A few weeks ago I arrived home from a work trip to Wellington minus my bag. I was calm while I watched others collect their bags and move on. I remained so when I realised I was the last person at the baggage claim and no amount of staring at the empty trailer would work the required magic. I was polite, I like to think my demeanour was friendly but firm, at the help desk.
I said to John, as I climbed into the car, It’s only stuff.
But by the time I unlocked the door to our house I was missing my favourite, most comfortable winter boots, my make-up (yes I do wear some, sometimes) my one and only hand knitted jersey (sweater to those from Nth America) knitted by myself from one hundred percent merino. My brand new winter coat was in that bag as well.
But most of all I was missing my iPad. Like iPads everywhere it was loaded with all sorts of things: Amazon, Kindle, emails, photos, games, Apps for banking and newspapers and calendars. Yep, I could do pretty much anything, anywhere on that iPad.
I realised, with the oh-so-familiar sinking feeling that accompanies the understanding of the hitherto unknown but, once-recognised, blindingly obvious, my iPad might be able to let anybody with a bit more know how than me, do those exact same things.
I said to John, You do know that whoever has my bag will want to be me.
I wish I could say he nodded his assent. Instead, I have to report there may have been a wry smile lurking around the corners of his mouth.
They’ll wreck my blog, I said. They’ll take over my FaceBook profile. Who knows what they’ll post to Instagram! As for Twitter, the whole world will know I’m a twerp … I paused as another, potentially more serious consequence occurred to me: They might get my money!
At this point John may have laughed. Out loud. He said, I’m sure there are a lot of more lucrative targets. (He did have a point about that one!)
And, anyway, he added, No-one will be able to crack the passcode.
Oh, really? Just because he didn’t know how to, just because he couldn’t imagine wanting to, didn’t mean there weren’t people out there who could and would.
I rang the airline. By this time they knew my my bag wasn’t at Hawkes Bay airport (I had already told them that!) and neither was it in Wellington.
Knowing where it wasn’t, is not the same as knowing where it was, and I wasn’t reassured. Not at all. They assured me they were working on it.
My unworried but nevertheless eavesdropping husband asked, Haven’t you got that Find My iPhone App?
I did, and I do, and I set it to work.
Cleverly, it found my laptop which was on my lap. And it found my cell-phone – that was in my hand bag, on the floor by my feet. But it couldn’t find my iPad. Because – it was off-line!
That’s a good thing, said John. It means there’s nothing to worry about.
I, however, wasn’t quite so certain. I told him, I’ll set it to erase itself.
His eyebrows may have shot up at the power of my logic. You don’t think you’re being a bit hasty?
I gave him one of my looks. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of one you do need to know I have the power tot turn people to ash – with my eyes.
Being a brave man he added, It’ll be in your bag.
I conceded that according to the laws of probabilities this was a possibility and I selected the softer option. I set my iPad to play a sound when it was next switched on. I hoped that would be enough to deter any aspirational thief, the sort who might want to be me.
Time ticked on by, slowly. I got on with my day as best I could. And after lunch the airline rang. My bag, it turned out, had gone to Whangarei – some seven hundred kilometres and two plane flights in the wrong direction.
Amazingly, late that same night, my bag was delivered to our house.
I was relieved and very tired. Overtired. Nevertheless, I thought, I’ll just check-out Facebook and take a gander at my emails, all of which I could do from my phone or my computer. But my iPad and me, we’d been separated and we had some reacquainting to do.
I powered it up.
A cross between a beep and a car horn blasted from it. I tapped at the screen. It kept barping.
I tapped the screen again. That racket kept right on going.
That’s pretty effective, said John.
But I’m not the thief, I said.
I wish I could tell you that reason kicked in, that after two taps at the screen I realised that while I knew my iPad was back it didn’t know that I was me. I kept on tapping – expecting the alarm to turn off.
You’ll be keeping the neighbours awake, said John. (An exaggeration, maybe, but not by much.)
If you’ve never been in this situation there are three simple lessons I can share:
First, The Find Your iPhone App is a great deterrent – as effective as any burglar alarm.
Second, those of you who are logical will have worked this out already, the alarm has to be switched off from another device.
Third, if your solution doesn’t work on the first attempt, or maybe the second, chances are it won’t on the fiftieth.
For myself, I don’t think I’ll have much trouble remembering lessons one and two but lesson three has already proved a bit tricky.
Well, it’s like this. After that iPad experience I wanted to make sure my new phone could never, ever be used by anybody else. I set it up to turn only when it recognises my fingerprint. Can’t get much easier or much tighter than that.
I’d had the phone in my possession a full two hours when it would not turn on. I touched the button, and waited while the clever little machine read my finger print. Try again, it said. So I tried again, and again, and again, and again …
I’ll have to take it back, I announced, suitably miffed.
Um, said that brave man I’m married to, That’s your thumb.
Yep, I’m good under pressure. Sharp as a hammer.
I’ve got a class tomorrow, on how to use my phone, think I might need it.
Me being me, something similar is bound to happen again. So please help me out – what are your tips for keeping your devices secure?
Categories: On Life