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Crime Idle

Thief Returns Stolen Laptop Contents On USB Stick 352

While it's true that Sweden is responsible for unleashing IKEA and ABBA on humanity, not everything they produce is terrible. Their thieves are some of the most considerate in the world. An unnamed professor at Umeå University received a USB stick with all his data after his laptop was stolen. From the article: "The professor, who teaches at Umeå University in northern Sweden, was devastated when ten years of work stored on his laptop was stolen. But to his surprise, a week after the theft, the entire contents of his laptop were posted to him on a USB stick. 'I am very happy,' the unnamed professor told the local Västerbottens-Kuriren newspaper. 'This story makes me feel hope for humanity.'"


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Thief Returns Stolen Laptop Contents On USB Stick

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:21AM (#33946708)

    Reminds me of when a friend had their radio stolen from their car, however, the thief took the time slimjim the door rather then bust his window. He even locked it up after he was finish. Just because you're gonna be a thief, doesn't mean you have to be a jerk about it.

    • by Xaedalus ( 1192463 ) <Xaedalys@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:24AM (#33946830)
      I'll second this. I had a thief break into my car to steal my CD changer. He broke the glass in my driver window, but then all he did was cut the cable, pop the trunk, and pull everything out. He actually took the time to pile up the CDs and what he didn't need on my driver's seat. Then he closed the door behind him. While I was out a CD changer and a window, it could have been a heck of a lot worse. I was struck by how... kind... basically the guy was.
      • by Combatso ( 1793216 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:30AM (#33946976)
        i heard about a guy that left a Justin Bieber CD on his dash... when he got back to his car the window was smashed, and someone left a second CD
        • by sqldr ( 838964 )

          This happened to a friend of mine IRL..

          They burgled his flat about 350 CDs but made sure they left the Simply Red one :-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vlm ( 69642 )

        Two behaviors: Trying to look good in front of the judge if they're busted 10 seconds later, and trying not to walk off with personally identifiable property.

        The CD changer probably had no recorded serial number, but was full of your CDs, easily identifiable.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:40AM (#33947182) Journal

        See, I don't see that as any specific kindness. Honestly that sounds like the thief was less dickish than they might of been but there is nothing kind about stealing your property.

        Now if say he broke into you car and all he took was the bag of groceries out of the trunk you were on the way home with well, we might say they must have been hungry and it was kind of them to do the littlest damage possible, I guess, but there is nobody who "needs" a CD changer, that is just theft and vandalism and I really don't feel much need to excuse the guy the perp.

        • by firewrought ( 36952 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:19PM (#33948896)

          Now if say he broke into you car and all he took was the bag of groceries out of the trunk you were on the way home with well, we might say they must have been hungry and it was kind of them to do the littlest damage possible, I guess, but there is nobody who "needs" a CD changer, that is just theft and vandalism and I really don't feel much need to excuse the guy the perp.

          Thieves don't steal CD changers so they can listen to tunes: they steal so they can pawn/fence/resell the goods and get cash for drugs/HDTV/food/whatever. Who causes less harm to society: a thief that breaks into 10 cars for groceries or a thief that breaks into 1 car to get a CD changer with which to buy the same amount of groceries? IMO, the latter thief is morally superior because he caused less collateral damage in terms of damaged property and psychological stress on victims. Of course, if you're the victim in either of these cases, you KNOW that the first guy stole because of fundamental need whereas the second may or may not have bought groceries with the proceeds of his crime (in the real world: probably not).

          Bottom line 1: a criminal who steals for fundamental need (food, medicine) is morally superior to one who steals for non-fundamental needs (recreational drugs, entertainment systems).
          Bottom line 2: a criminal who takes some effort to minimize/mitigate the impact on his victims is morally superior to one who does not.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by demonlapin ( 527802 )
            I think a better phrase is "slightly less deserving of being drawn and quartered" rather than "morally superior".
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gstoddart ( 321705 )

          See, I don't see that as any specific kindness. Honestly that sounds like the thief was less dickish than they might of been but there is nothing kind about stealing your property.

          Often, the data on the computer is worth more to you than the computer. The data is irreplaceable, the laptop is just hardware.

          As much as they stole his property, they gave him back the only thing he cared about. I'm not saying it was kind, per se, but it was fairly thoughtful (for someone who has just stolen things from you).


      • I wish my experience was as nice as yours.

        The last time I had a stereo stolen, the thief bent the hell out of the door frame to get the window out of track, then used a scissor jack to open the dash up in order to remove the 1 bolt holding the stereo in place.

        $1000 damage for a $99 stereo.

        Upside was that I got a scissor jack out of the deal.

        Someone came back a few months later and busted a window to find that I hadn't put a new stereo in yet. Another $150...

        • by eln ( 21727 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:41PM (#33948316)
          You might want to consider parking your car in a different location.
        • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:44PM (#33948374) Homepage Journal

          Ha! I hear in downtown Baltimore, junkies will break car windows just to rifle through the ashtray for loose pocket change. Some people post signs saying "No valuables inside", but it doesn't work, or is viewed as an invitation (some thieves break in anyway, and leave their own sign: "You're right! But I checked anyway").

          Best approach seems to be to just leave the windows open. :-P

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by riegel ( 980896 )

          I lived in Denver Colorado during the late nineties. I had a Jeep Cherokee which is probably the easiest car to steal so it was a big target for people that just wanted to joyride.

          It was stolen/attempted 4 times in the eight years I lived there. Each time it was recovered usually within a day. The last time it was stolen I called my insurance company to file a claim. The guy asked me if I had locked the door. I told him no. After a bit of silence he asked me why. I told him I didn't lock the door because I

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by morgauxo ( 974071 )
            Agreed but I don't know if I would admit it to the insurance company. They might use it as an excuse not to pay!
      • Yet another that I had to laugh at when I figured out what must have happened.

        One morning I came out to my car to find out it was broken into. I always lock my doors, but it's an 87 Civic and does not have an alarm system. The thief had got my door open and the trunk was also popped open. The trim around my deck was broken off, but everything (speakers, deck, faceplate from the glove compartment) was still there.

        At first I thought that the thief got spooked by a car driving by or something and then ran o

    • Unless you're from Wall Street.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mysidia ( 191772 )

      This could also be serving self-interest of keeping a low profile. Smashing a window attracts a lot more immediate attention than fumbling with a lock.

      It will be immediately obvious that the car has been busted, the police might get called sooner, resulting in a catch of the thief still nearby

    • by tukang ( 1209392 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:45AM (#33947306)
      That phrase doesn't mean what you think it means
    • Interesting. About two years ago, my car stereo was stolen. There was no broken glass, so I only assumed that I left my car door unlocked. The thief stole the stereo, and even reassembled the bracket - the stereo had an OEM mount that took some effort to reinstall, and he did so after it was removed. The real twist was that it was a lower end Kenwood deck I bought for $200 new. This guy took that stereo, but left my camera bag, which had a Canon EOS Rebel XT and a bunch of accessories. He clearly went throu

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:33PM (#33948196) Homepage Journal

      Reminds me of when a friend had their radio stolen from their car, however, the thief took the time slimjim the door rather then bust his window. He even locked it up after he was finish. Just because you're gonna be a thief, doesn't mean you have to be a jerk about it.

      I think it goes more like:

      Couple arrive home from vacation to find their house was broken into and wiped clean. Thieves were nice enough to have left the roll of film from their stolen camera, and most of their bathroom toiletries. So the couple filed their police report, brushed their teeth, and went to sleep on the floor.

      A week later after they got the film developed, turns out they had a few extra blurry pictures taken by the thieves of some toothbrushes jammed up someone's ass.

    • by acedotcom ( 998378 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:10PM (#33949654)
      as i have had my house broken into, i can say that the only thing i can thank the criminals for was leaving my printer, because if they havent, i would have caught them. Thats right, i caught them.

      they literally stole everything from my downstairs while i was sleeping upstairs, i came down stairs and everything that could be plugged in was stolen, i am a photographer and they stole $3000 worth of camera kit, 2 laptops, my home server with every picture i had ever taken on it, its two monitors and keyboard and mouse, my 42 plasma TV and my xbox 360 and all its games and controllers; roughly $8000 was stolen from me while i slept. the cops came, gave me useless self defense tips and left me there. they had stolen my wallet,ALL of my car keys, house keys and a few folders from my desk that had all my back up ID in it.

      BUT they had left my printer! and it had a scanner! and a copier! and plenty of ink and paper. so i went to hand writing descriptions of EVERYTHING that was stolen, giving serial numbers when i could and as accurate as possible descriptions. i made about 20 copies and got someone to watch the house while i was out, found a ride and canvased every camera shop, computer repair and pawn dealer in the area. if i couldnt get them a copy i called them with the things that would most likely turn up.

      three days later, a camera shop about 20 miles away in the next state called me to let me know that the police had just arrested two men trying to sell my camera kit. This shop i had been to a few times that year, and i had called them with serial numbers and descriptions the day before! they are a reputable dealer and called the cops...the suspects were arrested in the spot. but they couldnt hold them despite the fact the one guy was on parole. they claimed that they got the stuff from their "cousin" and didnt know it was stolen. they also had "my" xbox in their car...

      so about a week later, i got yet another call, a computer repair 4 MILES FROM MY HOUSE, one that i go to everyfew weeks that i had delivered a list of stolen stuff to personally had called the cops...this time the SAME GUYS (really) had my server. It was pretty clear why they needed to visit a computer repair. they had tried to wipe the BIOS and were successful (mostly likely to because they felt that would deactivate services like LoJack the live in the BIOS) but because of my very particular hard drive setup, it wouldnt boot into windows, and i guess they didnt want to commit piracy or didnt know want Ubuntu is so they tried to recover my windows install from the hard drive.

      Long story short, they got arrested on the spot. this time in Illinois, where the guy was supposed to be on house arrest. funny thign was that the cops wont search the guys house on the grounds the "his mother is helping them out" although nothing else of mine has turned up. funny thing is that i know they at least still had my xbox because the one that the cops recovered only had my hard drive, so when the cops powered it up they say the profile i told them about and hence CASE CLOSED. it wasnt my xbox. Mine had HDMI, this one was older and did not. i told the police and they said "its your xbox, it has your profile". Microsoft also agreed and said that i you just cant move the hard drive around (Microsoft could also tell me where my console is if some has gone online with it, but they wont without a subpoena) . it feels alot like the movie Changeling...people trying to pawn of some other kid on me.

      Also i just could have my server back, pictures weren't good enough and the needed something to present to evidence so they wanted to keep my server, of course, it was the only computer i had at this point, and it had everything i needed to keep my business up and running so i REALLY needed it. i asked if i could take its hardware and leave the case. so on a hot day i had to go to the county jail with my two kids, a philips, my multitool and a big box to the county jail and take my whole computer apa
  • Backup ffs! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:21AM (#33946724) Homepage Journal

    This story makes me feel sad for humanity.

    • by Fumus ( 1258966 )

      I wish the thief would leave a newspaper-cutout note saying "Back up your data dude!"

    • That's why I use Dropbox; not only is it saved to the ethereal cloud, but a hard copy of all my work is on my wife's computer.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    He took the time to scan money he stole from me and provide me a convenient pdf file.

    I feel so much better about humanity.

    • If you will leave your email here, I can add more pdf's via an outlook file to you. In fact, I am sure that others will be happy to help you in the same fashion.
  • LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arcite ( 661011 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:21AM (#33946736)
    10 years of work on his laptop without a single backup?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nebulus4 ( 799015 )
      You'll be surprised how common this is.
    • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:46AM (#33947322) Homepage

      No, the quote was used in the wrong context. He was not referring to his laptop/data but his calendar which was in the stolen backpack that was returned by the thief (backpack with calendar, other documents etc) a few hours later. Then, a week later he also got the USB with his work for which we simply know that it was not backed up well...
      Way to go Telegraph. Read this instead: http://www.thelocal.se/29636/20101015/ [thelocal.se]

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      He's hopefully learned something far more valuable than the cost of a laptop.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cronius ( 813431 )

      Reminds me of what my old computer science teacher used to say:

      Remember: Real men don't take backups. But they do cry a lot.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by BobMcD ( 601576 )

        I'm reminded of a little joke myself:

        Once upon a time Satan challenged Jesus to a programming contest. Christ sits down to a Commodore 64 and begins slowly pecking out the beginnings of a "hello world", while Satan conjures up a super computer, grows extra appendages, and begins coding like an army of hellish fiends. After a short while, Satan begins cackling madly, certain he's won the contest, while Christ just muddles slowly through. Suddenly, the power goes out. When God comes to judge the contest h

  • Ten years of work? What does this guy teach, English Lit?
  • Wait, what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by oodaloop ( 1229816 )
    Someone stole a 10-year old laptop? How much is that worth on the black market? More than the thumb drive possibly. Or maybe he just really needed a machine on which to test DSL.
    • Or maybe the common thief doesn't really know/care how to recognize the value of what they're stealing and they just grabbed what they figured they could sell fastest.
  • by the_one_wesp ( 1785252 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:24AM (#33946812)
    my butt! I'd feel it too if he had backed up his hard drive at home and wasn't commending a criminal who just stole his freaking laptop!
  • I don't know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:25AM (#33946866)

    Is that considerate, or really creepy ? First you get your laptop stolen, then you get proof that the thief was rifling through your data and evidently thought some of it was important enough to back up and send to you at their own expense. I don't know if 'hope' is the right word to express what I'd be feeling.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chris Burke ( 6130 )

      Uh, that doesn't sound all that creepy to me. Yeah, someone who stole my laptop looked at its contents. Yeah it's an invasion of privacy, but you have to assume it happened regardless. Getting the data back at that point is pure positive IMO.

      To make it more creepy to get your data back, it'd have to be something like all your pr0n, only sorted by type and quality or with photoshopped annotations. Or your non-pr0n data like your documents but with pr0n inserted into them. That'd be both creepy and poten

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by natehoy ( 1608657 )

        just in time for my presentation to the reagents

        I bet he'll get a reaction.

        • I bet he'll get a reaction.

          In the form of an erection.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Chris Burke ( 6130 )

          Heh. Now I'm imagining him giving a presentation to an audience of beakers, one full of powdered sulfur, another with a 1-molar HCL solution, and so on.

          And oh, Mr. Sulfur is very offended by the salacious content in this presentation! The good Professor won't be getting tenure at Schizo U.!

      • I had a laptop stolen out of my garage that had about 6 months worth of work. I wish the thief had returned the data. I had a replacement laptop, better then the one stolen, by that afternoon.

        It was a silly project (http://download.cnet.com/BabyCell/3000-10440_4-10578953.html?tag=mncol;1), but the work was starting to produce results and I had planned to go even further with it. Live and learn.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Krau Ming ( 1620473 )
      being almost done my PhD, the thought of losing all my data is enough to make me want to cry. of course my work is backed up, but if i was in that prof's shoes, creepy or not, i'd be doing a big time happy dance upon receiving that usb drive.
    • Perhaps one of his students' degree plans would have been messed up if this guy was fired or suicidal over losing 10 years' work, so said douche of a student decided to return the data so that he could finish his course.

      • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

        or perhaps one of the students degree plans would have been screwed up if the data wasn't changed, and he felt stealing the laptop was the only way to ensure that he had enough time with the data to find what needed to be changed and return it?

        Just another unfounded guess to toss on the pile


  • by Solarbeat ( 691941 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:28AM (#33946916)
    A long, long, time ago, I moved into the campus dorms a week early to lay claim to the only network port in the room (yes, back then there was only one). Only thing is that the dining halls hadn't opened. I went out to grab a bite to eat and got my wallet pick-pocketed, leaving me without money for food for days. A few weeks later, a package arrived with my empty wallet, even with my credit cards, ID, etc... the only thing missing? Cash (of course), and the creepy part: the guy took all of the pictures of family and friends I had. Rather than making me feel hope for humanity, it showed me how creepy we can be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nukenbar ( 215420 )

      What makes you think the thief returned it? He probably took the cash and tossed it and some university groundskeeper found it in the bushes and returned it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vlueboy ( 1799360 )

      That goes to show that we fear social networks sharing this same kind of pictures with the world, because it is like a one-way looking glass into our life for an interrogator's anonymous perspective.

      A thief's anonymity protects them, while we feel compromised never knowing how this thief could return to our life, and how they'll exploit weaknesses found by their original break-in. That is the true reason why we reinstall Windows when spyware hits our internet connected PC's --er, besides the predominant "ma

  • Then, he would have only lost 1 year of research! For a professor using a computer, he doesn't sound like he has a lot of common sense.
    I am glad he got his research back, though. Very kind of that thief.
  • Trojan time? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by foodnugget ( 663749 ) <eric-slashdotNO@SPAMericfeldman.com> on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:28AM (#33946940)
    The story of the thief who returns someone's goods with some opera tickets and an apology comes to mind -- when the victim goes to see the opera, the thief cleans out the victim's house.

    Kinda makes me wonder if there's a rootkit on that drive for the purposes of emptying out this gent's bank accounts.

    Also, wtf, no backups? ffs.
  • ABBA (Score:5, Funny)

    by Massacrifice ( 249974 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:29AM (#33946966)

    I'm listening to Abba right now, you insensitive clod!

    In Sweden, stealing laptops is The Name Of The Game! Obviously, The Winner Takes it All except he brings back some of it's MP3 on a USB stick to the Dancing Queen, who had been sending out an S.O.S. She then says to the thief Thank You For The Music, followed by Voulez-Vous?. At which point the story turns to swedish erotica which is not appropriate to relate here.

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:36AM (#33947108) Homepage Journal
    His butt was saved by an unusually considerate thief, but I hope he learns his lesson and makes backups of his life's work on a regular basis. There's really no excuse for losing 10 years worth of work because your laptop was stolen. What if the thing caught on fire? Or the hard drive self destructed? It's ridiculous not to back up something that important.
  • I happen to really *LIKE* Ikea furniture.

    It's not prohibitively expensive, and quite good quality furniture. Plus, it's ridiculously easy to match ikea furniture with other furniture to create a room with a theme.

    Okay, now that I've gotten that rant out of the way...

    I'm sure that the police would want to examine that USB stick quite closely, as it could provide evidence of who the criminals were. Unfortunately giving it to the police would mean he would not be able to use it himself. If he withhol

    • Somehow I don't think an officer would understand: "all I did was DD the contents to an ISO!"

      which scares me. basic IT != rocket science.
    • I love IKEA furniture. I just bought $1000 worth of it to furnish my new apartment, and that money went a long way (I got a bedroom, living room, and kitchen, and bathroom out of it). Aside from that, I felt vindicated that my childhood lego skills came in handy. I'd say that IKEA furniture is legos for adults... but who am I kidding? Legos are legos for adults.
      • I like IKEA too. We have a lot of IKEA stuff in our house and it looks nice and didn't break the bank. When we remodeled our kitchen we went with IKEA cabinets. We love our kitchen. it looks fantastic and everything works great. We were warned that everything is particle board and told that we should get hardwood cabinets etc. That's complete crap. Will hardwood cabinets last 100 years? yes. Will IKEA cabinets last longer than 25 years? probably not, but who the fuck cares? for the price we paid, we can aff
  • by SigmundFloyd ( 994648 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:42AM (#33947226)

    'I am very happy,' the unnamed professor told the local Va:sterbottens-Kuriren newspaper. 'This story
    makes me feel hope for humanity.'

    But that might be Stockholm syndrome speaking.

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:43AM (#33947244) Homepage Journal
    im 35 years old, i listened to iron maiden at their prime, listened to metal for my teenage years, yet i didnt see any problem with abba even then. good music, is good music, regardless of genre.
  • A professor stores 10 years of his work in a single laptop without any back up? I just lost all hope for humanity. If that prof is from the School of Liberal Arts, I lost all hope for humanities too ;-)
  • by ciaran_o_riordan ( 662132 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:50AM (#33947392) Homepage

    In Germany, wallet thieves often take the valuables and throw the wallet (with ID card and whatever else) in the nearest post box and it gets returned to its owner.

    Saves the victim a load of hassle at least.

    • by Minwee ( 522556 ) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:01PM (#33949522) Homepage

      For more on this idea, read Larry Niven's "Flatlander", originally published in the March 1967 "Worlds of If"

      "See them all? Sixty-four million people in Los Angeles alone. Eighteen billion in the whole world. Suppose there was a law against picking pockets? How would you enforce it?" She deftly extracted the cash from my wallet and handed the wallet back. "Get yourself a new wallet, and fast. It'll have a place for your address and a window for a tenth-star stamp. Put your address in right away, and a stamp, too. Then the next guy who takes it can pull out the money and drop your wallet in the nearest mailbox -- no sweat. Otherwise you lose your credit cards, your ident, everything." She stuffed two hundred-odd stars in cash between her breasts, flashing me a parting smile as she turned.

      "Thanks," I called. Yes, I did. I was still bewildered, but she'd obviously stayed to help me. She could just as easily have kept wallet and all.

      "No charge," she called back, and was gone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Intron ( 870560 )

      The reason for throwing the wallet in the post box is that it prevents it from being found until the thief is gone. Post boxes are secure. It's nothing to do with ethics.

  • by fooslacker ( 961470 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @11:53AM (#33947466)
    Blah blah, theft, nice thief, should have backups etc....but I'm more concerned that he could fit 10 years of work on a single usb stick. I guess some jobs generate more data than others but that's pretty lean research work. I guess maybe some academics don't generate more than their own writing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kharny ( 239931 )

      Linguistics or such studies don't generate a lot of huge data types, but you can fit a huge amount of written text on a usb stick.

  • Who steals a 10-year-old Laptop?

  • Grades? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SirLestat ( 452396 )

    What he failed to notice is that the file where he keeps students grades have been slightly altered!

  • I certainly would have been happy too. Sure the original act is bad blabla but hey, when you get 10y of data back, you're happy.
    Thieves are stealing from people or companies directly, but they don't usually mean harm.

    The lobbies, companies, government, etc, steal for people far larger amounts every single day - and they don't give you "your data back" all that easily either.

    It's all a matter of perception and point of view. I'm all for respectful thiefs. Be it common ones or larger ones I wrote about. Since

  • 10 years of data on the laptop - are they implying that said stolen laptop was 10 years old? And thief bothered, not only to steal it but also boot it up? Sweden is scary sometimes.
  • ...the country that brought us their massages, little gummy fish, and that legendary muppet chef, now brings us great höpen för åll thé frickén wöörlden. That is, until the professor clicks "gEt_uR_fiLezz_bäcken.exe" on an unfortunate colleague's borrowed laptop.
  • ...keeps the only copy of their past 10 years' work on their laptop? While the incident may have helped restore the poor prof's faith in humanity, it has knocked mine down a few notches knowing that people like this are teaching in our universities.
  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:34PM (#33948210)

    Flash memory is so efficient that you can store 10 years of scientific research on one USB stick. Now, that's progress!

  • Sounds risky to me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @12:53PM (#33948512) Homepage Journal

    Contacting your victim sounds risky to me. Could report you to the police. Then the cops can put your fingerprints in some database. Then they can maybe trace the mail you sent, and start asking your neighbors about people who would fit the profile for doing this. (20s-30s, white, Swedish)

  • by jamrock ( 863246 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:02PM (#33948656)
    Maybe the thief wanted access to the "unnamed professor's" data for whatever reason, but didn't feel justified in depriving him of it permanently. Maybe he also wants him to continue his research so he can steal more of it later. I'd tell him to take a good hard look at his colleagues and students.
  • by gaiageek ( 1070870 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @01:33PM (#33949102) Homepage
    A good friend of mine in Berlin had her MacBook stolen over a year ago. In May, she received a Facebook message from a woman in Tunisia who had bought the notebook, found my friend's personal data and wondered if it had been stolen. Originally the plan was to simply send the personal data, since my friend had already purchased a new notebook, but in the end the woman decided to ship the notebook to my friend in Germany without any compensation (my friend paid the shipping costs on delivery). The woman was apparently overjoyed at recently giving birth to twins, and simply wanted to do the right thing. I personally witnessed the arrival and unboxing of the returned laptop.

    There are good people in the world. Whether you choose to be one of them is up to you.
  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Tuesday October 19, 2010 @02:19PM (#33949814)

    He had 10 years of his work on one hard drive and didn't ever do any backups?
    It seems you can be really stupid and still become a professor.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin