24 April 2006

Introducing TheftSensor

Today we are unveiling TheftSensor, a brand new application designed for the new MacBook. Taking a page from the car alarm, MacBook Pro owners can enable TheftSensor by pressing the play button on their Apple Remote. When enabled, TheftSensor will start a loud alarm whenever the MacBook is moved, lifted or when its lid is closed. The alarm can be disabled by pressing the play button a second time. Head over to the TheftSensor page and see it in action!

TheftSensor might sound very similar to other applications out there (e.g. iAlertU). I want to stress, however, that we planned this functionality for Undercover 2.0, many months ago. While designing Undercover 2, we decided to spin off TheftSensor as a separate application because many Apple laptops don't have a built-in sudden motion sensor (SMS) just yet. Adding this functionality to Undercover would increase the application's footprint while it would add no functionality for 85% of our user base, so that's why we decided to release this as a separate app. That way, we can get as much feedback as possible from the Mac community. As more and more Apple laptops with SMS become available, we will integrate this functionality into Undercover.

22 comments:

Alex said...

You sir are a champion. I like the icon.

Anonymous said...

What if the thief slides the laptop to the edge of a desk and removes the battery? Is there an internal battery that will work for a brief time?

Peter Schols said...

Sliding the MacBook to the edge will trigger the alert...

Anonymous said...

Too bad a battery can be removed in about 2 seconds flat. This software is pretty useless to a person with an IQ greater than 6, don't you think? ALthough I do like the idea of the tracing software, but now that makes me nervous about the security of my built in iSight....

Peter Schols said...

No, I don't think so: in order to remove the battery, you'll have to move the MacBook which will trigger the alert... anyone with an IQ > 8 should realize that ;-)

David Visser said...

Why can't we use it on iBook? It has SMS as well, right?

Peter Schols said...

That's right, but the iBook does not have an Apple Remote. This does not mean it can't be done, it just means that we will have to find another way to activate TheftSensor. We have some options here, but they did not make it into the first beta. Stay tuned...

Anonymous said...

You are missing the point. Yeah, so to hear the alert, you have to be within what... 15 feet of your laptop? So you walk out of the room, I guarantee the 2 seconds that the alarm sounds isn't going to scare a smart thief off, and nobody else is gonna know what the hell your computer is doing. And if you ARE within 15 feet of your laptop, why are you going to put an alarm on it in the first place, I bet you can keep your eyes on it when you're that close. It's a smart idea for software, but if weren't so easy to get past... it'd be a better idea.

Peter Schols said...

You are right, TheftSensor is not going to cover every situatiuon. We think it's great for coffe shops, dorm rooms, trade shows, ... In other cases (e.g. when travelling), a solution like Undercover will be much more useful. That's why we provide them both.

craigosbourne said...

hey peter, but cant you use something like sailing clicker on the mac ?, is that possible then to use a powerbook ?

Anonymous said...

I can't seem to put my MBP to sleep ever since I installed TheftSensor. Before, I would just hold the play button and the snoring remote OSD would show shortly before the MBP sleeps.
Now, the screen just goes to black and if you keep holding the play button, it would even periodically trigger a kernel panic.

Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

It´s amazing! Your app is so cool. Can you ad the option to chosse from a file the activate/deactivate sound and also the alarm?

alexander s. said...

true, its not possible to hold the play-button to trigger sleep anymore. Perhaps change the trigger to next/previous at the same time, or some other combination would be something.. sleeping with the remote is really useful. Other then this, great app. much better then iAlertU

Anonymous said...

hi, please DO NOT roll this into Undercover....

i personally find TheftSensor (and IAlertU, etc) pretty useless and wouldn't want the increased footprint included in Undercover, which actually DOES seem useful.

I suppose occasionally I might find myself at a coffee shop and leave to go get a muffin or something and it would be nice to be able to turn my back on the machine..... but I would defintiely want a hot key to activate it, not hope that I had my remote control with me so I could use it like a car alarm.

bhavesh

Denis said...

Can the speaker be silenced by simply inserting a plug into the audio out jack?

Anonymous said...

i like your method but would really ike to see the alarm go off when keys are pressed or when track pad touched as well as power adapter unplugged and audio jack being disabled, also it needs to be more sensitive to movement or give us the users the option of customizing the sensitivity of it somehow. any questions email me at j.ruiz_isenberg@mac.com

Anonymous said...

great work on the apps. while theftsensor won't cover every situation, any form of deterrent or means to call attention to a would-be thief is, imo, good.

but yes, a version for powerbooks or ibooks paired with a phone on salling clicker would be great for those of us who still use powerpc machines.

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ people, give the man a break. Yes, it's not a complete solution or the be all end all of security devices. Having said that, it is a very cool, innovative app, which can help secure your mac. Will it prevent 100% of thefts ever? No. Is it possible that activating it will make your mac more secure? Yes. So stop with the IQ comments, the workarounds, etc. It seems quite apparent that he is able to think of these himself, and is obviously unable to write a piece of software which prevents people from taking the batteries out of laptops, plugging in headphones, or writing asinine comments.

Anonymous said...

Nice idea, but Apple remotes do not have a unique ID so every one with a apple remote can toggle the alarm ;)
Sailing Clicker or Romeo (Something with Bluetooth and as a result a unique ID) might be a better aproach to toggle the alarm.
For the Apple remote control you might think of an unlock code or something else more secure...

By the way all of your applications are really cool stuff and I am proud user of undercover - hopimg that I will never ever have to use it ;)

Thanks a lot for bringing so inovative software to the mac.
Sascha Muellner

Christoball said...

Does this program affect FrontRow, or the remote's use with other apps at all?

Christoball said...

I found my answer dowloading it. But I did notice that certain programs (mainly Quicktime Pro) aren't able to override theftsensor as iTunes or FrontRow do. Is that something that can be fixed, or does the problem lie within Quicktime?

Adri said...

The idea is fantabulous.

It would be cool if, once the button is pressed, the screen goes to 'locked' or something, like when Sysadmins lock the screen.

It would be really nice eyecandy if you could make the 'chirp chirp' sound of a car being unlocked when you work the remote as well :D