March 30, 2007

If Found, Please Return This USB Drive & The Kid Wearing It

gloomy_bear_mimobot.jpgA geekdad adapted an auto-run software trick for adding an "If you're reading this, this USB stick is lost. Please return it to me at..." message to a USB memory stick into a kidtracking solution for the family vacation at Disneyland.

He loaded up some cheapo 32mb sticks with contact info, then put them around his 3- and 5-year-old sons' necks, and instructed them, if they ever got separated, they were supposed to hand the USB stick to whoever finds them.

Sure enough, a kid disappeared, and less than 15 minutes later, Mousecops call the dad's cell phone. And they all lived happily ever after.

Of course, the comments on Daily Cup of Tech where this story was posted are full of "Dude, just write your phone number on the kid's chest with a Sharpie." and "laminated info card, hello?" but if you're a belt&suspenders kind of guy--who doesn't go anywhere there isn't a Windows XP machine within arm's reach--then the only question is how cutesy should the USB drives be?

The kidhack: DCoT helps find lost child [dcot via lifehacker]
The original howto and download: Have your lost USB drive ask for help [dcot]
Whoa, $50+ for a 512mb Gloomy Bear Mimobot USB? Next idea? []


Besides, laminated cards don't get you write-ups on DaddyTypes...

And I hate to say it, but there's probably a pretty good chance Disney would have found that kids parents pretty quickly, anyhow.

[it's what super-serving your customer is all about -ed.]

I know some people who would argue that laminated cards are a security risk, as often they display the kid's name in nice, bold letters.
A person with less than virtuous intentions could walk up to said kid and say "Hi Billy, mom and dad asked me to bring you to get a hot dog" or whatever.

At least, that is the reason they won't put nametags on kids here during school field trips.

[good point, one which my NYC-raised wife has ingrained in her psyche as well. I think the suggestions were actually for tags on lanyards under clothes, not the conference attendee-style. Back in the day, a Mormon family we knew w/ 9 kids would all wear matching striped t-shirts, like Where's Waldo, and disperse into the crowd, confident that their sheer numbers would overwhelm the mob. -ed.]

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