Letter to the editor

I found considerable information of interest in the article on laptops gone missing from the Justice Department ["Laptops lost, stolen at Justice," FCW, Aug. 12]. One of my laptop computers was stolen from a hotel room while I was on business travel in Europe a few years ago.

I noted in the article that, except for bar codes and scanners, the two lists of proposals to alleviate the problem contain no technological solutions. I know there are several such solutions.

It occurred to me several years ago that there must be a simple deterrent to the casual or opportunistic laptop thief. For that reason, I patented, through my company, a motion-sensor alarm built into laptops that is set and reset by a combination on an external keypad. ("Portable Computer with Integrated Alarm System," U.S. Patent No. 5760690 issued on June 2, 1998.) To my knowledge, no one has yet produced one. Maybe the time has come.

PS: I'd like to tell you that my laptop was stolen before the patent was issued, but such was not the case. It would have made an interesting headline: "Holder of U.S. patent for laptop alarms has laptop stolen."

Roger Allan French

Former security program office manager
Digital Equipment Corp./Compaq Computer Corp.
Londonderry, N.H.

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