10 September 2007

Exit TheftSensor

We have decided to halt development of TheftSensor. It has been a difficult decision to make, but we think it's the right choice for several reasons. I'll try to explain.

Last year, when we released the first TheftSensor beta, Apple had just introduced the Apple Remote on some of their Macs, as well as the Sudden Motion Sensor. TheftSensor made innovative use of private, unreleased APIs to access both these hardware additions. For a beta, that's OK. We hoped that Apple in the meantime would release a public API. Now with the Leopard release only weeks away, it does not look like this will happen for Leopard. If we want to make TheftSensor work on both Tiger and Leopard, we will need to use a private API, which is unsupported by Apple and which could break with any software update. As we want to release high quality software this is no option for us. Worse, the API could even change between Mac models, as is the case with the Motion sensor API, which has effectively changed at least two times between different MacBook models. We could keep working around these issues, but we don't like to build on a weak foundation.

Another reason we are not developing TheftSensor any more is that it can be circumvented in many different ways: a thief could plugin a headphone to silence the alert sound. There is no way around this. The same goes for removing the battery or for holding down the power button for a couple of seconds. There are just too many issues that we can't solve, as we obviously don't have any access to the hardware Apple makes. Additionally, TheftSensor won't work when the laptop is turned off (in a backpack) or when it's already sleeping.

Our users have been aware of all these shortcomings too, and that's why most of them installed Undercover alongside TheftSensor anyway. As Undercover is a much more robust theft recovery application that works under almost every scenario and does not have the shortcomings outlined above, we decided it does not make sense to invest any more resources in TheftSensor. We will focus all our efforts on Undercover instead. As I have written before, the next Undercover update will be released soon after Apple releases Leopard and it will feature some major advancements to make Undercover even more effective.

People who really want TheftSensor-like functionality on their Mac should have a look at iAlertU or JackSMS

Now for the good news: we will have an interesting announcement on our website tomorrow, September 11. Please come back soon...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are there any instructions available on how to uninstall TheftSensor ?

Thanks
Ralf

Benjamin said...

I've used iAlertU in the past, and it seems very similar to what you're describing. iAlertU paired with Undercover could be the ultimate security machine. :)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone had this situation? Installed TheftSensor, use the Apple Remote to bring up FrontRow, click around in FrontRow meanwhile in the background ... TheftSensor is turned on, off, on, off ... etc. every time you press the remote's play button (while in FrontRow).

Then when you exit FrontRow, you don't know whether TheftSensor is turned on or off ... (ofcourse you can check it by pressing the play button) anyway I was in the kitchen and all of a sudden the TheftSensor alarm sounded (the alam whent off) ... BUT my MacBook Pro didn't move!!

How can I disable TheftSensor when I'm in FrontRow?