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Girl Gets Stolen Mac Back With 'Back To My Mac'

I've spent this weekend -- yes, the life of a tech journalist is that exciting -- not Twittering but rather mulling the significance of the incident involving the White Plains, N.Y., girl who led the police to recover her stolen Mac after she took a picture of the thieves using the laptop's "Back to My Mac" feature.
I've spent this weekend -- yes, the life of a tech journalist is that exciting -- not Twittering but rather mulling the significance of the incident involving the White Plains, N.Y., girl who led the police to recover her stolen Mac after she took a picture of the thieves using the laptop's "Back to My Mac" feature.So what I want to know is this: If the average person can't get the cops to go look for their stolen car, how did Kait Duplaga, age 19, manage to spur the police into active mode on this one? Perhaps it's that she pretty much solved the whole case herself; all the police had to do was pick up the innocent-until-proven-guilty suspects.

Here's the deal: Not only did Ms. Duplaga have pictures, snapped with "Back to My Mac" to provide to the police, but one of her roommates recognized the dude ("That's Ian").

"It doesn't get much better than their bringing us a picture of the guy actually using the stolen property," Daniel Jackson, the deputy commissioner of public safety in White Plains, told The New York Times.

Indeed.

Hey, I wonder how far down the food chain this kind of public-service extends. I don't suppose stolen iPhones would get the robbery squad going. However, I still think it'd be a great selling point if Steve Jobs extended "Back to My Mac" functionality to the iPhone.

Me, my new iPhone doesn't have a theft problem -- I hide it; it's my BlackBerry that's exposed to public view, but nobody wants to steal those. However, I seem to have gotten a phone number which had previously been assigned to someone who had some kind of problem. As in, I get all these voicemails asking me to call the "legal department" and reference "ID#876521093827."

I know, it's not fair to rag on the police about stolen gadgets; they have far more important things to deal with. Still, as the dude who stole Kait's Mac might put it, "I'm just sayin'."

One final point: Clearly, "Back to My Mac" is a valuable feature. If you're interested in learning more, go here, on Apple's site. Apple describes the feature thusly: "Access and control your Mac running Mac OS X Leopard from any other Leopard-based Mac over the Internet -- right in the new Finder. With .Mac and Back to My Mac, you're always close to your files and applications." So it's sort of a "Go ToMyPC," Mac style.

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