Undercover for the iPhone: Detection After Loss
Hundreds of computers, phones and iPods are stolen each week. I am concerned about Mac users of course, but PC owners are also at risk. It saddens me to see so many on both platforms who do not use passwords or even properly secure accounts. I have been told this is for convenience, but what is more inconvenient than a stolen computer and lost data? I also urge Mac users to use the Firmware Password Utility which is on the original install disks. Lock it up.
Data may be worth more than the computer; and other writers in Database have suggested strongly that backing up data is a must, but still we are contacted by people who have failed to do this. Apple's Time Machine makes this easy, but it is not my sole backup system.
These smaller devices are even easier to lose than computers. I have lost mobile phones which were less expensive and with Apple's iSync I was up and running within minutes of buying a replacement, but it would be nicer to get the device back.
As soon as I saw that an Undercover app was available on the iTunes App Store, I downloaded it and installed it on my iPod touch. When active, it sends back location data, including IP numbers. Using this data, the device could be tracked. It cost $4.99 (180 baht) and it is designed to look like a game to someone not familiar with the app if the iPhone has been stolen. If it is able to track the location then this information is shown on a Google map. To make the app accessible, the pass number feature must be turned off and some may find this too much of a trade-off.
Places like Chicago, New York and the Bay Area are almost totally covered as are many smaller cities in the U.S. it is the same in the UK with London and major areas of population covered; while the rest of Europe is similarly well-covered. Do the same search for Bangkok and there are few areas shown on the map used.
There are a few Skyhook locations in Bangkok and the surrounding areas but far too few and I would suggest to local users that the more entered, the better location services would be. I have also suggested this to True who operate many of the wifi antennas in the central area, but had no reply to my query by the time I wrote this despite leaving email and phone contact details within the message.
True may be letting its customers down by relying solely on the GPS and not bothering to use all the features that the iPhone will allow. I have written to the company suggesting that this be implemented, but at the time of writing there has been no reply. Users locally can link their own wifi to Skyhook: the more there are, the more accurate it is.
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