Over years I had been a victim of theft, and on some occasions, I had been quite careless with my gadgets. I once lost a mobile phone on the office of my previous job, which I left on a charger on someone’s desk. I have left a scientific calculator and probably two or three mobile phones in taxis. I had been held up by a robber in a street whom I decided to turn in my mobile phone instead of risking my life. Oh, and money, sure, I had lost thousands of pesos from pickpockets on several occasions.
Either I had been so careless, or I have been unlucky. Or even both! Maybe I should start seriously considering good old services of a fortune teller for lost things!
Just days ago, I came across this open source software called Project Prey which runs discreetly at the background of my laptop. This software is used to keep track of devices: laptops, desktop and tablets that run on several operating systems – Windows, Mac, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse and Arch. Pretty useful for someone like me who keeps on losing gadgets – either by force of by carelessness. But I think this could also be of use for those who are careful with gadgets as well.
At least I have a way back to get these devices back; but that is, if the end user doesn’t know about that Project Prey. At least there is still that chance that the laptop could be returned.
Signing up with Project Prey is straightforward. You can either download the software first or just sign-up at the website. Either way you need an account with them and have a software installed in your device.
Once you have completed the signup, you will need to add devices onto the control panel. The image below shows how it looks like. The first button can be toggled to mark the device as missing. It’s is interesting to see that you can get screenshots, webcam shots and location of the missing device as well.
Probably the only time when this software will fail is, if the thief had erased everything on the hard disk or found out a way to disable this program. Project Prey is much of a software and not a firmware that runs when computer starts.
Project Prey comes free with limited features, which includes lockdown and alarm trigger, and could wipe passwords and emails, or you can upgrade to a Project Prey Pro account for $5 per month which is actually practical to do if you want a stolen or missing device back, or just want to have additional features that free account is lacking. I am using a free account for now, as I think this suffice since my laptop isn’t lost.
I highly recommend this free software. However, I can’t use Project Prey to track my lost cash.