Our neighbor has a car alarm that goes off constantly. A loud car goes by, the alarm sounds. A dog barks, the alarm sounds.
I guess their car alarm works. No one comes into our little cul-de-sac without everyone in the neighborhood knowing about it. How about your Mac notebook? Is it equipped with an alarm? Do you value your Mac’s contents enough to give it an irritating alarm? What if the alarm is free?
It Takes A Mac To Raise An Alarm
iAlertU is a free Mac app that turns your Mac’s built-in motion detector into an alarm system.
When the alarm is tripped, iAlertU triggers an audio alarm and uses your Mac’s built-in iSight or Facetime camera to snap a photo and send you an email of the perp (what we NCIS watchers call a perpetrator—the bad guy).
Is that cool, or what? Alright, it’s only cool if you have a relatively new MacBook model with the built-in motion sensor. Once you get it to work, iAlertU might just save you from MacBook loss (think lost backpack at school, lost brief case at work or lost Mac while traveling.
Once you get it to work? Yeah, that seems to be the problem. It’s free. And it works. Sometimes. Other times the alarm goes off and won’t stop. I’m rather certain iAlertU is made by the same people in Elbonia who make our neighbors car alarm.
If iAlertU works on your Mac, count your blessings. If not, you’ll find that three pillows, some duct tape, and a closet will muffle the sound.
When The Horse Leaves The Barn
Alright, so what can you do to add a little more protection to your trusty Mac? As it turns out, there are a number of ways to track the horse after it leaves the barn.
Prey – Free for your Mac and iPhone (and Windows PC, Android phone, or Linux PC) is Prey. This neat utility sits in the background and watches where your Mac goes, locks it down, then tells you where it went.
VUWER – The official Vanderbilt University Web Enable Recovery system also tracks your Mac when it gets legs, helps you find it, and comes without a price tag.
If you don’t mind spending a little money to protect your collection of YouTube movies, your P2P music collection, and all your files, other options abound. Isn’t commercialism great?
Digital Sentry – The app with the most control is Digital Sentry, which monitors your Mac and when certain things happen, performs specific tasks—like making noise, sending you an email when stolen, etc.
WatchMac – Another behind-the-scenes utility to make a little noise when your Mac is tampered with is WatchMac. It watches who tries to get in, snaps photos, sends alerts, and then plays dead even when it’s not.
Undercover – One of our favorites is Undercover for Mac. It uses Wi-Fi to track where it is, notifies you within a few meters of its current location, and even sends screenshots of what the thief may be doing to your Mac. It even simulates a hardware failure in hopes the perp will take your Mac to a certified Mac mechanic, and then it screams and shouts, I’m Stolen! Help Me! Or, something like that.
There are plenty of options to help secure your Mac when it’s been stolen, and some of them help deter theft along the way. As always, choose wisely. It’s less fun to close the barn door after the horse is gone.