Talking laptop to ward off thieves

Ever had a laptop stolen, one that was full of essential data? Then you ought to arm your computer with Retriever, a program that plays a loud audio message alerting passers-by that your device is being stolen.

“Get your hands off me, I have been stolen” is the message declared in a loud tone when a laptop containing the program is taken. Retriever, developed by Colorado-based Front Door Software, lets users report their missing laptop to a site which then sends a message to the stolen device, displaying a “lost or stolen” banner on the screen.

In the latest version of the software, the audio message is also played. Chief executive Carrie Hafeman says the message can be set to appear every 30 seconds, no matter how many times the laptop is closed.

Users can also record their own audio messages for the software, which costs about $US30.

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