I came across an interesting story today about how technology for one purpose can be used for another. The SETI project is where people use the spare CPU cycles on their PC in a collaborative search for extra-terrestrial live. One of the project members was highly distraught when his wife’s laptop was stolen. I am sure his angst was heightened when the police told him there was very little chance they would recover the laptop. As with all laptop thefts it was not the actual loss of the laptop itself but the data that resided on the it that caused the concern.
Recalling that the SETI project software was installed on his wife’s PC the hero in our story spent hours monitoring the databases on the SETI servers waiting for the laptop to communicate with them. Within a week the laptop had connected three times and armed with the details of the connection time and the IP address from where the laptop connected, the police were able to recover the lost laptop.
So all in all a good news story, laptop is recovered, bad guy gets caught and lots of brownie points for the hero in our story.