I’m not a praying woman

a crate full of assorted toys and other objects, labelled "Lost Property"But the tiniest sliver of the remotest possibility of an outside chance that some kind soul on the bus where my autistic son left our laptop that he uses at school actually did pick it up and hand it in as Lost Property, has got me the closest to it that I’ve come in years.

Sadly, I know it’s far more likely that him being “in too much of a rush” to put his laptop away in his bag (where there’s a proper pouch and everything) meant that he was targeted as soon as he got on the bus as a dreamy teen who wasn’t paying attention, and when he put it on the seat next to him and went back to daydreaming, some close watcher quickly snaffled it while thanking their lucky stars that my son wasn’t paying that close attention, so that when he got off the bus he sorta kinda thought it was in his bag now, and he only realised that it wasn’t there after all at bedtime when he came to plug it in for overnight recharging. He certainly hasn’t been paying close attention to making back-ups of his essential Year 11 schoolwork, that’s for sure (and I hadn’t been prompt enough in backing up the copies of the photos I took in Paris while on holiday, either – they’re on that laptop as well).

Mind you, the user accounts on it are all password protected, so unless the putative thief is also a geek with some hacker/cracker tools, they’ll probably end up selling it to some cracker entrepreneur for a fraction of its true value, because the cracker knows how to get past those passwords.

So, back to that tiniest sliver of the remotest possibility of an outside chance, I’m offering a reward of $400 to anybody who might just happen to have not quite got around to handing an Acer laptop they found on the 348 between UNSW and Sydenham yesterday afternoon to Lost Property yet and who might just happen to be paying attention to something like this on the internet. Update: Lost Property had it ready and waiting for us!

Categories: Life

26 replies

  1. Sweet FSM, my son is the luckiest boy in the world. Just rang up the lost property office at the bus depot, and it’s there.
    Off to get it, then backing it up ASAP.

  2. Wow great to hear you got the laptop back.
    btw user accounts are trivial to get past but with many laptops if you set the bios password it is really really hard for anyone to retrieve or remove the password. Also set the password on the hard disk so no one can get to the data even if they remove it from the machine. I can tell you some stories about thieves trying to contact manufacturers to reset bios passwords on stolen laptops and subsequently getting caught – “if you bring the laptop in we’ll reset it for you” 😉
    Also there’s an increasing number of stories of people finding lost/stolen phones/laptops because the owners have setup software for them to call home whenever they get connected to the internet. People suddenly get very honest about finding a lost laptop or phone when someone turns up at their front door to ask about it.

  3. So glad that you found it!
    I know that I managed to lose a number of items in that way as a teen — it’s probably lucky that it wasn’t standard for students to have laptops then! (Most of my losses were of the clothing/swimming gear variety.) These days, I tend to keep a very tight hold on any valuables that I’m carrying with me (cameras, laptops, etc), because I know I still have this tendency — I either need to hold my valuables close, or I will forget about them completely. People may give me funny looks sometimes, but it’s better than the alternative.

  4. If you could spare the $400 you could get a netbook and then have a private computer that stays safe at home with all your data and a cheap and small computer you or your son could take about public that you can afford to lose.
    I stopped worrying about where my laptop is since I got my “companion computer” to come with me to the hospital or school.
    I want add that though I like to lurk (autistic) this blog amongst others has helped me get through the hard parts of chemo and surgery, and help me cope with my new disability.

  5. Yeah, I think I’ve lost about 50 umbrellas and a few hundred pairs of gloves that way. I’ve come to think of it as disseminating my essence through the transport system, like flowers produce pollen.
    Great news on the lost laptop!

  6. My worst public transport loss was my favourite pair of glasses (prescription glasses). I took them off and put them on the seat beside me, along with my coat and scarf, while I napped all the way home on the bus.
    Remembered the coat and scarf, but forgot the specs! Never got them back… *still sad after several years*.

  7. RT, we actually have a home LAN running three desktops plus WiFi for two laptops and a netbook already. Most of our stuff is done on the home computers, but someone doing Software Design and Development for the HSC can’t really get by on just a netbook. Also, his fine motor control issues demand a full size keyboard.
    This wouldn’t have been nearly such a panic if I’d managed to transfer my holiday photos before he went back to school, or if he’d kept up to date with his backups. Since it’s insured, we would have coped.
    Just a timely reminder to us that even Worst. Jetlag. Ever. is no excuse to forgo the backup schedule.
    Sending the $400 to the Salvos instead.

  8. Phew! So glad you didn’t lose the photos 🙂 The photos are the biggest motivator for proper back ups for us, getting an Apple Time Machine has given much peace of mind on that front.

  9. My worst public transport loss was my favourite pair of glasses (prescription glasses)

    I’ve lost prescription glasses through falling asleep on the bus too. It’s a particularly expensive and inconvenient form of self-sabotage.
    Worst public transport loss I’ve experienced was a beret, which was a gift; the original one that’s in my gravatar. My current one’s a replacement and an inferior one.
    Worst public transport loss I’ve ever heard about, from an old colleague of mine, was a cardboard box full of a year’s archival research notes for a PhD thesis, left in a taxi.

  10. There’s a horrible sick feeling when you lose something important in this way. Glad it was found – I guess the public are often more honest than we think. I’ve lost several pairs of expensive reading glasses calibrated for my unique vision on public transport – I now have multifocals and wear them all the time.

  11. I think I held my breath reading your post, and only exhaled on getting to the update. Here is a cheerily related item from today’s paper. Only in Sweden.

  12. PHEW!!
    I’m so glad for you!
    Praise to FSM!
    What? There is no Great FSM? What other possible explanation could there be?

  13. Glad it was found – I guess the public are often more honest than we think.

    This was a point made in conversation with both the Lost Property Officer and the security guard outside. The number of expensive items handed in to that one depot’s Lost Property office over the last week that I quickly caught out of the corner of my eye as I signed for recovering our property was eye-openingly extensive, to me.
    So if you leave something on a bus, don’t just assume that nobody would hand it in. You’d be surprised.

  14. Holiday photos are scary stuff, you can be one theft away from losing the camera, the computer and the backups in one theft.
    I think for my next long trip I might modify a wedding photography tip (from here, a good site if you are ever kind/foolish enough to volunteer to shoot someone’s big life event as an amateur) and post home DVDs/memory cards/etc with copies of the photos on them as I go.

  15. Very glad you got it back too, tigtog. I’ve been losing (cheaper) stuff hand over fist hauling a baby around on foot, and so far I think we’ve recovered it all. The worst was leaving his birth certificate(!) at Bakers Delight(!) the day we needed it for childcare enrolment.

    • Mary, that birth certificate moment must have been horrendously panic-inducing. It’ll make a great story for V when he’s older though.

  16. tigtog: well, it’s possible to order another one I think (the ones NSWelsh have is just a copy of the real one at the registry I believe), so it was more paperwork headaches we were dreading than a total catastophe. Expensive paperwork headaches.

  17. I was thinking more of the not-being-able-to-enrol-for-childcare on the day that you’d planned side of things. That’s horrendous enough.

  18. Lots of people (including me) have wonderful stories of Japanese material honesty (I have a money pouch on the shinkansen story, for example), so it is especially heartening to see the behaviour manifested outside Japan!

  19. It’s not just things worth real money that get forgotten. I got a call late at night from a train driver because the person helping me on a recruitment panel had left 85 job applications on a train.
    I’m pretty glad he rang me and not my boss or applicants number 1 to 85.

  20. Mary B: that reminds me of a joke, in which when hiring, you immediately bin half the applications unread, in order to avoid hiring unlucky people. But those 85 people turned out to be extra lucky! What to do?

  21. Great outcome!
    There are alternatives to laptops for storing photos while traveling. I’m hoping to take this and a Moleskine journal to Egypt-Jordan-Israel next year rather than lug a laptop and all its paraphernalia.
    ps HSC preliminary finished now? From here on in you will be marking the passage of time by assessment task dates. Hot tip : never put off till the night before it’s due any assessment task that you can start as soon as it handed out. If he can do this then you will all survive the year pretty much OK 🙂

    • Sheryl, that does look very usefully compact. I would still need at least my netbook!

      Sounds like a fascinating trip. How long will you be there?

  22. Two weeks next spring. It’s a study tour for college. Should be quite amazing.

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