Yesterday between 9:30 and 10 AM a thief entered my office (even though the door was closed), severed the security cable securing my MacBook Pro to my desk, and made off with both my laptop and a significant portion of my life. The office manager was seated directly across from my office, but with her back turned as she worked on her own computer. She heard nothing but a rustle as someone brushed against the papers on my door; she assumed it was me returning and, being quite bored of me at this point in our relationship, did not turn around.
Now that rage has turned to mourning has turned to acceptance, I learned several things by having the computer stolen:
(1) It is very easy for a prepared thief to grab a laptop, despite any cable that might give the illusion of security.
(2) It is pretty stupid to keep things like old tax returns on your laptop. If they must be there, they ought to be encrypted. In fact, why did I save passwords and enable automatic logins?
(3) Why keep a hard drive if you don't back up your work religiously? (Last complete back up for me: 8/17/07). I need to buy software that automates the process.
(4) When friends and colleagues learn that your laptop has been stolen, they will both personalize it and treat you as if you have been bereaved.
(5) I lost a proverbial shitload of work, the most irreplaceable being my research notebook and the administrative materials I'd generated since August (especially letters of recommendation I'd labored over, but also memos and such).
(6) Still, it was just a computer. Yes, I will have to work extra hard now that much of the material I'd been working on has vanished (if that thief can read medieval Latin, I'm screwed -- I'll be scooped in all my findings about 12th C historiography!). It puts me way behind for several essays and some lectures. But I'll cope -- and it really was just a computer.
(7) I truly hope the thief enjoys listening to the four versions of "Puff the Magic Dragon" my daughter uploaded to my iTunes library.
(8) It is amazing what a foul mouthed being I was transformed into at 10 AM yesterday. My expletive filled tirade lasted all of fifteen minutes as I ran around the corridors seeking blood.
(9) It is amazing, too, how sympathetic, helpful, and downright kind my colleagues have been.