While flipping through a recent Dell mailing, I saw a feature they are advertising for some of their new computers. It turns out you can buy this software and install it on your not-new machine as well. It also turns out that there is a free, open source version, as well. And, a little more looking around indicates there are further choices.
Basically, the services make use of a small piece of software you install on your computer. If your machine gets lost or stolen, you get in touch with them, and they track it starting the next time it connects to the Internet, possibly calling the cops on your behalf. Other features might include a way for you to trigger the wiping of your personal information off of the missing laptop's hard drive from a remote location.
The properly paranoid reader will deduce that privacy concerns exist, while the laptop is still in your possession. But maybe these worries will be smaller than the thought of your computer and/or your files going missing.
- The pay version I first heard about, from Absolute Software.
- The FOSS version, from the University of Washington (via). Looks to be in a testing phase right now, but there are a bunch of useful-looking links on that page. And who knows, maybe you'd like to pitch in and help with the development and testing.
I don't think I'm in the market for this right now, but I might be someday, and maybe others will be right now. Please share any experiences in the Comments. Thanks.