SMS wasn't intended for security, but it works well for it.

As for being off... I wonder, does anything run while the laptop is asleep? My powerbook has probably spent less than 5 minutes turned off in the last four months. Most users close the lid and sleep it. (my powerbook draws the same 2 watts when it's asleep as when it's off, so why bother turning it off?)

A firmware hack might enable the alarm to wake up the book if it's moved. I assume the PMU/SMU is controlled by flashable firmware. Also, the SMS is in the older powerbooks also - this article only mentions the macbook pros, I wonder if it works in the older models also?

Re:nice feature (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089599)

My old iMac used to still play mp3's while it was asleep! The sound would become distorted and choppy, but it still played!

And it was definatly asleep, i.e. power button pulsing, screen off, modem disconnected. As soon as you work it up, the music went back to normal.

Re:nice feature (1)

slowbad (714725) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089742)

My old iMac used to still play mp3's while it was asleep

My old Windows 3.1 machines used to still play audio CD's after you clicked 'Shutdown'
(and restart in MS-DOS). 640K multitasking in real mode ... 1993 style!

Re:nice feature (2, Interesting)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089907)

That's because your computer wasn't really playing the music - your CD-ROM drive was playing the music, all by itself, and there's a little grey wire that runs from the CD-ROM drive directly into your sound card, completely bypassing the CPU.

Some CD-ROM drives have two buttons on the front, instead of just a single eject button. If it has two buttons, the left button is a play/next track button and the right button is stop/eject. They'll usually have a headphone jack on the front as well (which only works for CD audio, not anything else from the computer). Take a CD-ROM drive that has two buttons, an AT (not ATX) power supply, and a pair of speakers plugged into the headphone jack. Pop in an audio CD and hit the left button. Voila, you've got a CD player, without a computer.

Note that iTunes, modern versions of Windows Media Player, etc. read the audio data off the CD and process it through the software; they don't tell the CD player to play the CD directly. This also means you can play CDs in iTunes/WMP if that little grey wire is missing.

Re:nice feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089689)

Yes, and I am sure you are going to love the sleep time (standby time) that comes with leaving a running application going.
I am assuming you can't force the notebook to respond to a wake event from this device, since it is probably powered of except in states where the HDD would be active.
BTW how useful is this if its in sleep mode, you can't move it either... its only useful if you are leaving it sitting somewhere.

BTW sleep, assuming it means S3 state sleep, since it probably does...

System appears off. The CPU has no power; RAM is in slow refresh; the power supply is in a reduced power mode. This mode is also referred to as 'Save To RAM'.

Coffee Shop Use Case (2, Funny)

buckhead_buddy (186384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089548)

This is great news. There's a coffee shop in my town with a friendly college crowd and free Wi-Fi networking.

My problem arises when I take my old Powerbook in there and realize I need to use the restroom. The crowd is pretty honest and I'm pretty quick in the facilities, but I really hate packing up my whole setup and taking it into the stall with me. This might allow me that feeling of security to leave my old Powerbook out while I take care of business.

While there's still some risk involved, it sounds like this will be just the thing to make me:

  • Carefree and proud to be a Mac owner.
  • Careless about risks and have my computer stolen.
  • Embarassed when someone bumps my table and I'm caught with my pants down.

I'd probably risk this with my old model Powerbook, but I don't think I'd do so if I upgraded to a new MacBook Pro.

Re:Coffee Shop Use Case (2, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089576)

"Embarassed when someone bumps my table and I'm caught with my pants down."

Look on the bright side: If you keep pulling your pants down while browsing the web at a coffee shop, sooner or later you'll see a rise in available bandwidth.

Re:Coffee Shop Use Case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089624)

That would be a really pretty sight when you're in the stall sitting down with your pants around your ankles taking care of business when you hear the alarm go off.

You hop out of the bathroom as quick as possible with your pants around your ankles, only to find it's a false alarm.

Re:Coffee Shop Use Case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089659)

Embarassed when someone bumps my table and I'm caught with my pants down.

This is why you never, ever should drink from a bottle of apple juice left on the floor accidentally by a previous customer.

More Mac Theft Software (4, Informative)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089574)

I'd recommend Undercover by Orbicule [orbicule.com] . It runs continuously in the background, and if your laptop is ever stolen then you call up the company and they set it to transmit it's location every time it connects to a network. Of course since my laptop has never actually been stolen I can't really tell you whether it works or not.

Serious Theft (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089654)

If someone is bent on getting a $4000 MacBook Pro for free, he may well be smart enough to

#!. Pull the battery
#2. Pull the hard drive
#3. & thus never allow anything to run off the original hard drive

Re:Serious Theft (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089694)

Obviously your not a perl programmer

You put the laptop on a secured DMZ network behind redundant firewalls, and (just to be sure) you cut the sending pairs on the ethernet cable. You might as well run it inside a f. cage, because (even though you are in the middle of nowhere) you may JUST let that signal out.

After you have done this you spend 36 days shredding the harddisk with a custom program, at which time you remove said hard disk, smash it, and then melt it down. Only to buy a new one.

Total cost ~$20,000. But you get to say you stole the MacBook


On a more serious note, if this could be automated. Like having the reciever automatically lock and unlock the mac based on how close you are to it... then it would be decent technology. As it stands, if you forget to lock it just once, you don't have much of a hope.

Re:More Mac Theft Software (1)

jaysones (138378) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089696)

My Powerbook was stolen last year from my apartment. It automatically syncs with .Mac every day and I was hoping I could somehow track it this way (since you can see the "last sync" of all the computers associated with your .Mac account on any one, I was going to call Apple when I saw that my Powerbook synced again) but it never connected to the internet again, or they wiped it clean before it was used again.

Unanswered questions (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089607)

Does this work on a P-p-p-powerbook?

Can't wait for... (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089662)

"Please step away from the notebook".

Just hold down the power button for a few seconds (2, Informative)

iamacat (583406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089665)

This turns off the notebook without any software overrides (otherwise you wouldn't be able to restart after a bad OS crash). Then steal all you want.

Video of it in action... (4, Informative)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089706)

The poster didn't mention it, but there is a streaming video [youtube.com] showing this alarm in action. Quite amusing to me.

So just snatch out the battery... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089730)

So about this leet laptop alarm...

It seems another easy way to deactivate the whining alarm is to just *gasp* yank the battery out. If you REALLY wanted to protect your investment, someone should create a laptop "club", like the ones people used to put on their steering wheels... Because seriously, if you're so far down social outcast pole that you'll boldly chirp your laptop alarm and let the screen blink in a public setting, then why not go that extra mile and strap an unsightly metal rod to your little bundle of joy. That's about as queer as a football bat. That is all.

Already been done (1)

Mapplex (876648) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089732)

This isn't the first such motion alarm for the Mac. BumpAlarm (of which I happen to be the developer) was an idea that was implemented a little over a year ago. http://www.alcemore.com/blog/2005/03/26/bumpalarm- motion-sensor-for-apple-powerbooks/ [alcemore.com] http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/17684 [macupdate.com]

Mute? Headphones? Sleep mode? Power off? (3, Insightful)

RootsLINUX (854452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089740)

What if you have the audio muted or really silent, or the thief plugs in headphones? What if the laptop goes into sleep mode? What if the battery runs out, or, if the laptop is plugged in, they unplug it and wait for the battery to die?

There are too many ways around this so called "security" mechanism to be anything more than a gimmick. Although I will credit it because a theif that has no idea about or previous experience with this software is going to get caught red handed. :)

Re:Mute? Headphones? Sleep mode? Power off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15089901)

Given that this really isn't that new (my toshiba M200 includes quite a few different utilities based on the built in accelerometers, including a security lock one) I hope that the program for the Macbook Pro addresses these concerns. On my M200, even if you have another soundcard attached (as I do) the security program directs the sound through the internal speakers at the maximum volume, even if there are headphones attached. The program integrates with Window's built in lock functions, so either it doesn't go to sleep or it still works when the computer is sleeping, I can't remember. Also the letting the power die can be prevented by setting a boot time password.

Re:Mute? Headphones? Sleep mode? Power off? (1)

Vexorg_q (216760) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089924)

The advantage to this software is that it allows you to have a leg up on other MacBook users. As the old addage goes, you dont have to run faster than the bear, just faster than the person running with you.

what about sound proof cases? (1)

tixie (960089) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089862)

Laptops are much smaller than a car yet cars are still being stolen. This can probably reduce the possibilities but it is certainly not 100% stolen-proof.

rfid? (2, Interesting)

icepick101 (901550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15089873)

Why not use some type of RFID system, where the owner keeps an RFID tag in his/her pocket. Once they move too far away from the laptop (2 or 3 feet?), the alarm sounds. Rather than making a conscious effort to arm the laptop, it would be automatic.
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