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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Which is true?

We've heard cases or read from emails saying something about some people lost their laptops which they put inside their cars, whether inside the trunk or at the back seat.

I can remember one email even mentioned something about 'laptop detector' was used by the culprit to detect which cars got laptops inside them. And they can quickly open up the car to grab the laptops.

So, does this laptop detector really exists?

Even if they do exist, how does it work? How can a detector detects a laptop which I believe 99% of the times are in the switched off mode? How could this possible?

I'm not a pro nor a genious in electronics or engineering or hi-tech stuffs. And please correct me if I'm wrong. But for me, a switched off laptop is just like a piece of rock for an electronic detector - if really a laptop detector exist. In addition, a swithed off laptop, put inside a bag, placed inside a car trunk - how can you detect it out of random yet very precisely?

Here's my logic. A switched off laptop does not emit any kind of wave or signal. No source for detecting anything. Plus, components of a laptop may be the mixture of metals, PCBs, plastics, and many other God-knows what. What different is the metal of the laptop compared to the metal of the car trunk if someone claims they can detect metal?

Now, tell me how do you think the thief knows there's a laptop inside that particular car trunk?

My answer - simply by looking or watching.

Imagine this normal scenario that most of us subconsciously do:

- We normally carry our laptop inside a laptop bag when we return from work.
- As we enter the car, we normally just put the laptop bag at the back seat, or at the passenger seat besides us. Easy mah, rite?
- Then, we wanted to stop for short teh tarik break at mamak with some friends, or buy some bread or kicap and sos cili from grocery stores.
- As we step out from the car, we normally carry the laptop bag and open the car trunk and put it inside the trunk. Hoping that it would provide better protection as people cannot peek and look inside the car through the windows whether there's any laptop lying on the car seats.
- We happily go for teh tarik, or buy groceries. And upon returning to the car after few minutes, we noticed the car trunk has been opened by force and no more laptop inside it.
- Then, we normally get panicked, or cried, or make phone calls.
- The next day, we write an email to everybody saying the thief used a kind of detector to steal our laptop.

Now, let's take a look from the thief's perspective:

- The thief normally lepak at the places which they know many people stop by for teh tarik break, or nearby grocery stores after working hour.
- Once they noticed one guy/girl step out from the car to put the laptop inside the trunk - they spot the easy victim.
- Once "line clear", they smoothly walk to the car and break that particular car trunk and grab the laptop. In less than 1 minute, job is done.
- Result = 100% success.

You see, we fail to realise that we are the one who initially make the mistake - by displaying to surrounding people (though unintentionally) that we have put a laptop inside our car trunk. Have you ever thought how many pairs or eyes are watching you at any particular time?

I don't mean to blame the victims, I do feel bad for those who ever get their laptops stolen in this way, especially if they are company laptops. Very trouble some I tell you. Silap haribulan, boleh kena pecat woo.

My point here is, just to share with you about the above issue so that no more laptops get stolen from any of you readers, and your friends or families who have laptops. This also applies to every valuables that we carry inside our cars. Try your best not to display your action in public of transferring valuables from or to your car trunk where people can easily see your action.

Be safe folks!


[i] said...

there is no such thing as laptop detector. However there is a device for lithium detector. Since laptop use lithium battery, a strong signal may indicate there is a laptop inside the car.

My uncle put his laptop in his car boot and he lost his laptop.

So, co. laptop = burden & curse to you :D

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Ihsan, i found something else on the internet.. This one comes from the Mythbusters (Discovery Channel).

"All electronic devices that use high frequency signals, and that means anything with a microprocessor in it, act as low power transmitters. You can easily build your own detector. Just take a portable AM radio, tune it to an unused frequency and hold it near a laptop computer. You can easily tell if the laptop is on or not by the noise you hear from the radio. What "they" are using is just sensitive radio receivers. Some laptop batteries have microcontrollers in them that run all the time and keep tract of battery status. But I seriously doubt that a thief could detect it and if they could, how they could distinguish it from other electronic devices that are part of the automotive electronics, such as the clock."

fajar said...

wah, tiba-tiba ilmiah pulak ni.

errr, nak org electronic eng kena jawab ke? aku org video (bole skip tak? hehehe)

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

ahaa.. or yg ada degree in electronic eng, then buat master in electronic eng, and the tengah buat phd in electronic eng (video pun parts of electronics kan?), WAJIB bagi komen utk subjek ni.. hehehe