The sad tale of my laptop’s demise

June 17-19 Chuck Russell and I visited South Florida to benchmark the Internet Campuses of Christ Fellowship and Flamingo Road. When we arrived at the Palm Beach airport, I hit a snag totally of my own making. Somehow I forgot that I had carried my bag on to the plane whereas Chuck had checked his. So we moseyed on down to the bag claim, whereupon I regained my senses and realized I had left my bag on the plane. By the time I found the right person with US Air’s baggage service, it was too late and the plane was already on its way back to Charlotte. I’ve traveled a lot on business and never have done anything quite that absentminded.

Jason Reynolds, IT Director at Christ Fellowship, had met us at the airport. He waited while I filed a report with the baggage service. They said they would bring the bag to my hotel as soon as it came in. I would just need to be patient. I was mad at myself over the inconvenience, but it wasn’t a huge deal.

Jason showed us around the Palm Beach area a bit and then we went to dinner at a great seafood place where we were joined by David Helbig, Internet Campus Pastor at Christ Fellowship. A church member came into the restaurant and saw us. There were introductions all around. Before we knew it, dinner for our whole table was picked up by this generous man. The evening had taken a decided turn for the better.

After dinner, Jason asked if we would like to go check out the beach before going to our hotel. Being from landlocked Kansas, Chuck and I readily agreed. Here’s the sunset, captured on my (bad) cell phone camera.

Juno Beach in Jupiter, FL

Jason Reynolds at Juno Beach

Little did we know as Chuck, Jason, David, and I discussed Internet Campus while enjoying a beautiful night on the beach that just a couple hundred feet away in the beach parking lot, Jason’s car window was smashed and my briefcase/laptop bag was stolen containing my laptop, digital camera, web cam, cables, and all kinds of personal items. It was a sinking feeling when we returned to the car and I discovered my bag missing and Jason’s window smashed. The Jupiter police were very professional and courteous, but it’s now been 6 weeks and (no surprise) nothing has been recovered.

After filing the police report, Jason took us to our hotel. It was very weird walking in to the hotel and checking in without luggage of any kind. My only possessions at that moment were my wallet and cell phone that were in my pockets.

Jason was very generous and hooked me up the next morning with a Dell D530 laptop out of Christ Fellowship’s inventory so I could at least get my e-mail and have a way to take notes during the trip. However, without all my usual tools (camera, PhotoShop, Windows Live Writer, etc.) I wasn’t able to blog. In fact, due to that incident and a lot of other things I’ll share soon, I’m just now getting back to a normal workload and routine. Hence the sudden return of my blogging.

I wish I had a profound theological comment to add here, but alas, it just sucks to have your laptop stolen. Don’t be like me. Be sure to put your laptop in the trunk or otherwise hide it from the prying eyes of thieves. Also, it’s a really good idea to encrypt the contents of your laptop hard drive. You’ve been warned.

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6 thoughts on “The sad tale of my laptop’s demise

  1. Jeff August 1, 2008 / 7:23 am

    I’ve found that sometimes, in the face of loss, “it just sucks” is the most accurate statement, profoundly theological or not.

  2. Nick Nicholaou August 1, 2008 / 8:59 am

    What a bummer, Clif. Though the trip sounds worthwhile, it came at a great cost. We’re glad you’re getting back on top of things though! What are you using for a laptop now?

  3. David Szpunar August 1, 2008 / 10:38 am

    Man that stinks! Sorry to hear about it! We’ve had some car breakins in our parking lot lately (during the day! They’ve been grabbing GPS units) and even a car theft, but fortunately nothing huge affecting our staff (I’d love to catch those guys though!).

    The sunset photos are awesome though! Was your stolen laptop encrypted? I’ve been running TrueCrypt and loving it (some informal tests by Steve Gibson on the SecurityNow podcast found that hard drive access was a bit faster after encryption, possibly due to TrueCrypt writing their own access drivers–I haven’t noticed any slowdowns). I haven’t rolled out encryption to all users, but all new laptops are getting it. So far that’s three–our FMer, our Sr. Pastor, and our Tech Director whose laptop I just reinstalled Windows on this week

    And I’m with Nick, what are you using now?

  4. clifg August 1, 2008 / 1:41 pm

    Resurrection bought a new Dell D830 to replace the five-month-old one that was stolen. Since it was nearly identical hardware, I was able to restore my image backup and get back up relatively quickly.

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