The world we live in was already extremely dangerous before the economic crisis hit, but things have gotten down the hill, with the level of crime rising almost everywhere. Of course, you shouldn't really go paranoid (yet) and imagine that you'll become a target as soon as you leave the safety of your own home, but taking some precautionary measures when working on your notebook in a public place is always a good idea, especially if the data you're handling is rather sensitive.
Some people might say that there's no way their notebook or netbook can get stolen. Well, these people are actually wrong, since, in some cases, a single moment of distraction is enough for a thief to grab your portable computing system and run away.
Given this situation, we've compiled a set of... well, we wouldn't really call them “tips,” but rather good ideas, that might help you prevent the loss/theft of your beloved notebook.1 - Try to be careful where you work (or take your laptop out of its bag)
Well, this might seem like a no-brainer, and indeed, it is. So, if you really want to hold on to your notebook, it's perhaps a good idea to try and work in a fairly safe environment. In other words, if you're given the choice between a coffee shop (Starbucks, for example, since they also have wireless Internet) and a badly-lit back alley with a history of violence, try the former.2 – Don't ever lose sight of your notebook
In general, it's a very good idea to keep your notebook and notebook bag available at hand at any given moment, wherever you might be. If you constantly keep an eye out for your portable computing friend, the chances of it going MIA will seriously decrease.
However, if you happen to store your device away from you, be sure to place it in a location that's out of sight, as inconspicuous as possible. For example, if you're leaving your notebook or notebook bag in your car, don't place in on the rear seat of your vehicle... put in the trunk and close it.3 - Use a notebook's Kensington security lock
Pretty much every portable computing system out there comes packed with a Kensington security lock, namely a small opening on one of its sides, which can be used for attaching a special security cable to the respective device. This could really come in handy when you're working in a public venue (like the coffee shop mentioned above). So, you can simply attach the security cable to the notebook, and then to some solid item that can't be easily moved (such as a handrail, a heavy table, etc.). It's always a good idea to secure it using a solid lock. This way, nobody will be able to simply pick up your notebook and run away with it.
Of course, while attempting to steal it, the thief might drop the notebook on the floor and render it useless, but I guess that repairing a damaged system is always cheaper than buying a whole new one.4 – Try to conceal the fact that you're carrying a notebook
The market is filled with all sorts of interesting and attractive bags designed specifically for notebooks. However, thieves are quite familiar with this issue, and for this reason, it's perhaps a good idea to try and hide the fact that you're actually carrying around a notebook. You can do so by simply using a normal piece of luggage (such as a satchel, a briefcase, a normal bag, etc.) instead of the specialized bag. This way, the chances of a thief marking you and your notebook as a target will seriously decrease.5 – Leave a permanent mark on your notebook
While this might affect the overall look of your notebook, it is also very likely to deter a thief from trying to steal it. The reasons are very simple, actually. Most thieves steal stuff in order to sell it, and selling a notebook that features a particular design, or its former owner's name and address engraved right on top of the case might prove to be an extremely difficult task.
These are only a few ideas we found to be useful, but if you have more, please don't hesitate to share them with us, by using the comments section below.