Where My Missing MacBook Air Is

It’s somewhere within about 100 feet of this Brooklyn intersection, according to the “Find My iPhone” app on iCloud (it’s not a live photo; this was taken from Google Maps). Considering that I lost the thing a week ago in La Guardia Airport, it’s traveled a not inconsiderable distance within the city. The “Find My iPhone” app also locked up the computer and put my contact information on the screen, encouraging whomever has it to return it. I have not been contacted yet. We will see if I am; I officially remain hopeful. In the meantime, whoever has the computer isn’t going to be able to do too much with it even if they wanted to, so that’s two people inconvenienced by this particular computer.

For everyone who is about to post in the comment thread about contacting the local police: yes, I have. For those about to note to me all the ways the person who has the computer can get around the lock on the hard drive: yes, I know. I’m going to make the assumption the person who has my computer at the moment is likely not a hacker. At this point I’m curious to see what happens next.


68 Comments on “Where My Missing MacBook Air Is”

  1. Dere’s no guy livin’ dat knows Brooklyn t’roo an’ t’roo, because it’d take a guy a lifetime just to find his way aroun’ duh goddam town.
    So like I say, I’m waitin’ for my train t’come when I sees dis big guy standin’ deh – dis is duh foist I eveh see of him. Well, he’s lookin’ wild, y’know, an’ I can see dat he’s had plenty, but still he’s holdin’ it; he talks good an’ is walkin’ straight enough. So den, dis big guy steps up to a little guy dat’s standin’ deh, an’ says, “How d’yuh get t’ Eighteent’ Avenoo an’ Sixty-sevent’ Street?” he says.
    “Jesus! Yuh got me, chief,” duh little guy says to him. “I ain’t been heah long myself. Where is duh place?” he says. “Out in duh Flatbush section somewhere?”
    “Nah,” duh big guy says. “it’s out in Bensonhoist. But I was neveh deh befoeh. How d’yuh get deh?”…

  2. My name is Ubu Wanunu from Nigeria. I work for the Abuja airport security. Yesterday an american pilot arriving from New York died here. In his possession i found an MacBook Air squawking your ID. Nobody else noticed. I will gladly send it to you, if you send me 200 US$ shipping costs upfront. Airport workers are not paid well here, so i cannot send it otherwise. Please handle this matter confidential. If official processes are involved, returning your Notebook may take several years.

  3. Have you tried calling the police? You know, it’s not that hard to bypass the lock on hard drive.

    (Couldn’t resist…)

  4. “Where My Missing MacBook Air Is…”

    I was about to answer, “In your suitcase all along, under the hookers’ panties.” but you already came up with a more seemly explanation. ;-P

  5. I thought SOP for this sort of thing was to call and let you know your merchandise has been found, followed by what the ‘convenience fee’ is for making it available to you.

  6. Not too far from where I used to live. The pessimist in me says that the person in possession is absolutely not going to contact you and offer to return your laptop; the optimist in me believes that he’s stupid enough to get caught when he takes it to a repair shop, asking them to fix “the broken screen with some guy’s phone number burned in on it”.

    This reminds me that I need to secure my laptop, so that if this occurs, I can activate the camera and take a snapshot of the thief. (Not that I’d need to. My laptop automatically does this, and uploads images to a server I own, sometimes with hilarious results.)

  7. they should act quick, the protection can be easily overridden if one knows where to look.

  8. I wonder if the thief can feel the sudden shift of attention turned his way, it’s probably a lot like what Ben Kenobi felt. There he is in Brooklyn right now and he just kind of stops and looks around and his friend goes: “What?” And he says: “I don’t know, I just… it’s as if thousands of geeks suddenly looked right at me…”

  9. I hear that the next version of the Mac Air will include the Laser Shark app. Not too practical unless you live near a body of water, but still lots of fun, and it almost justifies the price.

  10. Wow, you need to hand-cuff your computers to you writs like the nuclear football.

  11. This is as good a place as any..

    I am the person in possession of said MacBook. I’ve gotten around Apple’s flimsy protection, please tell the police not to break down the door of the location the device is currently broadcasting, the guy living there is a former college room-mate and an asshole, but I wouldn’t want him to get hurt. Well, not seriously.

    Anyway, I’ve had some fun sifting through the contents of the disk. Apart from the various incriminating pictures (we’ll talk about those later John), I’ve found a folder, the contents of which should interest a few people here. Some of you may have heard of a flurry of rumors concerning the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con and the 10th anniversary of a certain Sci-Western-Fi TV-show. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have on my screen the complete screenplay of the second and third season of Firefly (written by Joss Whedon), as well as three tie-in novels written by John Scalzi himself.

    Both of these seem to be in very late stages of development, the novels contain a few editors notes and amendments, mainly minor details from what I have seen so far. They’re 23K, 27K and 42K words in length and the first page contains a major whopper.

    Want to be the first to read these? (Other than me, obviously.) Let the bidding begin. Expect these to show up on other places around the web as I figure out how best to market them (I’ve heard good things about kickstarter, so maybe there), but I couldn’t resist posting here first.

  12. Kid you not, the opposite corner has a “Bakery and Jerk Center.” Clearly, the jerk must be there.

  13. You really should invest in of those handcuff thingies like the couriers in spy movies use. If airport security and such want to give you grief, just tell them it is a new form of tracking anklet being tested by the CIA or someone ;-)

  14. Do you use iCloud on your Mac? You can log-in to http://www.icloud.com with your Apple ID and use Find My iPhone to locate it (it works with any device using iCloud). From there you can send a message to the thief, lock the computer or wipe it remotely.

  15. Joe forgot to mention the script that John wrote for the third season, entitled “Redshirts in Browncoats”. I’ve seen it and it’s magical! It’s an entire of Mal dying, over and over and in creative ways, that may or may not be a dream. In fact, it might have been the season finale.

  16. Considering the rumored geek density of Brooklyn, I expect the Internet equivalent of all those assassins moving in around 221 Baker street in “The Reichenbach Fall”.


    So, score that one as confirmed, then… ALL RIGHT! ;-)

  18. I’m putting my money on the Computer Warehouse @ 1051 Nostrand Ave. Looks close enough to the intersection, someone may have dropped it off for “repair”. You can even make out their phone number on the awning.

  19. I think you must have read an early draft K.W. The version I just downloaded does have Mal being killed in imaginative ways over and over… each time by River. However, while it appears to be a dream sequence Ep., it is never clear until the end who it is that is dreaming all the attempts, but man i was really surprised to find out that it was [the following has been redacted by people you DON’T want to mess with. Please be advised that DigitalAtheist’s coma is not permenant, but memories HAVE BEEN WIPED!]8 which was FRACKIN’ AWESOME!

    *Advisory to anyone else attempting to disseminate this information: we CAN and will make comas of the permenant and non-breathing kind if necessary. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
    JS’ MBP.

  20. Sounds like it’s time for a meetup of a couple hundred people to scour the neighborhood.

  21. In the “Year Half Gone” post, someone commented about the MacBook Air being missing, and I thought they must have missed the return of the MacBook. I find it somewhat reassuring that I didn’t know that it was missing again. It’s good to know that I don’t know every little thing that happens to the people I follow online.
    It sounds like that little MacBook is quite the adventurer, just like the one that went missing when it was being delivered to Amy Berg.
    OK. Maybe I do know a little too much about the people I follow online. I’m going to step out for some fresh air.

  22. If you wipe it remotely, isn’t that going to kill the thing the police can use to find it?

  23. Richard:

    The number on the awning is out of commission and the one in yellow pages sites online is inaccurate. I would agree it is a reasonable place for it to be, however.

  24. “Sounds like it’s time for a meetup of a couple hundred people to scour the neighborhood”

    Groupies, you gotta love em

  25. Wouldn’t that have been a badass use of Google Maps, if the number on the awning had been right, and you called and they said they had it. Then you could have told them to hurry up and gat it shipped, because the Were-Badgers will be there shortly.
    Unless they’ve told you otherwise, don’t lose all faith in the police. My Sister-in-Law had her GPS stolen from her car, and before she even reported it, the police had used it to bring it back to the house.

  26. Dude, if you know where your laptop is within a 100 foot radius, then there’s only one thing to do.

    Cry Havoc and let slip the velociraptors of war….

  27. I think this is the perfect time to start calling Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s agents (or whoever is doing those type of movies these days). A tale of two authors, one stuck in the remote nowhere of middle America trying to track down a missing laptop packed full of the best novel they’ve ever written. The author an up and coming exec from a poor background hoping for his big break in the big city who inadvertently bought it thinking it was legit. When the net closes in on them, will it also close in on their love? It’s got goofy romantic comedy written all over it. Although, disturbingly, I seem to have cast John in the Meg Ryan role…now cannot unsee.

  28. You do realize that now teh internets will be clamoring for hourly updates of “Where is John’s Ipad?” complete with google maps pictures, so that we can all speculate and live vicariously through it’s journey to wherever it is headed.

  29. John, if that app is sending you its location you should beable to recive a IP address from it, then you may be able to go to the local internet provider i.e. comcast and give them the address and ask for a look up, they should be able to give you the address if not the name of the account holder for the police.
    btw if per say you happen to be working on a season 2 and 3 of firefly with Joss ;) bring back wash!

    Hope you get your computer back!

  30. Sounds like an impromptu meeting of the Brooklyn branch of the Red Shirt Irregulars is in order..

  31. Scalzi wrote a book called REDSHIRTS that pivots on the fatality rates of folks on away teams… so some of you want to call yourself redshirts and go on an outing to retrieve lost merchandise for him?

    It’s a wonder enough of your readers stay alive long enough to buy your work, John.

  32. Part of me is sorry that John’s Macbook is having these adventures in someone else’s hands. But, given that no work was lost (obviously the Firefly scripts have been saved redundantly, up to and including implantation in a portion of Nathan Fillion’s brain sequestered from the surrounding tissue by woo-woo Science!), the far larger portion is just following this thread with increasing delight.

  33. Along with being able to track and lock your MBP with a message on the screen, you can also remotely cause your MBP to emit an annoying beeping sound until the password is entered. Possibly an interesting way to get the MBP’s current bearer to return it to you…

  34. Well, the fact that it went from LaGuardia to this location in Brooklyn probably means it wasn’t picked up by someone with good intentions. I see from John’s tweets that someone went and tried the computer store and it was closed—whether closed for good, for the day, or for vacation is not clear from the tweets, though the number being OOS is suggestive of the first. If it’s closed for good, the proximity of the computer store may be a coincidence; if the closing is only temporary, the locking and address may have gone unnoticed so far (though someone did turn it on).

    Most likely case, someone picked it up with the intent of having a free computer, discovered they couldn’t use it, and is now either a) trying to break the lock or b) trying to figure out how to get out of the situation without going to jail.

  35. Man, I’m slow. I thought this was the same as the previous incident back in…May? (I remember it was right before I flew to Seattle, because I was HELLA paranoid I would also forget my bag somewhere.)

    Shame about the Air. Hopefully whoever has it will stop being a douchebag. (I have to think they must be, because they took it from the airport to their home, instead of to the logical place, which is the Lost and Found.)

  36. I’m sure John has already thought of putting “If I get it back unharmed I won’t press charges” on the screen, and either done it or rejected the idea (because police become less inclined to help if you won’t press charges…or something).

  37. Something else to install on t he Air if/when you get it back is Prey (http://preyproject.com) mostly because it lets you turn on the camera built into the Macbook and take pictures. Useful? Perhaps. Amusing? Definitely! Sadly, you cannot stream video or you could give the Air its own justin.tv station…

  38. We can only hope that there is a sequel to Firefly on that Macbook.

    It think it would have been funny if you could have accessed the computer and took pictures of the culprit. And posted them here.

  39. I hear that St. Anthony accepts money for finding things. Couldn’t hurt.

  40. Dude! I still can’t believe you lost a MacBook Air twice. Is this some sort of publicity stunt? It could be laying the ground work nicely, and I hear Apple is not unrich…

  41. I used to live in that neighborhood until I broke up with my then-girlfriend and moved to North Brooklyn. That is, I believe, the 81st Precinct of Brooklyn, and they’re notoriously terrible cops. They downgrade crimes to juke the stats to avoid the neighborhood seeming to be as crime-ridden as it is (it’s actually not that bad–I lived there for years without any problem, but there are petty thefts and rapes and murders like every where else in NYC).

    If you heard about a Brooklyn cop wearing a wire to record his own commanding officers urging them to make quotas and juke the stats, well, that’s this precinct. There are amazing Village Voice articles about it, and a This American Life episode, “The Right To Remain Silent.” http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-05-04/news/the-nypd-tapes-inside-bed-stuy-s-81st-precinct/

  42. I am genuinely surprised that nobody has started a @ScalzisMacBook twitter feed purporting to be from the computer itself. Maybe it will go on some kind of Incredible Journey/Brave Little Toaster adventure to find its owner.

  43. You’ve already complied Whatever entries into “Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded” and the “You’re Not Fooling Anyone…” book on writing. I agree that all the entries on the Mac Book Air hi-jinx will one day make a nice little Incredible Journey/Brave Little Toaster adventure story, even if only in e-book format!

    Hope that brave little computer makes it home!

  44. I don’t know who you are. I don’t know why you took it. If you are looking for an OMW novel, I can tell you it’s not there. But what I do have are a very particular set of blog followers; followers I have acquired over a very long career. Followers that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my Macbook go now, that’ll be the end of it. they will not look for you, they will not pursue you. But if you don’t, they will look for you, they will find you, and they will mock you.

  45. I had nightmares all last night about leaving my bag on the plane (with my ID and whatnot) and not being able to make connecting flights. (Upcoming trip. I start getting flying dreams about a week or so before.)

  46. Scalzi fans: You can’t outrun them, you can’t destroy them. If you damage them, the essence of what they are remains. They regenerate and keep coming. Eventually you will weaken. Your reserves will be gone. They are relentless!