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Would Your Lost Gadgets Find You?



img_0300I was tasked with walking to the bakery and picking up a cake and bread for Mother’s Day brunch. On the way back I found a small mobile phone in the street and set out to find its owner. I navigated to the phone’s contact list, selected “Home” and hit dial.   The guy who answered was a little surprised to hear my voice since his wife’s number showed up on his end. He explained that his wife was visiting their daughter for Mother’s Day and he was at home in New Hampshire.

The mother and daughter came to pick up the lost phone about half an hour later. They were extremely grateful and even offered me a cash reward, but I declined and told them that I just wish every list gadget could find its owner somehow. The happy mobile phone owner is pictured in this post. There will always be a segment of the population who would rather keep a found gadget than return it to its rightful owner, but how would someone with good intentions reunite me with my gadgets if I were to lose them? I keep business cards inside of my carrying cases, but my computers and cameras are unmarked. My iPhone is password protected, which means it would be impossible to dial my home phone number or one of my contacts to track me down.

While all of my computers are insured and backed up, I’d much rather get my stuff back than an insurance check. The easiest thing to do would be to tape business cards to the bottom of my gear, but that’s not a very durable solution. I’ve thought about using a Dremel to engrave my name and contact info on my gear, but not an option if I want to sell my stuff on eBay.   I looked into buying asset tags, but I’d have to order a large quantity.

What are your suggestions?   Would your lost gadgets find their way home?



  1. dh

    05/11/2009 at 8:23 pm

    Simple, buy a label from I think there’s a US company too.

  2. Jono Willis

    05/11/2009 at 8:42 pm

    I use a lable service. I got a freebie with my laptop bag (stuffbak) and then bought a couple of others (returnit and findit) for overseas travel. The good thing about it is I didn’t have to mark the laptop at all and if I sell it I can ust pull them off or leave them for the new owner. It’;s much better then an asset tag because you can buy 1.

  3. John Davis

    05/11/2009 at 10:29 pm

    Most gadgets allow a short text message that will display on the home screen / desktop of the device. My phone and netbook automatically display my wife’s phone number in an easy to find spot on the display. This not only helps people contact me when they find a homeless device, but can also assist emergency workers to contact loved ones.

  4. Xavier

    05/12/2009 at 12:53 am

    Thanks for all the input guys. I’m going to try at least one of these ideas.

  5. Andy Bryant

    05/12/2009 at 5:11 am

    In my case, I just use a label printer to print name, email, and mobile phone number, then stick it to the bottom of my laptop.

  6. Techni

    05/12/2009 at 6:16 am

    I wish any device that connects to the net or to a pc connected to the net legally had to check if it was stolen, and if it was it would lock down and put details of how to return it onscreen

  7. JDC

    05/12/2009 at 6:51 am

    I used the free engraving for my ipod to offer a reward and a contact email address.

  8. Alan

    05/24/2009 at 5:14 am

    I second Techni’s idea!

    My Palm TX (and all other Palm’s I had previously) have an ‘owner info’ button on the login screen – perhaps some Apple should consider adding? ;-)

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    06/17/2009 at 4:39 am

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  10. Sophie A.

    06/21/2009 at 9:47 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. I will definitely check back later for more informative posts from you. Thanks!

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