• October 31, 2014
October 31, 2014, 8:20:28 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Security locks for laptop computers  (Read 10561 times)
yemaya
Clown-hating
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,065


« on: April 12, 2008, 4:49:00 PM »

I will be traveling to several repositories for research this summer and am in the market for a good security lock for my laptop.  The pick-up area for materials is not even in the reading room at at least one of these repositories and I'd hate to have to pick up my laptop and carry it with me each time.  Anyone have suggestions?  The laptop is a Sony if it matters.
Logged

Historians are gossips who tease the dead.  ~Voltaire
hollow_man
Funny, I don't feel like a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,222


« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2008, 9:17:22 PM »

I believe the lock-holes are standardized. I have a Kensington lock that I never, ever use. It works fine, I just never use it. Make me an offer.
Logged

"Suffer no thirst in the presence of beer!" -- Inscription of Nebnetjeru
doctor_torrseal
Senior member
****
Posts: 589


« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2008, 12:12:37 AM »

I will be traveling to several repositories for research this summer and am in the market for a good security lock for my laptop.  The pick-up area for materials is not even in the reading room at at least one of these repositories and I'd hate to have to pick up my laptop and carry it with me each time.  Anyone have suggestions?  The laptop is a Sony if it matters.

Nearly all laptops have the same "Kensington slot."  You can buy a variety of locks, not just from Kensington.  They are not expensive.  Decide based on whether you are more likely to forget a combination or lose a key, etc.  None of these locks are strong enough to resist a determined attack, you just want to deter someone from walking away with it.  The most versatile ones are probably the common variety with a cable with a small loop on one end; you put the cable through the loop so it can go around objects of various sizes.  The operational difficulty is often finding something to loop it around.  For example, you can't use a plain table leg, since a thief could just lift the table to release the cable from the leg.  Sometimes a desk drawer handle is the best option.
Logged
onestep
Senior member
****
Posts: 818


« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2008, 8:25:29 AM »

As doctor_torrseal noted, the Kensington lock is a minor deterrent, but still not very secure.  Anyone with a good Swiss-army knife can unscrew drawer handles or even cut the cable.  Your safest bet is to keep it with you at all times.  If your Sony is too heavy, maybe you can borrow a lighter computer for this trip. 
Logged
deleteplease
Senior member
****
Posts: 333


« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2008, 1:34:48 PM »

I leave my power cord but *never* my laptop. Make sure to have an ultralight
laptop and a very light sleeve for it so you can carry it easily.

The problem with leaving laptops: emergencies do happen. Last summer, there
was a fire a few blocks way from the British Library -- and they evacuated the library.
There was a huge panic with people trying to rush back into the reading rooms to
fetch laptops (it was during lunch hour -- in fact, I had to abandon my just-paid-for
but untouched lunch -- but I had my laptop with me).

The fire didn't reach the library, but my attitude is basically that they aren't getting my
laptop away from me until they pry it from my cold dead hands.
Logged
pikachu
Senior member
****
Posts: 818

TT at an RU/VH


« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2008, 2:27:58 PM »

Yes, I also do not see the point of security locks for laptops. Just buy a 4 lb one and have it with you at all times.
Logged

I am not afraid to get mavericky in here....
navelgazer
Senior member
****
Posts: 862


« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2008, 2:28:48 PM »

My spouse used his throughout graduate school. It was useful because his office was shared and he would often be moving back and forth between the lab and his desk. HE would lock the door if no one else was in the office, but he couldn't depend on others doing it when they left. There was almost always someone around, another kind of theft deterrent. Several laptops were stolen from his building over the years, but never one locked down.

I plan on using one in my new office. It isn't a shared office, and I will always lock it when I leave. However, it's been my experience at large universities that there are always people around who have keys they shouldn't have.

I would never depend on a lock in a more public place, however. I always use restrooms with my laptop if I'm at a library or coffee shop.
Logged
snowbound
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,124


« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2008, 5:39:22 PM »

Well, sure, a thief determined to get your laptop is is going to figure out a way to do it, lock or no lock.  But we're not talking about a planned out bank heist here.  Most petty thefts are crimes of opportunity.  If someone with thieving tendencies sees something valuable unguarded, he or she will grab it and walk away.  Adding an obvious obstacle, like a laptop lock, will generally make the thief look for an easier mark.   
Logged
infopri
I guess I'm now a VERY
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 23,568

When all else fails, let us agree to disagree.


« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2008, 7:13:06 PM »

I have a Kensington lock and have made much use of it.  I would never, ever leave my laptop untended in an open location (airport, main areas of a library, etc.), even with a lock, but the lock comes in handy as extra security behind a locked door (locked library carrel, hotel room, etc.).  It's a cable with a loop, just as dr_torrseal described, and indeed the challenge sometimes is to find something to loop it around.  Yes, a determined thief will have no trouble defeating the lock, but I agree that most laptop thefts are crimes of opportunity, so the lock is just to make the opportunity a little less attractive.  And to give me some peace of mind, knowing that I've done what I can to secure the machine.  (Sorry, it's just not practical to carry a laptop with me 24/7 when I'm traveling; it stays in the hotel room.)
Logged

People who do not understand numbers should not be allowed to use them for anything. - DvF

MYOB.  Y enseņen bien a sus hijos.
john_proctor
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 7,035


« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2008, 8:00:39 PM »

Yes, I also do not see the point of security locks for laptops. Just buy a 4 lb one and have it with you at all times.

There's a cyclist's joke like this.

A 20 lb. bike needs a 20lb. lock.
A 30 lb. bike needs a 10lb. lock.
A 40 lb. bike doesn't need a lock.
Logged

"Look upon me! I'll show you the 'life of the mind.'"
yemaya
Clown-hating
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,065


« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2008, 3:07:32 PM »

My laptop is only 5 pounds.  If I were to go use the bathroom or get lunch, I would absolutely take it with me.  The trouble comes when you've got to fetch an unwieldy box or boxes of archival material and balance your laptop at the same time.
Logged

Historians are gossips who tease the dead.  ~Voltaire
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.