I’m sure you’ve heard about the On-Star satellite system sold by General Motors as an add-on for their automobiles. On-Star is billed as a method to give you instant access to help and even remote control of your vehicle. Lock yourself out of your car? No problem, call On-Star and they’ll unlock it for you. In a crash? They’ll call you to make sure you’re all right because the triggering of the air bags triggers a warning to them. Lost? Get directions.
Before On-Star, and still available for other autos, was a system called Lojack. It would respond to a special transmission and respond with its location. In other words, if it was stolen, you could get the Lojack people to locate the vehicle so it could be recovered.
Now, Absolute Software licensed the Lojack name to use with their software product Lojack for Laptops.
I’d read about it a couple times. Then, one day I noticed that Dell Computer was including it as part of the Complete Care package for their notebooks — at least on the models that I was considering.
So, I started looking at Lojack for Laptops again. The more I read, the more I liked. Just like Lojack for automobiles, Lojack for Laptops is a system designed to help recover the stolen property! They claim an 80+% recovery rate on stolen laptops versus a normal 3%.
Absolute says that police are eager to cooperate, since their system enables the police (with cooperation of the pertinent Internet Service Provider) to get the exact location of the stolen computer and recover it.
I bought a copy about a month ago.
Lojack for Laptops "calls home" (that is, contacts Absolute Software’s servers when an Internet connection is established) once a day.
But, if I were to call and report my laptop as stolen, Absolute Software would change a setting on their server. The next time my notebook called home, it would start calling home every 15 minutes, enabling the machine to be tracked easily any time it is connected to the Internet.
Do I like it? Yes.
Did I have any problems? Yes. Lojack for Laptops rewrites the hard drive’s boot sector, which promptly destroyed the boot manager installed by PCLinuxOS (my notebook dual-boots Windows XP Professional and PCLinuxOS). I had to reinstall PCLinuxOS at that point — immediately — since destruction of the boot manager also made my Windows XP installation unavailable.
Most people don’t use a boot manager — they run Windows XP or Windows Vista without multi-booting other systems. They shouldn’t have such problems as I had…