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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is this FindYourLaptop thing then?

It's a simple solution for locating a lost or stolen laptop (or desktop). It runs in the background monitoring the current IP address being used by the computer to access the internet. When it sees an IP that it has not seen before, it sends an email to a predetermined address with the details of the new address. Simple as that!

2. How much does it cost?

It's completely free for personal use. Please contact me for information regarding commercial use.

3. Why not just use an existing solution?

I looked at using an existing solution, but found none of them satisfactory. I did a few searches and came up with a number of possible commercial solutions, but they were all quite expensive, and/or they involved a recurring subscription. Also they all involved your laptop reporting it's location every few minutes to the companies' server. They all say they won't pass your information on to anyone, but who knows, also how good is their security.

So the commercial route was out, there must be an open source system available. After a few more searches I came across Adeona, it looked like the ideal solution. It's secure and private as it stores your location information on an open hashing server, and the only way to retrieve the location is with the key that generated it. There was only one problem. I couldn't get it to store anything on the server!

A bit useless that, a location reporting service that never tells its location. Maybe it was just me, but I tried everything I could thing of to get it to work. Nothing!

4. Will I be flooded with emails then?

No, FindYourLaptop only sends an email when a new IP address is detected. This means that most of the time it will sit dormant waiting for a new address to be detected. This was another reason that I found the existing solutions to be unsatisfactory. Why bother constantly storing the fact that you laptop hasn't been stolen. You already knew that!!

5. Is it 100% foolproof?

No, of course not. Nothing ever is. It is quite easy to disable the executable from running at start up and delete the files, if you know to look for them. If your laptop is stolen by someone with knowledge of this type of security system, you're screwed whatever system you use, they'll be able to disable or remove it. If however, your laptop is lost or is taken by an opportunist thief who doesn't know about the existence of this type of software, all it needs is to be connected to the net once with the software running and you will be notified.

At the end of the day, some protection and peace of mind is better than nothing. And free peace of mind is better yet!!

6. What are the memory and CPU requirements?

Pretty tiny. 99.99% of the time FindYourLaptop is waiting. I designed it to run on my EEE PC, which has a pretty slow processor (by today's desktop standards), any CPU from the last ten years should be enough. Whilst idling FindYourLaptop only uses about 1Mb of memory, and when sending an email it uses about 2Mb. Exactly why Windows TaskManager claims it uses 10 times that, is a question only Microsoft can answer!!

7. What Operating Systems are supported?

Anything that has a Java virtual machine, although there is only an automated installer for Windows. FindYourLaptop has been tested under Windows and Linux and should work fine on other Unix based operating systems such as Solaris or Mac OSX as long as a Java 1.6 JRE is available.

8. What features will be added in the near future?

The following features are likely to be added soon:

  • A graphical interface for configuration (DONE - version 0.2)
  • Encryption of the email server password used (DONE - version 0.2)
  • The ability to use more than one email server to send the notifications of a new IP through, so that if one is not responding a backup will be used
  • The ability to send the notification emails to more than one email address
  • A way of specifying a range of IP addresses as already known (DONE - version 0.22)
  • More information on the detected IP in the notification email, such as the results of a WHOIS query and a reverse DNS lookup.