Tales of Testing
Lauren Aaronson, Associate Editor
One day I walked into work, and my new Lenovo X301 laptop was gone. Good thing it had Phoenix FailSafe, a program that lets you track and control a missing computer. I borrowed a PC to log onto Phoenix’s Web site, where I reported my laptop lost and asked to retrieve an important document. Soon I got an e-mail saying that my file awaited me on Phoenix’s server—and that my machine was in Queens. Someone had connected it to the Web, unaware of FailSafe, which runs from a chip on the motherboard so that crooks can’t erase it. FailSafe had estimated its location from the IP address and sent my file to the server. It even uploaded a webcam photo of the thief, who turned out to be a sly co-worker. (In truth, I’d known that someone would “steal” my laptop for this test, but not who.) So I hit “covert disable” to taunt him with a “system error” screen. FailSafe debuts on Lenovo laptops in early 2009; other brands will follow.